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Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Decemystery (2023) 26: Boneless


I did say that today would have two stories about giant slugs. I only wish I’d been lying because this one is considerably more horrifying. Oh well, I’d rather delay this; the sooner we’re done with it, the sooner I won’t have this uneasy feeling in my stomach. Strap in, dear reader; this is the story of Boneless!


I found today’s story while browsing the Cryptid Archives Wiki. It’s a worthwhile Wiki if you want some cryptid rabbit holes to go down. It’s also where I’ll be telling the story from—for the most part. Now then, onto the story now!

Also known as “It,” but hearing no relation to the Stephen King character of the same name, Boneless hails from the Peak District in Derbyshire, United Kingdom. It’s described as an “enormous, black, slug-like creature somewhat resembling a whale.”

This is where I have to hit the brakes; what you just read was one of three descriptions I came across for this thing. That one seamlessly merges the repulsiveness of the slug with the majesty of the whale. A truly marvelous achievement if you ask me, given both animals are nothing alike.

The second description is that it looked like a giant slug, but it had the head of a whale. As you’ll soon read, this is the description given by the first eyewitness. It’s also kind of funny to imagine since, if you take it literally, the head sounds like it would be hysterically disproportionate to the rest of the body. Even funnier—in my eyes—this description is the basis for one of the most plausible theories, so keep it in mind.

The third description is that, upon closer inspection, the creature looked more like a massive whale rather than a slug. I won’t get into this one because it’ll derail this write-up before it even gets going, so I’ll save it for later. For now, just know that this creature’s appearance isn’t consistent; for the sake of this write-up, we’ll be going with the appearance given by the first eyewitness. It looked like a slug but had the head of a whale. You’ll see why when we get to the theories section.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled cryptid write-up. One night, in September 1950, a railway man named John Davies was going home in Longdendale Valley on his motorbike. During his ride, however, he felt a sudden need to brake. As he did so, he saw something, something that was as unexplainable as it was unbelievably disgusting.

It looked like a large, black slug, but with the head of a whale and eyes like one, too. Exactly how large it was is, for some inexplicable reason, not stated. If it was, none of the sources I went to for this write-up stated it, which is baffling given this thing doesn’t have that high of a bar to clear to be the largest slug alive today. The largest terrestrial slug—Limax Cinereoniger—can grow to be 11 inches (30 centimeters), so this thing was, presumably, quite a bit larger.

Though I digress, John watched as this thing slid along the road, making a “scraping noise” as it did so. Eventually, he got off his motorbike to pursue the strange creature. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find it. With the minimal details given, I sadly have to wonder how John lost sight of this thing, but I could be greatly oversizing this abomination’s size in my mind. Regardless, he was later quoted (by whom, I don’t know) as saying the following about the slug-whale thing: was like a massive black slug sliding across t’road and up t’moor. It had a head just like a whale and a white eye with a black pupil going round and round.

I find that detail about the pupil going around interesting, but I don’t know why. I guess it just sounds really weird to me. But whatever; John later learned that he wasn’t the only one to see this creature—which became known as “Boneless” for its seemingly boneless body. I know, an incredibly creative name.

One of those eyewitnesses was one of John’s friends, who I’ll call Charles for no relevant reason whatsoever. One day (or night, it isn’t stated), Charles was out and about when he saw Boneless “sliding across the valley below Ogden Clough.” Purportedly, yet another friend of John’s friends—who I shall call Jack—also saw Boneless in the same location but at a different time.

How many times Boneless was seen, and for how long, isn’t clear. According to a user in a post on Reddit about “lesser known UK cryptids,” it hasn’t been seen since the 1970s—which is an extremely important thing to remember for later. That said, this is Reddit, and it isn’t exactly the most reliable source of information, so also keep that in mind. Nevertheless, it’s the only place I found anything resembling a possible date for when this thing was last sighted.

