The Milt Marcy Expedition, in pursuit of Mokele-mbembe, has arrived in Cameroon, and the latest word is that Milt Marcy, Peter Beach, and Rob Mullin are preparing to head into the target area.
Word has also reached the greater outside world that another important figure in the search for Mokele-mbembe, Pastor Phil Anderton, 48, died unexpectedly in 2005. This brings to four (not three as previously noted here) the number of men linked to earlier Mokele-mbembe activities who all passed away last year. (See our postings on on all four here.)
Missionary Phil Anderton, who along with his wife Reda, and then later his five children, served as part of the Christian World Team mission for 15 years in West Africa. Specifically, he worked closely among the semi-nomatic Baka pygmies in the rainforest of southeast Cameroon. (Reda Anderton is a medical doctor who was in constant demand to assist with the Baka’s complex medical needs.)
Phil Anderton’s past involvement with the Mokele-mbembe expeditions included support and important introductions. For example, in November 2000, cryptozoologists Bill Gibbons and David Woetzel flew to the Republic of Cameroon on a two-week exploratory expedition, searching for leads regarding Mokele-mbembe activity. Phil and Reda Anderton, who were engaged in evangelizing the Baka pygmies, arranged a working relationship between Gibbons and local hunter and tracker, Pierre Sima.
Prior to the arrival of Gibbons and Woetzel, Sima had already conducted an exploratory expedition of his own in the southern region of the country and gathered some interesting information from the Baka population who live in the densely forested region near the river.
Phil Anderton eventually assisted the Mokele-mbembe expeditions conducted by Gibbons and Woetzel, John Kirk of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, Scott Norman of CryptoSafari, and others by arranging for eyewitnesses to be interviewed, with the introduction of local expert tracker Pierre Sima who is now pivotal in Cameroon Mokele-mbembe field research, and through storing expedition equipment at the Andertons’ residence in the town of Bertoua.
Phil Anderton’s death came as a shock to many. Anderton, along with his family, was in the United States last summer for a series of meetings and some rest. He had been complaining about recent migraines. While in Kansas City, Anderton was discovered, on August 23, 2005, unresponsive in the morning, could not be awakened, and was rushed to the emergency room. An MRI was done, which found a brain tumor. Emergency surgery was conducted that afternoon. The tumor was found to be malignant and the size of a baseball. Late in the afternoon of August 24, 2005, after not recovering from surgery, Phil Anderton died.
The World Team community grieved his passing deeply. Phil Anderton was the team leader for their work among the Baka tribe. He was scheduled to return to Cameroon during the fall of 2005, to help orient two new couples to the Baka work.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends, his wife, and to the Andertons’ children: Nathaniel (1986), Nicholas (1988), Naomi (1990), Noah (1996), Nelson (1998).
Cryptozoology, as well, lost another wonderful person who assisted in extending our knowledge of what new animals may exist in the Cameroon-Congo area.
Drawings of Mokele-mbembe, thanks to Roy Mackal (above) and Bill Rebsamen (below), used with permission.