August 12th, 2008
10:50 AM ET

The Montauk Monster: A marketing gimmick?

P.T. Barnum would be proud.

The legendary 19th-century promotional genius, who once passed off an elderly black woman as George Washington’s 161-year-old former nurse and a monkey-fish construction as “the Feejee Mermaid,” would have loved the Montauk Monster.

A couple weeks ago, a mysterious creature apparently washed up on the eastern shores of Long Island, New York. Quickly given its monstrous moniker, the New York press, led by the Gawker Web site - which meant, by extension, the national media - tried to figure out what it was. Was it a semi-aquatic rodent? Something from the nearby Plum Island Animal Disease Center? A representative of the devil?

Now the Web site Slashfilm may have the answer. The site, using research from, speculates that the creature might simply be a prop for a movie called “Splinterheads” starring Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future”) and Christopher McDonald (who was so good as Jack Barry in “Quiz Show”) - though, as Slashfilm observes, it’s odd that the filmmakers haven’t tried to make more of the buzz surrounding the Monster. Of course, it took months before a headset company admitted to the cell phone-popcorn viral videos.

With all these Internet tubes around, there are going to be more and more of these things. What Barnum could have done with the Web, we can only wonder.

- Todd Leopold, Entertainment Producer

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. sierramom

    It's as simple as this...get a DNA sample, and test it. Then, there will be no need to spend time wondering and guessing what this thing is. Who knows, maybe it's some twisted concoction of a creature due to cell altering polution. We're all gonna die! Give me a break.

    May 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Franko

    Climate Change killed it. Faked out by IPCC climate forecest,
    Monster vacationed into deadly climate. Next are US ?
    More CarbonCredit dollars, or extinction here we come.

    August 23, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Montauk Monster

    We come from a long line of Montauk monsters. You humans just wait, because we are coming to EAT YOU ALL!!!

    August 20, 2008 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike S. from Texas

    Carol.... go look at a turtle skeleton and tell me you still think it is a turtle. Turtle shells are attached to the spinal column of a turtle, it is a part of their skeleton... they can't lose their shells unless they lose their skeleton.

    Turtles do not have teeth.

    Turtles do not have external ears.

    Turtles do not have hair.

    Turtles do not have ribcages (their shell acts as the support structure)

    I am literally astounded at how many people actually think it could even possibly be a turtle.

    Dental morphology as well as skeletal morphology CLEARLY indicate this is a Racoon, there really is no debate on this anymore. There have been alot of opinions on what it is, however not a single qualified scientist has said it was anything other than a RACOON... they are ALL in agreement on this, yet the ignorant masses still take it upon themselves to hand out uninformed opinions on the matter.

    Again, don't take my opinion either... listen to the experts... listen to the people who earn their paychecks by understanding and classifying animals for a LIVING... they ALL say it is a RACOON..

    what SCIENTISTS think

    Read Lago's comments in the below link for one of the best analysis of the "creature" on the internet.

    Even Jeff Corwin says it is a racoon... what more do you want people???

    August 20, 2008 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Franko

    The ManBearPig, Al Gore has murdered, stored in his Deep Freezer.
    A migrating Platipus, exhausted, died due Climate Change ?

    August 19, 2008 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike S. from Texas

    August 19, 2008 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Carol

    I don't get people saying that its a dog. Since when does a dog have flippers? And a beak? To me its clearly a turtle that somehow lost it's shell. It has the beak and flippers of a turtle but what's shocking is the fact that we haven't seen one without the shell. That's my opinion anyway.

    August 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Maura

    It's manbearpig!

    August 18, 2008 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob Dobbs

    Well Todd, I bet P.T. Barnum would be in the media business today.
    He would probably own or manage a media company that might, theoretically, present an endless array of "entertainment" stories about current films and call these "news".
    Dark Knight much, CNN/Time Warner?
    More likely, Barnum would pretend to run a legitimate, trustworthy news organization that would make money in shameless and crass, I don't know...selling "wacky / tragic" headlines on T-shirts or something equally pedestrian.
    Oh wait...

    August 18, 2008 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. Keith

    Can there be a section next to Entertainment called "Stupid?"

    August 17, 2008 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. J.Bradley

    I'm really bothered by how the press get's over-excited by "the preagnant man", this "montauk monster"' "hogzilla", and now "Bigfoot in a freezer". I think maybe too many news organizations are populated by too many off the staffers who've been let go from the old Elvis, aliens and Batboy tabloids, because those have all converted over to celebrity gossip glossies.

    August 17, 2008 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dawn

    There are FLIES lit on this thing people... Flies are NOT attracted to Rubber Movie Props (as some claim this is). They're attracted to Rotting Flesh. Look closely at the photos & you'll see flies on it in them all. It's a Dead Animal in a state of Decomp folks, case closed, move on.
    Based on other photos of it that show Fur & Floppy Ears... It's either some breed of Dog or a Raccoon. That's not a "Beak" it's just a skull & those aren't "Flippers" they're feet with long nails. It's just hard to recognize because of the decomp and lots of people with overactive imaginations...

