On a good day, a walk along the beach might net you a view of a beautiful sunset, a handful of brilliant seashells, and more sand in your shoes than you thought possible. But after a slew of storms rocked the coast of North Carolina, residents and beachgoers started finding some strangeand unsettlingsouvenirs.

As Denny Bland strolled along the shoreline of North Topsail Beach, a surfing hot spot outside the city of Wilmington, he picked up what looked like a fragment of some driftwood. The truth, however, was that he’d stumbled upon evidence that something truly frightening was lurking in the water…

In 2015, Denny Bland had been walking along the sands of North Topsail Beach, a popular surfing location along the coast of North Carolina. It was there that an odd object in the sand caught his eye.

The object seemed, in some ways, like a piece of driftwood. Striations ran vertically toward a dulled tip and the object’s black base looked almost rotted. But Denny quickly realized that it wasn’t driftwood at all. In fact, it was something much more terrifying…

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Just like Denny, our ancestors from centuries ago discovered similar objects, which they boldly declared petrified dragon tongues—indisputable evidence of a terrible monster, of course. The scary part, however, was that they weren’t too far off.

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That was because Denny had actually picked up the fossilized tooth of a megalodon, a massive prehistoric shark! Cynthia Crane, director of the Aurora Fossil Museum in North Carolina, shed some light on Denny’s find and the monstrous predator.

“Megalodon was this large, humongous shark that roamed the ancient seaways during the Miocene-Pliocene time—mainly mid-Miocene to Pliocene—which was about 15 million to five million years ago,” Cynthia said. Yikes!

The enormous fossilized tooth of the beast only affirmed estimates of the ancient creature’s size. The theory goes that a shark grows 10 feet for every inch of tooth. So a six-inch tooth like the one that Denny found would mean its owner was 60 feet long!

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At that size, the megalodon shark would be three times larger than your run-of-the-mill great white shark, its modern-day ancestor. But how in the world did the sharks grow so big in the first place?

Paleoecologist Dr. Catalina Pimiento offered an answer: “Perhaps,” she said, “something was going on with the productivity and climate that produced that pattern, or with their prey and their competitors that made the species become large.”

After unearthing evidence of the shark, Denny was ecstatic. “I couldn’t get a million dollars and be any happier,” he said. “Even the small shark’s tooth just excites the heck out of you… I felt like I was a lottery winner.” But he wasn’t the only one who felt that way…

In fact, according to a photographer for the Surf City Gazette, one or two megalodon teeth typically wash up at that beach each year. One man from West Virginia would’ve been happy to hear that

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Greg Smith, a former community relations director at Camden Clark Medical Center who later became a firearm salesman, shared Denny’s enthusiasm for megalodon teeth. In fact, his enthusiasm pushed him to collect fossilized teeth.

Jess Mancini / The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

I was trying to think of something that was good for grandpa and grandson,” Greg said, and in his research, he learned about the megalodon shark and all its massive teeth. So he dispatched his grandson to research them.

Jess Mancini / The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

After researching, Greg’s grandson returned. “He said, ‘Grandpa, it’s a huge shark with a mouth as big as a garage!'” Happy that the shark piqued his grandson’s interest, Greg sent him a giant tooth of his own—and the kid loved it!

Jess Mancini / The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Over time, Greg collected more fossilized megalodon teeth until he had what he called “a huge collection.” And he wasn’t kidding. As of 2018, he had over 1,000 megalodon teeth in his collection!

Jess Mancini / The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Naturally, even the most enthused megalodon fan would be a bit relieved the enormous animals didn’t make it out of the Pliocene era. Believe it or not, some weren’t so sure the enormous animals leaving teeth all over the coast were really extinct to begin with

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 Numerous reports from off the Baja Coast in Mexico (pictured) alleged a massive black shark routinely patrolled the waters there. This shark was seen so often that it even earned a nickname: the Black Demon of Cortez. But was it real?

