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  • Somewhere in the farthest reaches of the Gobi Desert lives a creature so terrifying the

  • very mention of its name can turn the scarlet cheeks of a Mongolian nomad, white.

  • This giant of the underground lives deep under the sand, only to emerge now and again to

  • spray its human victims with a deadly poison.

  • Its venom is so powerful it corrodes metal.

  • Its skin is so toxic if it brushes up against a human you first hear a howl, followed by

  • a deathly silence.

  • As a Mongolian Prime Minister once warned, death is instant, and there's nothing anyone

  • can do to help.

  • This is the story of one of the world's greatest mysteries, a nightmarish tale you

  • can hear being told from one end of the Gobi Desert to the other.

  • The Mongolian death worm, aka, “olgoi-khorkhoi”, is something to be feared and respected.

  • When those wandering nomads see waves of sand created by the worm, there is only one thing

  • to do: get away, fast.

  • Still today western men on expeditions can be found in the yurts of nomads sitting around

  • the fire, telling them stories about those unlucky people that came upon this worm and

  • didn't get away.

  • The death worm is a terrifying thing, make no mistake.

  • By all accounts, it doesn't come up often.

  • It kills seemingly only when threatened, but sightings of it are numerous.

  • For that reason, those western-led expeditions have tried on a few occasions to unearth the

  • truth about this monster of mystery.

  • The last one wasn't even that long ago.

  • We'll get around to that later.

  • The first mention of the death worm was after an American paleontologist named Roy Chapman

  • Andrews went over to that desolate part of the world in the 1920s.

  • Back home he wrote the book, “On the Trail of Ancient Man”, and that's where we first

  • heard of the deadly worm.

  • In the book, Andrews writes that he never saw one himself, but in certain areas of that

  • hostile desert locals and officials would regularly talk about a terrible thing that

  • lives under the sand and occasionally kills animals and their owners.

  • This naturally caused quite a stir in the West.

  • People were fascinated by the possibility that some freak animal might exist that had

  • heretofore never been mentioned in any science books.

  • In a second book called, “The New Conquest of Central Asia”, Andrews mentioned the

  • beast again, saying, “It is reported to live in the most arid, sandy regions of the

  • western Gobi.”

  • What really piqued the interest of western scientists and the public alike was the fact

  • the Mongolian Prime Minister at the time, Jalkhanz Khutagt Sodnomyn Damdinbazar, said

  • it existed.

  • With a name like that he deserves to be heard.

  • This is what he said about the death worm.

  • It is shaped like a sausage about two feet long, has no head nor leg and it is so poisonous

  • that merely to touch it means instant death.

  • It lives in the most desolate parts of the Gobi Desert.”

  • This was another thing that fascinated foreigners: the desert itself.

  • At the time, parts of the Gobi were new territory for westerners.

  • It was a hostile place and some of the locals could also be hostile.

  • In the early 20th century, it was a part of the Earth that conjured up monsters in the

  • minds of westerners.

  • The desert itself is a giant, covering 500,000 square miles (1,295,000 km2) and spanning

  • much of China and Mongolia.

  • It was the great unknown, an enigma, especially at its wildest west where the huge sand deserts

  • can be found.

  • That's the area where the death worm lived.

  • Hardly anything was written about this place in a European language in the early 20th century.

  • The only people besides the nomadic peoples that had been there were a handful of intrepid

  • travelers.

  • They talked about their journeys, but they were far from large-scale mapping expeditions.

  • Then in 1923 something amazing happened when a crew from the American Museum of Natural

  • History arrived in the Gobi Desert.

  • They discovered the first dinosaur eggs, or at least they were the first team to find

  • dinosaur eggs and have them recognized as that by the scientific community.

  • So, when three years later a man said that a giant death worm reportedly lives in the

  • sand, for some people it wasn't hard to believe.

  • We should say the American writer that reported this was not sold on the existence of the

  • worm, but that didn't stop more westerners arriving looking for the thing in the decades

  • to come.

