Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Increased death of whales in Patagonia

Over the last three years 300 whales have died along the coast of Valdés Peninsula in Patagonia. A seminar was held to look into the matter.

The yearly average used to be around 30 dead whales, but in 2007 it grew to 83 and in 2008 it increased to 100.

The scientists suspect that climate change may be the cause, by increasing dangerous bacteria in the sea or reducing the quantity of available food.

Online source: Expertos analizan elevada mortandad en crías de ballenas francas en Argentina, 18.03.2010.

Further reading; see my post on the Southern Right Whale

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia

2010 International Year of Biodiversity
Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall ©

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chilean Earthquake

Chile has suffered a terrible earthquake. It was worse than the one that struck Haiti.

If you can help, it will be welcome:
Help Chile, an English site

This is not about cryptids, this is about people, human beings.

Thank you!!

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia

2010 International Year of Biodiversity
Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall ©

Cisnal the mythical animal

If you understand some French, read this. It is very interesting. An article published in 1864 about the Huemul, oop, cisnal, anta.
Its author is Georges Claraz (one of the first explorers to cross Rio Negro province through Valcheta to the Chubut River), he also wrote about Ellengassen:

Some may find oop very "wolfish", perhaps an Andean wolf?

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia

2010 International Year of Biodiversity
Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall ©

On the road

I am currently traveling abroad, on a business trip, so my time is quite limited and I will not be posting for the next couple of weeks.
And then I will take my well earned summer (though it will be autumn) 2009-2010 vacations.

I expect to be back online by the end of April.

However, if I do get the chance, I will post, I promise.

Hasta pronto!

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia

2010 International Year of Biodiversity
Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall ©

Friday, March 5, 2010

Nahuelito at Lake Gutierrez?

Good information is accurate, complete, objective, authoritative and timely. The web offers plenty of information, and (regrettably) not all of it complies with the above mentioned criteria.

For instance, today, I came across an article [1] which I review below.

It is a Special Issue newsletter on Lake Monsters, and mentions 17 lakes that are allegedly home to them.

The article

I quote the article in full (bold face is mine):

16 - Gutierrez Lake, Argentina

<<< Gutierrez Lake, Argentina

The Lake District within Argentina's famed Patagonia region is home to "Nahuelito," an ancient snake-like creature. The first sighting of Nahuelito in Gutierrez Lake (Lago Gutierrez) was in 1938 - with intermittent sightings continuing to the present. Surrounded by stunning Patagonian mountain peaks, Gutierrez Lake is one of the most visited lakes in Argentina. This 4,052-acre glacial lake is part of the Nahuel Huapi National Park, the oldest national park in Argentina. Lake Gutierrez is a four-season vacation destination, famed for its spectacular summer and winter sports:

The link takes to a web page that gives plenty of information on the lake and also states (quote): "Local legend dictates that Nahuelito, an ancient snake-like creature much like Scotland's Loch Ness Monster, inhabits these waters."


I will not look into the general data given about the lake, which seems to be correct in my opinion.

I will give two objections:

1. Clearly (just check out its name) Nahuelito is a creature that lives in Lake Nahuel Huapi not Lake Gutiérrez. There is only one (unverified) sighting of it at Gutiérrez agains many at Nahuel Huapi. Why would the article place it in the wrong lake?

2. The "1938 sighting". In my post on Nahuelito (long and comprehensive post on the subject) I wrote (bold face mine): "The next sighting was at Lake Gutierrez in 1938 just 16 km [10 mi.] from the town of Bariloche (41°08’ S, 71°18’ W).[2] However it is cited in unreferenced articles and we could not corroborate it."

The point is that I have not found one single reference (that is, original piece of information in print about the "1938 sighting"). I have seen many repeated references stating it as a fact, but none giving the source. I have looked them up in Spanish and English but to no avail. No sound source.

This takes me back to my opening comments about "Good information", if cryptozoology is to be taken seriously as a "real" science, it must be "serious", neat and reliable. Sources must be given so that all can verify them. Otherwise, it is just hearsay

Final Comment

For the record, in my post on the Cuero, I included the following:

Freshwater rays in Patagonia?

I have read an entry in Eberhart’s excellent book [6] on “Mysterious Creatures” which mentions that “giant freshwater rays were seen in 1976” at Lago Gutiérrez, Rio Negro Province.

Reproduction of pages 689 of Eberhart’s book. From [6].

This same 1976” incident is reported in detail by Sebastián Jarré[7][8] yet at a different location: Lake Moreno.

Lakes Moreno and Gutierrez are quite close to each other (8 km – 5 mi.) and both flow into Lake Nahuel Huapi, the map below shows the site of the 1976 accident (red circle) a very narrow stretch of road carved into a steep cliff that skirts the lake.

The article's references were the following:
[6] Eberhart, G., (2002). Misterious Creatures: A guide to Cryptozoology. S. Barbara: ABC Clio. pp. 689.
[7] Jarré S., (2008). Online.
[8] Jarré, S., (2004). Guarida de Monstruos. La Rosa de los Vientos. A° 1. N° 3.IV: 2+

As you can see in the image, Eberhart mentions an article by Fabio Picasso, published in Strange Magazine (Dec. 1998, pp. 28-35) "South American Monsters and Mystery Animals", which I have not had the chance to read. Perhaps, among its references it includes the original source of the 1938 sighting.


[1] Lakelubbers Newsletter, Number 4 - 03/01/2010.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia

2010 International Year of Biodiversity
Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall ©

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Creatures at Deseado River

lake of the week

Not a lake, a river, but the idea is that we want to highlight this Patagonian water course today

During the Plesiosaur episode in 1922, Clemente Onelli, who was organizing the expedition to hunt it, mentioned other previous sightings of mysterious Patagonian creatures.

He told of one that had happened in 1901, when Mr. Ludovic von Plaaten Hallermund, a Dane expert working for the Argentine Border Commission reported that a mule had fallen down a cliff by the Deseado River. When on the following day his men climbed down to salvage the cargo, they found the animal on the edge of the water, half eaten and in its vicinity, strange tracks “like those of a puma, yet not those of a puma”.[1]

The first sightings, dog faced men and crocodiles.

Cynocephalic (dog-headed) giants were sighted in Patagonia in 1592 by John Davis (a member of Cavendish’s expedition) who fought at Puerto Deseado with “a great multitude of Salvages [sic] […] leaping and running like brute beasts, having vizards on their faces like dogs faces, or else their faces are dogs faces indeed”.[3]

A few years later, it was at the mouth of this river that the expedition of Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schouten (1615) encountered “three or four sea monsters with ash colored hair, with large muzzles like those of crocodiles”.[2]

The river.

The Deseado River is 615 km (382 mi.) long and flows from the Andean foothills into the Atlantic at Puerto Deseado. Nowadays its flow is intermittent and it disappears in places under the arid steppe terrain to reappear downstream fed by temporary springs. However during the Ice Ages it drained a large basin covering what are now the Buenos Aires, Ghio, Salitroso and Pueyrredón lakes.


[1] Hesketh, P. Op. Cit. pp. 335-338
[2] Murray, C., Vainstub, D., Manders, M. and Bastida, R., (2008). Tras la Estela del Hoorn – Arqueología de un naufragio holandés en la Patagonia. Buenos Aires: Vázquez Mazzini. pp. 59.
[3] Davys, J., (1970). The voyages and works of John Davis, the navigator. New York: B. Franklin. pp. 121.

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Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2010 International Year of Biodiversity Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall © 
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