If you’ll pardon my language, it seems the more time one spends on social media, the greater their chances of being duped by the clever bullshit of those who, it seems, are just out to fool everyone. My recent posts have been an exercise in exposing the hijinks of people who go out of their way to create and spread stories that are, shall we say, not exactly above board. This isn’t by design, I look for and try to celebrate mysteries, unfortunately, many of the stories that circulate the internet dressed as mysteries are actually hoaxes in drag.
Today I give you a relatively new urban legend, if you will. As the story goes, according to the team over at Paranormal Geeks Radio:
“In 1971 farmer Ted Litton caught this weird animal alive in his artificial pond in Lilac,TX, & got his pic in the paper. 8 hours later his farm was besieged by Army soldiers wearing decontamination suits. They drained the pond, leaving an odd, spheroid cavity in the bottom. Litton says the Army dismissed his beast as a freak of nature yet they confiscated it, promising him 5 grand (which never materialized).”What you don’t know can hurt you-1860-1998″”
I came across this story by way of a post on Facebook, in a private UFO group, which quoted the above in its entirety accompanied by the picture (above). It struck me as a little weird, so I looked into it, as you might imagine I would.
The above, copied directly from the Paranormal Geeks Radio blog, seems to be the earliest mention of the story, and it’s dated April 13, 2013. The actual author isn’t listed, but the host of the radio show is Jim Heater. You can however, find the story verbatim, repeated throughout the social networking site Pinterest, of all places. As mentioned though, it’s now making its way around Facebook, and will no doubt soon be picked up by the more credulous in Ghost Hunting circles.
Some sleuths have already cracked the case though, so when you see it posted in your favourite places, you can feel safe in responding with criticism.
You’ll notice in the picture that the man holding what appears to be a strange alien-like lobster type creature, is wearing what appears to be sunglasses suspended around his neck with a neoprene lanyard or strap. If the picture had indeed been taken in 1971, as the story says, that feature would seem to be out of place. Others have suggested that there appear to be telltale distortions and marks in the image which point to the use of photoshop in its origin.
With a little investigation I’ve been able to identify the creature, sort of. It’s a type of deep sea scorpion from the family Eurypterid (order Eurypterida). Which is all well and good, but the thing you should be aware of, is that these creatures, which are arthropods that are related to arachnids, are extinct.
Yeah, kind of a problem for the story, although this fact would do little to sway believers, since all manner of extinct animals are said to be roaming the wilds at any given moment. So I wasn’t satisfied with this as the ultimate evidence for hoax.
Further reading and searching though provided such an answer.
The man in the photo is in fact, an animatronic engineer with the UK based, award winning special effects design company Crawley Creatures. The creature is in fact, completely fake. It’s an animatronic model designed for and used by producers for the show Chased by Dinosaurs: Sea Monsters. The show, originally titled Sea Monsters, was a BBC television trilogy (2003), hosted by Zoologist Nigel Marven and has since been released in the US on DVD under the title mentioned above.
Now, we find that the creature is in fact an extinct Megalograptus, which, as mentioned, was a member of the Ordovician Eurypterids. But, again, the story told above is without a doubt a complete and total hoax. Though I’m not yet prepared to outright accuse the folks at Paranormal Geeks Radio of any wrong doing, they have certainly not helped the situation by retelling the story as fact.
So you see, yet again, what at first glance appears to be something quite extraordinary, turns out to be something that is, while quite cool, not at all what so many people seem to hope it is.
 The One That Got Away – Strange World: http://paranormalgeeksradio.blogspot.ca/2013/04/strange-world-in-1971-farmer-ted-litton.html
 Crawley Creatures Ltd: http://www.crawley-creatures.com/Gallery.aspx?Job=70
 Megalograptus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalograptus