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Friday, August 22, 2008

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Check this out....The Montauk Monster's cousin?

Beast mysteriously washes to shore in Rocky Point as film crew rolls into town

By Grant Parpan

ROCKY POINT--Is it a dead possum? A raccoon? A dog? Or could it possibly be a distant relative of the -- gulp -- Montauk Monster?
Those were the reactions of the Rocky Point residents who say they came in contact with the remains of a dead beast that apparently washed ashore on the beach near the end of Hallock Landing Road sometime late last week.

What makes the discovery particularly unusual is that the beast allegedly sailed into town just days before the crew of the film "Splinterheads," an independent motion picture that has been shooting throughout Suffolk County. The film unit and has been linked by several media outlets to the now infamous Montauk Monster, which gained attention from the national media shortly after its alleged discovery on a Montauk beach. The film was being shot on location in Wading River this week, on the National Grid access road just south of the defunct Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant, only a few miles from where the "Rocky Point Monster" was allegedly discovered.

Is it a coincidence? Is this just a series of hoaxes that have nothing to do with a movie that just happens to be filming on Long Island? Or is this the latest prank in an elaborate hoax designed to gain publicity for the film?

"We though the publicity was great," said "Splinterheads" producer Anisa Qureshi. "But [the Montauk Monster] is not connected in any way with our movie. We found [the hoax was concocted by] a teenager with a fake Web site."

The film was linked to the Montauk Monster after it was revealed in several reports that one of the women who claimed to have spotted the beast is the sister of "Splinterheads" producer Darren Goldberg. According to a blog affiliated with the film, however, Mr. Goldberg, does not have a sister named Rachel. Several Internet reports claimed the Montauk Monster was a prop from "Splinterheads," citing a crew member who said the hoax would be unveiled in a scene of the movie.

Then, with still no real certainty as to where the Montauk Monster came from, the East Hampton Star reported Aug. 5 that the beast had disappeared from the property of a Montauk real estate agent who claimed to have removed the creature from the beach.

No one had reported seeing anything like the Montauk Monster again until earlier this week, when The North Shore Sun received word of a sighting of something that looked similar to it from local real estate agent Linda Albo, president of the North Shore Beach Property Owner's Association.

"Take a ride down to the end of Hallock Landing Road," said Ms. Albo, who believes the beast may have washed out of an overflowing drainage system. "This thing looks like the Montauk Monster."

On Tuesday, Ms. Albo e-mailed a photograph of the mysterious beast to a Sun reporter.

Charlene Salito, a marketing consultant from Queens who summers in Rocky Point, said she sent the e-mail of the photograph that eventually made its way to the Sun after receiving it from her neighbor, Jennifer Vorraro, who she said took the photograph. The e-mail subject line read: "Could this be the Rocky Point Monster?"

Ms. Salito said she first came in contact with the dead creature Saturday afternoon as it lay on the town right of way near the beach parking lot.

"It looked like a possum," she said.

Although Ms. Salito said she notified police of the horrifying beast Sunday morning, a police spokesperson could not find record of that phone call. Ms. Salito said she also called a Town of Brookhaven phone number provided by police, but did not leave a message when she was greeted by a voice recording.

When she returned to the beach to watch the sun set Monday evening, the monster was gone, she said.

Ms. Salito said neighbors have since told her that the earliest Rocky Point Monster sighting was made by area children who were "poking at it with bats" as it lay near the shore line. She said kids told her that is why the beast had a hole in it. She said a North Shore Beach security guard later told her she saw a man "nobody recognized" transport the creature from the beach to the parking lot on a sled sometime Saturday.

Ms. Salito said she contacted her neighbor Edward Bie, a director of the North Shore Beach Property Owner's Association, to let him know about the beast. After seeing it for himself, he said he notified Ms. Albo to let her know that no matter what people say, it is "not the Montauk Monster."

"To me, it looked like a dead raccoon," Mr. Bie said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "It did remind me of the Montauk Monster, but this thing looked pretty real to me.

"Flies were all over a hole in its skin and there was just bone where the head used to be ... It must have been in the water for awhile."

When shown photographs of the Rocky Point Monster near the Wading River set of her film, Ms. Qureshi said, "Oh, wow. I couldn't even begin to know what that is ... It does sort of look like [the Montauk Monster]."

Ms. Salito said she believed the creature to be real and not a prop, or anything designed to create a hoax. But the different neighbors' accounts of the beast sighting vary slightly.

While Mr. Bie said he noticed flies "all over it," Ms. Salito said she didn't notice any. She also said her friends noticed "a few flies" on it and that one of them was surprised the creature didn't smell. Ms. Albo said she never got close to the creature, because the stench was so bad.

Ms. Salito laughed when asked if she was involved in a promotional hoax for "Splinterheads" and both she and Mr. Bie claimed to have no knowledge of the filming taking place in Wading River.

Ms. Salito did later recall an incident at the beach allegedly involving a film crew from several weeks back, however. She said she heard a story from a neighbor about reported vandalism on the beach. When officials from the property owner's association responded to the call, however, they found no vandalism but rather people who said they were members of a film crew. She said the sighting was near where the Rocky Point Monster was discovered.

Town of Brookhaven communications director Kevin Molloy said the town's departments of waste management, parks, public safety and the animal shelter had heard no reports of the creature's discovery. And no one seems to know where it went.

"That is kind of weird, now that I think about it," Ms. Salito later wrote in an e-mail to the Sun.

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