Friday, May 29, 2009

Welsh Monsters

Oll Lewis has a fascinating new article over at the main CFZ blog (click here for the full article), which includes an interesting section on Welsh cryptids.

Here's the relevant extract from Oll's article:

"Afanc are crocodile like lake monsters that have been seen in bodies of water all over Wales since at least the end of the Roman Empire and were probably seen even longer ago than that.

"It’s not just Wales where they are seen either, a large number of escaped crocodile reports that make their way into British newspapers when there are not enough stories about former reality TV stars going for a drink (in an actual pub, where people drink (!)) to clog up the real news from getting through are probably not sightings of crocodiles but of Afanc.

"Afanc have suffered from an identity crisis though: they are not some hitherto undiscovered indigenous British species of crocodile, surviving dinosaurs, aquatic dwarfs, beavers or whatever the hell that big brown thing was that they called an afanc recently in the otherwise brilliant BBC adventure drama Merlin.

"Afanc are giant pike, not just pike that have grown a bit bigger than normal, really huge pike.One place I’ve studied is Langorse Lake near Brecon in Wales. Langorse has had legends told about the afanc there since the dark ages at least and the creatures were so well known in the lake it even had poems written about it by Lewis Glyn Cothi in the 15th century.

"Tales of large pike have persisted in the area into the modern day from a close encounter with a massive fish by Mike Tunnicliffe in the 1980s to a water-skier being hospitalised after he was attacked by a giant pike in the 1990s.

"The heaviest pike ever caught on a rod and line in Britain was caught there by O. Owens in 1846, the pike weighed 68lbs, remarkable considering the upper size limit for pike in the UK is meant to be around 47lbs.

"An even bigger pike was found washed up dead along the shore of the lake a few years ago. Only the skull, or mask remained and that measured 18 inches in length, the estimated weight of the pike is roughly around 90lbs and it could have been anywhere between 6-10ft long. A real monster if ever there was one."

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