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Giant Sea Creatures: Myths, Legends and Sightings

Because what lives beneath, remains a murky mystery to most humans, the existence of unknown giant sea creatures still pervades to this day. It is said that of all the species living under the sea, we only know of about a quarter of them- and most of those live above 500 feet. It is more than possible that giant sea creature sightings have indeed been genuine, though the human tendency to exaggerate or perceive things differently, of course can’t be discounted. Creatures we may have believed to be extinct may still roam the waters. Here are some of the most long-standing legends of the world’s most mysterious sea creatures that still live on today.

“Nessie” The Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness

Legend

In the largest body of fresh water in Britain, legend has it that “Nessie” the Loch Ness Monster roams the 750 feet waters of Scotland’s Loch Ness. Descriptions of this mysterious creature have varied over time. Long and serpent-like, with humps and a long neck, Nessie travels underwater only revealing herself momentarily to chance onlookers, then submerges back into the deepest depths of this mythical body of water.

The first mention of the Loch Ness Monster came in the 7th century in Adamnan’s Life of St. Columba. According to the story, the beast fled in terror when Saint Columba made the sign of the cross and commanded it to go away. The pagan Picts praised God for the miracle. Also, carvings dating back 1,500 years ago made by ancient inhabitants of the Scottish Highlands, depicted an unidentified sea creature. Nessie is one of the best-known mysteries in cryptozoology and one of the most “seen” unseen creatures of all time.

Sightings

In 1934, the “Surgeon’s Photograph”, taken by Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson, was considered evidence that the Loch Ness Monster really existed. It was the only photograph to reveal the monster’s head and neck whereas other photographs up to that point were of humps or other unclear disturbances lurking the deep waters. However, in 1994, the picture was reported as being a big hoax. The “creature” was nothing more than a toy submarine with a crafted head and neck attached. Whether or not there really is some enigmatic monster dwelling in the Loch Ness, the myth continues to attract the curious minds of tourists and scientists, awaiting their chance at a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster.

Kracken

Kracken

Legend

Dwelling off the coast of Norway and Iceland, the Kraken is depicted as a huge sea monster that demolishes boats, snapping men off the deck with its gigantic suction cup tentacles. Kraken legend likely originated from real giant squid sightings in the ocean. Apparently, the real danger for ships was the whirlpool effect (Skagarag) produced as the creature descended back into the ocean, the capacity to drag any size ship down with it. In Scandinavian languages, “kraken” means “unhealthy animal”, but in German, it simply means “octopus”.

Sightings

In 1680, a Kraken was caught in the cleft of a rock near the Norwegian shore, which was one of the first recorded sightings. During the later part of the scientific era, several kraken carcasses were beached within a short time of each other. In 2004, Japanese scientists attracted a giant squid with a baited line while automatic cameras took over 500 photographs of the giant squid. It eventually ripped itself free, leaving behind one of its 18-ft long tentacles. Further investigations in the Antarctic have actually suggested that there could be a specie of squid that grows much larger than even a giant squid. Referred to as the Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni the only proof that bigger does exist has been the large size of the juvenile Mesonychoteuthis hamiltonis they have found. The big adults must be somewhere out there. They have been given the name “colossal squid”.

Sea Serpent

Sea Serpent

Legend

In Norse mythology the sea serpent was said to be so long it encircled the entire world. The belief that huge creatures such as the sea serpent inhabited deep waters was common within the ancient world. In the Old Testament, God kills Leviathan (the serpent/dragon-like opponent), and feeds it to the Hebrews. The sea serpent was described as being 200 feet long and 20 feet wide. In Olaus Magnus’s 1555 work History of Northern Peoples he describes the sea-serpent as follows: “It has ell-long hair hanging from its neck, sharp black scales and flaming red eyes. It attacks vessels, grabs and swallows people, as it lifts itself up like a column from the water”.

Sightings

Sightings of sea serpents have taken place in various parts of Canada and the United States. There were many similarities in the descriptions. The basic description is that the creature was a long, serpent-like with small humps or protrusions running down its back. Also, the sea serpent was seen undulating up and down. This observation has often been dismissed, as a snake can only undulate left and right, due to the design of its spine. Moreover, only mammals swim with an undulating up and down vertical motion, not reptiles. One famous sighting took place in 1941 in Lake Payette, Idaho. More than 30 people witnessed a 35-50 ft sea serpent (Slimy Slim) with a head that resembled that of a snub nosed crocodile.

