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Sea Serpents on the Loose! Sea Serpents In History

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Nick Redfern has written an article entitled Sea Serpents on the Loose! for Mysterious Universe.  It begins:

The origins of Halifax, Nova Scotia  date back to May 14, 1749, when one Edward Cornwallis, a Lieutenant with the British Army at the time, set sail from England aboard the HMS Sphinx. The purpose was to develop a significantly-sized new British settlement in Canada that would be a viable counter to France’s powerful and strategically significant Fortress of Louisburg. Along with Cornwallis were more than 2,500 settlers and fifteen ships, all ready for the impressive and ambitious task in-hand.”

See the complete article here: http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2012/10/sea-serpents-on-the-loose/

But before you go here are 10 drawing of sea serpents reportedly seen by reputable men in the past.  

The Bible refers to Leviathan and Rahab, from the Hebrew Tanakh, although ‘great creatures of the sea’ (NIV) are also mentioned in Book of Genesis 1:21. In the Book of Amos 9:3 speaks of a serpent to bite the people who try to hide in the sea from God.

 

Olaus Magnus’s Sea Orm, 1555

 

Hans Egede, the national saint of Greenland, gives an 18th century descriptions of a sea serpent. On 6 July 1734 his ship sailed past the coast of Greenland when suddenly those on board

saw a most terrible creature, resembling nothing they saw before. The monster lifted its head so high that it seemed to be higher than the crow’s neston the mainmast. The head was small and the body short and wrinkled. The unknown creature was using giant fins which propelled it through the water. Later the sailors saw its tail as well. The monster was longer than our whole ship“, wrote Egede. (Mareš, 1997)

The first American sea serpent, reported from Cape Ann,Massachusetts, in 1639.

Sea serpent sightings on the coast of New England, are documented beginning in 1638. An incident in August 1817 spawned a rather silly mix-up when a committee of the New England Linnaean Society went so far as to give a deformed terrestrial snake the name Scoliophis atlanticus, believing it was the juvenile form of a sea serpent that had recently been reported in Gloucester Harbor.

The Gloucester Harbor serpent was claimed to have been seen by hundreds of New England residents, including the crews of four whaling boats that reportedly sought out the serpent in the harbor.  Rife with political undertones, the serpent was known in the harbor region as “Embargo.” Sworn statements made before a local Justice of the Peace and first published in 1818 were never recanted. After the Linnaean Society’s misidentification was discovered, it was frequently cited by debunkers as evidence that the creature did not exist.

Sea serpent reported by Hans Egede, Bishop of Greenland, in 1734. Henry Lee suggested the giant squid as an explanation. Source: Ellis, R. 1998. The Search for the Giant Squid. The Lyons Press.

The “Great Sea Serpent” according to Hans Egede. (1734 illustration)  Source: Ellis, R. 1994. Monsters of the Sea. Robert Hale Ltd.

Maned sea serpent from Bishop Erik Pontoppidan’s 1755 work Natural History of Norway. Source: Ellis, R. 1998. The Search for the Giant Squid. The Lyons Press.

The Gloucester sea serpent of 1817. Source: Ellis, R. 1994. Monsters of the Sea. Robert Hale Ltd.

A particularly famous sea serpent sighting was made by the men and officers of HMS Daedalus in August 1848 during a voyage to Saint Helena in the South Atlantic; the creature they saw, some 60 feet (18 m) long, held a peculiar maned head above the water. The sighting caused quite a stir in the London papers, and Sir Richard Owen, the famous English biologist, proclaimed the beast an elephant seal. Other explanations for the sighting proposed that it was actually an upside-down canoe, or a posing giant squid. 

Nineteenth century sea serpent. Source: Ellis, R. 1994. Monsters of the Sea. Robert Hale Ltd.

Another sighting took place in 1905 off the coast of Brazil. The crew of the Valhalla and two naturalists, Michael J. Nicoll and E. G. B. Meade-Waldo, saw a long-necked, turtle headed creature, with a large dorsal fin. Based on its dorsal fin and the shape of its head, some (such as Bernard Heuvelmans) have suggested that the animal was some sort of marine mammal. A skeptical suggestion is that the sighting was of a posing giant squid, but this is hard to accept given that squids do not swim with their fins or arms protruding from the water.

