Sunday, 18 September 2016

Giant Anaconda Skin Stokes Mystery of Maine’s Elusive 'Wessie'

The skin’s placement could be a hoax—or evidence of “Wessie,” a supposedly massive snake that recently has grown into a local legend.

A snakeskin found on a picturesque riverbank in the northeast United States belongs to an anaconda—the latest twist in the baffling story of “Wessie,” a supposedly enormous snake that has become a local legend in the town of Westbrook, Maine.

Sightings of the snake began in June, when a woman filed a report with the Westbrook police department claiming to have seen a snake as large as a truck, with a head the size of a basketball.

Picture of an anaconda snake skin found in MaineSoon thereafter, a late-shift police officer patrolling near the first sighting saw a large snake eating a mammal, possibly a beaver. And on August 20, a man walking along the Presumpscot River stumbled across the molted skin of a 12-foot-long snake, near the other two sightings.

With each sighting, the mystery deepened—and the local community’s fascination with its strange new mascot grew. Clothing stores began selling Wessie-themed shirts. One local brewery even made a special-edition beer in honor of the snake.

“It’s kind of picked up steam with each sighting, and the social media thing has been big,” says Westbrook Police Captain Sean Lally. “A lot of people have taken it as a lighthearted thing—kind of like our Loch Ness monster.”

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