    August 16, 2008 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. Scarlet

    I agree with "Duh", its a turtle without its shell. Looks pretty obvious to me.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nikki

    Decomposing raccoon???? Have you ever seen a raccoon close up. They don't have beaks....

    August 15, 2008 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. Franko

    The Extra Terrestial was phoning home, a dog used it for a fire hydrant
    ET died, now the Invasion is enroute, to avenge and eat all dogkind.

    August 15, 2008 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
  16. Go Heat

    I agree with E.T. about wasting tax dollars. And please, E.T., phone home...

    August 14, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  17. trent

    it's an animal expirement and scientests did

    August 14, 2008 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  18. E.T.

    I think these kind of marketing gimmiks, if this is indeed one, where the taxpayer's money (e.g. police, forensics, etc.) ends up being spent to figure out the truth, should have legal consequences.

    August 14, 2008 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  19. busted

    Decomposing? No swelling, no flies
    Washed up? No tide marks in sand
    Crawled up? No claw or drag prints
    Skin? No muscle definition. No abrasions
    Found by who? Give me a break

    August 13, 2008 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Joe Degennaro

    I think when these type of things happen in life, people always seem to take the extreme position almost bordening on stupid. If we really wanted to know for sure,it should be send to a certified lab for the facts. How come this never happens. It's stupid news.

    August 13, 2008 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  21. Matt

    its a dead dog, or racoon. More likely a dog by the looks of it. These things happen. I saw a dead seal on a beach before. It was devoid of fur, had a glossy sheen to it, and looked like a giant summer sausage that washed up on the shore, only it had bones sticking out of either end. Things look creepy wehn they're dead, sure enough. But Im sure it is a dog. Just put a nose where it's 'beak' is, and fur all over it with some photoshop. Trust me.

    August 13, 2008 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
  22. d.osullivan

    Who really cares whether this is a real monster or not when there's the Edwards story out there. Oh.... who really cares about that either when there's still a war in Iraq..Oh........ who really cares about a war in Iraq certainly not our president.. But then "we'll always have Paris."

    August 12, 2008 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  23. reality check

    Just stop!

    August 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  24. luke

    u tell me who in there right mind would have picked that thing up without calling the authorities or someone to have it checked out. and the fact that it was "hidden" has marketing ploy written all over it, whether for a movie or for some other reason.

    August 12, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Kat

    Come on New York, it's fake ........

    August 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  26. jake

    The guys who caught it kept it and let it decompose. Pictures are available of this on video section. Sorry, it was not a marketing gimmick. Get your facts straight.

    August 12, 2008 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  27. kait

    the first pictures that I saw of the creature, it looked like a CGI fake image and not a decomposing critter at all

    the skin tone was too evenly coloured

    the light angles on the creature seemed different than the light on the sand and surroundings

    the whole thing has a PT Barnum feeling and I think if this is a movie stunt, it's gonna backfire

    August 12, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Montuak Monster

    I'm real and still alive.

    August 12, 2008 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  29. joe

    It is obviously not a Raccoon, at least not to anyone familiar with them. It's just a dog, probably a pitbull.

    August 12, 2008 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |

    I spent some time checking out all of the information on those sites you mentioned, like and I did a search on Google and I couldn’t believe they even had it on ! That’s incredible. After looking at this, in my own personal opinion, I think it’s some kind of dog. The only reason that I say that, is because it had that cloth looking bracelet piece on it’s wrist. If someone did fake this, like Flisk2 said, they sure did a pretty good job. My official guess would be that it was a dog though.

    Marketing Director

    August 12, 2008 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  31. Ginny

    Leave it to hollywood....

    August 12, 2008 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |

    Hmm. Makes me wonder how this will effect the movie release.

    -Brian Hardin II

    August 12, 2008 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  33. flisk2

    It's all a scam. No "monster". Total ploy to market some low budget film. The sad part, I wonder how good the film could have been had it not had this air of taint to it. Even the Production company of the film has listed on their blog that they "have the montauk monster". Kindav hard to have better evidence of a scam than that.

    August 12, 2008 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  34. Sheri

    ahhh.. so good to see Long Island in the news. 🙂 Medford/Mastic Beach born and raised!!

    August 12, 2008 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  35. Jeff

    Its a farce whatever it is... if it was really some mystery, DNA would be taken by scientist to find out what it really is.

    August 12, 2008 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  36. Ron

    Unless you happen to have first-hand knowledge, Jacques, "decomposing raccoon" remains only one possible theory. There are many others that could also fit the bill, including some sort of weird viral marketing gimmick, as this article suggests. Feel free to google *that*, too.

    August 12, 2008 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  37. duh

    just looks like a turtle without the shell whats the big deal??

    August 12, 2008 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  38. MovieFan

    Didn't M. Night get in trouble for this kind of shenanigan a few years ago? Some prime time special that said he had a dark secret, and it turned out to be more studio-inspired nonsense?

    August 12, 2008 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  39. Jacques

    it was a decomposing raccoon. Go google it.

    August 12, 2008 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |

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