When I was a kid, my family not only moved around these United States often, but we took a lot of cross country road trip family vacations. I remember always being so entertained and intrigued by all the roadside signs announcing fascinating, creepy exhibits. I think I even remember passing signboards advertising “Jake the Alligator Man.”
Unlike most cryptids, Jake, the Alligator Man was quite social in his heyday. Witnesses say that the scaly beast enjoyed frequenting whorehouses and clubs, and entertaining at carnivals when he took a notion.
He is currently on display in Long Beach, Washington, at Marsh’s Free Museum on Pacific Avenue. The Mashes acquired the odd creature’s mummified body for $750 in 1967 from an antique dealer. Mr. Marsh developed his love of odd collectibles from his father who moved to Long Beach in 1935. In 1944, on a family vacation to Florida, Marsh discovered how a souvenir shop could prosper, and decided to do the same in Long Beach. The business is still in the family, although it has moved across the street.
There have been documented reports of alligator men since the late 1700s from the southeastern region of the United States. Weighing in the range of two hundred pounds, and standing over four feet in height, the tribes of reptilian men travel under cover of darkness, in small groups of five or six. Using swamps and waterways, they drift from Eastern Texas to the Everglades of Florida, and even up into the Carolinas, and back again. The beasts enjoy raw meat, but can survive on leaves, nuts, and fruits.
The creatures have heads and torsos that are humanoid, but the lower body is that of an alligator, tail included. The alligator men have scaly skin, that has a burnt look to it, like charred meat. They have sharp pointed teeth, slits for eyes, and stumpy claws.
In South America, there is a creature called the Hombre Caiman (Alligator Man). Naturally, it appears to possess features of both man and alligator. Sightings are very common in the rural areas of Plato, Magdalena, and the story is that the hybrid was once a lecherous fisherman who had been tricked by a river spirit.
There was an account in a national tabloid, The World Weekly News, on November 9, 1993, of an alligator man that had been found in a Florida swamp. The report indicated that the mummified creature was discovered alive, hissing and carrying on in a “grotesque” manner. The story told quite an adventurous tale of the alligator man’s “escape from captivity,” “attack on a man in Miami,” and his subsequent delivery of a baby . . . his own!
Dr. Simon Shute analyzed the beast, finding that the cranium was the same size as a human’s. Mr. Marsh of the Marsh’s Free Museum was not too happy with the report. Who can blame him? The picture of the “alive” and “hissing” beast was an exact replica of the picture of Jake used on the post cards he sells in his store daily. A picture of the very same creature on display in his free museum. A creature very much dead.
References/Sources/Additional Information and Reading:
Blackman, W. Haden. The Field Guide to North American Monsters. NY: Three Rivers Press, 1998.
The Columbian Serving Clark County, Washington | August 29, 2008