Albert Koch’s 114-foot long “Hydrarchos” fossil skeleton from 1845. It was found to be an assembled collection of bones from at least five fossil specimens ofBasilosaurus.

Oarfish that washed ashore on a Bermuda beach in 1860. The animal was 16 feet long and was originally described as a sea serpent.

Supposed Appearance Of The Great Sea-Serpent, From H.M.S. Plumper, Sketched By An Officer On BoardIllustrated London News, 14 April 1849

On April 25, 1977, the Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru, sailing east of Christchurch, New Zealand, caught a strange, unknown creature in the trawl. Photographs and tissue specimens were taken. While initially identified as a prehistoric plesiosaur, analysis later indicated that the body was the carcass of a basking shark.

The “wonderful fish” described in Harper’s Weekly on October 24, 1868, was likely the remains of a basking shark.

Skeptics and debunkers have questioned the interpretation of sea serpent sightings, suggesting that reports of serpents are misidentifications of things such as cetaceans(whales and dolphins), sea snakeseelsbasking sharksbaleen whalesoarfish, large pinnipedsseaweeddriftwood, flocks of birds, and giant squid.

While most cryptozoologists recognize that at least some reports are simple misidentifications, they claim that many of the creatures described by those who have seen them look nothing like the known species put forward by skeptics and claim that certain reports stick out. For their part, the skeptics remain unconvinced, pointing out that even in the absence of out-right hoaxes, imagination has a way of twisting and inflating the slightly out-of-the-ordinary until it becomes extraordinary.

A recent posting on the Centre of Fortean Zoology blog by Cryptozoologist Dale Drinnon notes his check of the categories in Heuvelmans’ In The Wake of the Sea-Serpents, in which he extracted the mistaken observation categories as a control to check the Sea-serpent categories by using the reports he created identikits for the mistaken observations and enlarged them to possibly 126 of Heuvelmans’ sightings, making the mistaken observations the largest section of Heuvelmans’ reports.

His identikits include oarfish, basking sharks, toothed whales, baleen whales, lines of large whales for the largest Sea-serpent “hump” sightings and trains of smaller cetaceans for the “Many-finned,elephant seals and manta rays. Each of these categories was given a percentage of the whole body of reports, ranging between 1% and 5% with the whales at an average 2.5%, figures which he considers comparable to the regular Sea-serpent categories of Super-eel and Marine Saurian (each of which he breaks into a larger and a smaller sized series following Heuvelmans’ suggestion in In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents)  

 Drinnon has also published in the 2010 CFZ yearbook  in which he modifies Coleman’s categories (below), adding a possible Giant otter category to the Giant Beavers and modifying several others, bringing the total to 17 categories to broaden the coverage. The broadened coverage allows more instances of conventional fishes such as sturgeons and catfishes, left off Coleman’s list. In a separate and earlier CFZ blog,

Drinnon reviewed Bruce Champagne’s sea-serpent categories and identified several of them as known animals, and several whales in particular Drinnon basically recognises the Longneck, Marine Saurian and Super-eel categories in this blog as well, with the modification that the Marine Saurian as spoken of by Champagne is more likely a large crocodile akin to C. porosis and that there has been a suggestion that an eel-like animal is involved in certain “Many-finned” observations. The whale categories he identifies are: BC 2A-Possible Odobenocetops, BC2B, Atlantic gray whale or Scrag Whale, BC 4B, as being similar to an unidentified large-finned beaked whale otherwise reported in the Pacific, and BC 5, the large Father-of-All-the-Turtles, as a humpback whale turned turtle.

Cryptozoologists have argued for the existence of sea serpents by claiming that people report seeing similar things, and further arguing that it is possible to classify sightings into different “types”. There have been different classification attempts with different results, although they share some common characteristics

 

Contacts and sources:

Wikipedia 

Mysterious Universe



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