Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Peeking at Ivan's SITU files: meaningless reports of sea monsters.Part two.

More sea monsters. Don't have time to go on a deeper research effort, so we're in it just for fun. These are the next twelve news stories that Ivan had in his unsorted file book. I added their approximate locations to the map for the first twelve from the other day, and we can see how it builds up as we go. [map at the bottom of this post].

Story #13: Shuyak Island [near Kodiak], Alaska. Glob on the beach. 30' long, headless "sea elephant" in state of decay. Had two hand-like front feet. A tail like a whale. Three-quarter inch thick brown-yellow "fur" on body.

#14: Qualicum, Victoria, British Columbia. 30' long "sea serpent". Three heads [!!!]. Center head at end of trunk like neck. Other two at ends of necks branching off three feet below. Necks hairy and 12-18" thick. [Hairy indeed].

#15: Near Mombasa, East Central African coast. A large animal seen just below the surface. This is known locally as the "Kilindini monster" and has allegedly been seen many times over the years.

#16: Pennock Island, SE Alaska. "Sea serpent". Flathead, cow-like shaped. Large goggle eyes. Curved neck. Body has a row of fins on back. Body "loops" as it swims.

#17: Northern Scotland. Historical tale: In the time of King Olof 14th, sailors would come across a Lorelei in these islands, who would make a sound so soothing that they would go to sleep or be entranced. It was a "sea troll" and referred to as female. Its head was like a horse's, with huge green eyes and strong jaws. Its body was like a serpent's and shaggy like a seal. It ended in a broad tail. [ a classic mermaid without the pretty girl, which to me is leaving out the best part ... but I bow to "reality" if that resides in here].

#18: Girvan, Scotland. "Sea serpent". Part of a representative of which was felt to be found decaying on a beach. "In life" allegedly seen to be a long body which swims with coiled motion and creating "humps" as it goes. A long neck [4'] and a "dragonish" head. The object on the beach had a skull reportedly weighing 17 lbs.

#19: Orkney Island, Scotland. "Sea serpent". Elongated body. [about 25']. Showing three humps as it swam. A long neck sometimes raised out of the water, and shaped like a cow's head.

#20: Cinsta, near E.London, South Africa. [extremely limited report]. Unknown sea creature, like a long-necked lion in shape [body not described]. Brown-skinned.

#21. Off Soviet Research Station, Antarctica. "Sea serpent". 49' long. Light brown. Moved like snake with "convulsive movements". Labelled a "sea snake".

#22. Newport Beach, CA. "Sea monster". Estimated 20 tons [though not on basis of any carcass]. Round head held about 4' high out of water. Two-foot-wide mouth. Head described as "thorny" and one horn noticeable. Colored a "sickly green".

#23. Yarmouth, United Kingdom. Very poor quality photograph of a "sea serpent being held on the beach, my estimate from the size of the men= about 25-30' long. Photo from 1897.

#24. Caddy country, British Columbia. A handful of clippings about one of our favorite critters. I'll try to summarize these clippings in a supplementary posting. I'll also try to get a scan of the Yarmouth "sea serpent" up later.


  1. Hello, Prof.

    I wonder how a cold-blooded serpent could live in some of the frigid waters mentioned here. Alaska? BC? Antartica? What could the biological explanation be for this adaptation? Interesting stuff; looking forward to more.



  2. You are a smart man. I think that many people have preferred an off-shoot of the zeuglodonts [primitive elongated whales] for this very reason --- Dr. Roy Mackal was one such guy [and one of the friendlier cryptozoologists that I met to boot]. I don't have [as usual] my references with me in Wheeling, but Dr. Paul LeBlond might have suggested that as well. Ivan Sanderson seemed to like a "long-necked" mammal of the sea lion variety for many cases. This would be, to him, a new species and not just the edge of the garden variety.

    And, there is the warm-blooded dinosaur hypothesis. Palaeontologists have been very slow top jump on this theory, but to me there are many independent lines of soft evidence which point to it. And if some of the later advanced land dinosaurs were endothermic [might as well talk fancy; you don't get to use these words everyday], why not some of the aquatic ones??

    Lastly, there is the idea that what we're dealing with are not biological but paranormal "folkloric" entities. For that we can discard concerns of temperature and concentrate on whether the encounters concentrate "culturally"/geographically and have been part of traditions from the distant past [which, as far as characters like Caddy are concerned, is also true].

    There is an Alaskan ritual mask from fairly far up the coast which looks precisely like a crocodile or, better, an alligator. Pretty hard to figure on almost any theoretical grounds.

