It is described as a bright red worm with a wide body that is 2 to 5 feet (0.6 to 1.5 m) long.
The worm is the subject of a number of claims by Mongolian locals - such as the ability of the worm to spew forth an acid that, on contact, will turn anything it touches yellow and corroded (and which would kill a human), as well as its reported ability to kill at a distance by means of electric discharge.
Though natives of the Gobi have long told tales of the olgoi-khorkhoi, the creature first came to Western attention as a result of ProfessorRoy Chapman Andrews's 1926 book On the Trail of Ancient Man. The US paleontologist was not convinced by the tales of the monster that he heard at a gathering of Mongolian officials: "None of those present ever had seen the creature, but they all firmly believed in its existence and described it minutely."The worms are purportedly between 2 and 5 feet (0.6 and 1.5 m) long, and thick-bodied.
In his book "On the Trail of Ancient Man" (1926), Roy Chapman Andrews (an American explorer, adventurer and naturalist who became the director of the American Museum of Natural History) cites Mongolian Prime Minister Damdinbazar who in 1922 described the wormallergorhai-horhai:
"It is shaped like a sausage about two feet long, has no head nor leg and it is so poisonous that merely to touch it means instant death. It lives in the most desolate parts of the Gobi Desert…"
In 1932 Andrews published this information again in the book "The New Conquest of Central Asia", adding: "It is reported to live in the most arid, sandy regions of the western Gobi". Andrews didn't believe that the animal was real.
Czech cryptozoologist Ivan Mackerle in his book "Mongolské záhady" (2001) described the animal from second-hand reports as a "sausage-like worm over half a metre (20 inches) long, and thick as a man's arm, resembling the intestine of cattle. Its skin serves as an exoskeleton, molting whenever hurt. Its tail is short, as if it were cut off, but not tapered. It is difficult to tell its head from its tail because it has no visible eyes, nostrils or mouth. Its colour is dark red, like blood or salami... "
The Mongolians also believe that touching any part of the worm will cause instant death or tremendous pain.[self-published source?] It has been told that the worm frequently preyed on camels and laid eggs in its intestines, and eventually acquired the trait of its red-like skin. Its venom supposedly corrodes metal and local folklore tells of a predilection for the color yellow. The worm is also said to have a preference for local parasitic plants such as the goyo.
- British zoologist Karl Shuker brought the animal back to the general attention of the English-speaking public in his 1996 book The Unexplained, followed a year later by his Fortean Studies paper on this subject, which was reprinted in The Beasts That Hide from Man in which it was hypothesized that the death worm was an Amphisbaenid.
- Loren Coleman included this animal in Cryptozoology A to Z.
- A joint expedition in 2005 by the Centre for Fortean Zoology and E-Mongol[clarification needed] investigated new reports and sighting of the creature. They found no evidence of its existence, but could not rule out that it might live deep in the Gobi Desert along the prohibited areas of the Mongolian–Chinese border.
- In 2005, zoological journalist Richard Freeman mounted an expedition to hunt for the death worm but came up empty-handed. Freeman's conclusion was that the tales of the worm had to be apocryphal, and that reported sightings likely involved non-poisonous burrowing reptiles.
- Reality-television series, Destination Truth conducted an expedition in 2006–2007.
- A New Zealand television entertainment reporter, David Farrier of TV3 News, took part in an expedition in August 2009 but came up empty-handed as well. He conducted interviews with locals claiming to have seen the worm and mentioned on his website that the sightings peaked in the 1950s.
- The series Beast Hunter, hosted by Pat Spain on the National Geographic Channel, featured an episode on the disputed existence of the creature as well.
- Huge Snake-like animal or Inverteb rate of
Variant names: Allergorhai-horhai, Allghoi khorkhoi, Olgoi khorkhoi (Mongolian/Altaic, “intestine worm”), Shar khorkhoi.
Physical description: Length, 2–5 feet. Dark red. A yellow variety (Shar khorkhoi) is also said to exist, though it is rarer. Thick. No differentiated head, tail, or feet.
Behavior: Comes to the surface in June and July. Squirts a bubbly, acidic, lethal poison from one end of its body. Said to have killed a geologist when it touched an iron rod he was holding, possibly by electrical shock.
