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I Was It Ferocious Tiger-Fish, Man-Eating Shark, Giant Octopus,
Sea Serpent or What Strange Monster ,C - --kI V V I 1 mm right, : Dorothy i . f 1 v . '' ' McClatchic, $ t . I ' egirl , swimmer x ;' ir' so strangely j killed in Hi y 1 am pa x Bay; on Tr-.-. the left, ' ' . jl&r'! -. , went to her aid If i , V. Above, the ugly head of rTVi the barracuda, the "Tiger . ; I cf the Seas" ; and below, ff W, a drawing made by an I j LV eye-witness of the 100- 1 I yvv fot 8ea serpent which V . caused to much alarm V , w ' 'V v along the Atlantic coast Jv xpT" of the United States back r'- '" '- v1.; J in 1S51 That Tore iSril Dorothy McClatchies J Flesh to rS Ik Shreds ' . and So Quickly I Killed Her? LATE In the afternoon of June 17 two athletic and attractive speci mens of young womanhood, their ' : f-hnpely figures clothed in one-piece bath- ing suits, skipped lightly across the 'If bench at St. Petersburg. Fla., and J plunged into the sun-kissed surf. With graceful, vigorous strokes they HHe BTm side by . - -, , ?f side straight shore. Their . V . yyx- goal was a , LI J channel buoy xHV f.M that bobbed f; i )m xsif up and down $$frlS' fiZj a mile and a ,". . l&ZftC half out in f I Tampa Bay. ? - T tance. how- s - VQN l" ever, was ' i-s III""?: nothing to ) nl - . dismay pretty 4 fr Dorothy Mc- Hrtl-Z Clatchie and ' v her chum, v Mary Buhner. m for both were expert swim- h joI ewim ''SSlSKSiJu ming team T, . K I V, ho1 recently won the state championship. To swim out to the buoy and back was, for them, just a good appetiser bforc din ner. On they pressed through the swelling waves, and when at last they reached the buoy they swung themselves up on it to rest a bit before undertaking the return trip. Like sea nymphs, they frolicked there In thev light of the setting aun, full of the bubbling joy cjf life that for one of them was so soon to be cruelly ended. "Lefe gol" at last cried Dorothy. "Wo shall be late for dinner " As she spoke hoth girls leaped to their fr-. : feet, poised for an in- JSqHMBj stant on the edge of jr 'ne buoy, thtn plunged jjyjlpw deep into the sparkling Jjf They had one only ? ' a little way on r their homeward JLf f-w ' journey when 3SjCiI Mary Buhner. :-!ttf '. h O - a f i v 'MESjM yards ahe.-.d her chum, was stalled by a piercing shriek. Looking back, she was horrified to see Dorothy McClatchie, with arms up strelchiMl pppealinply, and her pretty face twisted in an awful agony of pain and terror "Something ha bitten me," cried the suffering girl. "I think my leg is gone " Mary Buhner turned about and swam swiftly to her companion's aid. But she had no realization of the seriousness of Dorothy's plight until she diew near enough to her to see that the water all around her was etnined with crimson. At sight of that over widening patch of blood the awful truth swept over Mary Buhner with appalling force. She saw that Death had seized her friend in a cruel, relentless jrrip and that at any ' j instant now he might drag her down to the mysterious depths from which he had risen to claim his luckless victim. More desperately Mary swam and reached Dorothy's side just in time to hear her murmur "Kiss m I'm dying!" And even so it was. By the time Mary Buhner was near enough to encircle her chum with her strong arms there was only a corpse for them to hold Luckily for Mary Buhner eyes on sjiore had seen that the girl swimmers were in trouble and help was soon on the way. It was fully half an hour, however, before the beach guards in their boat could reach the spot, and in that time she went through such an or deal as falls to the lot of few men or women. To keep hetself ind that lifeless body afloat for such a length of time wa.c in itself a tremendous task, and each slow ly passing minute increased her dread that Death, lurking below her and still ravenous for human flesh and blood, might lay hold of her just as it had of her churn. She collapsed from exhaustion when at last Fhe was dragged into the rescuing boat and physicians had to work over her for several hours before she was revived. For poor Dorothy McClatchie, as a single glance at her bleeding body was enough to show, there was no such hope. One of her legs was almost torn from her body, th-. flesh ripped and gashed by a cruelly sharp something, v hieh had severed veins and arteries and drained her young life away in a flood of Mood. Experts who examined the girl's shocking wounds say that they are just the kind which would be inflicted by the d.icfjor-like