The Altamaha-ha: The South’s Loch Ness Monster

Reports of the Altamaha-ha predate the arrival of Europeans in the New World; the Muskogee Creek left descriptions of the creature. A wide variety of known animals have been put forward as candidates for the Altamaha-ha, or “Altie”: a particularly large sturgeon, a particularly large alligator gar, a whale. None of those animals fit the descriptions given by witnesses, though. Altie is generally said to have front flippers but no hind limbs, rather a long tail, with a long neck to balance it out. Its back is said by some to be spotted, mottled something like the patterns on a giraffe. None of the reported sightings indicate that the Altamaha-ha is aggressive.

The mouth of the Altamaha River is a place of stunning beauty.

So if Altie is not a whale, sturgeon, garfish, etc.—what is it? Is it an unknown animal, perhaps one that lives in the ocean but swims up the Altamaha from time to time, perhaps to spawn? Some have speculated that despite its dinosaur-like appearance the Altamaha-ha is in actuality some kind of mammal. But there’s another possibility: the Altamaha-ha is a supernatural entity, like the Loch Ness Monster to which it is sometimes compared. (The area around Darien, Georgia where Altie is most often sighted was settled by Scottish Highlanders, by the way, so it would be fitting if Altie and Nessie are related.)
Cathead Creek, a tributary of the Altamaha, where one of the more dramatic sightings is said to have taken place.

The simplest explanation is that people just misidentified a big fish or some other kind of common animal. But I, for one, believe in Altie. It’s real. Whether it’s made out of flesh and blood, or magic.

Categorized as darkness

By The Evil Cheezman

Purveyor of sacred truths and purloined letters; literary acrobat; spiritual godson of Edgar Allan Poe, P.T. Barnum, and Ed Wood; WAYNE MILLER is the head architect of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, serving up the finest in entertainment and edification for the stage, the page, and the twain screens, silver and computer. He is the axe-murderer who once met Andy Griffith.

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