This mysterious serpentine creature was captured by shocked eyewitnesses on videotape as it slithered just beneath the surface of Florida’s Lake Worth Lagoon. Once this strange footage was unleashed, it created on of the most intense “monster frenzies” in U.S. history.

In late August of 2009, Greg Reynolds and Dan Serrano — representatives of “Lagoon Keepers,” a nonprofit organization that maintains and cleans Palm Beach County’s waterways — were sent to recover what they believed to be a log from the Lake Worth Lagoon, but when they arrived on the site they realized that what was actually in the water was something infinitely more bizarre… not to mention alive.

Reynolds said he and Serrano tried to catch up to it, but that every time they would get within10-feet of the creature it dove, resulting in the nickname “the elusive muck monster.” Serrano commented in the strange sighting:

“I didn’t know what it was… I was like, hey look! And we moved over and saw it. It was different, very different… It was an unusual wake. We saw it move along, creating some deep ripples, then it just dipped deeper underwater.”

Reynolds, who shot the video of what he believes to be a SEA MONSTER, uploaded the footage onto his company’s Web site. Within days these unexplained images went viral, and it wasn’t long before the legend of the now notorious “Muck Monster” was born. Reynolds described their encounter to a local news station:

“Channel marker ten is the first time we saw the unknown creature. I hollered out…and said what is that? We followed it, started taking video… It’s not a shark or manatee. Sharks would have their fins above the water. This is something much different.”

The video soon became a worldwide sensation that was covered by major news groups including NBC and FOX and the Muck Monster even became enshrined in television history as a the topic for one of David Letterman’s lauded Top 10 Lists. Reynolds described the monster’s shockingly swift ascension into the public eye:

“The phone keeps ringing. It’s showed up on CNN, coast-to-coast radio, 95.5 Wild morning show, K-rock out of Ft. Myers… it’s everywhere… Just do a search on ‘Muck Monster’ and it comes up in every corner of the world.”

Of course, with quick fame comes the promise of even quicker money, and it would seem that it’s a bandwagon that the entire community is jumping on. City commissioner William Moss — reacting to that fact that the video site has received over 4 million hits on their tourism website — has secured enough support to install a telescope near where the monster has been spotted. This, he claims, is just the beginning of a campaign to entice tourists to the area to see what he believes is their primeval town mascot:

“We’re going to have a naming contest. We’ll also have a feeding station, which will have fish pellets… I think it’s prehistoric, personally, and a lot of people agree with me.”

Reynolds himself is trying to turn this publicity into more funding for his non-profit company by selling T-shirts that read ““I’m not the Muck Monster,” but he insists all proceeds will go to helping the Lagoon Keepers maintain our beautiful waters. Of course, other independent entrepreneurs have also gotten in on the act.

The phenomenon does not stop with the eyewitnesses or city officials as the local Tiki Bar Sea Grill is now serving a “Muck Monster special,” which consists of a lightly sautéed “Muck Monster” served over rice with a caper lemon butter sauce with a little sautéed spinach, For those whose appetites steer towards the aperitif there’s the “Muck Monster” cocktail, which, upon request, the bartenders will serve with a complimentary “Muck Monster” dance.

With all of this rigmarole it is little wonder that legitimate crypto investigators  are treading the Muck Monster waters very carefully. While this post-encounter marketing bonanza in no way invalidates the initial sighting, it is very difficult to see past such a crassly commercial feeding frenzy to find the science that may lie beneath.

To try and understand what this creature may be one must look at the history of the lagoon. The body of water that is now known as the Lake Worth Lagoon was — In the mid-1800s — a fresh water lake, which derived all of its run by ground seepage from the Everglades (one of the reputed homes of the SKUNK APE.)

In 1866, a settler named Lang allegedly dug a channel between the lake and the ocean, and by 1877 the lake had been transformed into a saltwater lagoon. Is it possible that a SEA SERPENT or other anomalous marine animal made it’s way in through one of the lagoons channels to find itself at home in it’s brackish, fish filled waters?

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Marine Biologist, Thomas Reinert, scrutinized the video and claimed that he was baffled by the mystery:

“This appears to be one animal moving in this direction…nothing’s breaking the surface. Typically dolphins break the surface, sea turtles, manatee, a large school of fish, if it were a shark at that level you would see a fin… I can’t definitely say what it is. I can speculate but we need more evidence to determine the identity of the Lake Worth muck monster.”

The only one who seems willing to speculate as to the genesis of this monster’s sudden appearance is Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, who — before naming the Muck Monster an official citizen of Palm Beach — told the local press:

“This has actually become a pretty serious business. We’ll be visited by CNN, who will be looking for the Muck Monster. In all seriousness, what I think has happened is that, because of all of the work on the water front, the rebuilding of the sea wall and all the construction going down there, it has stirred up this creature.”

In the end, Reynolds feels that  people should still treat this potentially dangerous aquatic oddity with caution, and cites that the ocean still has many secrets locked in her depths:

“We spend a lot of time out here on the water and seen a lot of different creatures out here and this is the first time in three and half years that I’ve ever seen anything out here that didn’t know what it was… This water is teeming with life. Who knows what’s in there?”

Who indeed.

© Copyright Rob Morphy 2012