Vietnamese 'Monster Worm' Looks More Like a Whale, Experts Say [VIDEO]
The Internet has gone crazy over a strange video posted on YouTube this week of a massive, lifeless animal surrounded by curious Asian onlookers. One version of the video proclaims: "Vietnam Monster, Worm, Whale - Found 20 Nov 2013."
Several news websites repeated the claim. "'Monster Worm' Found In Vietnam," reported Boing Boing. It's still unclear where the videos originated — from what news source, but also what country. As the International Business Times reported, the online crowd quickly grew skeptical about the locale. Watermarks from several languages are visible in the video, and one user said the language spoken by the spectators is Khmer. That's Cambodia.
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RocketNews24 reported that "Karapaia, a Japanese news site focusing on the strange and weird, posted a video of what seems to be [their emphasis] a giant monster being dug out of the ground in Vietnam." The IBTimes consulted with Google Translate to figure out what one of the video descriptions says: "I'm caught in Vietnam, he was a freak. Vietnam, for you? (sic) It is said to have been found in the soil even more miraculous. (sic) I remember the old movies starfish. (sic)" The Korean characters preceding the English words in the title translate to "Vietnam monster."
The videos, however, don't really show the beast being unearthed. It was more like hoisted, as one might hoist a beached whale onto a truck. It seems this whole thing was either a hoax or a global, multilingual case of miscommunication. In some pictures, it sure looks like a worm monster. In others, it's obviously a whale.
A couple of days ago, The Huffington Post confirmed it. They sought the counsel of Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. Cryptozoology is the pseudo-study of make believe creatures, like the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot. In this case, however, Coleman is pretty sure: It's probably a fin whale.
"It is only a 'monster' in the eyes of villagers and the media, perhaps, but to cryptozoologists, zoologists and marine biologists, this is certainly a common baleen whale," he told The Huffington Post in an email. The website also reached out to Gary Griggs of the Long Marine Laboratory at UC Santa Cruz. Griggs says it's definitely not a worm, but perhaps not a fin whale either. He said it's a blue whale.
Whatever kind of whale it is, it's likely the Southeast Asian people in the video are hauling it to the sea for a proper burial. Whales are highly regarded in their fishing cultures, as this "royal whale funeral" from 2010 demonstrates. "If fishermen encounter a sudden storm when fishing and don't know where to shelter," a Vietnamese "whale priest" told AFP last year, "then they pray to Mr. Whale to help."
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