Meet the Monsters: The Peninsula Python

Peninsula, 1944—Unlike many of the other monsters covered in my book, the Peninsula Python belonged to a real, recognized animal species, it was just in a place it should not have been: The Village of Peninsula, in the middle of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Summit County, in the summer of 1944.

How exactly it came to be there is unclear, but it was thought to have escaped when a truck carrying it as part of a circus or exhibit crashed.  

The 15-18-foot snake was seen slithering around local farms, leaving a trail like a heavy tire track that went in and out of the river, and generally scaring the heck out of anyone who saw it. The Python was never caught, killed or found dead—despite a few hunts by organized posses—it just stopped appearing. One assumes the tropical snake crawled into a hole somewhere and succumbed to the Ohio winter…if it was ever here at all, of course.

The tale  of the python was originally told by Cleveland Press reporter and notorious hoaxer Robert Bordner in a 1945 story in The Atlantic with the perhaps overly-defensive title of “The Peninsula Python: An Absolutely True Story”. which may leave some room to doubt its veracity. 

Illustration by Janie Walland

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