It is the stuff of nightmares to look upon—except it was only about a foot long. And it also lived some 300 million years ago. Unless, that is, cryptozoologist and journalist Ted Holiday was correct in his hypothesis that the Loch Ness Monster is really just a gigantic Tully Monster. His identification should hold some weight, since he claimed to have seen the Monster on several occasions. Then again, he also attributed supernatural powers to the Monster. I actually think he was right on that one, but I don’t know if he’s right about Nessie being a giant Tully Monster.
Anyway, the Tully Monster, or TULLIMONSTRUM GREGARIUM (which is maybe the coolest scientific name I’ve ever heard and alternately sounds like some spell Harry Potter might cast while waving his magical pointy stick) is the official state fossil of Illinois, discovered there in the stone walls of coalmines in the 1950s. For decades scientists couldn’t decide whether it was a vertebrate or an invertebrate, sorta like an enormous slug. Today, though, they know that it did have a backbone and is similar to a lamprey. Doesn’t *look* like a lamprey, though. Squid-like body, eyes on the ends of protruding snail-like stems, an elephantine truck ending with a dinosaurian mouth filled with little needle-like teeth. Whatever the Loch Ness Monster might or might not be, it couldn’t be anything more frightening to imagine than a big-ass Tully Monster.