A collection of real sea monster stories.
The Daily Northern Argus Saturday May 12, 1877
This first article is titled: The Sea Monster
Captain Drevar of the barque Pauline of London, which has arrived in Cork after a long voyage, has published in an Indian paper the following account of the sea monster whose appearance of late been attested by other witnesses: —
"Barque Pauline, July 8, 1875, latitude 5.13 N., longitude 35 W., Cape San Roque,
north-east coast of Brazil, distance 20 miles at 11 a-m, the weather fine and clear, wind and sea moderate, observed some black spots on the water, and a whitish pillar some thirty foot high above them. At the first sight I took all to be breakers, as the sea was splashing up fountainlike about them, and the pinnacle rock, bleached with the sun, but the pillar fell with a plash and a similar one rose. They rose and fell alternately in quick succession, and good glasses showed me it was a monster sea serpent coiled twice round a large sperm whale. The head and tail parts, each about thirty feet long, were acting as levers, twisting itself and its victim round with great velocity. They sank out of sight every two minutes, coming to the surface still revolving; and the struggles of the whale and two other whales that were near frantic with excitement, made the sea in their vicinity like a boiling cauldron, and a loud confused noise was distinctly heard.
This strange occurrence lasted some fifteen minutes and finished with the tail portion of the whale being elevated straight in the air, then waving backward and forwards, and leaving the water furiously in the last death struggle, when the whole body disappeared from our view, going down head foremost to the bottom, where no doubt, it was gorged at the serpent's leisure; and the monster of monsters may have been many months in a state of coma, digesting the huge mouthful. Then, two of the largest sperm whales that I have ever seen moved slowly thence towards the vessel, their bodies more than usually elevated out of water, and not spouting or making the least noise, but seeming quite paralyzed with fear, indeed a cold shiver went through my own frame on beholding the last agonizing struggle of the poor, whale that had seemed as helpless in the coils of the vicious monster as a bird in the talons of a hawk. Allowing two for coils round the whale, I think the serpent was about 160 or 170-foot long, and seven or eight in girth. It was in coloured much like a conger eel; and the head, from the mouth, being always open, appearing the largest part of its body. It is curious that the whale that lives on the smallest food of fish in the ocean, should itself be but a meal for another monster; for I think it as feasible that the serpent swallowed the whale as that a boa-constrictor can consume a whole bullock. I am aware that few believe in the existence of great sea serpents. People think that as so many vessels are so constantly on the ocean it would be seen oftener.
But the north-east coast of Brazil, noted for its monstrous reptiles, is peculiarly adapted for the growth of sea monsters. The temperature of the air and water is seldom below 81 degrees, the shore for a thousand miles is bordered by a coral wall or reef, and numerous banks and reefs extend for a considerable distance from the land, while there are strong and various currents, and no ports; so that ships for business or pleasure seldom go near it. It was unexpected circumstances led me to the home of the serpent, and I think it may be allowed that the serpent- retains some portion of that cunning mentioned in Scripture. At least it has wit enough not to leave a good feeding-ground and secure home to go wandering about the ocean like a fish and to be tortured and captured for man's pleasure or profit.
I think Cape San Roque is a landmark for whales leaving the south for the North Atlantic. The warm weather is also good for breeding and if the Crystal Palace Company or some enterprising Barnum offered a suitable reward for the Serpent's capture, I am sure a steam whaler, with suitable hooks baited with some animal and steel line, would affect its capture while following a profitable whaling business. I wrote thus far little thinking I would ever see the serpent again but at 7 a-m 13th July, in the same latitude, and some 80 miles east of San Roque. I was astonished to see the same or a similar monster. It was throwing its head and about 40 foot of its body in a horizontal position out of the water, as it passed onwards by the stern of our vessel. I began musing why we were so much favored with such a strange visitor and concluded that the band of white paint, two-foot wide above the copper, might have: looked like a fellow-serpent to it, and no doubt attracted its attention. It was put on to keep the vessels side clear and free from barnacles, which it does remarkably well; and if the agitators about the deep load-line gain their wish, it would be both useful and practical to mark the vessels thus, in place of disfiguring it with plague spots that would be constantly rubbed off.
If the shipowner, with two competent surveyors, so decided, much misery, uncertainty and perpetual law quits would be avoided. Whilst thus thinking, I was startled by the cry of 'There it is again!' and a short distance to leeward, elevated some sixty foot in the air, was the great leviathan, grimly looking towards the vessel. As I was not sure it was only our freeboard it was viewing, we had all our axes ready, and was fully determined, should the brute embrace the Pauline, to chop away for its backbone with all our might; and the wretch might have found for once in its life that it had caught a Tartar This statement is strictly true, and the occurrence was witnessed by my officers, half the crew, and myself; and we are ready at any time to testify on oath that it is so and that we are not in the least mistaken. It lately occurred to me that the sea-serpent is the leviathan sublimely described in the Book of Job and any enterprise that might be formed for its capture would do well to ponder on the words, 'Lay thine hand upon him remember the battle, do no more'.
In the last week of the late year, while forming good resolutions to begin a new one, in the course of the daily chapters I read in the Bible, I came to Isaiah xxvii., 1 — ' Leviathan, the piercing serpent, even leviathan, that crooked serpent, and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.' Learned men may explain all this away as they will; the coincidence affected me, and I did not wait for the new year, but promptly put my good resolves into practice. A vessel, about three years ago, was dragged over by some sea monster in the Indian Ocean."
