Entombed Animals Phenomenon

Entombed animal reports have faced as much disbelief and ridicule as wonder and excitement. This famous curiosity has excited people ever since its publication in 16th century. It is one of the few pieces of evidence, which gives credibility to the hundreds of myths and legends concerning the escape of living toads and frogs trapped in rocks and wood. References to entombed animals have appeared in the writings of William of Newburgh, J. G. Wood, Ambroise Paré, Robert Plot, André Marie Constant Duméril, John Wesley, and others. Even Charles Dickens mentioned the phenomena in his journal All the Year Round. According to the Fortean Times, about 210 entombed animal cases have been described in Europe, North America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Because of its outrageousness the phenomenon of entombed toads, frogs, and other animals is seldom discussed in the scientific literature of our time, but it made frequent appearances in learned journals of the nineteenth and earlier centuries.

An early example is this account, related by a sixteenth-century figure, Ambroise Pare, chief surgeon to Henry III of France, and reprinted in the 1761 edition of the Annual Register : "Being at my seat near the village of Meudon, and overlooking a quarryman whom I had set to break some very large and hard stones, in the middle of one we found a huge toad, full of life and without any visible aperture by which it could get there. . . . The laborer told me it was not the first time he had met with a toad and the like creatures within huge blocks of stone.”

In September 1770,when a live toad was found encased in plaster in a castle wall that had stood for some forty years, scientist Jean Guettard investigated the incident personally. The following February he presented his findings to the French Academy of Sciences and also provided an extended overview of other cases preserved in academic and popular literature. Guettard’s work inspired other scientists and educated lay inquirers, some of whom conducted tests whose purpose was to determine whether toads could survive for long entombed. The results — negative — provided fuel for skeptics even now.

During the 1820s, English geologist William Buckland conducted an experiment to see how long a toad could remain alive while encased in stone. He placed toads of different sizes and ages into carved chambers within limestone and sandstone blocks, then buried the blocks in his garden. A year later, he dug up the blocks and found that most of the toads were dead and decayed. A few toads that had been in the limestone (which did contain small pores) were still living. However, Buckland found them all dead after reburying them in the limestone for another year. Buckland concluded that the entombed animal phenomenon was impossible, and most scientists agreed. Even so, the reports continued.

In 1890 a writer for Scientific American declared, “Many well authenticated stories of the finding of live toads and frogs in solid rock are on record.” The thing is absolutely impossible, and there are many well authenticated stories of it. Trying to reconcile these conflicting realities,William R. Corliss, probably the world’s leading authority on anomalies of nature, remarks, “If miracles do happen, then toads can be found in solid rocks. It may be that nature operates this way, violating the ‘logical’ laws we try to impose with some low frequency, after the fashion of the ‘forbidden transitions’ in quantum physics.”

At Hartlepool, England, on April 7, 1865, laborers doing excavation work found, twenty-five feet below the surface, a block of magnesium limestone. As they were breaking it up, it split open to reveal a cavity in which, to their astonishment, they saw a living toad. “The cavity was no larger than its body, and presented the appearance of being a cast of it.” On April 15 the Hartlepool Free Press reported. “The toad’s eyes shone with unusual brilliancy, and it was full of vivacity on its liberation.” It seemed at first to be experiencing difficulty breathing, probably because its mouth was sealed shut. At first a “barking” sound came out of its nostrils, possibly related to inhalation and exhalation problems. Soon this ceased, though it would emit a startled bark whenever it was touched. When discovered, the toad was of a pale color indistinguishable from that of the stone in which it had been embedded, but in short order it grew darker until it became olive-brown. “The claws of its fore feet are turned inwards,” the newspaper noted, “and its hind ones are of extraordinary length and unlike the present English toad.” S.Horner, president of the Natural History Society, took possession of it. The Zoologist reported that it had also been examined by a local clergyman and geologist, the Rev. Robert Taylor, who confirmed the strange circumstances of its recovery.

The Free Press appended this commentary to its original article: “The world now had another story of a toad in a hole. . . . Illustrations of the toad’s perilous passion for holes abound in our literature and, if we turn over the leaves of our local chronicles, numerous examples present themselves. We read of the discovery within the last hundred years of live toads in all sorts of possible and impossible situations; in the solid slate of a quarry in Barnard Castle, in a block of freestone at Blyth, in a limestone block at Saeham and at Ryhope, and in a seam of coal down a deep pit at Sunderland. Another of his race, profiting by repairs, emerged from the battlements of Flambard’s Bridge in 1828, and gave rise to unavailing speculation as to his antiquity. A beech tree at Shawdon and an American oak at Blyth fell into the hands of sawyers, when a “living toad” started out of each of them, and exchanged a life of solitude for the publicity of a paragraph in Sykes or Latimer.”

In 1901 two workmen in Lewes, Sussex, found it, according to reports England. There is no doubt that the toad is real, and that the flint nodule, empty of the fossil sponge it once contained, is also real. The find was publicised by Charles Dawson, the man believed by many to be the Piltdown Skull hoaxer. He is associated with many other extraordinary and doubtful objects. The toad has shrunk much more now than when it was first pictured, showing it cannot have been very old when published.