Ogopogo of Okanagan Lake

Ogopogo

Canada’s most famous water monster, this creature was known to the aboriginal populations as “N’ha-a-itk”, meaning “lake monster” or “lake demon”. The Amerindians accepted its existence as a fact of life, occasionally canoeing to a cave believed to be its home. The cave is under Squally Point near Rattlesnake Island which is offshore from Peachland. The Amerindians would leave food offerings.

Sightings

The first recorded sighting by a Mrs. John Allison in 1872. Another early instance tells of two horses swimming behind a boat that were mysteriously pulled beneath the waves and the owner barely saving himself by cutting the rope attached to the horses. The creature has been filmed a number of times though no absolute conclusions have yet been made. Witnesses say Ogopogo is dark blue, black or brown with a lighter underside and measures between 50-100 feet. There are reported sightings every year.

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Dissing the Deep: Freaky Fish

It’s a bit unfair to insult these creatures, especially since, for all we know, we caught the ugliest ones of the species. As fish get more freaky, they tend to get more rare, so it’s hard to tell. Imagine if aliens landed for a quick science and data gathering expedition, and came across Carrot Top, took some photos, went back to their home planet, and said “Hey little aliens, this is what ‘humans’ look like”. And they’d be all like “gross!” That caveat now out in the open, it’s time to tear these freaks a new one. It’s me versus the fish, and there’s no contest.

Blob Freaks
They’re lucky they can float around underwater. On land, these fat boys wouldn’t be able to get off the couch.

Angler
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Official mascot for the NBA

California Sheephead
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Worst sweaters ever.

Blobfish
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Fang Faces
I vant, to bite, your eyes. A pile of spikes with a creature attached.

Fangtooth
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Scaly Dragonfish
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Fugly
Gah. The kind of fish we’d wipe out if we didn’t always throw them back after we caught them and saw their ugly faces.

Coffinfish
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“Did you just fart?” “Sorry, I had souvlaki for lunch.”

Bat Fish
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“Honey I swear I’m not cheating on you! The lipstick is from the fish. It was the fish I tells ya!”

Scorpion Fish
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When hiding from its prey, the Vomit fish takes on the shape of last night’s dinner. Looks like it exploded.

Leopard Toadfish
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Preparing to shoot cosmic deathbeams from its eyes.

Moray Eel
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Have you theen my thtapler?

Wolf Eel
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Fanfin Seadevil
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Ohhhh, the old sillystring gag, graaaaaar!

Unidentified Anglerfish
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An ACTUAL SEA DEMON.

LOOK AT ME
I guess if you want to see anything in the deep, you’ve got to turn yourself into a walking (swimming?) light show. For bottom-dwellers, they sure seem to need attention.

Parrotfish
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There’s a reason why blue and orange are no one’s team colors.

Scrawled Filefish
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My dad was a sea horse, and my mom was a glow stick.

Pingpong Tree Sponge
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Sea Candy

Unidentified
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Probably only legal in Amsterdam.

Unidentified
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The undersea equivalent of a 14-year-old girl.

Damn You Old
No wonder they’re always chasing after the cute young fishcakes. GET WITH THE TIMES, OLD FISH.

Frillshark
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Described, accurately, as a living fossil. You so old, you in Jesus’ yearbook!

Rockfish
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100 year old Alaskan fish. Wonders what this iPond craze is all about…

You Creep Me Out
Nature’s little discussed defense mechanism: freaking the hell out of your predators with your face.

Vampire Squid
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Loved you in ET.

Human-Faced Carp
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Human face on a fish. ‘Nuff said.

Spookfish
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Looks like a cross between a cute little Ewok and a SPIRIT OF THE DAMNED.

Straight Up Aliens
Aliens land, dive underwater, see these things, and say “what’s up man, how you been?” No way these things are from this planet.

Chimaera
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Micheal Jackson in 12 years.

Giant Isopod
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My crotch itches just looking at this guy.

Gulper Eel
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Bet he gets invited to ALL the fetish parties.

Almost Normal…. But No.
These fish aren’t as insane looking as the previous ones, and in fact look mostly like regular fish, with some appendage gone a bit haywire.

Ocean Sunfish
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Tastes great with blueberries, butter and maple syrup.

Smooth Trunk Fish
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Jackknife Fish
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It’s happy to see you.

Images found at the following URLs:

http://www.oddee.com/item_79915.aspx
http://www.livescience.com/php/multimedia/imagegallery/igviewer.php?gid=54
http://www.oceana.org/fileadmin/oceana/images/Action_Center/eCards/Images/eCard_BLOBfish.jpg
http://www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/fishface.html
http://www.thedeepbook.org/
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070406-oldest-fish.html
http://www.markhaywardismyhero.com/2007/01/28/rare-deep-sea-frilled-shark-filmed-in-japan/