Monday, July 11, 2011

Peeking at Ivan's SITU files: meaningless reports of sea monsters.Part Ten & Last.


We've finally reached the last page of Ivan's Individual Reports notebook. I could have split this up into two, but I suspect that we're all ready to come to completion on this little project. After I get these last thumbnails of reports down here, I'll take one fling at the bulk of this crude data in a final summary [next time].

Here we go one last time:
Case#102: Foul Bay, BC, "1970". A giant snake was observed, 20' long. Its head was shaped like a cobra's, and was held about a foot out of the water while swimming. It had "fins" on its back.

#103: Cadboro Bay, BC, 1969. Several witnesses observe Caddy from a distance of only 20 feet. No description given.

#104: Santa Cruz, CA, 1924. Carcass. {seems like I did this one before, but OH Well}. 20-25' long. Small seal-like head. Long neck. Bulbous body and flippers. Long stubbly tail. Carcass was roped off and people were selling tickets.

The drawing and pamphlet on the left don't constitute a new entry, but the pamphlet was "new" enough that I thought that I'd slip it in here. As you can read, it speaks of the Gloucester Harbor, MA, 1817 "Lonso Nash" case. The serpent is described as 80-90' long with a dark-colored body the diameter of a "half barrel". It had 8 bunches or humps on its back, and swam at 12-14 mph. Its tongue was shaped like a harpoon and was two foot long. It did not dive, but submerged by "sinking".

#105: West coast of Vancouver Island, BC, 1954. A 40' long "sea monster". It had a horse-like head with large lips. Dark brown body with one hump. Swam by undulating. More than 30 witnesses.

#106: Feather Banks in the Florida Keys, "1930s". Rather vague report which nevertheless intrigued Sanderson. Apparently this thing was only about 6-7" long but swam right by and under witness' boat in clear water. It had a very small head connected by a long neck to a smooth body. It was reddish brown colored. It sounded like the witness was trying to tell Ivan that he saw a miniature sea monster, and Ivan was a bit exasperated that he wasn't clearer about what he saw.

#107: Oregon coast, 1915. "Carcass" [Hide]. A hide washed unto shore. It covered an area about 25'd. It was three feet thick at its center and the skin was 1 3/4" thick. It had gray-colored hair about 3 1/2" long and scattered sparsely. The "tail" was 10" long and hairy. Three bones were still attached associated with a large [14"d] ball joint. The longest bone was 4'. This "hide" was estimated to weigh 4 tons.

#108: Charlotte Harbor, FL, 1963. The illustration at the left shows a part of this carcass. The skull was 2 1/2' wide with "tennis ball-sized" eyes [I suppose they might have meant the size of the eye sockets here]. Had spiked teeth, gills, nostrils like blow-holes, flippers, and dime-sized scales covering the body. Its ribcage was about like a cow's. Article claimed that a marine biologist could not identify it.

#109: Western tip of Sicily, 1968. Carcass. [we had a lot of these in this first half, but this is the last one]. Witnesses observed bones sticking out of the sand. {i.e. no one knows how long the thing had been buried there}. The animal was more than 23' long. It had 33 vertebrae, and a flat "duck-shaped" head. Another case where the local scientist couldn't identify it.

#110: Hong Kong, China, 1969. Pretty hard to easily swallow this one. A bunch of teenagers were partying on the beach when one of the girls started screaming about a monster. She and one boy were alerted to look in that direction by a "crying" sound. The thing that was making the sound was slowly coming ashore in their direction. It was 20-30' long, all black body, and a big head. The worst part of it were those "Green Eyes". The hysterical teenagers began to run, and were relieved to see the thing shuffle back into the water.

#111: Bradda Head, Isle of Man, 1937.
Now this is the kind of case that I like. It comes to Ivan, not as a newspaper clipping, but as a personal letter. [illustration at the left]. It is simple, straight-forward. And its description is buttressed by a neat sketch done by the observer. All this needs to elevate it to the status of a good UFO-style case is a researcher interview and investigation. But this we don't often have in sea monster data, so I'll gratefully take this.

As you can read, the witness had a clear but brief view of the total animal, and it was shaped like a plesiosaur. Others might wish for more, but this one rings very real to me.