One example was made known to the eminent twentieth-century biologist-philosopher Sir Julian Huxley in a letter from gas fitter Eric G.Mackley of Barnstaple, Devonshire, England.Mackley wrote: “It became desirable to widen the Barnstaple-Ilfracombe road some years ago, taking in part of the long gardens in front of a row of bungalows which had gas meters housed just inside the front gates; these of course had to be moved back to the new front wall line. The meter-houses were brick-walled but rather massively concrete-floored, and the concrete had to be broken up to allow me to get at the pipes for extension.My mate was at work with a sledge hammer when he dropped it suddenly and said, “That looks like a frog’s leg.” We both bent down and there was the frog. . . . The sledge was set aside and I cut the rest of the block carefully.We released 23 perfectly formed but minute frogs which all hopped away to the flower garden.”

In 1719 embeddings have been reported not only in rocks but in trees. The Memoires of the French Academy of Sciences related that in the foot of an elm, of the bigness of a pretty corpulent man, three or four feet above the root and exactly in the center, has been found a live toad, middle-sized but lean and filling up the whole vacant space. In the fall of 1876, according to the South African newspaper Uitenhage Times of December 10, sawyers cutting a sixteen- foot trunk into lumber had just removed the bark and the first plank when a hole the size of a wine glass was uncovered. Inside this space were sixty-eight small toads, each the size of the upper joint of a human little finger. “They were . . . of a light brown, almost yellow color, and perfectly healthy, hopping about and away as if nothing had happened. All about them was solid yellow wood, with nothing to indicate how they could have got there, how long they had been there, or how they could have lived without food, drink or air."

Tilloch’s Philosophical Magazine told a lizard-in-stone story in 1821. In Scotland, David Virtue a mason, at Auchtertool ( a village four miles from Kirkaldy), was dressing a barley millstone from a large block, after cutting away a part, he found a lizard embedded in the stone. It was about an inch and a quarter long, of a brownish yellow color, and had a round head, with bright sparkling projecting eyes. It was apparently dead, but after being about five minutes exposed to the air it showed signs of life. One of the workmen, very cruelly, put snuff in its eyes,which seemed to cause it much pain. It soon after ran about with much celerity; and after half an hour was brushed off the stone and killed. When found, it was coiled up in a round cavity of its own form, being an exact impression of the animal. This stone is naturally a little damp; and about half an inch all round the lizard was a soft sand, the same color as the animal. There were about 14 feet of earth above the rock, and the block in which the lizard was found was seven or eight feet deep in the rock; so that the whole depth of the animal from the surface was 21 or 22 feet. The stone had no fissure, was quite hard, and one of the best to be got from the quarry of Cullaloe — reckoned perhaps the best in Scotland.

One account, from a World War II British soldier, has found two animals entombed together : “In Algeria in the early part of 1943, I was working with a team whose job it was to quarry stone that was then used for making roads and filling bomb craters. The method was used to set small charges of explosives into the rock face and crack open the rock, which we then prised away and broke down before it was used. One morning, we had set off the charges as usual and I started to prise away the rock away from the quarry face when I saw in a pocket in the rock a large toad, and beside it a lizard at least nine inches long. Both these animals were alive, and the amazing thing was that the cavity they were in was at least 20 feet from the top of the quarry face. Try as we might,we couldn’t find how it was possible for the two creatures to be where they were — there were no inlets, cracks or fissures leading to the cavity. In fact, it was quite a topic of conversation among us all for some days.”

In August 1975 a turtle embedded in a concrete, as they broke up concrete that had been laid over a year earlier, Fort Worth, Texas, construction workers were startled to find a living green turtle within it, the smooth, body-shaped cavity in which it had resided during its imprisonment clearly visible. The animal’s rescue, alas, proved its undoing. It died within ninety-six hours of its liberation.

Unable to mock such things out of existence, critics have concocted “solutions” so patently inadequate as to make outright hoax accusations a more plausible alternative. It is not hard to imagine how animals could get embedded in concrete. An indulged imagination conceives of ways they could meet such a fate within trees. Rocks, however, are quite another matter. The animals’ survival, too, seems inexplicable. How could they have breathed, and what could they have eaten?

Amphibians, the most frequent embedding victims, have, at the outer extreme and under the best of circumstances, a lifespan of three decades. How old are embedded animals? Where rocks are concerned, we seem indeed to be dealing with an event not significantly short of miraculous, as Corliss says. Occasionally conventionalists have speculated that the animals were able to sustain themselves by drinking water that seeped through cracks. Even if we discard testimony that specifically denies the presence of such openings,we still leave unanswered the monumental question of how the animal got there in the first place. The implication, it need hardly be emphasized, is that it was there a long time. Nothing about this phenomenon makes any kind of sense.

Sources :
Unexplained! : “Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena” by Jerome Clark;
Unsolved Mysteries : “An Exhibition of Unsolved Mysteries & Enigmatic Findings In The History of Humanity” by Reinhard Habbeck, Dr. Willibald Katzinger and listed authors;

Pic Source :
Unexplained! By Jerome Clark page 165
Entombed Animals Phenomenon Entombed Animals Phenomenon Reviewed by Tripzibit on 05:53 Rating: 5


  1. Hey - brilliant one. But what were they entombed for - fetish, experiment or tradition? Were these tombs created with the purpose of helping them stay alive?

    Any thoughts?


  2. (@ alka) These entombed animals was trapped in stone or tree, but no one know how they could trapped and survive in there.

  3. This is really interesting. I think it's especially important to note that all of the animals are frogs or reptiles, as some of those creatures are known to survive in extreme conditions by means of cold hibernation. Makes me think that at least some of the stories have truth behind them.


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