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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Mystery: The Arzamassian Monster

Today’s story is going to be a super short one because I’ve been extremely busy today. Apologies for all of those that are disappointed, but I promise that there are stories this month that will be much longer and much more fascinating. So anyways, today’s tale is one that will take us back to the year of 1719. It’s known as the Arzamassian Monster and it will send us to the land of Russia. Let’s dive bomb into this enigmatic story!

The Story

Our story takes place on June 4, 1719. A heavy storm raged over Arzamas, Russia. After the storm had passed, something terrifying fell from the sky; whether this creature fell as a direct result from the storm, I cannot say for certain. Whatever the case may be, the corpse of the beast was discovered and was sent to the Kunstkamera in Saint Petersburg at the behest of Peter the Great. To quote a quote from the Cryptidz Wiki, here was the decree that Peter had put forth:

If someone finds any wonder, monster or a freak, he should immediately send it to the Kunstkamera in Saint-Petersburg - because it's not from the devil, but from the nature.

I don’t know if “from the nature” is a typo on the part of the individual who made the page on the wiki, but I left it in just in case. If it is indeed a typo, let me know in the comments and I will nix this part and correct it.

Moving on though, the body of the beast was measured and it was described as being 7.5 meters (24.6 feet) in length. It sported pike-like teeth that were a fair bit larger and crooked. It had wings that were reminiscent of a bat that were 7 meters (22.9 feet) long. Its tail was also long, being 3 meters (9.8 feet) long. Its legs were said to be smooth and its talons were like those of an eagle. It had palms on its wings that had four fingers and claws. Ending things off, it was said that its eyes, although lifeless, were still fierce.

All things considered, this is a pretty foreboding creature to find, even if it was dead. Luckily, those that found it had the foresight to place the carcass into a wine-filled barrel in order to preserve it. Alas, this wasn’t meant to be since—as is the case with any amazing discovery that is made—it got lost en route to the barrel.

Go figures.

I can let this slide though as it was 1719. Times were much different and transportation wasn’t exactly something that was easy. Though out of curiosity, I went on a hunt for information on this creature. I was hopeful to find something on it, but to my astonishment, there was nothing. I found a Tumblr blog that had posted about this and a DeviantArt drawing of the creature (which I must say doesn’t resemble the creature in the slightest if you were to ask me), but beyond that, there’s precisely jack squat. No other articles, no nothing. This creature is as obscure as can be. As such, that’s where the story ends. Like I said at the start, it’s short. Though let us not linger on this for long and instead jump into the theories.


1. It was a flying reptile

For our first theory, we have the idea that it was a living fossil. One of the three images on the Cryptidz Wiki posits that it could have been an Ornithocheirus in particular.

This may seem far fetched, but sightings of pterodactyls, pterosaurs and other reptilian avians are more common than you think. However, they’re often in Africa and the Middle East, not in Russia. As such, this definitely makes this creature quite the odd one out. Though being an exception to the hypothetical rule doesn’t automatically disqualify it. After all, it’s possible that the creature is migratory or resides in a warmer part of Russia.

What does make this theory stand on shaky ground is its extremely scarce information. Without anything to back it up, its already fantastical claim becomes much harder to buy into. However, let’s expand on this in the next theory.

2. It was a hoax

While not an official theory per-se, this theory is one that sprang to my mind due to the laughably small amount of information available on the Internet. As such, I thought it would be criminal if I chose to exclude it. As you may have guessed, this theory puts forth the idea that this entire story was faked. For whatever reason, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s possible that it was made up for an 18th century laugh.

3. It was an abnormally large bird

This theory is a lot like the first one, but instead of it being a reptile, it was instead a large bird of some sort. There isn’t anything else to it than that to be quite honest. The misidentification could have simply been due to an error on the part of the reporters or witnesses.

4. It was something else entirely

There are two other images on the Cryptidz Wiki that have their own theories to put forth. One states that the supposed wings could have actually been that of a torn Secodontosaurus' sail, or the sail of another Pelycosaur.

The other one claims that the creature could have been a Spinosaurid, like a Baryonyx. I used to study paleontology when I was younger and I’d like to say that I have absolutely no clue how this thing (see below) could possibly be mistaken for a pterosaur.

The mere existence of this theory makes my brain hurt.

My Take

To be quite honest, I don’t know for absolute sure what I think this story was. There’s no evidence to point towards the story being legitimate in any way, but what I find exceptionally odd is that there’s also nothing that points towards it being a fable or fraudulent story of any kind. Usually, if a cryptid is made up, there’s something that points towards it being made up; whether that be a poorly drawn sketch, at least one detail that really stands out as being fake, or a really obscure website hosting it.

There’s nothing here that really points to that. Sure, there’s a wiki, but that really doesn’t scream “fake” to me. However, I would be lying if I said that the lack of sources really makes me suspicious. So, I’d say the odds of this being fake are larger than not, but if it is a legitimate story, I would say this is probably a case of mistaken identity. I don’t think the climate of Russia would compliment a reptilian avian very well. Though I could very much be wrong.


Sightings of flying reptiles are by no means nothing new—the Kongamoto and Ropen prove that—but I definitely believe there’s a lot missing from this story that prevents it from being something that I can definitively cement some sort of answer on. Though, even with that, this blog isn’t about excluding stories if they feel incomplete. What matters to me is conveying the story so that you—the reader—can draw your own conclusion. I believe that with an open mind, we can help to advance ourselves in a spiritual sense and help to become better critical thinkers. Far too often do we just shun anything that isn’t “normal” in the way of science; we see a creature like Bigfoot and just scoff.

I think that’s a very dangerous mindset. While it may seem silly, I don’t think that silly should immediately equate to nonsense. There are many silly ideas that have, in the past, been proposed, but later became a reality. I’m sure that the idea of landing on the Moon was once thought to be a pipe dream, but we achieved it multiple times. So who’s to say that a surviving relic of times of yore isn’t possible?

To me, I believe it’s very much possible.

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