Connecticut River Monster

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The Connecticut River Monster, in its natural habitat—the riparian areas of the Connecticut and White Rivers. Reconstruction by Steve Bissette, 2009, c.e.

Connecticut River "Sea" Monster

The Carcass

The Connecticut River Monster skeletal structure, as depicted by Mr. Scott Mardis. 2000, c.e.

Connecticut River Monster, (Hydrohippokampos athesphatos lymanae) previously unknown biological classification, formerly or sometimes still known as "Connecticut River Sea Monster" embalmed aquatic/amphibious specimen. Wax and baling wire. Illuminated. Custodian and interpretive associate: Gulgo Vandersheltz Bargain. (Specific dimensions below.) Carcass collected from Lyman Point, the confluence of the White and the Connecticut Rivers, White River Junction, Vermont, 1994, c.e.
Too much as already been both said and written about this Aquatic Fauna specimen. Mysterious in origin and somewhat contumacious in aspect, he—or she—remains one of the most popular exhibits in the Museum.
A selection of press and signage accompany the specimen in the Museum's exhibition room, case XDIV.

fa.1994.65.em (Pre-1997 catalog)

Specific Dimensions

Reconstruction of the fleshy parts, by Scott Mardis, 2000, c.e.

Total length from tip of snout to end of tail: 8 ft., 5 inches.
Length of skull: 18 inches
Length of lower jaw: 15 inches
§12 teeth in upper jaw, 6 each side. 12 teeth in lower jaw, 6 each side.
Length of ears: 5 inches
Length of neck: 2 ft. 18 neck vertebrae
Length of torso: 1 ft., 8 inches, 14 torso vertebrae
Abdominal ribs, 6 pairs. Each rib 11.5 inches
Length of arm (humerus) bones: 8.5 inches
Shoulder girdle, foot and finger bones missing
Length of leg (femur) bones: 11 inches
§Foot and toe bones missing
Length of tail, 15 tail vertebrae: 4 ft., 9 inches
§Some of the teeth are missing but the above numbers are what would have been there if the carcass was complete.

Dimensions and measurements courtesy Scott Mardis, Burlington, Vermont.

Main Street Museum director David Fairbanks Ford describes the Connecticut River Sea-Monster in a lecture given at the University of Vermont, 2000, c.e.

Exhibition History

The Carcass of this unusual specimen was originally exhibited in a vitrine, far to small for the creatures dimensions, in the front room of the Main Street Museum, in its Headquarters on South Main Street, the former "Lena's Lunch" Building. At this time, in 1996, the owners of the Hotel Coolidge allowed the beast to be exhibited in the dining room of their establishment, during a fundraising dinner for "Riverfest."

These exhibits proving so financially lucrative for the Museum, a ponderous vitrine was produced, featuring neo-classic elements and a commodious chamber which allowed the specimen to be observed and studied to its full measurements. At this time, Professor Gulgo Vandershelz Bargain was again called upon, to restore and interpret the remains of the creature, which, it must be said, were in such a state of natural decay, due to thier perhaps lengthy stay underwater—being molested by how many voracious, clawing, nibbling underwater creatures Heavens only knows—that Professor Bargains talents were taxed to their utmost in putting together a specimen that is at once languid and menacing; supple and minatory; lax and anxious. It can only increase the anxiety of the viewer, knowing that it was once alive, and swimming in the river, just a few feet from the Museum's own back door.

Thus interpreted and displayed, the Monster was shown on the grounds of the Tunbridge World's Fair, during Vermont History Expo, in 1998.

In 2009 the specimen was part of the Vermont Monster Guide Extravaganza! hosted by the Museum and the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Taxonomic Classification

New species must not be merely slaughtered for trophies: "Have pity on them all, for it is we who are the real monsters." —Bernard Heuvelmans

The taxonomic classification of new species is always problematic. In the case of species that were previously thought to be extinct, the work of the researcher or scientist faces double challenges. Best to begin with a description of what, exactly, we define as a "Monster". Cryptozoölogy is perhaps our most useful tool in this discursion.

On First Friday, 4th September, 2009, from 5 to 9 p.m. Its Monster Day in White River Junction! If you have ever wondered what Weird and Stomach-Churning Beasts wallow in the somewhat unsavory waters of the White and the Connecticut Rivers; and if you have ever longed to see Real Live Cartoonists, in their natural habitat, spraying ink on each other—or eating crackers and cheese—come and see the Rare Specimens—human, animal and everything in between!
All events are Free and open to the eager Public!

For as long as there have been fisher-folk, and contact with the ocean, there have been Sea Monsters.

Cover of the Vermont Monster Guide, University Press of New England, 2009.

References and Links

See Monsters as only a Master of Comics could draw them here at Steve Bissette's own htmlpage!

and see Joe Citro's blogspot page here!