Normally, this is where the story would end. However, the Cryptid Archives Wiki cites Karl Shuker’s blog, and it does have a teensy bit of additional information, three things to be exact. For starters, Karl states that “there are many British folktales” that tell of something known as either “Boneless” or “It.” It could be my definition of what a folktale is, but this makes me think that whatever Boneless is—or was—its story has been around for much longer than the sightings of this cryptid. That’s likely the case as Karl says that John spotted “a bona fide Boneless” as opposed to the Boneless. Of course, I could be mixing up a folktale with something else. Still, I wanted to make a note of that.

Second, Karl wrote that Boneless had a “near-shapeless” appearance until John drew closer. After that, he claimed that it resembled a whale. I, honestly, have absolutely no idea how this is the case. Then again, I still have no clear idea how large this thing is (or rather, was), so for all I know, this thing was the size of a Blue Whale, and it was sliding around the road like it was riding a sled on snow.

The third and final bit is something that I’ll be expanding upon in the theories section. According to Karl, both John and Charles were “convinced that whatever it was, it was definitely evil” and fled in terror after seeing the creature. I have no idea if John got off of his motorbike to investigate at first or not, so that’s up in the air.

Anyways, with that, the trail runs cold. As I said, there is a Reddit post that states that sightings ceased after the 1970s. Whether that is true or not, I cannot verify because this story appears to be incredibly obscure. So, if anyone knows more about it, do let me know. For now, though, let’s dive into the theories, and trust me, there’s a lot to go over here.


1. An evil entity

If you read the write-up on The Crimean Slug, you’ll know that I brought up this theory. The reason I did is it’s actually mentioned in an article on the Cryptid Archives Wiki; that theory originates from Karl Shuker. It’s one of the many controversial theories of his; I’ll expand upon it now since it’s significantly more relevant now than it ever was with The Crimean Slug.

According to Karl, this thing may be a case of the “Zooform Phenomenon.” What’s that? Well, a Zooform is an entity that looks like an animal but isn’t; it’s a demon or some other supernatural being that has taken on the appearance of one. That’s my understanding of it, but I could be totally wrong.

At the absolute least, I know the Zooform theory has been used to explain the large black dogs seen around the United Kingdom, the most famous of these being the Black Shuck. While some of these dogs are seen as guardians, most believe them to be hellhounds or demons in the form of a dog.

There are tons of other cryptids that are suspected to fall into this category; Mothman, The New Jersey Devil, and Am Fear Liath Mor (also known as The Big Grey Man of Ben Macdui) are also popular candidates for Zooform beings. However, they aren’t the central focus of today’s story, so let’s get back to ol’ Boneless.

As Karl mentioned on his blog, John and Charles both believed that what they saw was evil; they fled in terror after seeing it. This was no ordinary giant slug-whale; this was an evil slug-whale; this was the anti-slug-whale.

At least, that’s supposedly what the two men believed. Only Karl Shuker touts this claim,  though he’s no doubt done more research into this story than I have, so I won’t go to war with a man who’s written books and has the title of “Doctor.” I have nothing to my name other than a blog and a championship in an AI racing series. Not exactly much to boast about in the way of research on a cryptid.

To Karl’s credit, he does have a book on Zooform cryptids, so it’s likely that he expands upon it there. If nothing else, it likely explains the theory considerably better than I do. As for how Boneless fits into all of this, there is a bit more to why it may be a Zooform being than just the feeling John and Charles got. Purportedly, the area surrounding Longdendale has garnered a reputation for weird happenings, including “unexplained lights.”

I, sadly, don’t know any of these strange happenings. However, to play the devil’s advocate, this wouldn’t be the only moor to have a reputation for odd occurrences. In the southern United Kingdom, in Dartmoor, there’s the infamous Hairy Hands legend. Supposedly, if you drive along the road, a pair of disembodied hairy hands will grab your steering wheel and cause you to drive off the road. What a dick thing to do; would any insurance company cover that?

In all seriousness, this theory has gone on for long enough; it deserves its own write-up. So, in short, Boneless is some sort of demon or supernatural entity that took on the appearance of a slug-whale. Certainly not the weirdest thing you could take on the appearance of.