    1. I agree . The recent film from Hillstrands featured what looked like an archaic whale. The origional interview said that the animal had a head shaped something like a 747 and the beluga in the area would go crazy when they were around.

  3. A warm-blooded dinosaur with gills AND lungs (the lungfish comes to mind) seems the ticket. If only. An animal that breathes air via lungs doesn't seem realistic, as it would be seen more often, IMO. This makes zeuglodonts problematical. I believe a gilled dino was a solution offered for Caddy by some. The paranormal/folkloric explanation is always welcome in my house, but there is nothing like a real specimen.



  4. All good ... but some whales aren't seen much. depends where their usual food really is and where therefore they really hang out. The "backsides" of some of these islands are pretty unpopulated. Georgian Bay etc may be just where WE occasionally get a glimpse.

  5. #16 belongs to a pseudo-plesiosaur a term which refers to a basking shark carcass and the shape such a carcass can take. For a picture and more informations about this one please take a look at http://translate.google.com/translate?client=tmpg&hl=en&langpair=de|en&u=http%3A//www.kryptozoologie-online.de/Dracontologie/Salzwasserkryptide/girvan-kadaver.html

  6. Makes sense. The actual newsclip though was as if the writer was talking about two separate things. One was the carcass and skull, which this seems to legitimately explain. The rest of the story however was talking about a more "traditional" local story of a "monster" claimed to have been seen off and on in the area [sort of their own "Champ" or "Caddy"]. Naturally when an unusual carcass washed up, the local paper wanted to connect it to the local mystery beast. So: carcass explained; years of sightings, still mysterious.

  7. There is probably no reason why the Alaskan creature called a Sea Elephant could not BE a Sea elephant (Elephant seal) since these do wander South of Alaska on occasion.

    The Russian report said to be in Antarctic waters is very vagely located in the article, I remember from when I saw the item in Ivan Sanderson's files (probably the very folder you are looking at) The creature was seen by whalers in the Indian Ocean sector but the report does not specify how clos they were to Antarctica: the "Antarctic Ocean" includes everything south of South Africa and Australia so that covers a lot of territory. The nice neat cross on the map means nothing. In fact this is one of a series of large Sea-serpents, undulating in the horizontal plane, sometimes seen by Russian and Japanese whaling ships and sometimes observed to be chasing pods of whales: this would be the large creature sometimes called a Whale-eater and which I have an article on under the heading of "Dr. Shucker's Leviathan": it would be the same creature as reported by German U-Boat Captains in WWI. Yes, it would have to be functionally warm-blooded, but as Heuvelmans points out the great depths of the ocean are at about feezing temperatures and always have been, so that any of the great marine reptiles of the Mesozoic would have had to have been functionally warm-blooded all along.

    Oh and let me know if you find my letter mentioning the big lizardlike "Animal mutilations monster (Pre-Chupacabras of the mid-1970s) and the Pterosaur-like Ambirak: I was so far ahead of the curve with both of those pieces of information that Sabima filed the letter in "Animal Chaos and Confusion", together with the hoaxes! I have since then posted blog articles on both matters.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  8. Thank you for the note. As to Sea Elephants and Elephant Seals: of course. This whole series was trying to be fairly simplistic in merely reporting content unless I thought a few added thoughts were called for. So I didn't speculate much on most of the stories.

    The Russian Antarctic report is exactly as vague as you describe it. But, since no one would take my crude map too seriously, I wanted to place it somewhere. I chose somewhere near Antarctica [as the news item seemed to portray] and just above the Russians' "own" Antarctic area-of-control. It is truly a guess, but given that all the "X"s are approximations, probably a harmless one. Your take on what sort of creature this is/was, is very interesting, and I recommend that interested persons seek out your blog on the internet for further information about all these things.

    Finding your letter within the mass of files in their current state, and the fact that we are simply sorting and organizing the books and journals right now in the little time that I have at home "on vacations" from sitting with my aging Mom, will probably not happen ASAP. Still, I'll keep an eye open for it. Readers with interest should glean what they can from your blog, which doubtless has all the information on this anyway. If you have some reason for establishing your "priority" for these ideas, remind me again at the beginning of October when I go back to Michigan next. I will try to squeeze out some time to specifically look. Please remember that it's a big collection.

  9. Updated the article to #18 and including a video of the MacLeod family: http://globsterblobsandmore.com/monsters-mate-in-sorrow-girvan-1953/



Blog Archive