Cryptid 032A, Lambton Wyrm
A.K.A. Lambton Worm
Evidence: Old-world Folklore
Possible Population size: One
My thoughts and theories:
My mother is Scotish. As I grew up, she told me many of the old English/Scotish/Irish legends. To say the least, this is how my obsession with fantasy and the paranormal began. Although I wouldn't discover Cryptozoology until years later, this story alone made me start to belive in anything. If it weren't for the legend of the Lambton Wyrm, I wouldn't be doing this with all of you today.
Long chronicled in the folklore of Durham, England, the legend of this fascinating, seemingly Aquatic-Enigma seems on the surface to be a Christian morality play, but when one looks a little deeper, it becomes apparent that we are dealing with a genuine, biological phenomenon.
After a seemingly endless battle, Lambton finally landed his catch, but much to his dismay it was not the gigantic fish he had hoped for, instead, writhing on the rocky shore before him, was nothing less than a small, glistening black, eel-like creature. Lambton described the beast as having the head of a salamander, with needle sharp teeth and nine holes along either side of its mouth. The animal was also said to secrete a viscous, sticky fluid from its epidermis.
Just as Lambton was about to return is quarry to the river, he was stopped by an elderly passerby who requested to see the creature. The old man was astonished by the sight before him and, according to legend; he blessed himself with the sign of the cross and admonished the boy not to release the animal back into the river, saying that great misfortune would befall him.
The boy must have taken these words to heart, for he packed the squirming creature into his catch basket and on his way home passed by an ancient well, which would hereafter always be known as "worm's well", wherein he deposited the violent creature.
Years pass. By this point young Lambton had grown into manhood and, like so many of his brethren, he had hastened off to the Holy Land in order to fight in the crusades. It was during his tenure abroad, that the worm in the well also reached maturity, much to the horror of local villagers.
Described as being a legless and wingless Dragon, with razor-sharp teeth, eyewitnesses claimed that one could see a well defined musculature beneath this animals black skin. This worm-dragon description has led some researchers to surmise that there may be a connection between this animal and the notorious Lindworms, which haunted the rest of Europe and parts of Asia.
According to legend, this animal returned to its river home, and for awhile nothing more was heard from this beast, and then it got hungry. Reports which have been passed on from this period state that this creature went on a feeding frenzy, which claimed numerous cows and sheep as victims. It was said that the Lambton Worm had a particular fondness for cow's milk, and would often use its knife-like teeth to pierce the udders of its bovine victims and drain them of their precious cargo.
When a cadre of brave villagers attempted to stop this rampage nothing more was hear from them. Their corpses were discovered soon after near the river. Some of the men had drowned, others had been crushed, and still others had been literally torn apart. Thus began a 7 year reign of terror in which the villagers managed to satiate the beast's hunger with daily offerings of warm milk, for which a special stone trough was constructed outside Lambton Hall.
When John Lambton finally returned home from the crusades, he was mortified by the terror which gripped his native land. Feeling responsible for the entire situation, he solicited the help of a reputed witch, who suggested that Lambton have the local blacksmith forge him a unique suit of armor, one which was covered with double edged spikes.
As Lambton approached the beast's lair, the creature, lying in wait, sprung out at him. As it wrapped its coils around Lambton's armored form, shreds of its flesh were sliced off. The enraged creature continued its suicidal onslaught, until it had so weakened itself, that the young crusader was able to finally dispatch the creature with a single blow of his sword.
The tale of the Lambton worm concludes with some shady business involving the witch and a curse, but the story of the animal itself ends there. For many, the legend of the Lambton Worm is nothing more than a story which was used to warn children not to miss church, and to remind adults that debts must always be paid, but some fortean investigators have pointed out that this animal seems to be more than a metaphor. It seems as if the details used in the description of this beast would be superfluous if it was only serving as a generic villain in a morality play.
Skeptics have speculated that the creature, if it were ever alive at all, may have been a gigantic python or boa constrictor, which had been transplanted to the British Isles by a sailor from a merchant trading ships or even a returning crusader. While it is hard to discount this animal's snake-like appearance, the possibility of a tropical snake growing to the aforementioned proportions; as well as surviving in Briton's harsh winter climate, seem unlikely at best.
My personal opinin is that the creature is really some kind of fresh-water eel that may have grown to gigantic proportions due to a abundance of food, exposure to unatural hormones in the well water, or possibly just because it's a undiscovered species that just grows big.
Or maybe this is another case of a big-fish kind of story.
Cryptid Files: [link]