Although we tend to keep this series focused on monsters of myth and legend whose existence remains unconfirmed, we just couldn't pass up a story that's been shaking up the web recently. Earlier in the month, a series of photos showed up on Reddit showing a horrific sea creature that looks uncannily like the alien larva nicknamed the “shit-weasel” from the Stephen King movie Dreamcatcher. It was reportedly pulled out of the Raritan River in New Jersey two summers ago by a man who was fishing with a bow and arrow. Since then, the photos went viral and have pulled in over a million hits to date, prompting articles on everything from Gawker to The Huffington Post to the New York Daily News.
Experts at Outdoor Magazine, presumably a more astute authority on creatures of the wild (and they don't get much wilder than this), suggest this is a sea lamprey – a breed of parasitic eel common to the north Atlantic that can reach lengths of nearly three feet. That animal is monstrous enough as it is, since its voracious feeding habits involve latching onto fish with its concentric circles of hook-like teeth and dissolving its prey's flesh. So yeah, finding out this breed is starting to adapt to fresh water and infiltrate lakes and streams is not a pleasant thought at all. But what's even more horrifying is that the experts still aren't sure this actually is a lamprey, because its gills apparently don't match the pattern of its salt-water cousins.
So, enjoy these nightmare-inducing images and then try to forget about them before summer, so you don't imagine one or two of these showing up in your swimming pool. Then again, there's always the toilet...