A group of four or five teenagers aged between 14 and 16 claim to have been playing near a cave in Cerro Azul, Panama when the creature emerged. They say that it approached them, and, fearing for their safety, they attacked the creature with sticks and rocks, killing it. They claim that they then threw its corpse into a pool of water before leaving the area. They later returned and took photographs of the creature's corpse, before sending the pictures to Telemetro, a Panamanian television station. Virginia Wheeler, writing for The Sun, claimed that the discovery "sparked fear and confusion" in the town. According to some sources, subsequent photographs were taken of the creature after it had further decomposed; however, doubts have been expressed about whether the later photos were of the same specimen. A few days after the photographs were taken, one of the teenagers gave a different account in an interview with Telemetro Reporta, saying "I was in the river and I felt something grabbing my legs ... We took it out of the water and started throwing rocks and sticks at it. We had never seen anything like that." The photographs show a pale creature that is mostly hairless, with a rubbery body. It has "revolting features"; a snub-nose and long arms. Writers for the Huffington Post said that while the head is clearly animal, the torso is "strange", while the limbs are reminiscent of thin human arms. Writers forWBALTV.com compared it to both a "small, portly" version of the alien in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and The Lord of the Rings'sGollum's "long-lost cousin".
The story and the photographs circulated the Internet, including various cryptozoology blogs, with a great amount of speculation about possible explanations. A video showing the original photographs, as well as some footage of the further decomposed corpse, became very popular on the web, being one of the most viewed videos over the course of a day. In addition to its prevalence on the Internet, the story was covered on television and radio. Comparisons were drawn to the Montauk Monster found in Montauk, New York in June 2008. A popular theory was that the Panama Creature was a sloth (perhaps an albino) that had somehow became hairless; proponents of the hypothesis cited the hooked claw visible in one of the photographs. Science author Darren Naish, writing for ScienceBlogs, supported the sloth hypothesis, but had a "difficult time" explaining the creature's hairlessness. The sloth theory was generally considered most credible; in 1996, similar photographs were taken of a creature found on the coast between Panama and Costa Rica that was later confirmed to be a sloth that had started to decay. Further Internet speculation led to some proposing that it was in fact a dolphin or a pit bull terrier, an example of a species previously unknown to science, or some sort of genetic mutation. Some Panamanian zoologists said that it appeared to be a fetus of some kind. In addition to naturalistic explanations, Billy Booth of About.com reported that "there has been speculation that it is alien, and thereby the connection to UFOs, undersea bases, the whole ball of wax".
The creature's corpse was recovered four days after the encounter, and a biopsy was performed by the National Environmental Authority of Panama (ANAM). The biopsy concluded that the corpse was in fact a male brown-throated sloth, a species common in the area. André Sena Maia, a veterinarian who works at Niterói Zoo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, explained that "most people know how a dead animal looks like in a dry environment", and claimed that "the body must have got stuck under the water, and the movement of the currents gave the false impression that it was alive." A necropsy revealed that severetrauma had been inflicted on the body of the sloth, and Melquiades Ramos, a specialist from the ANAM Department of Protected Areas, estimated that the body had been in the water for "about two days" prior to discovery. The hairlessness was probably caused by the fact it was submerged in water, which can lead to acceleration of fur loss, resulting in smooth skin. A post-mortal bloating further contributed to the unusual appearance of the corpse. After the sloth was identified, its body was buried by ANAM staff.
In 2009, four Panamanian teenagers had a terrifying encounter with a pale, spindly armed, hairless being, which they claim they were forced to kill after it attacked them from under the water.
Also known as the “Blue Hill Horror,” “Panama E.T.” or the “Panamanian Blue Hill Monster,” the first known encounter with this ostensibly aggressive creature occurred on September 12, 2009, when a quartet of teenagers (all reportedly between the ages of 15 and 16,) while exploring a creek near the Cerro Azul region of Panama City, had a run in a creature that was so bizarre they all agreed that it must be extra-terrestrial in origin.
Although there are a multitude of contradicting stories circulating around the web, there are some irrefutably intriguing facts surrounding this case. According to the first account, the teens were playing near a cave beneath a waterfall on the Blue Hill Spurt, when something unbelievable emerged from the under fall’s murky maw and began to climb the rocks toward them.
They described the beast as a hairless, pale skinned creature that appeared to have an almost turtle-like head, with long skinny arms that tapered off into a curved claw.
Yet another, presumably more accurate, account comes from one of the eyewitnesses himself. He claimed that he and his friends, presumably prompted by terror fueled adrenaline, subdued and eventually killed what they perceived to be the attacking beast by pelting it with a barrage of sticks and stones. The youth described his harrowing encounter to a local television program, Telemetro Reporta, a few days after the event:
“I was in the river and I felt something grabbing my legs. We took it out of the water and started throwing rocks and sticks at it. We had never seen anything like that.”
Following this violent encounter, the teenagers threw the “thing” back into the water and speedily returned home. Soon after the boys screwed up their courage and returned to the scene of their brutal attack in order to gather photographic evidence to support their bizarre tale. They snapped a series of photos of this extraordinary entity lying dead on a rock and posted pictures. They posted the images of what they claimed to be a dead alien online where it hastily earned the nickname “Panama E.T.”
It wasn’t long after the images hit the web that the news of their encounter spread throughout the neighborhood. Panama’s Channel 13 broadcast the pictures of this strange beast and alarm – if not downright horror — rippled through the community of Cerro Azul. News agencies across the globe, including CNN and the Huffington Post were quick to pick this story up.
Some thought it was an unknown animal that emerged from the jungle and others believed that anything so weird must be an alien. An unnamed Panamanian zoologist was consulted and, although he was unable to identify the beast, claimed that it appeared to be a dead fetus of some kind. Other conclusions have included everything from the almost plausible genetic mutation to the totally ludicrous dead dolphin.
According to National Geographic, Panamanian officials recovered the “alien” four days after the teenagers had thrown it back into the creek and sent it to the National Environmental Authority of Panama (ANAM) so that a biopsy could be performed. Not surprising to any conspiracy buffs, the conclusion made by the scientists was that the creature was a male three-toed sloth.
There are some, however, who have not been swayed by the “sloth” argument, citing that the pigmentation and general features of the creature are unlike those of the common Central America sloth.
They also contend that whether or not this creature is from OUT OF THIS WORLD or simply a mutation spawned in the heavily polluted waters surrounding Panama City, it would be in their best interest to quell the growing unrest brewing in the Cerro Azul area by dismissing the creature with the most mundane explanation available.