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Saturday, 7 January 2012

Some More New England Sea-Serpent Notes


The picture at the top of the page was used as an illustration to represent the New England sea serpent of the 1800s. Unfortunately, I think it owes more of its design to the oarfish (right), a recurring candidate for sea-serpent reports in general. The blunt head and big eye would be the more important factors in making that determination: the colouration is wrong but Bernard Heuvelmans has said that in some sea-serpent reports the silvery sides might reflect the colour of the sea rather than show the true colour (these reports are also possibly oarfishes because of the feature).
A summary of sea-serpent reports from a New England newspaper, clipping from Ivan Sanderson's files. Interestingly enough the 'serpent' seems to be of plesiosaur design with a prolonged tail although the text basically re-tells the story of the 1817 Massachussets Bay 'flap' of sea-serpent reports. The last-mentioned Reverend Cummings had a sighting represented in the Von Ferry blog article just posted as being a "Caddy-like" sighting, presumably a moose. I don't know how many moose there may have been around Penobscot Bay in the early 1800s, but they were fairly common in much of New England up until the 1840s, at which time their range basically retreated to the north (such as in Maine, where such reports have been going on all along).

This is the Delia SS sighting off of Maine in 1818, a report which otherwise sounds much like the Pauline SS Whale-fighting-a-giant-squid sighting. Heuvelmans says of this sighting "Was it a squid or a hoax? the latter choice seems more probable."

In this case the prominent whale's tail said to be at the end of thirty feet of 'serpent' tail could be a misinterpreted view of a giant squid's tentacle. Or else it could be that a sperm whale has a type of very long, very thin whale caught head-end in its jaws and it is belabouring the smaller whale to death. If this is so, the same thing may have been sighted two or three other times in other places. The long, thin whale might be a kind of beaked whale developed along the lines of a zueglodon and we have some residual reports of this type after ruling it out as a candidate of the multi-humppd type. It would be the kind of beaked whale reported as a corpse by the Emu in the Pacific: about 60 feet long but with ribs only two and a half feet long, a ribbon-whale. The skull of this creature was definitely the skull of a type of beaked whale, or so the official report from the museum goes.

This last piece of evidence was also from Ivan Sanderson's files and I saw it back in the 1970s when the SITU library and files were still intact. I have restored it somewhat around the edges (scrapbookers, don't listen to the people that tell you to use rubber cement!). This copy comes from The Greatest Study. This page illustrates what was reported to be a film taken by a fisherman in Maine and viewed by an SITU member to be recorded in the files. I never knew what to make of it because the 'blowing' seems to come from some place on the upper neck well behind the head. Presumably that was a mistake, and it may have been there was another creature swimming parallel to this one but obscured on the far side, but far enough back that its blowhole was that much out of sync. And even though the creature was seen and filmed from fairly close to, I think it was based on a small school of dolphins. The view of the head front-on looks a great deal like a head-on view of a bottlenosed dolphin to me. This does not necessarily mean that the dolphins represented in the film are of a known species (if they actually are even dolphins); the lead animal that is best seen appears to have a sort of ragged top edge where the fin would be.

If it is really one snake-like creature as supposed, then the position of the blowhole makes no sense anatomically because it would seem to be well back of the rear end of the skull.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Dale

    I enjoy both of your blogs very much. Interesting articles! Your insights and opinions are very thought-provoking.

    I just wanted to comment on the last part of this article, regarding the apparent 'blow-hole' at the back of the neck of this creature.

    I don't know if you seen it, but remember the infamous 'Alaskan Cadborosaurus' video purchased by the Discovery Channel and partially revealed on the show "Hillstranded"? Part of the video, towards the end, shows a creature (or creature) seemingly 'blowing' air out of the back of it's neck also. Very interesting to compare it to the description above from Ivan's files.

    Here is the link:

    Some people have suggested that the Pacific Northwest 'Caddies' and the New England Sea Serpent are the same species. I'm not sure if it's a unknown animal, or a group of known animals, or a hoax, but the video and the similarity to the scrapbook drawing is interesting.

    Anyways, thanks for your work!

    Gene D.


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