Cryptozoology Researcher Gary S. Mangiacopra Dies



Cryptozoologist and Sea Serpent researcher Gary Mangiacopra of Milford, Connecticut, died of a coronary heart assault, age 71, on November 14, 2022.

In 2011, writer Chad Arment heard from Gary that he had a coronary heart assault and was recovering. In current months, in an try to trace down what had grow to be of Gary, the assets of a detective had been employed to entry official information telling that he had handed away on the finish of 2022.

For a half century, Gary Mangiacopra gathered a formidable quantity of archives on the query of Sea-Serpents, the American Lake Monsters, and the Big Octopus of Florida. Gary additionally labored in different matters of cryptozoology, and mysteries of his dwelling state of Connecticut.

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Gary wrote of his early curiosity within the matters he liked for his Amazon writer profile: “I first took an interest within the fascinating subject of cryptozoology as a younger boy after studying journal articles on the Yeti and Bigfoot. My curiosity within the subject grew all through adolescence. Later in faculty, I started conducting formal analysis on this subject, and finally wrote my Masters Thesis on the “Theoretical Inhabitants Estimates of Massive Aquatic Animals in Chosen Freshwater Lakes of North America.”

He adopted the analysis of Roy Mackal and Bernard Heuvelmans, and wrote “I owe partly a few of my success to my good buddy and mentor Dr. Arthur E. Gagnon. Through the years his encouragement, teaching, and technical recommendation, have assisted and helped me to proceed my analysis and writings.”

Gary Mangiacopra, a New Englander along with his particular grasp’s diploma in biology, had been involved in doing archival cryptozoological investigations since he was a teen. He turned one of many foremost specialists within the research of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century stories of the Sea Serpent in New England. 

Gary was a radical Sea Serpent researcher, and his multi-parted “The Nice Unknowns of the nineteenth Century,” was printed in Of Sea and Shore in 1977. In Vol. 8, No. 3 (Autumn 1977), he launched his systematic classification of his findings. The Mangiacopra system organized sea serpent sightings from New England, a area famous for sightings of coiled sea serpents, lots of which had been categorised as many-humped sea serpents within the Heuvelmans system.


After analyzing 64 sightings from the nineteenth Century North Atlantic, Mangiacopra concluded that there have been 4 forms of sea serpent represented in these stories. These Mangiacopra varieties are the dorsal finner, maner, horn head, and many-coiled.

Mangiacopra later decided that many sightings, particularly after 1947, didn’t match nicely into any of those classes. In line with Mangiacopra, most post-1947 sightings of sea serpents describe animals which resemble his multi-coiled sea monster, however with totally different physique proportions. 

Mangiacopra’s five-year research was primarily based on an examination of 64 alleged sea serpent sightings reported in New England (United States) newspapers between 1869 and 1899. Of the 64 instances, he decided that 1 was a hoax, 8 had been misidentifications, 7 contained inadequate information to make any conclusions, and 48 had been unknown animals or “attainable sea serpents.” Whereas he was in a position to confirm that the ships and captains talked about had been actual, and had been within the said places, primarily based on the “arriving ships” columns of assorted newspapers, Mangiacopra admitted that there was no method of figuring out how dependable the descriptions themselves had been. He primarily based his classifications primarily on secondary options, because the sightings featured few frequent primary options. Every of the Mangiacopra varieties was in comparison with a Heuvelmans sort and a LeBlond & Sibert sort, the latter system being created for North Pacific stories from the identical latitude as New England.

In line with Mangiacopra on the time, though the maner and many-coiled had been essentially the most generally reported, sightings of the dorsal finner and horn head contained extra particulars, exhibiting that they weren’t misinterpretations of the primary two varieties. The excellence between the maner and many-coiled was blurry, however Mangiacopra favored their identification as separate varieties.

Maniacopra’s particulars concerned:

1) Dorsal Finner

The dorsal finner appeared in 5 sightings, made between 1878 and 1888. Based mostly on these 5 sightings, Mangiacopra described it as between 70′ to 100′, with a 9′ to fifteen′ diameter and a weight of two tons. The pores and skin is clean, generally scaly or warty, and is uninteresting inexperienced to darkish brown with a lighter yellow underside. The pinnacle is in comparison with that of an alligator or a frog, and is 15′ lengthy, with a 5′ jaw sporting 6” enamel. This sort has a single pair of entrance flippers, a big fin on its again, and vertical undulation permitting it to swim quickly.

The dorsal finner is considerably equal to the many-humped sea serpent of the Heuvelmans system, and, just like the many-humped, the first principle relating to its id is a species of cetacean.

The Maner

Based mostly on seven sightings, the maner is a serpentine or eel-like animal, between 15′ and 50′ lengthy, with a flat 3′ head formed like a horse’s or a snake’s, tapering in direction of the muzzle. Its eyes are giant, and its 10′ neck is slender. Some accounts give it a mane or beard, others quills. Mangiacopra in contrast the maner to the merhorse of the Heuvelmans system and giant eyes of the LeBlond & Sibert system.

In Loren Coleman’s and Patrick Huyghe’s The Subject Information to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Different Thriller Denizens of the Deep (Tarcher, 2003), describes it as “actually simply one other identify for Heuvelmans’ Merhorse.”  It could be an unknown species of pinniped.

3) Horn Head

Based mostly on 5 sightings, the horn head is a long-bodied animal 25′ to 60′ lengthy, with a darkish dorsal floor and lighter underside. It has crocodile-like scales, saw-like projections on its again, a forked or pointed tail, and a pair of horns on its flat, spherical head. The horn head is in comparison with the long-necked sea serpent of the Heuvelmans system and the small eyes of the LeBlond & Sibert system. Throughout the Coleman-Huyghe system, the horn head could be a part of the Waterhorse sort. (Mangiacopra didn’t speculate on his Horn Head’s attainable id.)

