you are here [x]: Scarlet Star Studios > the Scarlet Letters > the science of monster month
<< before Q - The Quillaupus
after >> artist's way guided intent (october) & misc book arts

October 20, 2007

the science of monster month

by sven at 12:00 pm

I've been looking into the Prof's claims -- and there's more truth to them than I would have initially thought!

Using as an easy place to begin my research, I've dug up a fair amount of supporting evidence... And the info that I'm finding is pretty interesting in and of itself. I'd like to share some of the more remarkable bits that I've found here.


It really rubbed me the wrong way when Ichbonnsen claimed that Jane Goodall believes in Sasquatch... But it's true!

In a 2002 interview on National Public Radio, Jane Goodall first publicly expressed her views on Bigfoot, by remarking, "Well now, you'll be amazed when I tell you that I'm sure that they exist... I've talked to so many Native Americans who all describe the same sounds, two who have seen them. I've probably got about, oh, thirty books that have come from different parts of the world, from China from, from all over the place...."


The Prof mentioned that Littlefoot is related to "Gigantopithecus." Check this out:

Gigantopithecus was a genus of ape that existed from as long ago as five million years to as recently as 100 thousand years ago in what today are China, India, and Vietnam, placing Gigantopithecus in the same time frame and geographical location as early hominids such as Homo erectus. The fossil record suggests that the Gigantopithecus species were the largest apes that ever lived. [...]

Based on the slim fossil evidence--primarily huge molars nearly one inch square recovered from Chinese traditional medicine shops, but clearly genuine - Gigantopithecus likely stood about 3 metres (9 feet) tall and weighed from 300 to 500 kg (660 to 1100 lbs.). This is two to three times larger than modern gorillas, although its closest living relatives are the orangutans.

Gigantopithecus tooth

Ichbonnsen says that Littlefoot lives on Mount Shishapangma...

Shishapangma (officially: Xixiabangma) is the fourteenth highest mountain in the world and the lowest of the eight-thousanders. It was the last 8,000 metre peak to be climbed, due to its location entirely within China and the restrictions on outside visitation to the region imposed by the Chinese during the 1950s and later.

Mount Shishapangma

It makes sense to me that a "cryptid" could stay hidden there for a long time. Mountain climbers aren't going to pay as much attention to the fourteenth highest mountain, I imagine. And given China's control of the area, it's going to be more difficult to get access to the place. The Prof did mention that the initial evidence for the creature had to get smuggled past Chinese officials...


The Prof says that the Grrrheart lives in a deep cave, which was accidentally opened up by coal miners. I'm thinking to myself, not everywhere in the world has caves -- let's check the geological accuracy of this claim.

Cave Research in India
In India, biospeleological research is still in its infancy. Although there are thousands of caves in this country, research work that is being carried out currently is restricted to very few cavernicolous taxa. The state Meghalaya of India is famous for existence of maximum caves.

OK, so I guess Meghalaya really is a plausible location for a cave to be found. But what about coal mining? It's not like you can find coal mines just anywhere...

Meghalaya is considered to have a rich base of natural resources. These include minerals such coal, limestone, silimanite, Kaolin and granite among others.

Meghalaya, India

Oh. Guess that part of the story checks out OK...


Ichbonnsen made this outrageous claim about North Korea digging tunnels underneath the Demilitarized Zone into South Korea. You've got to be kidding!

Third Tunnel of Aggression
The Third Tunnel of Aggression is a tunnel under the border between North Korea and South Korea.

Only 44 km (27 mi) from Seoul, the Third Tunnel of Aggression was discovered in October of 1978. It is 1.7 km (1.1 mi) long, 2 m (6.5 ft) high and 2 m (6.5 ft) wide. It runs through bedrock at a depth of about 73 m (239.5 ft) below ground. It is apparently designed for a surprise attack on Seoul from North Korea, and can easily accommodate a full division per hour along with their weaponry. A total of four tunnels have been discovered so far, but there are believed to be up to ten more. South Korean and U.S. soldiers regularly drill in the DMZ in hopes of finding more. Its description as a tunnel of aggression was given by the south, who considered it an act of aggression on the part of the north. North Korea tried to downplay the shaft, officially declaring it part of a coal mine. Black "coal" was painted on the walls to help confirm this statement. Additionally, observed drill marks for dynamite in the walls point towards South Korea. Photos are forbidden within the tunnel, which is now well guarded. The South Koreans have blocked the actual Military Demarcation Line in the tunnel with three concrete barricades.

the "Third Tunnel of Aggression"

Whoa. OK, that blows my mind.


Yesterday's monster supposedly lives on a big Russian island that used to be used for nuclear testing. That ought to be easy enough to check out...

Novaya Zemlya
Over its entire history as a nuclear test site, Novaya Zemlya hosted 224 nuclear detonations with a total explosive energy equivalent to 265 megatons of TNT. For comparison, all explosives used in World War II, including the detonations of two U.S. nuclear bombs, amounted to only two megatons.

Novaya Zemlya nuclear test sites

Sure enough -- it's real!

* * *

Obviously none of this proves that the Prof isn't making up the creatures he describes. But if they are fictional beasts, then he certainly seems to be going out of his way to make sure their back stories hold together.

I still have my doubts... But I'll confess, Ichbonnsen is opening up my horizons a bit.

I live a cozy little existence in an American city, spending my days making art in our studio. It's easy to feel like this is all there is. But the more I look into the world of "Monster Month", the more I realize that the world is really a very big -- and often genuinely strange -- place!

posted by sven | October 20, 2007 12:00 PM | categories: bestiary