Alligators in the sewers--another piece of the puzzle?

Sam Clements sclements at NEO.RR.COM
Sun Sep 21 18:59:39 UTC 2003

I'm sorry if this isn't appropriate for this list.  I searched and found
Barry's find of a 1907 article.  But it doesn't seem as though that started
the stories.

I also read Barbara Mikkelson's article over at which was mentioned in an
earlier thread on here.

In reading over at, searching a column written about NY life by
"George Swan," I came across this bit of info from one of his 1933 columns:

     "Between the months of February and April, New York is seasonnally
presented with "the great alligator mystery."
    For no particular reason that anyone can verify, numerous small
alligators begin to appear where they never were before.  There is something
of the late Houdini and even the suggestion of a miracle in the phenomenon.
   Little 'gators appear in the trickling fountains of hotel lobbies; they
seem to drop from the very air into the large fish tanks of foyers and
lobbies; they suddenly commingle with snails and goldfish of public
aquariums.  Witnesses testify that at the beginning of an evening there will
be no sign of an alligator anywhere.  And in the morning---lo, there is one
of the darn things splashing about.  Suspects, called in deny any knowledge
of collusion.

   This has been going on for years.  And from one of my secret agents I
believe I have at last found an explanation.  Prankish Florida winter-goers,
inclined to practical jokes and all that,  (sic)back to friends a pet little
'gator such as can easily be purchasedd at the southern resort places; or
bring a 'gator back as a present.  Once in New York, the bathtub appears to
be about the only possible habitat at the moment.  Then the possessor, going
about places, notices fountains and pools and fish tanks in cafes and hotels
and gets a bright idea.  Feeling sorry for the alligator, he puts it in a
brief case or a week-end bag and starts out.  Standing about until no one is
looking, he slips the alligator into the fish pond and exits.
   It so happens that, in two instances, someone caught culprits in their
extraordinary hokus-pokus--but pretended not to see."

(Any misspellings are probably mine--SC)

More information about the Ads-l mailing list