On Tuesday, the crack bloggers at Gawker put aside their daily feed of celebrity stalking and media scandal to report on a major breaking story: A "dead monster" had washed up on a beach in the Hamptons.
The creaturea bedraggled, hairless thing that looks part dog, part turtle, part creepy beaked messcertainly appears fearsome enough to qualify as a monster. Whether it also qualifies as real remains to be seen. Gawker immediately theorized that it must be "viral marketing for something." Nonetheless, the blog's gleeful account of the "Montauk monster" set off a groundswell of searches.
Driven by curiosity seekers as far from New York's shores as California, Florida, and Tennessee, lookups for "montauk monster" surged into our top daily movers. Responding to various theories about what the beast could be, demand rose for "montauk monster shark," "turtle without shell," "sea turtle," and "montauk monster great white." Other speculation about the four-legged fiend posited that it's a PR stunt, a latex hoax, or a diseased dog.
Even if it ends up being entirely made-up, we will always thank the unfortunate creature for inspiring one of our favorite headlines of the year. From New York Magazine came this beauty of a title: "East Hampton Bureaucrats Deny Montauk Monster Is Beast From Hell."
But could it be a beast from Long Island? Also there was a tip that a government animal testing facility very close by in Long beach.