It’s blood-red, measures up to five feet long, has spikes protruding from both ends, spits deadly acid when threatened and shoots lightning out of its rectum over long distances. And despite the fact that there has never been a confirmed sighting of the Mongolian death worm, two Kiwi journalists are traveling to the Gobi Desert to find it – with explosives.
For centuries, Mongolian nomads have insisted that the worm exists, prompting expeditions in search of the elusive creature including two recent attempts in 2003 and 2005. Czech cryptozoologist Ivan Mackerle spent a large chunk of his life savings unsuccessfully searching for the worm with night-vision goggles and camera-equipped ultralight planes.
Like Mackerle, New Zealand journalists David Farrier and Christie Douglas believe that explosives are the best way to find the Allghoi Khorkhoi, or “intestine worm”, so named because it is said to resemble a bloody cow’s intestine. That’s because legend has it that the Mongolian death worm is attracted to tremors.
"They are high for a ridiculous creature like the death worm but the area I am going to is a very specific place in the southern Gobi where all the sightings have been,” Farrier told New Zealand’s TV3.
Farrier’s enthusiasm picks up where Marckerle’s left off. The latter is a bit more skeptical of the Mongolian death worm’s existence after his travels in search of legendary creatures proved unfruitful. Still, Mackerle doesn’t regret the time he has devoted to the worm, noting that similar stories resulted in the discovery of the Komodo dragon and the mountain gorilla.
While environmental activists have every right to be concerned about explosives being set off in the Gobi Desert, animal rights advocates needn’t worry too much – at least, not about the Mongolian death worm. Farrier isn’t planning on harming the creature if he does find it, or even trying to capture it.
"I have no intention of grabbing it, capturing it, stuffing it, or anything like that. I just want to prove its existence and if I can get it on film, that's all I need to do."