A mysterious, deadly creature called Olgoi-Khorkhoi, also known as the Mongolian death worm, reportedly lives in the Gobi Desert. Sounding like a mini-version of the giant worms from Dune, the Olgoi-Khorkhoi appears to be worm-like, about two feet long, headless, thick, and dark red. The name Olgoi-Khorkhoi means “intestine worm.” The death worm is feared among the people of Mongolia, as it supposedly has the terrifying ability to kill people and animals instantly at a range of several feet. It is believed that the worm sprays an immensely lethal poison, or that it somehow transmits high-voltage electrical charges into its victims. The foremost investigator of the Mongolian death worm, Czech author Ivan Mackerle, learned about the creature from a student from Mongolia. After Mackerle told her about a diving expedition he had made in search of the Loch Ness Monster, she told him in a conspiratorial whisper, “We, too, have a horrible creature living in Mongolia. We call it the Olgoi-Khorkhoi monster, and it lives buried in the Gobi Desert sand dunes. It can kill a man, a horse, even a camel.”
Intrigued, Mackerle set out to learn more about this Mongolian monster, but information on the topic was hard to come by. As he would soon learn, most Mongolians were afraid to discuss the death worm. In addition, the government of Mongolia outlawed the search for Olgoi-Khorkhoi, which the authorities deemed a “fairy tale.” After Communism collapsed in Mongolia in 1990, the new political climate provided Mackerle the freedom to mount an expedition to the country’s desert wastes to hunt for the worm. He gathered many stories which convinced him that the creature might be real.
Extending a hypothesis proposed by Czech cryptozoologist Jaroslav Mares in 1993, French cryptozoologist Michel Raynal has suggested in recent years that the Olgoi-Khorkhoi might be a highly specialized reptile, belonging to the suborder of the amphisbaenians: specialized burrowing reptiles that generally have no limbs and are reddish-brown in color. It is difficult to distinguish the head from the tail in many amphisbaenians, some of which can reach two and one-half feet in length.
Another possibility is that the death worm is a member of the cobra family called the death adder. This species has an appearance similar to the descriptions of the Olgoi-Khorkhoi, and it does spray its venom. Though death adders could conceivably survive in the Gobi environment, they have been found only in Australia and New Guinea.
Then there is the matter of the death worm’s reputed ability to kill its victims from a far distance, without even shooting venom. Some have proposed that this might be performed with an electrical shock of some sort. This hypothesis might have arisen from an association with the electric eel, but the eel and all similar electricity-discharging animals are fish, and none of them could stay alive on land, much less in a desert. Most likely, the “death from a distance” component of the Olgoi-Khorkhoi legend is an exaggeration based on fear.
The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark