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Allghoi Khorkhoi

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Searching For The Illusive Mongolian Death Worm

By James Donahue

This story seems to have fallen right out of a cheap Hollywood B-rated movie script . . . but it is a tale from various Internet publications and appears to have a ring of ligitimacy.

It seems that a British group representing the Center for Fortean Zoology went foraging out on the Gobi Desert, in the wilds of Mongolia, searching for something they would be better off never finding. The target was Allghoi khorkhoi, or in English: the Mongolian death worm.

It was not be the first time that a scientific team has tramped the barren desert regions searching for this mysterious worm. Czech author Ivan Mackerle brought expeditions into the area in 1990 and again in 1993 after hearing about the worm. While Mackerle managed to collect a lot of stories from natives, luckily he never found the worm.

Nor did a third search team led by explorer Adam Davies in 2003, or the British team in 2009. Television crews have since searched in vain.

Which may have been fortunate for them all.

According to the stories, the Allghoi khorkhoi is a fat, bright red snakelike creature that measures from two to four feet in length. It is said to crawl around under the sand, and when it feels threatened, will rise partially up out of the sand, puff up to several times its normal size, and spit a poisonous substance through the air with deadly accuracy.

The poison is so lethal it is known to instantly kill a camel or a horse, the natives say. Some humans have been killed by the worm as well.

The Death Worm is so feared among the people of Mongolia that many believe the mere mention of its name brings them bad luck. Thus, getting the locals to talk about it is sometimes difficult.

Mackerle said he managed to get a little vodka, however, helped loosen some Mongolian nomads so they would speak of the worm, however. They told him the creature spits an acidic liquid that makes anything it touches turn yellow and corroded. They said the color yellow seems to attract the worm.

The latest expedition, lead by crypto-zoologist Richard Freeman, wanted to not only find the worm, but capture a number of them alive. The plan was to bring them to England for study.

Freeman says he believes the creature’s death dealing powers are apocryphal. "It’s like the salamander in medieval Europe. It was thought to be deadly poisonous. Alexander the Great was supposed to have lost hundreds of men after they drank from a stream that had a salamander living in it. But now we know it’s harmless."

Freeman thinks the death worm is probably a reptile, or a limbless worm lizard, since it apparently exists in an extremely dry environment.

Until he sees it for himself, Freeman also questions the ability of the worm to kill with the speed and accuracy described by the natives.

Until someone other than the natives see this worm and perhaps discover for themselves how deadly it can be, Allghoi khorkhoi will remain a subject of local legend, much like the American Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.