Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

On the Web Since 1994

Podcasting Since January 2008

A Cold-Blooded Mystery Solved (1926)

(This story was originally written and recorded for Podcast 25, released on April 9, 2024.)

On Sunday, July 25, 1926, Detective Lieutenant John Adams, of the University police station in Los Angeles, was driving near a swampy area in the Santa Ana Canyon in California. To his surprise, he spotted an alligator approximately 42 inches (106.68 cm) in length and weighing around 50 pounds (22.7 kg), sunbathing along the road.

After a strenuous struggle, Adams captured the creature by placing a small rope around its neck. He then transported the alligator to his home and provided it with a small pond to frolic in.

An examination of the stripes on the alligator’s tail suggested that it was 17 or 18 years old, but modern scientific research has concluded that the beast was far younger than this. In other words, I did an internet search. An alligator of that length is probably just a few years old.

A couple of questions quickly arose: First, how did an alligator, which is not native to the West Coast of the United States, end up in California? And, if there was one alligator there, could there be more in that swamp?

This reptilian mystery would be solved the very next day. Los Angeles doctor G. A. Bullard, who once lived near the location where the alligator was found, read the story in the newspaper and immediately recognized the creature.

He said he had obtained the alligator while attending a convention in New Orleans four years earlier. At the time, it measured about 1 foot (30.5 cm) in length. Dr. Bullard named it “Al I. Gator,” and decided to bring it back home.

There was one major obstacle in his plan to raise the cold-blooded animal: his mother strongly objected to him doing so. This left him with just one option: On a moonlit night, he released Al into a secluded pool in the canyon.

Dr. Bullard had forgotten about his pet until reading about its capture. He said that he did not want the alligator back, but planned to make a visit to see if it still recognized him.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
You may also enjoy these stories:
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Over 6 Million Downloads!
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x