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

Friday, December 3, 2010

Teddy Roosevelt and the lake monster hunt

Roosevelt and the plesiosaur
Detail of the original NY Times article. From [1]

Former US President Teddy Roosevelt was approached by the American gold prospector Martin Sheffield in 1903, who suggested that he organize an expedition to hunt a mysterious huge lizard-like monster with a curved neck-.

This information surfaced in a New York Times article published on March 31, 1922:

ROOSEVELT WANTED TO HUNT MONSTER; Ex-President Thought of Patagonia Expedition When He Went to South America. KEEN OVER TALE ... John Barrett Gave Him in 1903 an Explorer's Account of Strange Amphibian.

The newspaper heard about it from Mr. John Barrett, late Director of the Pan American Union and Minister to Argentina during President Roosevelt’s administrations during the famous 1922 plesiosaur expedition (sent to hunt a plesiosaur close to Lake Epuyen).

According to Barret, Sheffield "had reported that he had seen what appeared to be a plesiosaurian monster, or huge amphibian, swimming in the waters of a Southern Andean jungle lake, I recalled that nearly twenty years ago, in November, 1903, ". [1]

Apparently Sheffield had fought in Cuba during the 1898 Spanish-American war, and has somehow met Roosevelt there.

Interesting and verifiable

This is indeed interesting. Because it could be verifiable:

  • We could check when Sheffield arrived in Argentina (before or after 1898).
  • We know that in 1903 he had met Clemente Onelli then working with the Argentine Border Committee marking out the frontier with Chile. Onelli later (1922) organized the Plesiosaur expedition. Could he have been in Buenos Aires at the same time?
  • Why did he wait for 19 years (from 1903 to 1922) before reporting the "lizard" again? Did he tell Onelli in 1903? And was ignored by him?
  • Can the details mentioned by Barrett be tracked and proven? Did any of those mentioned in the article record the event?
  • What about the handwritten letter by Roosevelt himself? Did Roosevelt write memoirs?
Anyway, it may all be a lie, made up by Barrett. It may be true, and if so, Sheffield saw something in 1903 and then saw it again in 1922. An active and long living monster (or perhaps its offspring). Enjoy the full text at the NY Times site. See reference [1] below.


[1] Roosevelt wanted to hunt monster New York Times, NY. 31.03.1923.

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

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