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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yaguarón or Yaguaru


Some time ago, I posted about the yaguarú, a Guaraní myth about a river monster that is related to the Patagonian Water Tiger.

My wife and I spent last weekend 230 km (144 mi) northwest of Buenos Aires, at San Nicolás de los Arroyos, a small and quiet city with about one hundred thousand inhabitants set on the banks of the Paraná River. Its main attraction is a Sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is said to have appeared here on September 25, 1983. The shrine attracts over three million pilgrims every year. (We just went there to relax).

While we were strolling around the downtown area, I took the photo shown below:

Yaguarón. Copyright © 2011 by Austin Whittall

It is a painting on a wall by a street that goes down towards the river. It says: "Yagua" = dog head and "Rón" = serpent body. Which sounds very similar to many "slender" Patagonian creatures water creatures such as the Guruvilu or fox-snake. Once again I am surprised at the similarity between the Mapuche and Guaraní myths, as both groups live so far apart.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2011 International Year of Forests
2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall © 

On Phoenicians and Fuegians


A comment posted by one of my readers put forth an interesting suggestion (thank you Linda Zambanini), which I copy below:

I was just reading your excellent blog about Phoenicians in South America after searching for more info about the Paraibo stone. I was fascinated by the horned Halaháches creature which was painted with broad red and white stripes. It came to my mind that the Phoenician sails were composed of broad red and white stripes. (The stripes were vertical but it would be difficult to paint a person with broad red and white stripes). Could it be that they were emulating the sails that they saw on Phoenician ships? Just a thought. Not sure if their “horned fish” it this conjectured to have been based on had red and white stripes.
Linda Zambanini

Halahaches or Kotaix, a Selknam creature. Black and white image from the Internet colored red by A. Whittall

Striped sails, true or false?

So I wondered: do we know if Phoenician sails were striped red and white? So... I did a bit of reading and I did not manage to find anything mentioning red and white striped sails. But, I did find some other remarks about Phoenician sails:

Phoenician ship. From the Internet

"The sails were made of strips of woven flax or of papyrus, bound at the edges with strips of raw hide”[1]

So perhaps "white" (is flax or papyrus white? or brown?) in strips with their edges of a reddish brown color (raw hide). So this could be taken for red and white stripes. But there is more:

The Holy Bible [2] mentions the Phoenician city of Tyre and her riches, and talks about;

Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; 'blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee

It seems that the Egyptian linen, embroidered, would be too luxurious or maybe even too heavy to be used as a sail, so some Bible translations (i.e. Vulgate) interpret this not as sails but instead, as flags.

However this description seems to refer to the luxury boats of the nobles of Tyre and not the usual run of the mill commercial ships. But, if the snobs used embroidered sails, could the traders have used sails with red and white stripes?

The reference to "blue and purple" from the isles of Elisha may sound mysterious, but actually Elisha was one of the sons of Javan (which means Greece) so Elisha is a part of Greece. And, the purple from Laconia (where Sparta used to be) was a very fine dye, nearly as good as the Phoenician dye but cheaper and thus used to cover the awnings of their ships.

The biblical text is:

So, maybe they had colorful sails, blue, purple or flax and raw hide. But I have not found any reference to red and white sails (though, if you google images of "phoenician sails" the boats depicted have red and white sails!

Why? I will keep on reading.

[1] Astley John Hilary, (1937). Communication has been established Author Goodwin Publisher Methuen, pp. 135.
[2] Ezequiel XVII : 7. The Bible.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2011 International Year of Forests
2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall © 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

On Homo Erectus and the Mayas


Some time ago, a reader posted a comment about my post:
Toluquilla Footprint. Is it erectus?, this anonymous comment was the following:

Anonymous said...
"It just comfirm the story from the Mayan creation history, Popul Wuh, where it is told that before now adays human came to america there was another kind of humans who where more clomsy build and that the gods did not like what they had created in the first place. So they wyped out the first primitive humans and created some new ones that where better. (something like that, out of free memory :-)) The Mayas where clever!
April 24, 2011 1:34 PM

Of course I thanked her/him and started looking for the Mayan text, which I found. So I posted a reply:

Austin Whittall said...
"I have actually found the text in Google Books at the following link: Chapter II pp. 32 and following. The text is in Spanish, but I will post it translated later. Very interesting.

Today I will post the translation (sorry for the delay!):

"And at that instant they made the dolls carved in wood. They resembled humans, they
spoke like humans and they peopled the surface of the earth.
They existed and they multiplied; the dolls had daughters, had sons, of wood; but they had no soul, no understanding, they did not remember their Creator their Shaper; they walked around aimlessly and crawling.

They no longer remembered the Heart in the Sky and so, fell in disgrace. It was only a trial, an attempt to make humans. At first they spoke, but their face was emaciated, their feet and hands lacked consistency, they had no blood, no substance, no humidity, no fat; their cheeks were dry, dry their feet and their hands and yellow their flesh.
They were soon annihilated, destroyed and the stick dolls were undone and received death.
A flood was produced by the Heart in Heaven; a great deluge was formed and it fell upon the heads of the stick dolls."

