Warehouse G

Giants From The Deep

Report: Sea Serpents May Really Exist

By James Donahue

During our years of research in old newspaper files and books, looking for great stories of shipwreck and the sea, we have been fascinated by the tales told by the old salts about sea serpents, sea monsters, and especially the kraken, a beast so large and so fierce it was capable of sinking a wooden ship.

The stories were always part of the lore of the sea, and thought by many to have been spun as “yarns” to eager listeners along the waterfront, much like the Paul Bunyon stories were told among lumber jacks around the night campfires in the American northeast.

Yet in researching the sea serpent stories, we were often surprised to find that the reports sometimes came from the masters of the sailing ships when their vessel made port. The stories did not appear to have been spun by retired old sailors, and were reported by newspapers all along the coast at the speed by which papers could be moved by horse, train or ship.

Now a new research paper, published in the academic journal Historical Biology and containing the joint work of doctoral student Michael Woodley of University of London, Dr. Darren Naish of the University of Portsmouth, and Dr. Hugh Shanahan, also of University of London,  suggests that there is evidence that new species of pinnipeds, some of them possibly very large in size, exist in the ocean depths.

The team used statistical analysis and eyewitness reports to reach their findings that various unknown large sea animals may truly exist and are yet to be discovered.

The report notes that numerous new and very large species of whales and other marine life have been discovered within the last 30 years, and that numerous sightings of “sea serpents and similar enigmatic creatures” have been made “by trained observers, including military personnel and experienced naturalists.”

Woodley noted that “cryptozoological literature includes hundreds of accounts of mysterious large marine animals, many going back hundreds of years.”

Among the monsters of the sea is something called the merhorse, a long-bodied creature estimated to get up to 30 meters in length. The remains of such a beast was found in the stomach of a whale in 1937.

Other mystery creatures include a long-necked sea-serpent with a neck that has been estimated to have projected up to three meters out of the water, and the Tizheruk, a mythological seal-like water monster with a snake-like head that has been seen in the Pacific Arctic.

Among the worst of the monster stories from the sea was that of the kraken. Early stories from Norway described this creature as having a body that looked like a small island, but when a ship got close, it rose up with tentacles so long they could “lay hold of the largest man-of-way” and pull it down to the bottom. Others said that when a kraken attacked a ship, it wrapped its tentacles around the hull and capsized it.

From the general description, the kraken of legend may have been a giant squid or cephalopod. Such creatures might have mistaken the old wooden ships of old, which were sometimes no larger than 100 to 150-feet in length, to be a sperm whale.

Masters of modern, iron 1,000-foot-long oil and cargo ships powered by loud diesel engines instead of quiet wind power, are no longer reporting such sightings.