The death worm, more commonly known as the Mongolian Death Worm , is shrouded in myth and mystery. Some say the Mongolian death worm is a beast that spews acid from its belly and onto its victims. Others say this little monster can kill its prey from a considerable distance by shooting an electric charge from its tail. According to Czech explorer Ivan Mackerle, the Mongolian death worm is a sausage-like creature more than 20 inches (half a meter) long and as thick as a man’s arm. The explorer likened the worm to the intestine of cattle.
The death worm, also called “intestine worm” (based on Mackerle’s description), is said to live in the Gobi desert and it only emerges during the hottest months of the year – June and July. The rest of the year, the Mongolian death worm is said to burrow deep into the sand, only surfacing after a rain or when the ground is wet. Mackerle wrote: “It is dangerous, because it can kill people and animals instantly at a range of several metres.”
So, just how much of this is fact and how much is fiction? For starters, it’s awfully dangerous to discount a large number of sightings from people that claim to have seen the same thing, right? Next, why on earth would the respected and revered Mackerle make up such a story? These questions and others prompted a group of British scientists (cryptozoologists) to pack up and head out to the Gobi Desert in search of the elusive and deadly creature. In 2005, Operation Death Worm was born.
Sponsored by the Center for Fortean Zoology and led by respected cryptozoologist Richard Freeman, Operation Death Worm began in May 2005 and took the team through Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Here, the team spent hours digging holes in the sand and earth and interviewing eyewitnesses. After uncovering hundreds of lizards and skinks (common lizard found in Asia and Africa). Although the team did not find the infamous Mongolian death worm, it did acknowledge that the worm could very well be an unidentified snake or lizard variety.
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Today, the hunt for the Mongolian death worm continues and the Center for Fortean Zoology has released a documentary, which follows Operation Death Worm through the Gobi Desert. Mongolian nomads still tell the story of how the death worm killed a small boy and his parents, and many cryptozoologist believe its out there somewhere, just waiting to be discovered.