There's still more information to report on the mysterious decomposed creature that washed ashore on Long Island recently, if not any definitive answers. A slew of clues come from some actual, you know, reporting done by New York magazine, which somehow tracked down our original tipster, who again denied the photo is part of any PR campaign and said it came from "my girlfriend's sister was there with her friends and one of them took the picture." Then they talked to an eyewitness!

"I saw the monster," says Michael Meehan, a 22-year-old waiter at the Surfside Inn, which sits above the beach where the monster washed up. "I just came walking down the beach and everyone was looking at it. No one knew what it was. It kind of looked like a dog, but it had this crazy-looking beak. I mean, I would freak out if something like that popped up next to me in the water."

Animal control was called but apparently never came and an old guy carted the corpse away to "mount on my wall." Ugh! Someone has OUR monster!!

We also received any number of interesting emails, including this note from a creative director:

I saved the monster image and pulled it into photoshop. When you zoom into thepicture, the head/face is a different resolution than the body. The head/face is smoother and the body is pixelized. Also right at the top of the head where it attaches to the body, the image of the body and the head were not connected. If you look close you can see definite lines. I attached a pic of the monster head section enlarged with a square around the area in question. Notice the definite line where the two images were not fully filled in.

But for this to be a Photoshop hoax several people would have to be lying, including that friendly waiter fella, so let's move on.

We can safely eliminate the possibility of a marketing campaign by the Cartoon Network for Cryptids because a rep for the network wrote in to say "I can assure you it isn't Cartoon Network." OK then!

We also heard from the blogger who posted the photo last week. He wrote: "I was given this picture back a couple weeks ago on the 18th. I met a girl at a party who said her friend actually found this thing and took a picture." This girl at the party was probably the sister of the girlfriend of the original tipster or whatever? Presumably.

But some people ae STILL not convinced this is anything other than viral marketing. Wrote one:

The Montauk Project was/is a conspiracy theory favorite regarding everything from war-era attempts at mind control to open 'portals' that alien creatures come to earth via. There is a great deal of effort to make some tie in to the Philadelphia Experiment conspiracies. Considering the PE films I'm certain we'll soon be seeing the Montauk Monster in clever situations everywhere. Consider the Cloverfield campaign. That was advertising at it's best. False reportings of monsters in other contries,fake web sites devoted to making false things seem very real.

The inevitable Photoshop mash-ups are beginning to trickle in, including the one up top involving a familiar fameball. Here's one from the comments. It's the moneyfan guy!

Someone in the comments thinks the dead creature might be something called a nutria! Pics:

So, to recap, here's a quick rundown of the various theories, some of which we can eliminate:

  • It's a viral marketing campaign for Cartoon Network: Officially denied.
  • It's some other viral marketing: Only if that 22-year-old waiter is lying, as is the original discoverer when she goes on PlumTV tomorrow to talk about it. This would probably also mean our original tipster, who is now named in the New York piece, was probably in on the scheme and is thus lying.
  • Gawker invented it: Someone mentioned this in the comments. Like we convinced all these people to go along with it? Just for some pageviews? That's wayyy too much work. It would be much easier to just have Blakeley do another mashup of TV news bloopers and so forth. Of course I can only speak definitively for myself.
  • It's a turtle without the shell: Apparently this doesn't work because of the teeth. Or so say the comments!
  • It's a dog that decomposed in the water: Still the most likely explanation. See especially the comments linked from Update 3 here.
  • It can't be a dog because of the way it decomposed and/or because it has a "beak": The "beak" could be the result of cartilage worn away by the elements, no? And keep in mind that if a garbage bag or similar were placed over the dog before it went into the water, different parts of the body could decompose at different rates.
  • It's a nutria: Interesting!
  • You can't tell the size of the thing because the photo has no scale: Sorta true, but maybe this will help: The full resolution version of the photo makes it clear that the black dot-looking thing on the corpse's upper back is a mosquito. So this thing looks fairly small.

I have a feeling we'll soon all settle on it being a dog and feel terrible about staring at the corpse and so forth. But instead of getting depressed and returning to more mundane matters, like awful icky WORK, everyone will probably spin conspiracy theories about the MONSTER for a few more days because, hey, weird dead thing!