2. A cryptid

An interesting thing to note is that Boneless is not the only slug cryptid out there. The Mulilo Slug, a 6-foot (1.8 meters) long and 1-foot (30 centimeters) wide slug from Africa, purportedly also exists. Just thought I’d mention that since our next theory is that Boneless was also a cryptid!

Yeah, I know, far from the most groundbreaking theory out there; it goes without saying that a “massive” slug that also resembles a whale would more than likely be something unknown to science. Though without any guesses as to how large Boneless was, it’s possible this was a 2-foot  (0.6 meter) slug, which would only be a foot longer than the largest known terrestrial slug.

Whatever the case may be, I don’t think there’s enough to go off of here. Maybe there’s some big ol’ slug trudging around in the United Kingdom. Though I feel that we would have found it by now. Then again, most of us can’t find our keys when we lose them, so I don’t think it’s too crazy to say there’s a giant slug somewhere out there.

3. A tall tale

Given Karl Shuker himself said that Boneless’ roots are in the realm of folktale, I feel this theory has more than enough sturdy ground to stand on. There are a lot—and I do mean a lot—of folktales, legends, and fables that end up surviving because people—young and old—claim they saw them.

Assuming that Boneless did begin life as a folktale, it’s possible that John, Charles, and the others saw something running around. Having heard the story (or stories) as wee lads, they figured that this was it; this was the real deal. So, they convinced themselves that this was Boneless and not, say, a large animal running around for some reason.

Of course, I don’t exactly know if Boneless really did begin life as a folktale. Nevertheless, plenty of stories basically devolve into that type of thing. You needn’t look further than the story of The Bunnyman. I really ought to finish that write-up. Maybe next year; now, onto the next theory.

4. An escaped Bri’ish government experiment

Because of my incessant goofiness due to my emotional high (see: bipolar) demands that I be as obnoxiously silly as possible, let’s cut loose and have a few silly theories.

This theory is, admittedly, not the most ludicrous thing. If you read the write-up on The Tuttle Bottoms Monster, you’d know that theories of escaped government experiments are surprisingly prevalent. But, hey, what do you expect when animals are used to test all sorts of medicines and other things?

I don’t know how common they are in the United Kingdom, but given every country has enough conspiracy theories involving their government to fill a dozen encyclopedias, I’m willing to bet there are more than enough about MI6 trying to create the next great soccer (or football for my European readers) player so they can finally win the World Cup. Maybe next time, Britain! For now, Lionel Messi is the GOAT.

That said, I’m a bit skeptical as to why something like this would be made. Aside from what I just said, I can’t think of a practical use for a creature like Boneless. Even as a weapon, it seems inefficient. But, hey, what do I know? It isn’t like governments aren’t good at wasting money. Just ask mine: the United States. We’re the top dog at wasting money.

5. An interdimensional slug

I’m a creature of habit, and I cannot—and will not—leave this theory out when it’s applicable in any capacity. So, like a headache that won’t go away, the theory of interdimensional shenanigans returns. If you don’t know the basics of this theory by now, something about realities overlapping. Think of it like your fruits got mixed up with your vegetables. Two different things got mixed up, and now one is where the other is. Only in this case, it’s a gigantic slug-whale, and it’s in our world.

Why did this happen? I think the only man who could have answered that was H.P. Lovecraft, and he’s been dead for some time. My guess is that someone left a door open, and the slug-whale wandered in. You know, like when you leave a door open for too long, and a fly gets in. My mom used to tell me not to do that, and I never learned. I still haven’t; I really am a creature of habit. Most of them are bad habits.

Oh well. 

6. An alien slug

I’m well aware that any credibility I may have had is going to be torpedoed by the increasing number of meme theories I have. However, I would like to remind you that this story involved a creature “somewhat resembling a whale” sliding around on land. So, I would like to believe I’m allowed to have a bit of fun before I return to semi-serious mode.

