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In the sentence below, when the author said "the monster was seven feet tall and had red eyes..." Why were "was" and "had" used? I thought it should be simple tense since it's a fact that the monster is 7 foot tall and he has red eyes.

Alex Konis, a young driver from South Carolina, claimed a monster attacked him while he was driving along a lonely road. The monster was seven feet tall and had red eyes and scaly skin.

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It might be an actual fact that the monster was seven feet tall and had red eyes but all of these facts were reported in the past (claimed a monster attacked him).

So, typically a narrative is reported using the simple past.

When we want to list or describe a series of completed actions in the past we use simple past.

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