Edward Brian McCleary claimed his friends were eaten by a sea serpent

If you're familiar with cryptozoology, you may have come across the case of 16-year old Edward Brian McCleary's Pensacola sea serpent story, which is most well known from a 1965 Fate Magazine entry, authored by Brian McCleary, in which he goes into intricate detail about his 4 friends being killed by a sea serpent, leaving him as the sole survivor. Due to the age of the story, it was fairly difficult to find the story from the source, rather than re-tellings of it, but I managed to find the complete Fate Magazine entry here:

https://www.theakforum.net/threads/...ry-did-a-sea-monster-kill-his-freinds.299593/

Lower down in the thread, someone found the 1965 edition of Fate Magazine, titled "strange fates", which had McCleary's story in it:

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The incident happened on March 24, 1962, but McCleary's story appeared in a 1965 edition of Fate Magazine. In a letter to Loch Ness monster researcher Tims Dinsdale, McCleary included a drawing of the monster he claims he saw:

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I found some old newspapers detailing the incident of that day. None of them mention a monster, however:
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One of the boy's bodies washed ashore. The others weren't found.
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McCleary said he did not see the other four go down.
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The Findagrave page for Bradford Jay Rice includes another newspaper article: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/13346700/bradford-jay-rice

McCleary explained that the reason that none of the newspapers mentioned a monster is because it was covered up. He says he was told that the monster was "better left unmentioned to all of those concerned". Allegedly, McCleary spent the rest of his life telling the monster story, joining online forums relating to encounters with the paranormal, with McCleary exchanging telephone calls with people who claimed to have spotted the same green sea serpent that McCleary saw when he was a teenager.

The area where McCleary says he spotted the "sea serpent" is a popular fishing and diving spot that's in shallow waters 20-30 ft deep.

Some have pointed out that the monster that McCleary drew bears a stark resemblance to the character Cecil, from an animated series titled Cecil & Beany. It began airing in January of 1962.

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McCleary himself died several years ago, at the age of 71. He had worked at Mental Health Resource Center in Jacksonville, Florida.

This story appeared on Facebook recently so I decided to look into it. I can't find many places discussing it so I thought I'd post it here. What are your thoughts?
 
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External Quote:
A large green sea serpent with a slight lisp. He is fiercely loyal to Beany but not terribly bright. Cecil's trusting good nature invariably winds up with him being taken advantage of by the bad people, and he often ends up absorbing a great amount of physical abuse (getting smashed flat, losing his head, having his skin burned off, being shattered to pieces), all within the laws of cartoon physics.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beany_and_Cecil

So that 1962 date (of when the incident is alleged) and talk of a sea serpent reminded me of this kids' show from my childhood. Possibly a coincidence, but the 24 March 1962 date was almost squarely in the middle of the series first run from 6 Jan-30 June 1962 as cited in the Wiki article above.
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I think it's pretty obvious that dehydration, exposure and extreme stress caused him to have a horribly vivid hallucination that was influenced by the recent animated series featuring a sea monster, possibly all of that occurred during the time he had fallen asleep after getting to shore as his mind tried to integrate the fractured memory of their encounter with that buoy, which he describes with very threatening monstrous language that mirrors how he talks about the sea serpent.
 
If I were a teenager in a dire situation, witnessing the death of my companions and swimming desperately for my life, I rather doubt that detailed zoological descriptions would be high on my to-do list.
 
External Quote:
A large green sea serpent with a slight lisp. He is fiercely loyal to Beany but not terribly bright. Cecil's trusting good nature invariably winds up with him being taken advantage of by the bad people, and he often ends up absorbing a great amount of physical abuse (getting smashed flat, losing his head, having his skin burned off, being shattered to pieces), all within the laws of cartoon physics.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beany_and_Cecil

So that 1962 date (of when the incident is alleged) and talk of a sea serpent reminded me of this kids' show from my childhood. Possibly a coincidence, but the 24 March 1962 date was almost squarely in the middle of the series first run from 6 Jan-30 June 1962 as cited in the Wiki article above.
Heck, at their ages they could have watched the original puppet version, Time for Beany,

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0145637/
 
He says he was told that the monster was "better left unmentioned to all of those concerned".
I would not be terribly surprised if some reporter(s) told him something like that and left it out of their reporting. Apparently it was a national story that was carried by UPI and AP and I could see reporters deciding to leave out claims of a sea monster from a traumatized teenager who was the only survivor of the boating accident, for the sake of him/his family and the other grieving families.
 
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