Some of the greatest unsolved mysteries have to wait 50 years before they’re revealed. That’s what Snopes is for. Sure, we still don’t know where Hoffa’s body is buried, but we do know that the ghost in the amusement park was just old man Withers with a projector and a mask. Um, what?
BY DREW GRANT
It was with this kind of Scooby-gang luck that I happened to be sitting at a cafe yesterday, talking to an old friend who I hadn’t seen in a year or two. After casually mentioning that I was in the business of media gossip, he off-handedly let this little bomb drop, “Oh yeah? I was one of those guys behind that Montauk monster thing last summer.”
My friend (who wanted to remain anonymous because he’s an animal rights activist and apparently hates being behind the greatest P.T. Barnum con in the 21st century?) told me that last summer, he and two friends were goofing off 15 miles west of Montauk, on a beach on shelter island. It was the weekend before July 4th, and the trio were making a raft and putting all sorts of debris on it, just for fun: watermelons, scraps of cloth, plastic swimmie duck, etc. When suddenly one of the guys finds a dead raccoon half-buried in the sand.
Now, my friend isn’t the type to take dead animals and set them on fire and float them off in the sea (he’s vegan), but, in his words, “this creature was honored with a viking funeral, not merely exploited for crass entertainment.” Basically, though, they were just being dumb. “In the interest of full disclosure,” he admits, “this did happen shortly after a waterboarding endurance competition, and just before a clothespins-on-your-genitals challenge.”
Three days later, what was left of the carcass drifted up on Montauk beach, and the rest is history. Luckily, to back up his story, my friend kept documentation of the incident, including photos which clearly show the scraps tied to the dead raccoon’s feet that were seen in the later photographs of the heinous beast.
Now a lot of you may be thinking, “Wasn’t that thing supposed to be um, monster-size?” As animal scientists pointed out last summer, the picture of the “monster” showed it in relation to the size of a fly, making it not-that-large, or approximately “vole-sized.” I’ve included the google image search of “decayed raccoon skull” for reference, fyi, and all the images come up in relation to “Montauk Monster.” And now we know: It wasn’t a viral marketing stunt at all, but just some kids setting fire to a dead animal and then pushing it off to sea with a watermelon and some floatie wings.