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Montauk residents proud of their 'monster'

Fifty years from now, when the history of Montauk is recalled - maybe over drinks at a pub - the summer of 2008 will belong to the Montauk Monster.

And while said Monster - part pig, turtle, possum, dog, you name it and have at it - could not be located yesterday, rest assured, the search continues for this Ditch Plains beast that can now be added to the pantheon of the mythical.

And residents are proud of it.

Many locals think it was all very "Montauk" and just another weird thing to add to the lore of what weather and ships and storms and boats can bring to shore.

"We have too many local characters around here that would want to pull a prank," said Chet Kordasz, owner of O'Murphy's Pub and Restaurant, who said the monster looked like a saber-toothed tiger. "But maybe it works to our advantage."

It was THE story at the surf shops and at Colleoden Hotel, said Trish O'Gara. "It's pretty cool and everybody is talking about it," she said. "Every year it's something. Last year it was the weird clouds that were forming and this year they have the monster."

Despite the local pride, there still was much debate over just what the monster was.

Was the Montauk Monster a hoax along the lines of the short-lived legend of the sea serpent living in a local Montauk pond circa 2003?

Or a real, dead thingamabob?

"I wouldn't be surprised if it were real and I wouldn't be surprised if it were fake," said Leda Ross, 54, who was sitting with her husband in O'Murphy's Pub. "What do you think?"

"I think I'll have another drink," said Mike Ross, 61.

Down from the bar a bit, Barry Ryan, 22, of Cork, Ireland, said he saw the monster on television and it reminded him of the hippogriff of Harry Potter lore.

Sitting next to him, his cousin, Kevin Foley, 30, said the monster prompted his decision to move back to Ireland.

"I've had enough of this place," he said. "And I'm afraid of the monster."

For the real scoop, Foley suggested a visit to Shagwong restaurant.

"Ask for Peter," he said. "He can tell you some things."

But it was quickly discovered that there was no scoop to be had from Peter Hewitt, whose daughter took the photos that spawned the speculation. And the things Hewitt did say were mostly an unprintable variation of "no comment."

He did say that reports that his daughter was holding out to the highest bidder to make some cash were "nonsense."

Moving right along, then.

A local who wanted to remain anonymous (we are dealing with monsters here) and who was seen in the vicinity of Mr. John's Pancake House said she has seen the monster on people's phones. And she knows people who saw it on Ditch Plains and other people who saw it at the person's house that they took it to.

"It's only about the size of a cat," she said, taking the monster right out of this Montauk mystery.

Can you take us to it so we can gaze upon its beaked visage, no matter that it is a stinking corpse? Maybe take a few DNA tests?

"Now it's decomposed and it's just skull and bones.

"Hopefully we don't find another one," she said.

Related topic galleries: Harry Potter, Peter Hewitt, Mike Ross

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