If you’d spoken with fisherman Eric Mack, you might have thought so. He claimed the Black Demon rocked his little boat and stuck an enormous tail out of the water. Skeptics, however, weren’t so sure about his story…

After all, the Baja waters were already known for a diverse ecosystem. Eric and others could have seen just a big ol’ whale shark—even, quite possibly, just a really big great white shark with skin defects. Could they ever know for sure?

Ralph Lee Hopkins

Until the reports could be confirmed, collectors like Greg and Denny would keep legends like the Black Demon of Cortez alive. As people collect and find megalodon teeth along the shore, we’ll never forget the unbelievable creature that we once shared a planet with!

Whether the megalodon still patrols the Earth’s depths or it’s extinct for good, it’s crazy that something so rare can just wash up onto a public beach. After all, some of the world’s greatest mysteries and secrets have been discovered purely by chance.

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And few people know this better than Jose Antonio Nievas, a simple farmer from the South American town of Carlos Spegazzini, which lies just south of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

For the most part, the relatively small Carlos Spegazzini saw little in the way of action, as the nearby capital city typically hogged the spotlight. That is, until Jose went out walking one Christmas morning…

It was December of 2015 when Jose took a stroll on his property. Looking for a bit of fresh air and exercise, he never expected to find anything that would change our understanding of history. Regardless, what he found might just have done so…

Jose was walking the river that cut through his property along with his dog when something caught his eye. Partially buried and caked in mud, a huge gray object jutted out of the edge of the riverbed. Upon closer inspection, however, he realized this was no rock…

The “boulder” looked scaly, like the skin of a snake, and at one end was a hole formed by a caved-in portion of the surface. Being a wise man, Jose knew this was something far more significant than he’d previously thought.

Hardly able to contain his excitement, he rushed home to tell his family about what he’d found. “Hey, I just found an egg that looks like it came from a dinosaur!” he exclaimed to his confused family. “We thought it was a joke,” his wife, Reina, said in an interview. But was it really an egg?

When Jose found the egg, it was so caked in mud that he couldn’t get an idea just how large it was. Once he dug away the surface grime, though, he realized just how big an object he was dealing with. In all, it was over three feet wide!

Jose tried lifting the “egg” out of the shallow water only to find that it was heavy, too. So heavy, in fact, that he couldn’t carry it alone. That made him, once again, reevaluate what he was dealing with. No egg could be that heavy—so what could it be?

As Jose and his family spread the word about this enormous object, rumors swirled as to its origins and nature. Could it be some kind of alien egg? Or perhaps a vessel, left behind on an alien expedition of earth? Experts had other ideas…

With so many competing theories as to what exactly they were dealing with, Jose called in the authorities who got to work evaluating the discovery. Likely, they said, it was an armored shell. To what though?

To find the answer, they had to look back in time. That’s where the glyptodon, an ancient creature that resembled an enormous armadillo, came into play. Over 15,000 years ago, these herbivores roamed all over South America. Now, Jose had discovered the remarkably well-preserved remains of one!

Jose’s glyptodon was not a loner in Argentina. In fact, archeologists have discovered similar fossils scattered all over the country. Still, the high-quality preservation Jose found was raising some eyebrows…

Skeptics wondered why the shell was right-side up. Wouldn’t these too-heavy creatures likely have died on their backs or sides? And how did it spend thousands of years buried beneath the surface while suffering so few blemishes?

After further studies, researchers determined the shell was, in fact, legitimate. Thanks to the mud, the shell was preserved for centuries. Still, something left researchers puzzled: an additional hole beyond those for the head and tail.

Kevin Walsh / Flickr

Researchers concluded that, if the damage wasn’t caused sometime while it was in the ground, it’s possible that that wound was what led to the creature’s demise. Whatever caused that injury must have been pretty sizable itself…

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While cousins of the glyptodon have been found throughout South America, none have been as well preserved as the one Jose found in his yard. To think that it was lying there all of those years!

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