  • As you'll see, there have been quite a few western-led investigations since Andrew's

  • feet grazed the Mongolian sands.

  • The name olgoi-khorkhoi can be translated as, “large intestine worm.”

  • That might sound like something you flush down the toilet bowl, but if you saw the thing

  • in your bathroom, you'd be the one trying to get down the bowl.

  • It looks rather like the worm that appeared in the Dune novels, but the Mongolian death

  • worm doesn't have many of those worms' characteristics.

  • According to the Mongolians that talk about the worm, it is not only deadly to touch,

  • but it can kill from a distance by spitting venom at a person.

  • If that isn't bad enough, it also has the uncanny ability to electrocute things.

  • The good news is that it hibernates most of the year and can be seen mostly in the months

  • of June and July, especially during rainfall.

  • When it eats, it often chooses a wild plant known asgoyo.

  • The worm might also chow down on a camel and if it does it may well lay eggs in its intestines.

  • If there are no camels nearby, a rodent or even a human will do.

  • Ok, so now let's dig a little deeper and see what happened on those other expeditions

  • to find the worm.

  • First, you have to know the word, “cryptid.”

  • A cryptid is an animal that science hasn't yet said is real.

  • Cryptozoologists are the people that go looking for such animals.

  • These mysterious entities can be found in just about every culture.

  • In the U.S. you've got Big Foot and myriad other cryptids from state to state.

  • In Scotland, they have the Loch Ness Monster, and in Australia, they have the man-eating

  • Yowie.

  • One of the reasons such frightening entities came into existence was not some troll from

  • history just making things up.

  • Most of the time it was down to people or animals going missing.

  • On some occasions, the dead person would have been ripped apart as if by an incredibly strong

  • wild beast.

  • The first mention of a monster near Loch Ness dates back to the sixth century AD, when some

  • unfortunate guy went swimming and seemed to have been eaten by a beastie in the water.

  • When something can't easily be explained, humans throughout history have been known

  • to make things up.

  • For example, there are cases in Europe when serial killers were convicted of being werewolves.

  • We don't need to tell you that they weren't, but because authorities back then didn't

  • understand the psychopathology of serial killing, especially when it involved eating flesh,

  • some people were found guilty ofcrimes of lycanthropy.”

  • It's the same with monsters.

  • Sometimes they were blamed for the mass killing of sheep, or stealing children out of the

  • fog, or mutilating camels in the Gobi Desert.

  • The question is, is the death worm something else in disguise?

  • Let us now introduce a man named Ivan Mackerle.

  • He was a Czech cryptozoologist who went around the world looking for mysterious monsters.

  • He once visited Scotland and spent some time looking for Nessie, and another time he went

  • to Madagascar in search of the elephant bird.

  • The thing he was really interested in, though, what you could call an obsession of his, was

  • the Mongolian death worm.

  • Twice in the 90s and once in the early 2000s he took a team out to the Gobi to search for

  • the thing.

  • He had a few theories about the worm.

  • For one thing, he said it was only about as thick as a man's arm and only around half

  • a meter long.

  • He said it was blood-red in color, had no eyes, no mouth, and no nostrils.

  • He also believed the worm could deliver an electric shock, and he said it was indeed

  • venomous, but that was because it often fed on the poisonous varieties of the goyo plant.

  • Did he find it, though?

  • Well, he came up empty-handed after his first two trips, and then on his third and last

  • trip, he was told by a Buddhist monk to go home or else his life was at risk.

  • That night he had a crazy dream about the death worm and when he woke up his back was

  • covered with large boils filled with blood.

  • Still, he never found the worm.

  • It wasn't through lack of trying, though.

  • Mackerle's expeditions involved serious work, including interviewing a lot of people

  • and even blowing up parts of the desert so they could investigate the depths.

  • Other times he scanned the desert from a plane using a camera.

  • He found nothing, but according to his friends, he had a lot of fun trying.

  • In 2005, the British Centre for Fortean Zoology followed in his footsteps.