#112: Aleutian Islands, 1969. An elongated animal with an undulating swimming motion. A head like a dog's with whiskers and close-set eyes. Long red-yellow [amber?] colored hair. No length was given. Witness swears was not a pinniped.

#113: North of Nova Scotia, 1956. A 45' long white-spotted sea turtle with 15' long flippers plowing through the sea. [one wonders if the witnesses had seen hump-backed whales before].

#114: Howe Sound, Georgian Straits, BC, "1960s." Witnesses on shore see two creatures coming parallel to shoreline. Both heads out of water 5'. Camel-shaped heads 20' long. Gulls flocking around at height. Brownish-yellow body with 14"d necks. Water consistently disturbed 30' behind, leaving witnesses to guess at body length of such dimension. One animal dove and came up with large octopus in mouth, which it ate gulpingly like a dog. Scraps flew about, which the gulls raced for. Other animal stood patiently by, then both swam off together, stopping again further up coast.

That's the last of the notebook's cases. One thing however remains.

We saw a couple of posts back that there was a claim that in Barnstable Harbor, MA [it turns out in 1963], there were several fishermen who saw a sea serpent, and the one who had taken his movie camera in hopes of filming some whales took some film [about which we got no info]. Well, here at the very end of the notebook, one of Ivan's friends wrote him to say that he had tracked the guy down, and he was quite friendly and showed him the film. It was about 5 minutes of shooting and pretty bad workmanship, but good enough in the eyes of Ivan's friend. The long snake-like body was clearly distinguishable, though never above water all at once, and the blowhole was clearly seen in action. He said that most striking were the amber-colered tufts of hair running down the back of the head. He said that the thing looked like one animal and suggested that the film should be seriously looked at [and that the owner was willing]. He made a drawing of what he saw during the showing, and I've included that above.

This might be, at face value anyway, the most remarkable thing in this whole notebook. There seems no question that such a film existed and that the owner was willing to have it looked at under the right circumstances. It seems obvious that the content of the film was at least interesting upon casual viewing. Did anything ever happen? Have we got some cryptozoological Holy Grail sitting out there somewhere unanalyzed?? Hard to believe......

Below, Im leave you with my own version of the Mystery of Barnstable Harbor. [a bit redder haired than optimal, due to the vagaries of my scanner].... well, in cryptozoology, you can't have everything.


I'll put up the final map, and try some summary comments next time. Blessings till then.

4 comments:

  1. Hello, Prof.

    I wonder about the hair/manes seen on these creatures. Hair vs. scales in the cold water? Both have advantages in various environments. I think hairy-ness would be a disadvantage in the water. Are there examples of scaled mammals? The Platypus' webbed feet perhaps?
    I'm curious to see if your final map will overlap significant ocean currents and/or temps.

    Regards,

    richard

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  2. Richard, the hair on the carcasses looks like remnant hair from mammalian heritage on land. Whether it does much to help survival or is the remaining irrelevancy of those days [a la our appendices], I don't know.

    Manes for underwater swimmers certainly look like evolutionary remnants and anything which makes you less sleek, without another positive off-setting, is an evolutionary negative. Such negatives, if minor, hold on a long time in the Natural Selection game. If there should be some "mating" or attractiveness element to this, then its survival is explained.

    My hunch is that the maned animals [if spectacularly maned] are the paranormal ones. Not being biological, they care not for natural selection and its burdens-vs-benefits game. But nothing in this business has to make any good sense given what little we really know.

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  3. #104: I think this refers to the Santa Cruz carcass of 1925. Darren Naish has done a exciting analysis of it (http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2008/07/moores_beach_monster.php; http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2008/07/moores_beach_monster_skull.php).
    #108: Professor are there more informations about this case?

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  4. As to case #108: my guess is that there is more information somewhere [as there are photographs of the thing], but, as you know, all I can do here is read what's in Ivan's notebook. What is in there is just this ARGOSY article written by someone named Fred Farris who did the photography himself. Farris said that the carcass was called into the Fort Myers NEWS-PRESS where he was bureau chief. I placed the date at 1963 due to an internal comment that it had happened four years earlier than a Sanderson ARGOSY article of 1967. Apparently Sanderson had mentioned this carcass in that March 1967 article, and that's when ARGOSY called him for the story. There is no date on the ripped-out article in the notebook, but one would guess that some copy of ARGOSY in later 1967 is where this is from.

    ReplyDelete

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