The theory here is that aliens—after discovering that they had a pest onboard their Alienmoboghini Murciélago—decided to drop it off on Earth. Now stuck on Earth, this slug-whale abomination made do with its predicament and got to work understanding life on Earth.

Such a task was easier said than done, given it’s a massive slug-whale thing, so it wouldn’t make friends. MI6 would also no doubt want to dissect it. So it hid out in the middle of nowhere, occasionally being seen by passersby. It eventually died of old age, and no one has found its non-existent carcass (on account of it having no bones).

It also never got a Boneless gf. Pour a glass of water out for Boneless, dear reader. 😔✊ Okay, now back to being serious with the next theory.

7. An escaped (or released) pet snake

This is, without a doubt, the theory with the most substance to it (outside of the first one). It’s also a theory I found mentioned in one place and only one place: a YouTube video about snail and slug cryptids.

The video, entitled All About Snail and Slug Cryptids! A Comprehensive Guide, comes to us from a YouTube channel named cmkosemen and is, as you might have guessed, all about snail and slug cryptids. I didn’t watch the entire thing, but I noticed that it featured The Crimean Slug immediately before Boneless. I didn’t watch that bit, nor did I watch it and go to cite it in that write-up. Why, you may ask? Don’t ask questions I cannot provide answers to; I’m not paid to write.

Dang it.

In all seriousness, I did listen to the segment after finding the video, and while there are some things I could have mentioned, it wasn’t anything I deemed super necessary. It was, by and large, more of what I said: children are devious and clever, or maybe it was some sort of entity.

I also felt that mentioning the video here for the first time is considerably better since, with this story, it actually gave me something I didn’t think of—nor was it mentioned anywhere else. Then again, this story was hardly mentioned anywhere outside of a few Wikis and that one Reddit post on lesser-known British cryptids.

Anyways, getting back on track, Boneless’ segment comes right after The Crimean Slug; skip to 1:00:55 if you wanna watch it. If not, it doesn’t provide anything new in the way of details. It has John’s quote and mentions how others had seen it. That’s honestly a shame since I had really hoped there’d be more to this story, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I genuinely hope that I’m overlooking something because I’d love to hear more stories about it.

My disappointment aside, the video did give some useful information. For starters, it provided a bit of information on Zooforms, along with a book that Karl Shuker had helped write; it also gave a few theories on what it may have been (a tall tale or a hallucination; more on the latter at the very end of this theory).

However, the real treasure was the theory about what Boneless may have been if it was “real” (as the narrator said). That being “Boneless” was not some giant slug or slug-whale, but rather an escaped—or released—exotic snake.

This theory is both incredibly plausible and explains a lot. For starters, here in the United States, a lot of people release their pet pythons into the wild when they get too big. Exactly why these morons bought these animals to begin with if they can’t care for them in the first place is beyond me. And I apologize for hurling an insult out that like since I try my best to refrain from doing so as often as I can, but seriously: if you buy a python and cannot care for it as it gets older (and significantly larger), you’re a moron of the highest caliber. The same goes for if you buy an alligator or any other animal along those lines. Don’t buy animals you cannot care for!

Moving on, the United States is a much different place than the United Kingdom, especially in climate. Here in the United States, Burmese Pythons are an invasive species in the state of Florida. I mention this because that species of python can grow to be 10 to 16 feet (3 to 4.8 meters) long. I’ve actually held one of them at a fair when I was much younger; they are beautiful creatures but heavy. My father, on the other hand, disagrees and fears snakes almost as much as I fear spiders and centipedes.

Meanwhile, over in Britain, the largest snake—as far as I can tell—grows to only be roughly 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. This shouldn’t be a surprise, though, as Britain’s climate is nothing like the United States. So pythons aren’t going to be something natural over there. That doesn’t mean you can’t own them as pets; royal pythons are bred in captivity, and you can own them. 