Habitat: Areas of the desert where a parasitic herb, Goyo (Cynomorium songaricum), is found in the roots of saxaul bushes.Distribution: Region around Ihbulag and Dalandzadgad,
southern Gobi Desert, Mongolia; in the Nemegt Uul, Mongolia. Marie-Jeanne Kofman heard rumors of a similar animal in the Kalmyk Republic, Russia.
Possible explanations: (1) Unknown species of giant Worm lizard (Amphisbaenidae), part of a family of limbless lizards with no external eyes and ears. These creatures live in underground burrows and move in a serpentine fashion. In the 1990s, there were several discoveries of fossil amphisbaenids in Central Asia, including Mongolia. (2) A highly specialized giant form of Earthworm (Subclass Oligochaeta). (3) Unknown species of venomous Sand boa (Eryx spp.). (4) Unknown species of venomous elapid snake similar to the Southern death adder (Acanthopis antarcticus) of Australia, which grows to over 3 feet; suggested by John L. Cloudsley-Thompson.
- The Olgoi-Khorkhoi, better known as the Mongolian Death Worm, is a deadly and mysterious creature reported to live in the Gobi Desert of Southern Mongolia. The Olgoi-Khorkhoi is often described as a worm like creature between 2 to 4 feet in length, headless, thick and dark red in color. Said to spend the majority of its life buried beneath the desert sands the Olgoi-Khorkhoi which means, intestine worm, is feared among the people of Mongolia as it supposedly has the ability to kill people and animals instantly from a range of several feet. Because of the mysterious nature it is unclear how the Olgoi-Khorkhoi performs this act of ranged killing; it is believed that the worm sprays an immensely lethal poison or that it somehow transmits high voltage electrical charges.
Czech author Ivan Mackerle, the foremost investigator of the Olgoi-Khorkhoi, learned of the creature from a former student of his who came from Mongolia. After listening to stories of Mackerle’s diving expedition in search of the Lock Ness Monster, the student approached him with tales of a horrible creature in Mongolia called the Olgoi-Khorkhoi which lives buried in the Gobi Desert sand dunes and can kill a man, a horse and even a camel. The student’s stories intrigued Mackerle who set out to learn more about the creature, he found information on the Mongolian Death Worm hard to come by as most Mongolians were afraid to discuss the creature.To make his search even more difficult the government of Mongolia outlawed the search for the Olgoi-Khorkhoi, dismissing the creature as a fairy tale. In 1990, after communism collapsed, a new government provided Mackerle the freedom to mount an expedition to the Gobi Desert to hunt for the Mongolian Death Worm. After collecting many eyewitness accounts of the Olgoi-Khorkhoi Mackerle determined that the creature could be real.
The Mongolian Death Worm was first brought to public attention in Loren Coleman’s 1999 resource book, Cryptozoology A to Z, and was mentioned again in Doctor Karl Shuker’s 2003 book The Beasts that Hide from Man, where he speaks briefly on its reported ability to kill its victims by electric shock. The ability to perform an electric shock is a well known ability of the electric eel but is not known to be found outside of marine life. Most likely the electrical death from a distance component of the Olgoi-Khorkhoi legend is an exaggeration based on fear of the creature.
In recent years cryptozoologist Michel Raynal has suggested that the Mongolian Death Worm might be a specialized borrowing reptile belonging to the suborder of amphisbaeniane that generally have no limbs and are reddish brown in color. Another possibility is that the Olgoi-Khorkhoi is a member of the cobra family known as the death adder. Though only found in Australia and New Guinea the death adder has an appearance similar to the descriptions of the Mongolian Death Worm and is able to spit venom several feet. Researchers speculate that this species could conceivably survive in the Gobi Desert environment.
A joint expedition by the Center for Fortean Zoology, Cryptoworld and E-Mongol in 2005 investigated new reports and sightings of the creature. The group found no evidence of the Mongolian Death Worm but believed that such a creature could exist in the deep Gobi Desert sands along the strictly prohibited areas of the Mongolian/Chinese border. The most recent expedition was in 2006 to 2007 and was conducted by the reality television show Destination Truth. This expedition also did not find any evidence of the creature.
The Evidence Despite several resent expeditions in search of the Olgoi-Khorkhoi there remains no physical evidence of the creature’s existence.
The Sightings No documented sightings of the Olgoi-Khorkhoi, Mongolian Death Worm, could be located at this time.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Cryptid / Other • Size: 2 to 4 feet in length • Weight: Unknown • Diet: Carnivorous • Location: Gobi Desert, Mongolia • Movement: Unknown • Environment: Desert