Why shouldn’t I worry about Lizard Man?

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First of all, you’re not in South Carolina, are you? Even if you are in that exact swamp where the latest sighting supposedly occurred, I think you can relax. Well, except that you are still in a swamp. You should be more concerned with proven hazards like snakes and alligators and enormous insects and abruptly drowning. Actually, just get out of the swamp, okay?

laughing iguana is amused, (azequine_surgeon on flickr)

Judging just by ancient artwork, I would guess that as long as people have communicated, they have pranked each other with sightings of impossible creatures. It’s as old as the gotchernose game, (which is definitely older than I am). It’s possibly an adaptation to make us more vigilant and jumpy, or possibly people have been jerks for all time.

Even if you remove the deliberate hoaxing and joshing around, people see what they expect to see, even if the expectations are bizarre. That can lead to some odd conclusions as they describe what they saw and heard.

If you read up on folklore, you’ll see examples that follow a pattern:

  1. A circus comes to town in 1920 and
  2. People who have never seen a live lion see one for the first time and
  3. Boom  an escaped lion is seen by a reputable friend of a friend and
  4. Newspapers print the story and a lion virus is underway

After minutes of research, my theory is that the original sighting of Lizard Man was fueled by a viewing of Monster Squad, which included a classic kid terror in the form of Gill Man. Since his terrifying encounter was in the swamp, our witness didn’t assume it was Dracula or The Mummy, because that would be ridiculous.

Most recently, I bet our intrepid swamp friend had big lizards in mind, either because of the growing legend of Lizard Man or because our friend had just seen the latest Jurassic Park movie. It’s not far to go from worrying about giant lizards to imagining you saw one.

If you think about it scientifically, there would be evidence other than a handful of sightings and some blurry video. Large animals leave trails, poop, and eventually bones. On top of all that, big lizards leave big scales and eggs laying around. They couldn’t be hidden in the water all the time; they would definitely be sunning themselves in the morning to warm up.

davebass5 on flickr
davebass5 on flickr

What’s more likely: giant lizard or this guy?

Mysteries are wonderful and very good for you. Every time we learn something, we can stop and acknowledge that there are millions of somethings we still don’t understand.

Check out some real mysteries and maybe you won’t be worried about fake ones.


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