Cryptid Profile: Glacier Island Carcass
On November 26th 1930, the world was made aware of an amazing discovery that took place on Glacier Island, Alaska on November 10th.
It was on that day that Jerry O’Leary and Charles Gibson discovered the carcass of an unknown sea creature floating in Eagle Bay on Glacier Island. O’Leary, a fox farmer, and Gibson, his employee, were making their rounds to feed their foxes and spotted the carcass floating on its back amid the icebergs from the Columbia Glacier, six miles to the north. It was reported that the carcass was in excellent condition (this was credited to its preservation in the cold arctic environment). O’Leary and Gibson managed to hook the carcass and slowly tow it back to shore where they chopped off some of the exposed meat and hung it in the smoke house, intending to use it as feed for the foxes. Gibson described the meat as “looking and smelling like horse meat.”
Word of the creatures existence reached Cordova, Alaska and soon spread quickly around the globe like wildfire, though most Alaskans – as well as many other individuals worldwide – were understandably skeptical regarding these reports. The discovery sparked the interest of Charles Flory of the U.S. Forest Service and W.J. McDonald, the district forest supervisor of the Chugach National Forest. McDonald launched a six man expedition to document the creatures remains. The Cordova Daily Times notified the Associated Press, and a reporter contacted Bernard Brown, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History.
Brown is quoted as saying; “So far we know of no prehistoric animal of the description given in the Alaska dispatches, but if the creature was encased in ice, it must have lived when the ice was formed. The known prehistoric animals in Alaska are the mammoth, buffalo (actually the bison) and many small creatures, but none known by science that would reach the dimensions of the lizard-like creature, which the original description suggests.”
Upon their arrival at Glacier Island, McDonald and Brown were as shocked as anyone to actually lay eyes upon a large mystery carcass of a colossal, fur bearing, reptilian-featured animal, which McDonald described as a being “shaped unlike any other creature known to have existed anywhere in the region”.
Measurements taken by the McDonald expedition were much more thorough then those previously reported during the initial discovery. According to McDonald, the head (which he described as being, much like that of an elephant) was just over 4.9ft. The snout, from the center of the forehead to the tip, was 3.25ft in length and the width of the trunk-like appendage was 11-inches at midsection, with a 2.5ft circumference. The body section from the back of the head to the end of the rib cage was 6 feet 2 inches, and the dinosaur-like tail was 14 feet long. The head attached directly to the torso with no visible neck. The skeleton’s flippers were 3ft 11in long with an average width of 8 inches. The width of the skeleton at its widest part was 3 feet 2 inches, not including the flippers. It contained 37 vertebrae and it was thought that the skeleton was missing a few on the tail. The total length of the carcass was 24ft.
The description of the creature’s trunk-like appendage, fur covered flesh and elephantine skull, have led many researchers to believe that the animal which McDonald’s team so thoroughly examined was probably the badly decomposed carcass of a woolly mammoth. There are other accounts, however, that claim the cadaver found on Glacier Island was completely reptilian and even more which claimed that it had no discernible head at all, just a trunk-like appendage jutting out where the head might ordinarily have been. This account, along with the reports of the beast’s hair covered torso, seem amazingly similar to the descriptions of the Natal carcass — more commonly referred to as Trunko by cryptozoologists.
These observations, along with the creature’s purportedly “dinosaur-like” tail would seem to rule out the theory given by so many modern researchers that the animal was nothing more than a preserved mastodon. It was McDonald’s belief that the creature was not indigenous to Glacier Island, but that the animal had become encased in the Columbia glacier and carried off to sea, at which point it was deposited on the Alaskan Island.
Sadly, not long after the discovery, the carcass (which remained on the shore of the island, unable to safely move due to the size and possible fragility) was eventually washed back out to the sea from which it came with the tide. No expedition to retrieve the carcass ever took place and all interest in it eventually fizzled out.
- The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Google