So, what am I getting at? Well, as the narrator of that video said, it’s incredibly plausible that some rich person bought a python (a rock python is mentioned by the narrator) or an anaconda. When they realized that caring for an animal like that is incredibly difficult and not as simple as caring for, say, a dog, they let it loose and went home. To add my own theory, they likely bought another one because it makes for a great talking piece. God willing, the snake didn’t kill the dipstick’s other pets.

This theory does have three problems, though. For starters, there’s the “scraping noise.” I tried to look up if snakes could produce such a noise as they slither, but I naturally got nothing. I did, however, learn that snakes can produce noise as they move around. Per an article on Yahoo about how to identify if you have a snake infestation problem:

Michael Dean, a pest expert and co-founder of landscaping website Pool Research, says that if you're dealing with a snake, these strange noises are likely to come from enclosed or dark spaces, such as your walls, crawlspace, flooring, or attic. Snakes are likely to make a crinkling paper noise or a slow-moving, scratching noise similar to that of sandpaper, per the Wildlife Company, an animal control company.

“This type of noise is generally made by snakes as they crawl over the paper side of batten type insulation. Their scales will scratch against the paper as they crawl across,” the Wildlife Company says. “This noise will cross a ceiling very slowly if it is made by a snake. If you hear this, crawlspaces and attics need to be inspected for snakes.”

Granted, this is from within a house, not out on a road in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, I never knew this, and I wanted to share it. However, I was not done, so I went to the next source of irrefutable information, a viable source so powerful it rivals that of Harvard and every other reputable location on Earth. That’s right, I went to ChatGPT.

Truth be told, I did this because I was getting sick of not getting the information I wanted, and I figured that asking an AI would be easier than repeatedly rewording what I wanted; much to my amusement, the answer ChatGPT gave me was the exact same one I’d been getting. I asked if an anaconda could make noise as it slithers. The answer I got was this:

Hello! Anacondas are large and heavy snakes that primarily move by slithering. While they don't typically produce sounds in the same way that some other animals do, their movement can still generate some noise.

When an anaconda slithers, its body comes into contact with various surfaces like vegetation, leaves, and the ground. These interactions can create rustling or shuffling sounds, especially if the snake is moving through dry leaves or undergrowth. Additionally, the scales on an anaconda's body might rub against each other as it moves, creating a faint rustling sound.

However, these sounds are generally quite subtle and might not be easily audible from a distance, especially if the anaconda is moving in a natural environment with other ambient sounds. The majority of the noise produced by an anaconda’s movement would likely come from its interactions with the environment rather than from the snake’s weight itself.

Quick disclaimer for those curious: I dislike AI. That said, I do love using it to make the stupidest images possible. Here’s something I had CrAIon make after Denny Hamlin was disqualified last year at Pocono due to excessive tape on his car’s front grill.

Goofy stuff like this is the only thing that I think AI is useful for. Change my mind (you can’t).

As you can see, though, this isn’t exactly going to produce a “scraping noise.” I sincerely doubt that John mistook any of those sounds for that type of noise, either. Unless he misremembered later on and it was his motorbike’s engine.

The second issue is a tad bit more expendable. I have no idea how large Boneless was; that information is mentioned anywhere. I’ve said this multiple times now, so I won’t go on some tangent. Though without anything to go off of, I can only imagine how big this supposed slug-whale was. It could have been as long as a rock python, a green anaconda, or a reticulated python. Those snakes are anywhere from 9 feet (2.7 meters) to a world record length of 32 feet (9.7 meters).

The third and final issue is the head. Admittedly, I can kind of see how one may mistake a snake’s head for that or a whale, especially at night and while scared. However, it is rather odd. Though I can’t imagine rationality is going to be on full display when you think you’re seeing a gigantic slug-whale.

Ultimately, I can see how this theory would work. It’s honestly one of two that work, and it’s the only one that I think works in any capacity outside of the Zooform theory. Man, talk about a showcasing of two opposites.

On one final note, I mentioned how that video posited Boneless may have been the product of a hallucination. I considered including it, but in all honesty, I doubt it. If the only sighting had been from John, I would have. However, given Boneless had been seen a fair bit before, I doubt the entire area was experiencing the same hallucination of a giant slug-whale. Unless the locals were all taking LSD, but I feel that’s beside the point; moving on now.