But, gods are stubborn, and don't give in easily, So a second attempt was carried out trying to improve on the primitive men:

"Out of tzité (a kind of plant) he made the flesh of man, but when the woman was made by the Creator and Shaper, the flesh of woman was made of rushes. [...] But they did not think, they did not speak to their maker [...]

So they too were exterminated, however they were not as primitive as the first guys, these tzité men had dogs, pots and hearths they had homes too. Fortunately not all were destroyed:
"People made to be destroyed and annihilated: all of them had their mouths destroyed and their faces.
And they say that the descent of those people are the monkeys that now live in the woods; these are a sample of them, because out of sticks was their flesh made by the Creator and Shaper."
So here we have some primitive mannikins which gave origin to monkeys!.

The story above, from Popol Vuh is also recorded in the Annals of Cauhtitlán, which also mentions a "Fourth Earth" during which "many persons drowned and others were cast upon the mountains and became monkeys".

The Mayan text clearly points towards pre-humans who, were not as primitive as may seem, they had pets, homes and lit fires: they could have been erectus.

By the way, these Annals of Cauhtitlán or "Chimalpopoca Codex" were written 50 years after the Spaniards razed the Mesoamerican Civilizations. They speak about four "eras" before our current "fifth" period:
During cycle 1, the gods made men from ash. The next generation of men became fish. They were followed by "giants" then fire rained down on earth and the fourth period began:
"all [men] became monkeys and into the woods they went, they went to live as ape-men".

This is indeed interesting, they did not turn into monkeys, but into "ape-men", which is exactly what the Spanish words: "hombres-mono" means. Or should we say "Homo erectus"? Wouldn't a Mayan or Aztec human believe an erectus was some kind of ape man?. Surely.

Once again my apologies for taking 4 months to post the translation. I will catch up with my posting in the next few weeks.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2011 International Year of Forests
2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall © 

Lakuma the fuegian sea monster

It has been quite some time since my last post, and I sincerely apologize! I have been very busy, but nevertheless I have kept on researching.

I have found another reference regarding the Fuegian Lakooma, the only other one that I had found had been written by Lucas Bridges (the first "white" person born in Tierra del Fuego), and he did not say too much about it. This new reference was recorded by a Catholic priest, Martin Gusinde, who visited Tierra del Fuego in the early 1900s.
He wrote several books about his trips to Fuegia and in one of them [1] about the native "canoe" people, the Yamana, he writes about Lakuma (as he spells it):

It threatens evry canoe, lifts out the occupants, and sucks them down into the depths. Each Lakuma has the habit of flattening himself out on the surface of the water so that his back protrudes a little. He waits in this fashion until a canoe approaches. It is hard to recognize the Lakuma from a distance. People often say that outwardly he is like a whale; others compare him to the calamary hilka (Loligo subulata or squid) which is not which is not uncommon in those regions; still others to the ray. He is also said to be large and very strong, "a great monster like a huge worm" [cited in English]/, according to Spencer:80. If the occupants of a canoe have unwittingly come within reach of the monster, they rarely succeed in escaping disaster, and only if the Lakuma is sleeping or in a good mood.
... The people in the east eat the meat of the Lakuma, which is something we in the west would never do... Lakuma seriously harm everyone who comes within their reach

Spencer, quoted by Gusinde, said the following:[2]

Yaghan[i.e. Yamana] showed us special belt of kelp which natives are too frightened to cross because a great monster like a huge worm, called Wongara, drags them and their boats under water. Wongara is a general word for worm.

So it seems to be some Fuegian Kraken, which has some similarities with the Cuero creature which peoples the lakes and rivers of Northern Patagonia. But Spencer's deptiction: a worm, rings a bell! I have posted about maps published before Columbus discovered America which mentioned Giants fighting against Dragons:

The Nova Cosmographia per totum circulum map reconstructed by the scholar Dana Durand from a manuscript compiled by Brother Fredericus ca. 1450, has the legend “dy Risen vechten und streiten wider dy lint wurm”—Giants fighting and quarreling against the lindworm [*] ; once again a reference to giants and ‘dragons’. The
[*] Note on the Lindworm: A wingless dragon of Northern Europe, from Swedish ‘lind’ (flexible body) and ‘orm’ (serpent).

Could Lakooma and Wongara be the mythical lindworm?

Lucas Bridges father, Thomas, compiled a Yamana - English dictionary [3] in which he has one entry on "Wongara": "Wön-gara(nda) (A) spider(s), justt like a spider". So is it a worm or an aqutic spider?


[1] Gusinde, Martin, (1961). The Yamana: the life and thought of the water nomads of Cape Horn. pp. +1167
[2] Sir Baldwin Spencer, (1931). Spencer's last journey: being the journal of an expedition to Tierra del Fuego. Clarendon Press. pp 80.
[3] Bridghes, Thomas, (1933). Yamana-English: a dictionary of the speech of Tierra del Fuego. pp. 625.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2011 International Year of Forests
2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall © 
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