Posted by: twistsoffeet | April 24, 2010

If They Do Not Exist, Then Why Have I Seen Them?

If this were a story about sitting around the living room of a house
I shared with several friends when I was in my teens or early twenties…
watching the velvet Elvis painting of the Nina Pinta and the Santa Maria
get ruthlessly tossed about by a horrible storm and sinking one by one…

well then, I could understand people being skeptical.

But this is a story about what I and nearly a dozen other witnesses, including my good friend Sarah, saw while climbing in Rai Lie Thailand.

We had been climbing on the sunrise side of Rai Lie, possibly on the 1 2 3 wall or in the keep, I really do not remember.  But that is not important.

While walking back to the village, my friend Sarah suddenly stopped, turned a little bit pale and asked if I saw what she saw. At first, I was confused.

Okay, I had actually been actively surveying the back side of a cute little blond from Norway with whom I had been trying to get better acquainted.

So I looked in the direction Sarah was looking and saw…!

To be honest my first response was to photograph it. But my cameras were in my pack and being certain that any delay in leaving the area would lead to our demise, I suggested we slowly walk away.

What I saw was a lizard.

Some of you may be saying what a pansy ass wimp I must be, scared of a little old lizard.  But this was not your average lizard.  My first thought was that it was a monitor lizard, and if we had been in southern Indonesia, I may have thought Komodo Dragon.

But after researching those other lizards, I am unable to categorize what exactly we saw.

First of all, both the Monitor and Komodo, when on all four legs extended, only stand about two to two and a half feet high at the shoulder, and even the Komodo only reaches about three meters or ten feet in length.

The lizard we saw standing about fifteen feet away stood over four feet high at the shoulders with its belly flat on the ground.  This beast had shoulders higher than the rest of it’s body and was fifteen to eighteen feet in length. It was a very dark green, almost black in color.

The head of this lizard was elevated about a foot above the shoulders, and was nearly as high as my shoulders.

Consider that we were above this monster and it was still nearly as tall as me.

My research has been somewhat thorough, and I have looked at photo’s of Komodo Dragons, Water Monitors, Two Striped Monitors, and Black Malayan Monitors.  None of these are what we saw that day.

If we had been in dense jungle, little explored by man, I would say it must have been a previously undiscovered species of lizard.  But this monster was lounging on the beach under some palms, just lying in plain sight of a trail that probably a hundred people had walked that day. One could say it was some sort of Monitor lizard, but to be honest… the body shape was different so I can’t really say what it was.

What I can say is that this beast does exist.

Sarah saw it, I saw it, the cute little Norwegian girl and her friend saw it, and as well as at least eight other additional people saw it.

I want to believe it was probably some previously undocumented Black Malayan Monitor lizard, but besides being much larger than any previously documented member of that species, it had very large, humped shoulders, making it very distinct from Monitors or Komodo Dragons.

So to answer my daughter’s question of what it was… I can not definitively say.

It is possible that it just happened to be a far more mature Malayan Black Monitor than had previously been studied. The area where I spotted it was covered in a very heavy, dense, triple canopy jungle and I am quite certain there are not only older members of many species that have grown in ways previously unknown to researchers.

But there is also the possibility of previously undiscovered “new” species hidden in these jungles.


After much thought and at the risk of great ridicule, my only other thought is this:  The reptile more closely resembled an ancient, long-extinct dinosaur.  I am not saying that is what it was, but only what it resembled.  The head was about two feet long, attached to a neck approximately three to four feet long. The neck attached high on the shoulders that were about four feet high, while the beast was lounging with its belly on the ground.

The shoulders were also very widely placed. From the shoulders, the back arched very slightly up for about two feet before gradually sloping down to its haunches for about three feet.  The rear haunches reached about two and a half feet in height with its belly on the ground. All of this being followed with a tail approximately six feet in length. This totals sixteen to seventeen feet, add in about one and a half feet for the front shoulders, and an equal amount for the rear shoulders, and it now seems to probably be nineteen to twenty feet in length.

Let’s now assume my measurements are off by twenty five percent, and it now fits into my original estimate of fourteen to fifteen feet on the low end, and twenty-three to twenty-four feet on the high end.  I am pretty good at estimating sizes, so I will stick with this estimate of fifteen to eighteen feet in length, and a probable total height, when standing on all four legs, as being close to five feet tall at the front shoulders, and the head possibly reaching a height of nearly six to seven feet high– when on its belly, four feet at the shoulders, if the neck was extended up it would still probably reach over five and a half feet high.

Wow… maybe it was some prehistoric dinosaur thought to be long extinct.

But then the Komodo dragon is thought to have been roaming the earth for millions of years, although not officially discovered by humankind until about a hundred years ago.

It seems to leave much room for contemplation.

Consider how much we really do not know about this planet on which we reside.


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