Arthur C. Clarke's chronicles of the strange and mysterious by John Fairley

By John Fairley

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The distinguished zoologist Eric Guiler has been involved in many forays to try to locate the thylacine. He has placed electronic surveillance equipment and night cameras at likely spots, but without success. His interest has been sustained by the apparent authenticity of so many reported sightings. In the early 1950s he managed to interview a number of old men who had been tiger bounty hunters. One of them, H. Pearce, described seeing a female and three pups in the late 1940s - with the clear implication that he had wiped them out, as he had so many in the past.

Mokele-mbembe had entered Lake Tele via one of the waterways which drain the swamps into Lake Tele on the western side. The pygmies had blocked off this waterway by constructing a barrage of stakes and tree trunks. When mokele-mbembe tried to return, it was trapped by the barricade and killed with spears. According to Pascal, the pygmies cut the animal up and ate it. Everyone who ate the flesh died. Powell and Mackal gathered together at Epena a number of people who had seen mokele-mbembe in recent times.

It was 1 December 1952. The Jingyi Middle School of Yixing City in the Jiang-su Province of China was building a sports field. The first task was to level the ground, for the school authorities had chosen a patch of land dominated by an oblong hillock. Another feature of the site, four curiously shaped mounds, complicated the work. That day, a labourer's shout brought everything to a halt. His spade had penetrated a thin layer of earth and rubble and a hole had appeared, releasing a rush of musty air.

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