May 21, 2021 I Nick Redfern

Is Pollution the Cause of at Least Some Sightings of Strange Creatures?

In my previous article I wrote about the possibility that at least some sightings of "monsters" may have been caused by normal animals exposed to dangerous pollution. I quoted Jon Downes - the Director of the U.K.-based Center for Fortean Zoology - who said of all this in relation to sightings of giant eels: "One theory suggests that these rare, naturally occurring, mutations may now be on the increase due to pollution. PCBs [polychlorinated biphenyls] have long been implicated in causing sterility in fish. Could they be causing the birth of much larger eunuch eels in the deep lakes of Scotland?" The inference being that the Loch Ness Monsters just might be huge, pollution-soaked eels. I'm going to expand on the matter of all this for one good reason: where there is dangerous pollution, there may be strange creatures. Or, people and animals affected by the likes of PCBs. All of this brings me to a specific part of today's story - something that has a connection to none other than the Chupacabra of Puerto Rico.

That Puerto Rico has been the site of numerous, controversial, military testing of weird concoctions is not in doubt. Herbicide Orange – known far more notoriously as Agent Orange – is a weapon of what is called herbicidal warfare. It was used during the Vietnam War to destroy North Vietnamese crops, as well as to defoliate entire swathes of forest and jungle that the Viet-Cong used as cover. An even more destructive form of Agent Orange – called Super Agent Orange – was secretly tested in Puerto Rico, in the 1960s, by staff from both the Dugway Proving Ground and Fort Detrick, Maryland. It was perfected by out of St. Louis, Missouri. The International Journal of Epidemiology notes: "Parental exposure to Agent Orange appears to be associated with an increased risk of birth defects." The list of defects is grim: hernias, cleft-palates, and mental problems. Then, there's the matter of the world's famous flying monster: the Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Rain Forest of El Yunque Puerto Rico 570x428
El Yunque rain forest, Puerto Rico

At The Clio website, there's this: "The creature which would come to be known as the 'Mothman' was first reported near Point Pleasant on November 15, 1966. On that day, Linda Scarberry and three others claim to have seen the creature near an abandoned ammunition factory used by the United States Government during World War II. Scarberry described the creature as being over seven feet tall with the body of a man, bat-like wings, and piercing red eyes. Over the next year, over 100 locals reported seeing the creature which they named the 'Mothman' after a villain featured in a Batman comic book. Some claimed the Mothman was a mutant, spawned from the pollution from the abandoned factory." Exemplore expands on that: "Some conspiracy theorists even believe that secret government experiments are being carried out in this location even today, which could account for sightings of the Mothman. Could Mothman be the result of accidental mutation of birds caused by polluted habitats, or perhaps even the result of experiments carried out by the government in secret?"

Moving on, just a few years ago I had the good fortune to interview a man named Don. He's a keen outdoors-man who lives in Minnesota’s Clearwater County (which is also the home of Lake Itasca) and someone who had an extraordinary encounter at the lake in March 2013. Yes, it was with a leviathan of the deep. But, no, it was not of the famous, long-necked, humpbacked variety so often reported at Loch Ness. Don’s experience involved nothing less than a huge, monstrous frog. We’re talking about a frog of around…four-feet in length. that caused Don and his dog to leave the area. Interestingly, Minnesota has a history of controversy concerning mutated frogs.

As my good friend and fellow monster-hunter Ken Gerhard said to me: "If you remember, back in 1995, there were an incredibly large number of deformed frogs that were found in a pond in southwest Minnesota. It made big, national news. It was kind of looked at as a sign of the times: there was so much pollution that man’s impact on the environment was causing these really bizarre frog mutations, where they would have extra limbs, missing limbs, weird eyes, and things like that. So, it has occurred to me over the past couple of years that, perhaps, we’re looking at something very similar here in Texas with the Chupacabra. It'is likely that one or more combinations of chemicals, biological, and physical factors are responsible for causing the malformations." I most certainly did remember the Minnesota mutations. Such was the concern surrounding a series of bizarre, genetic and physical changes in the frog population, none other than the U.S. Government’s Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, undertook careful and concerned studies. Its staff noted at its website: "Malformed frogs first became the topic of national news in August 1995 when students at a middle school in southern Minnesota discovered one-half of all the frogs they caught in a nearby pond were malformed. Since then, malformed frogs have been reported throughout Minnesota and elsewhere in the United States and Canada."

Perhaps, in light of all the above, we should do more investigations into Cryptozoology-driven cases that involve both pollution and strange creatures. We just may find more than a few surprises.

Nick Redfern
Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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