teeth and powerful jaws of some sea monster, Just what that monster was. how it made its way into the supposedly safe waters oi lampa uay, why it was satisfied with one victim and failed to attack the ,1.1 who heroically came to dying Dorothy McClatchie's a i d these are mysteries which co n never be solved with any cer tainty. They are deepened by the fact that this is t h h first tragedy of the kind ever recorded in "Mary Buhner saw that Death had seized her friend in a cruel, relentless grip, and that at any instant he might drag her BP down to the mysterious depths from which he had risen to claim his luckless victim. More desperately Mary Kft; swam, and reached Dorothy's side just in time to hear K::. Jaws of man-eating shark in the American Museum of Natural His tory showing the numerous rows of fully grown and partly de veloped teeth that make its bite so deadly Florida waters. Although the semi tropical southern Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico contain many kinds of fish that are dangerous to human life, it has always oven thought that they gave the Florida coast a wide enough berth to remove any menace to swimmers. At first many were Inclined to think it must have been a giant barracuda, known to fishermen of Florida and the West Indies as the "Tiger of the Seas," that attacked the girl swimmer. This is a huge creature, specimens having been found that measured thirty or forty feet in length. It will attack human beings as readily and with as terrible ferocity as tile man-eating shark. But Tampa Bay is far from the usual haunts of these dread sea tigers, whose flesh and oitc the Cubans think poison ous. It seems hard to believe that one of them should have made its way to the spot where Dorothy McClatchie met hor death. The same dine of reasoning eliminates the shark Southern waters abound in these ruthless pirates of the nnimal world, but the only varieties seen in such close proximity to the bathing beaches are the small ones that have never been knr wn to attack man. Could it have been an octopus or devil fish that laid hold of this girl and al most severed her log from her body? The eight sucker-like arms with which this extraordinary creature is supplied might have hld her in their viso-likg V' An - foo alligator gar, a tea murderer that makes many southern waters dangerous for swimmers I; grip, while its horny beak ripped and tore its way through her flesh. j No other monster that swims the j; ocean's depths has fired the world's im- ination more than the octopus, and the ; more science finds out about the huge size which it is believed to attain and jf the horrible punishment it can inflict the f more amazing it becomes. In olden days sailors uaed to believe that a giant octo- pus could overwhelm a whole ship and jr. its crew and drag them down to destruc- t . That such a thing is not an impossi- f bility would seem to be indicated by the t. discovery only the other day on the coast - of Mozambique, in Africa, of the carcass t of what is believed to have been a huge M octopus that measured more than a hun- t drcd feet in length and probably weighod ft at least fourteen or fifteen tons. jf: "A native informed me," writes an I observer, in reporting the matter to & scientists tn England, "that the creature had only one head as large as the top ft of the lighthouse at Macuti but that it I had five arms, and that these were the v. length and girth of the small wild palm trees which grow on the sand dunes . along the shore. He was positive that L. it had two eyes, twice as large as the re lights on a motorcycle." p In trying to clear up the mystery of poor Dorothy McClatchio's death even r many scientists will give consideration to ' w the possibility of her having been seized j by the jaws of a sea serpent Although &' science has never been able to use its dissecting knives and microscopes on w . such creatures, there is good reason to E" suspect that they exist in various parts of the seven seas. M. Back In 18.M the people living or. the Atlantic coast of the United States were 9: I greatly excited by the repeated appear- Efi nnce at widely separated points of what mil was described as a sea serpent. Credible ft '-' observers described this monster as being Bv'- at least one hundred feet long and with Wp. a cylindrical body about two feet in diam- E'' eter. It had a large and ugly head, FV which It reared high above the water as it plunged along at great speed, and its open mouth revealed shark-like teeth L: V and the forked tongue of a anake.