  • Instead of blowing up parts of the desert, they flooded parts and also damned streams,

  • hoping they could flush the thing out from where it was hiding.

  • Alas, they also went back home having never seen a death worm.

  • Richard Freeman, who led the expedition, said he interviewed scores of locals who claimed

  • they'd seen the worm.

  • He talked to a park ranger who said he'd seen it no less than three times.

  • That night the ranger invited Freeman to sleep in his guest Yurt, the place where the ranger's

  • wife told him about the time she'd seen the worm just three years prior.

  • Another guy Freeman talked to claimed he'd killed a death worm in 1972 by throwing a

  • rock at it.

  • As the story goes, some Russians took the dead worm back to Russia, and now it's lost

  • somewhere in the basement of a Russian museum.

  • If it is, we wish they'd take it out and for everyone to see.

  • Freeman went as far as to speak to local governors, who also talked about sightings of the death

  • worm.

  • In fact, in the interview we watched, Freeman talked for over an hour about many people

  • who'd told him they'd seen the death worm, but Freeman himself didn't get so lucky

  • to see one for himself.

  • Does he think the death worm exists?

  • Not really, or if it does, it's not quite what the locals describe.

  • They're terrified of it,” said Freeman, but he also explained that as far as human

  • deaths are concerned it's always a friend of a friend's cousin who was killed.

  • Those who actually claim to have seen it have only ever said they saw the worm killing a

  • mouse.

  • So much for a deadly monster...

  • Then the Americans got in on the act a little later.

  • In 2007, the TV Show Destination Truth went in search of the worm, and yet again the damn

  • thing remained elusive.

  • Still, there are many people in Mongolia that will tell you the thing is real and they've

  • seen it with their own eyes.

  • After the U.S. TV crew went out there some journalists from New Zealand arrived in the

  • Gobi Desert.

  • They didn't manage to capture the worm on film, but they interviewed locals who swore

  • on the existence of the worm.

  • Because the sightings peaked during the 1950s a lot of these witnesses won't be around

  • for much longer, so I felt pretty lucky to get to some of them before they are actually

  • dead,” said the lead journalist on that expedition.

  • He did say, though, that in the cities people hadn't even heard of the worm and it was

  • only when they reached the desert areas that people talked about olgoi-khorkhoi.

  • Worms couldn't even survive under the sand.

  • We can blame the fact it's called a worm on the English translation.

  • The Mongolians never said it was a worm, only that it looked like one.

  • That brings to the question of what exactly have the people of the desert been seeing?

  • Surely scores of people who saw a worm-like thing weren't all tripping or trolling.

  • Well, it's ever so slightly possible that some strange unheard-of creature does live

  • under the sand, but what's more likely is the death worm sightings were either of some

  • kind of snake or a legless lizard.

  • Still, the only venomous snakes in Mongolia are a kind of viper and an adder and are both

  • quite small and look nothing like a worm.

  • They also wouldn't live under the sand.

  • Then there's the Steppe Ribbon Racer snake and that better fits the description, but

  • its venom is very mild to humans.

  • There's the sand boa, which could possibly be found in the Gobi Desert.

  • It looks like the death worm that people have described, and although it's not harmful

  • at all to humans, folks around the world fear them just because they look so scary.

  • Perhaps people in the past saw a large snake or heard of someone being bitten by a snake

  • and over time around the campfire, the story evolved into a giant worm that can generate

  • electricity.

  • Our conclusion is not all those people were lying about seeing the worm, but as the story

  • traveled people's imaginations got the better of them.

  • If such a worm exists, one of them would have been captured by now, dead or alive.

  • Now you need to watch, “Soldiers Encounter Mysterious Monsters in Vietnam War.”

  • Or for more monster madness, “Scientists Find Best Evidence That The Loch Ness Monster

  • Actually Exists?”

Somewhere in the farthest reaches of the Gobi Desert lives a creature so terrifying the

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Mongolian Death Worm - This is Why You Never Want to Come Across It

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/04
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