The Gundagai Independent Wednesday, April 8, 1914
The second article is titled: A Sea Monster, A Sea Giraffe
Down at the Surrey clocks just now there is a man who has not only seen a fearful and wonderful marine monster but has oven sketched it from life. -It is not exactly the sea serpent of hoary tradition, but a sort of sea giraffe— an extraordinary looking amphibious, an animal which is puzzling all the zoologists who have heard of it. Some idea of this weird freak of nature may be gathered from this first-hand description, of It: — Has bonny blue eyes. Cries like a baby. Its neck is, twenty foot long; body fifty feet. Has a big head, with long ears and a long snout. Three horrid fins adorn its bony head. Two big flapping fins. Skin like a seal. Brownish-yellow in color, with pretty dark spots.
A plain, commonsense seaman, who tells his story bluntly, without any thrills or trimmings. Second Officer G. Batchelor, of the Allan liner Corinthian, described his strange adventure with this sea-giraffe to the "Daily Sketch". We were bound from London to Montreal, and it was my turn to watch on the bridge in the early morning of August 30. It was a cold morning and the grey dawn was just breaking when, as I was keeping my eye straight ahead of our course, I picked up a queer looking object 'about, a mile ahead.
"I thought it was a fishing boat end-on, and guessed she had capsized in one of the sudden fogs which sweep down the Grand Banks of New Finland. Then the thing disappeared, and as quickly it shot up again not more than 200ft. away from the ship.
"I saw it distinctly rise out of the water. First, there was a big head, with long ears and long snout, and bulging blue eyes that were mild and liquid. Then there was a neck, no end of a neck, as it seemed, and it swayed with the wash of the waves.
"What it was I couldn't guess, for in twenty years' seagoing, including trips in the tropical waters, I've never seen anything like this sea giraffe that was staring right at the Corinthian.
"Down in my room on deck I had a rifle and a camera, and, belief me, I would have given a good bit of money to have had a pot at the monster with either. "As the thing seemed to eye me it lashed the water with its big front fins. Then it suddenly dived and disappeared, at the same time giving an odd little wail like a baby's cry. You wouldn't think such a huge animal could have such a small voice!
"As soon as I went off duty I went below and made a sketch of the monster in Indian ink. When the Corinthian reached Montreal my sketch was shown to Professor F.E. Lloyd, of McGill University, an expert in Botany and zoology.
The professor said that whatever it was it wasn't a serpent, but a sea-mammal. I agree with that, but can't just fix what sort of a mammal it is. It was certainly built on high- speed lines, and its fin-like protuberance was well adapted for ripping things up. "Now I located this sea-giraffe in
Latitude 47.51 North, longitude 48.32 West, off the Grand Banks, and not many miles distant from the spot where the Titanic went down. 'I'm inclined to believe that the wreck of the Titanic has had something to do with the presence of this strange creature in waters where nothing of the kind has ever been noticed before. It is making food of the dead bodies below?"
Mr. Batchelor made the gruesome suggestion in all seriousness. He was evidently impressed with the absolute accuracy of his observations. "But do you really believe in sea serpents,' the officer was asked, and he replied, "Well, I see no reason to doubt that there may be such things. After all, you see, we really know nothing much about the sea at its greatest depths. It is quite possible that we may sometimes have visits from its basement dwellers."
Mr. Batchelor, it may be added, is a canny Scout, and his view is that there may still lie some survivors of an almost extinct race of sea beasts. Anyway, it is worth noting that the zoologists' are not unacquainted with an amphibious or aquatic reptile called the Sauropterygian, which curiously resembles the description of what Mr. Batchelor saw. This sea-monster had a small head and an exceptionally long neck, but it is generally stated to have been extinct for ages.
Portland Guardian Friday, February 24, 1899
The third article is titled: A Sea Monster
A strange story is told by the officers of the island steamer Emu, which reached Sydney Wednesday. Mr A. G. Bell, the supercargo, says:
"After the steamer left Manihiki it returned to Suwarrow Island, on the way back to Sydney, and while there the natives carelessly remarked that, "one big devil from the sea was washed ashore two months ago." They did not know its name, but it had two heads. We went along the beach to where the gigantic animal lay, and long before we reached the scene of the stranding the stench was so horrible that we were on the point of abandoning the catch. On getting within sight of it, however, its extraordinary appearance determined us to acquire possession of it, and after perils by sea, and worse dangers from poisoned air, we secured the first sea serpent ever brought to Australia, perhaps to any other place."
"Where is this curiosity?" was asked. "Down in the hold of the steamer, and it will not be unloaded for a day or two until the vessel comes into discharge."
At this juncture, the representative of the Pacific Islands Company came in to see the supercargo and remarked that he intended to present the skeleton to the Sydney museum. It was a pity, he said, that only the two heads, the two backbones, and part of the ribs had been secured, but, as the supercargo observed.
"To stay longer collecting the remains would have nauseated the collectors perhaps beyond recovery." From Captain Oliver's account there was but one body, which had a double spine and two distinct heads. It was the two heads and the other portions just mentioned that they were so careful to secure. In their descriptions, both the supercargo and tie captain agree. They say that the hide or skin of the monster was a brownish color and covered with hair and that the heads somewhat resemble those of horses. The approximate weight of the creature they give at not less than 70 tons, its length being fully 60 ft. Only a year or two ago the captain, officers, and passengers of one of the Union Company's steamers gave a most detailed and circumstantial account of a serpentine monster which they saw while running along the coast of New Zealand. As the manager of the Pacific Islands Company put it" sensational sea serpent stories have been repeated scores of times. But there is no getting away from the actual heads and parts of the frame of this animal secured at Suwarrow by our steamer, and now on board it."