4) Many-Coiled

Based mostly on 5 sightings, the many-coiled is serpentine, with attribute curves looping out and in of the floor of the ocean, and swims like a snake. Its diameter is small for its size, given as 20′ to 100′, and its seal-like head, which is typically described as horned, has a diameter of two′. The loops are generally mentioned to help dorsal fins.

Mangiacopra in contrast the many-coiled to the tremendous eel of the Heuvelmans system and the serpentine animal of the LeBlond & Sibert system, although it’s thought-about to be extra much like the many-humped sea serpent. Like that sort, the many-coiled is purported to be an archaic, elongated cetacean, probably much like Basilosaurus.

5) Eel-Sort

A attainable fifth sort appeared in a single report examined by Mangiacopra, the Rondout serpent of 1886. Mangiacopra in contrast it to the super-eel as a result of its lengthy dorsal fin, though the seal-like comparability was harking back to the many-coiled.


Mangiacopra has been credited with monitoring down “misplaced” St. Augustine (1896) Big Octopus information.


Lake Monsters too

Gary Mangiacopra additionally studied American Lake Monsters. He printed many articles on varied sorts of marine and aquatic cryptids within the journal Of Sea and Shore, and he advised, for years, of making an attempt to arrange separate books on Sea Serpents and Lake Monsters.

“In 1980, Gary S. Mangiacopra printed the one scientific evaluate of the proof up to now in Of Sea and Shore,” of Sharlie, the Lake Payette Monster, wrote journalist Grove Koger within the Fall 2018 concern of Idaho’s McCall Journal.

Mangiacopra “concluded that at the least some stories could be of pinnipeds—that’s, seals. In Mangiacopra’s situation, Northern Elephant Seals may, simply may, have made their method up what had been as soon as free-flowing river techniques way back and located themselves trapped in Payette Lake by twentieth century dams.” (Cryptozoologist Roy Mackal wouldn’t make this identical suggestion till 1996.)

Koger continued: “I’ve a selected cause for being taken with Gary Mangiacopra’s principle. In 2001 a buddy of mine and his brother hiked to Decrease Baron Lake in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains southeast of Payette Lake. As they approached the shore with their fishing poles, a sealclimbed out of the water onto a rock about thirty ft away and barked at them. The 2 had been so astonished that they withdrew instantly and went fishing elsewhere.Now my buddy grew up within the space and has hiked just about each one among its trails. He’s additionally seen nearly each conceivable animal within the area, together with, evidently, otters. What he and his brother noticed that day wasn’t an otter. It was a seal.


“Sure, in fact, but it surely occurred.”



Work by means of the years:

Gary Mangiacopra generously distributed his findings by means of information gadgets, archival articles, and copies of filmed footages to many individuals and analysis teams.

In 1978, Gary attended the FortFest in Washington D.C. to share his findings with others. He did the identical on the Lake Champlain Monster Symposium in 1980.

For instance, Darren Naish wrote of how Gary shared the Lake Dakataua “Migo” Monster footage of 1994 with others. He was involved in investigating instances collaboratively.

Gary Loren

Like a number of different researchers, I, Loren Coleman, was a frequent correspondent with Gary. His stuffed manila envelopes had been stuffed with clipped articles, handwritten notes, and laborious to learn carbon copies of letters to others. However Gary rejected any type of on-line presence, in addition to emails; it turned increasingly more troublesome to be in contact with him.

The final time I used to be in a position to have a face-to-face dialog with him was on the Worldwide Society of Cryptozoology assembly at Princeton, Rutgers, NJ, 1995.

In 1995, Mangiacopra wrote a serious article with Dwight G. Smith, “Connecticut’s Thriller Felines: The Glastonbury Glawackus: 1939-1967” (The Anomalist: 3) on his decades-long investigation of his dwelling state’s Black Panther accounts.

Additionally they collaborated on Dwight G. Smith and Gary Mangiacopra, “What Readers Wrote In: secondary Bigfoot sources as given within the Letters-to-the-Editors column of the Sixties–Nineteen Seventies Males’s Journey Magazines,” North American BioFortean Evaluation 5:4 concern 13 (December, 2003): 19–31.


In 2007, Grey S. Mangiacopra and Dwight G.Smith printed Does Champ Exist? (Coachwhip Publications). It was their first full size guide, and was in regards to the attainable existence of the Lake Champlain Monsters, Champ, rumored to inhabit Lake Champlain.

Mangiacopra would typically inform different researchers that he was at the moment (within the Nineteen Eighties-2000s) engaged on a two-volume guide masking Sea Serpents.

On his Amazon profile, he elaborated: “At present I’m engaged on six books together with a two-volume set about sea serpents.”

That dream was by no means to come back true.

Coachwhip writer Chad Arment writes:

Loren not too long ago famous the passing of long-time Fortean researcher Gary S. Mangiacopra. I had helped Gary with the publication of his Champ convention guide (now out of print), however his hoped-for bigger guide on marine monsters was by no means accomplished. Loren jogged my memory of his varied papers in Of Sea and Shore, a conchology publication, and it seems these can be found in an on-line archive. The archive is a bit unwieldy to look, however there’s a PDF obtain possibility for every quantity. Gary wrote about sea monsters and blobsters of assorted types, again into the Nineteen Seventies.

Gary Mangiacopra did seem in impartial documentaries, in addition to on one episode every of Monsterquest (2008) and Historical past’s Mysteries (2009).




Many thanks to numerous web sites who’ve remembered the work of Gary Mangiacopra, in addition to the people Roderick Dyke, Hammerson Peters, Chad Arment, Dave Goudsward, Marc Myrsell, and others.

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