The Mongolian Death Worm

The Mongolian death worm goes by many names, but that matters little as the words are rarely spoken aloud. If forced, Mongolian tribesmen may speak of it with the greatest fear, for this monster is, according to legend, a vicious killer. Across the Gobi desert, this deadly worm lies in wait only to rise halfway from the depths of sand to expand its mid-section and attack; its victims die instantly.

The names, “allghoi khorkhoi”, “olgoj chorchoj”, or “allerghoi horhai”, translate to “intestine worm”, which refers to its appearance: like that of a cow’s intestine. Ranging in length from two feet to five feet, the Mongolian death worm’s body is reported to be bright red in color and believed to be quite flexible. The death worm can attack its victims from a distance, either by spewing a yellow liquid that eats through the flesh or by an electric shock from its eyes.


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The Mongolian death worm received written attention first in 1926 by paleontologist Roy Chapman. He expressed skepticism in his book as none of the interviewees had physically seen a death worm; they merely recited stories and descriptions, warning that speaking of this horrific monster would surely bring bad luck. A second noted explorer from Czechoslovakia, Ivan Mackerle, assumed the pursuit beginning in 1990. To date, he has been unable to confirm the Mongolian death worm’s existence.

Mackerle, however, made assumptions based on legend: the Mongolian death worm could be a legless skink of some sort, or a cobra-like creature. Others continue to guess; most recently that it is an undiscovered species of a giant worm lizard that has failed to evolve. Many experts believe that tales of the Mongolian death worm have simply been exaggerated to the point of absurdity. Still others have made the trek across the Gobi desert in search of the Mongolian death worm, but have gained no definitive information. On the other hand, Mongolians to this day are adamant in their warnings and continue to speak warily.

For the moment, this worm remains a mystery and is classified as a cryptozoological animal: one whose existence can neither be confirmed nor denied.

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