8. An incredibly swole slug

This was a slug that hit the gym with the utmost dedication. As time went on, it got the body every slug desires; now, it can show off its gains to the other slugs and make them jealous.

A special thanks to my friend for photoshopping this absolute god-tier picture for me. You’re the best!

My Take

For a while, this story was in the same situation as The Crimean Slug. I had no idea what to make of it, absolutely none. It wasn’t until I found the theory about an escaped snake that I found something that actually made sense to me.

I won’t go on some massive tangent since I think I did above; I think I effectively gave my take there. Some rich bozo bought a snake, couldn’t take care of it, and let it out into the wild. Odds are, people unfamiliar with such large snakes thought it was some enormous slug or slug-whale. Its strange appearance was due to having just eaten something.

Additionally, snakes like the rock python and green anaconda can live for up to 20 years. This would explain why sightings stopped in 1970. The snake just flat-out died due to old age. Or someone might have run it over; you decide, oh dearest of readers.

That said, I will acknowledge the issue with the scraping noise. I do think that human memory is imperfect (I have said countless times on this blog). I am also more than a believer in the paranormal; I’ve had a few unexplainable experiences that I have tried to rationalize but have been unable to.

However, the Zooform theory, as I read before, is a bit on the far-fetched side. At least, what little I’ve read. The idea that some supernatural entity took on the form of this near-shapeless slug-whale only to aimlessly wander around is incredibly silly. At least with stories like Black Shuck, the dog followed alongside people or, in other instances, watched them. Mothman flew after a car, and The Big Grey Man followed hikers.

Boneless, meanwhile, slid around like a dog fetching a ball on a slippery floor. Maybe it’s because I’m not some paranormal entity, but I cannot imagine there’s anything to be gained from doing such a thing. Maybe its actions are far beyond my comprehension, and what it was doing was a means of opening a portal to another world, but I cannot believe this.

That said, I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could help to explain it; I’m more than willing to bet that I missed something or haven’t read enough. I will concede that I’ve been racing against the clock to write, and my life has been hectic beyond belief for the past, like, 3 years (with the last one being exceptionally harsh). So, I wouldn’t put it past me to have not gotten something.

In short, though, I think this was a case of misidentification. Some rich imbecile let a snake out into the wild, and eventually, it died of old age.


This story reinforced my absolute disdain for slugs, disgusting creatures that skeeve me out like few others. Like, seriously, slugs are disgusting animals. If I could, I would go back in time and tell myself not to bother with covering this story; it was rather difficult to cover, actually. For whatever reason, this was an extremely annoying story to make work. The material, despite appearing rather strong when I first found it, ended up making me feel like nothing ever came to life. Kind of funny, given the story’s about something called Boneless.

Oh well, whatever. Despite my disdain for slugs, I know they have their place in the ecosystem, but man, do they gross me out. I sincerely hope that nothing like The Crimean Slug or Boneless exists. If they do, then I think I’m moving to Greenland. I’ll take my chances with the polar bears.

Though with that, it’s time to officially end the write-up. I hope you enjoyed this little foray into the unknown, and as always, stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading!


  1. Boneless is one of my very favourite cryptids. Absolutely love this story and was delighted to see such a detailed write up on it!


    1. And thank you for reading! It means so much to me that people still enjoy my writing. I just wish I wasn't going through so much mental anguish that I could put out content on a more regular basis.

      Also, it's funny that Boneless is one of your favorite cryptids. This was arguably the most agonizing write-up I did for Decemystery last year. In fact, after I finished writing it, I found something else on that I've since forgotten. I remember going, "Oh, for God's sake, I'm not going back and slotting it in; that thing can go rot for all I care."

      Maybe, at some point in the future, I will do a rewrite of this and do additional research to see if I can trace some sort of origin. Until then, I'll fondly remember this article as the most annoying experience of my life—when it comes to this blog, anyway.