One day, in the early summer, you became the talk of the paranormal world. Whispers of your existence were reinforced by mysterious sightings and the discovery of a huge discarded skin. You made the national and world news and got your own exhibit at a cryptozoology museum. Then … you’re not seen for six months. No videos, no tracks, no skins, no blurred appearances on cellphone cameras. The fickle media – hungry for stories of terrified witnesses – decides you’re dead. Let this be a lesson to Bigfoot, Nessie and other cryptids. Keep your name in the news or you could end up in the cryptid obituaries with Wessie, the late, great, giant snake of Westbrook, Maine.
The story of the giant snake began in June, 2016, with the Westbrook law enforcement getting reports of a 10-foot-long snake in Riverbank Park. The sighting was confirmed by police officers who spotted a large snake in the Presumpscot River, apparently eating a large mammal – possibly a beaver.
Rumors of other alleged sightings spread quickly but interest skyrocketed on August 20th when a resident found a snakeskin near the river measuring about 12 feet (3.6 m) long. That skin was identified by experts as a green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) that could reach 17 feet in length. With this announcement, the giant snake was given a name – Wessie (how clever) – and it began appearing everywhere … on T-shirts, memes, social media, billboards, tourism guides and the like.
The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland was swamped with questions and now has a piece of the snakeskin on display and an exhibit case ready for the full skin. Oh, and you can still get “Where’s Wessie” T-shirts there too. As for proof that Wessie is still alive, director Loren Coleman is grateful for the publicity but skeptical that it will be found.
That’s kind of what happens with mystery animal stories. They go from being very active factual sightings to becoming part of the folklore of the area. That’s what happened to Wessie.
That’s a nice way of saying that the snake is probably frozen at the bottom of the Presumpscot River or hidden inside a dam where it’s winter provisions for vengeful beavers. Media outlets like the Portland Press Herald agree with Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife biologist Derek Yorks.
The snake probably didn’t make it past October. There are none of them that occur outside that (tropical) climate, so physiologically and ecologically, they don’t have any capacity to deal with winter.
Who does? However, when you don’t have arms and hands to put on a coat and gloves, you end up being yesterday’s frigid cryptid.
Will Wessie return? That depends on the news, says Loren Coleman.
In a year when people have had to deal with a lot of news of terrorists and shootings and turmoil caused by the presidential race, people want some relief. What better than a giant mystery snake that can’t be caught?
When the weather breaks, Westbrook residents better start watching for Wessie again.