With the recent unheralded death of Roy P. Mackal in September 2013, I am reminded of the passing of others who have been associated with Mokele-mbembe expeditions and research. Some of those individuals passed away with little notice and were remembered later, or went suddenly and in their youth. We miss them all, and our continued condolences to their loved ones, colleagues, and families.
Here is a review of that history.
2013: Roy P. Mackal, 88
This year, in September, the well-known Loch Ness Monster and Mokele-mbembe researcher, former University of Chicago professor Roy P. Mackal died at age 88. No one was aware of his death in the cryptozoology community or the general media. I was the first to note his death on CryptoZooNews on December 15th. Mackal obit.
2011: James Powell, 78
Mackal’s partner on the 1980 Mokele-mbembe expedition, herpetologist James H. Powell, Jr., died on January 11, 2011, at age 78. Powell was a reclusive individual in his later years, lived alone, and died unknown to most. He was cremated by the county, and his ashes remained on a shelf at the funeral home. Finally, the staff at United Blood Services discovered this, and arranged for Powell’s ashes to be buried next to his parents a little over a year later, January 31, 2012. Powell obit.
2009: Patrick McGoohan, 80
The evil “Dr. Eric Kiviat” in the Mokele-mbembe Disney movie, Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend, was played by Patrick McGoohan. The famed actor died, at the age of 80, on January 13, 2009, after a short illness, at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. His role in Baby was based loosely on Dr. Roy Mackal. McGoohan obit.
2008: Scott Norman, 43
Scott Norman was a member of the CryptoSafari and the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club expedition to Africa in search of Mokele-Mbembe in 2001. Scott died suddenly from a blood clot, in Fullerton, California, on February 29, 2008, at the age of 43. Norman obit.
2006: Mark Bayless, 46
Mark K. Bayless, moderator of a cryptozoology group and an active researcher, died in Berkeley, California, from complications of diabetes on the morning of November 1, 2006, at age 46. For at least a decade, Mark studied the relationship of Mokele-mobembe, Kipeckwe, and Akani and other African cryptids to his speciality. A herpetoculturist for 23 years, he had written extensively about giant monitor lizards, especially the African species, including in his last book Savannah Monitors. Bayless obit.
2005: Eugene Thomas, 78
Pastor Eugene P. Thomas, a missionary for several years among the Congo pygmies, died on December 21, 2005, in Canton, Ohio, at the age of 78. It was Reverend Eugene Thomas who first told James Powell and Dr. Roy Mackal that pygmies in 1959 said they had killed a Mokele-mbembe. Thomas obit.
2005: Herman Regusters, 72
Dr. Herman Regusters , an aerospace engineer who worked on NASA and JPL projects, died December 19, 2005, at Huntington Beach, California, at 72 years of age. Regusters conducted two expeditions to Lake Tele, in 1981 and 1992. Regusters obit.
2005: Richard Greenwell, 63
J. Richard Greenwell, cofounder of the defunct International Society of Cryptozoology (ISC), died November 1, 2005, of cancer, in Tucson, Arizona, at age 63. Greenwell accompanied Roy Mackal on his second Mokele-mbembe expedition to Lake Tele in the Congo. Greenwell obit, and more on Greenwell.
2005: Phil Anderton, 48
Pastor Phil Anderton was a missionary for 15 years in the Cameroons among the Baku pygmies. He died in Kansas City, of a brain tumor, on August 24, 2005, at the age of 48. Anderton assisted several of the Bill Gibbons-John Kirk-Scott Norman expeditions in the Cameroons. Anderton obit.
Roy Mackal is gone now, but remaining strong and healthy are John Kirk, Bill Gibbons, Milt Marcy, Peter Beach, Rob Mullin, and other individuals linked to past recent Mokele-mbembe expeditions.
Mokele-mbembe art courtesy of Bill Rebsamen.
Footnote: More information is required on the long ago death of Marie Therese Womack, the expedition photographer for Roy Mackal on an early Mokele-mbembe quest. Furthermore, M. Justin Wilkinson, who accompanied Mackal in 1981, may have died recently.