Well....this turned out to be more of a project than I'd intended for some mild bloggish amusement. In the end, it's not much more than that qualitatively anyway, as all we were really doing was having some fun with an Old Master's information pile. Although we waded through 115 cases, our actual data was pretty thin, case-to-case, but maybe there are a few tentative things that we can say anyway.
Because we were sorting through an idiosyncratic notebook collected by a researcher in an unplanned [i.e. non-systematic] way, we shouldn't over-rate any "trend" or "pattern" we think we see. HUGE numbers of sea monster cases aren't in here. [like the one pictured above]. And massive amounts of "cultural filtering" of just what sorts of cases came to Ivan was occurring. But, what-the heck, we've gone through a bunch of claims so let's be a little foolish about them.
The obvious thing that I've been doing all through our adventure is roughly mapping the case locations. The final map is alongside. What it shows to me is the overwhelming "coverage" by Ivan's notebook of three English-speaking areas of the planet [PNW coast; New England; and Northern Britain]. The easiest thing in the world would be to write this off as merely the result of where the media sources were published that Ivan and friends were reading. And maybe that's all there is to that.
I'd suggest, however two further things: 1). The map shows a heckuva lot of activity in three areas, which sounds like more than "smoke" to me; and 2). MAYBE the location of these three areas in somewhat similar oceanic environmental conditions is significant. Of course, both of these suggestions could point to the alternative hypothesis of "Real Entities? Yes; but anomalous critters? No."... that is: people are seeing actual big lifeforms, but misidentifying whales, sea lions, basking sharks et al. "There be Whales there" in all three locales.
As a possible addendum: there could well be another area of concentration around the Cape of Africa if we had more media input. Antarctic whaling waters would be another target for the interesting-but-not-anomalous hypothesis. I, through all that, continue to be impressed by several of the witness claims, however, and do not believe that the Mundane Hypothesis handles them.
Since it was pretty easy to do, and one of the few things that you CAN do with rough data like this, I plotted the years of occurrence. It's decadal --- all ten years of a decade lumped into one number. Only five cases were so vague on this that I couldn't count them, so the graph at left has c.110 cases.
Unsurprisingly, Ivan's book reflects when he was collecting the news, and when it was that there was a lot of media to collect. Thus the mountain rising in the 40s, 50s, 60s. If he had lived longer, it would have been interesting to see if the claims of encounters would have remained high. To find that out we would have to ask a current encyclopedic collector of reports like Gary Mangiacopra, who would know. I see only a couple of things in the graph. The most obvious thing is that the rising mountain owes a lot to Caddy [the cases marked in red]. Caddy apparently exploded into media consciousness in the 50s after some tentative hints earlier. The other "next" thing is the "New England Serpent's" [cases marked blue] dramatic origins in the early 1800s PLUS the fact that it is still lurking about all the way through. Spikes like the one in the 1900s are always intriguing, but our numbers count should warn us not to get too excited.
And lastly as far as graphing is concerned: More than half the cases were of things specifically called "sea serpents" by the witnesses or pretty clearly described in serpentine fashion. Another tenth of the cases were of things of a stubbier or neck plus bulbous body type of thing, which could be interpreted not as a serpentine beast but more of a plesiosaur body plan. These two categories account for almost exactly two-thirds of the reports.
One sixth of the reports are of carcasses/remains. These are pretty uniformly uninteresting to me, but perhaps fascinate others. The last sixth are "everything else", from the Giant Squid to the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I like several of these cases but they are mainly "stand-alones".
Can we say anything at all as to the deeper mysteries embodied here? Perhaps we should not. That at least would be the safe "scientific" thing to do. But, hey, it's only a blog---just be careful where you put your feet.
I marvel a bit that the notebook didn't contain more variety, nor more cases of things like squid or octopi. Ivan certainly wasn't rejecting such things in any obvious way. But, ONE Squid and NO Giant Octopus in 115 cases....surprising to me. Methinks that if they exist, tis not in Nessieland, Caddyland, nor Boston. AND, here we go into Out Proctor, on the basis of just the one Giant Squid case, I find myself a fan of there being such critters really lurking about.
Several of the serpent stories are very impressive to me as solid witness testimony --- BUT, I'm not sure about where to go with my guess as to what they represent. A blogger "out there" [might have even been Karl Shuker, whom I respect a great deal] said what is in my mind: although the evidence from beached remains etc consistently disappoints, there is a lot of witness testimony which is quite impressive. THAT is the seeming "fact" in all of this which continues to stick in my mind. We have good testimony to a reality which is seeable, hearable, smellable, and affects the watery environment with physical force, BUT we can never catch it nor hold any of it for the lab. And you folks know what that sort of thing sounds like to me.
It takes a long time reading and working in the fields of anomalies to get to the point where one is willing to entertain the possibility that in some instances we are dealing with things which are not materialistically reducible. I have spent that time. Each anomalistic situation that I read about I go into with a wide-open set of possible endpoints.
People of a cynical nature won't believe a person who is sympathetic to the anomalous fields of study when they are told that the researcher goes into cases looking hard for the Mundane Solution. But for any true explorer that is the only way to be. A true explorer wants to find Truth, not amusement and self-created fantasy. Sloppily BSing around in cases pollutes the databank and the path to Truth is lost. I look for the mundane first. That is why I am not at all impressed with the carcasses. LOTS of the other cases look like excited "wannabees". You have to toss them in the gray basket. Any case which is wildly unique [the creature from the lagoon is; giant squid are not, when you bring in other things you know], must be placed in the gray basket until more come along.
But we have an absolute PILE of Sea Serpents. AND they are anchored by some pretty good testimony. They ARE, it seems; but WHAT are they? Feeling pushed into a corner by a sufficiency of evidence at one level, and essentially none at all on another, I am left with a [I hope] healthy openness but a preferred hypothesis of the folkloric entities of yore.
Outrageous, I suppose. But my files, begun several years ago in pursuit of better understanding of the types of entity encounters had by us humans, have reached several hundreds of encounter [not folktale stories] incidents of the "Good Folk", "Little People", Denizens of Faerie. The similarity of these encounters between whatever-they-are and both Celtic peoples and Native American peoples astounds me. And right alongside them them are the Water Monsters.
I can't claim much for this hypothesis. I'm walking a path with it right now. We'll see where it leads. Whenever I get back to the blog, I may have more to say, or perhaps still be as stone-ignorant as I am today. God Bless and Peace. Somewhere in that sentiment is where I suspect this answer lies. Panic not; I don't believe that it's demons. If anything almost the opposite....