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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Deception Bay SS, Australia

Malcom Smith put this up and advertised in the CFZ network: I caught one remark in particular (" One is immediately reminded of "Caborosaurus", the sea serpent of the narrow waters around Vancouver Island on the other side of the Pacific") and I knew I neded to reprint it for commentary.

Malcolm's Musings: Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology is the investigation of animals not yet recognized by science, but whose existence is hinted at by eye witness accounts, photos, or traces. I provided a major review of Australian cryptozoology in my 1996 book, "Bunyips and Bigfoots". This blog aims to continue reporting on that research. However, initially, I intend to provide a service of translating into English a number of foreign language accounts from around the world

Tuesday, 28 August 2012  Another Deception Bay Sea Serpent

The best documented Australian "sea serpent" was an elongated, inquisitive mystery animal which frequented Deception Bay in the period 1959/60. Situated at approximately 153° 7' E, 27° 9' S, not far north of Brisbane, Queensland, Deception Bay is a sub-section of Moreton Bay. Roughly semicircular in shape, it is bounded on the south by Scarborough, the northernmost part of the Redcliffe peninsula, and on the north by Bribie Island. I can never hear the name, Deception Bay without thinking, "monster" because the first time I heard about it was in relation to the monster, not long after I moved to the Brisbane area as a boy.
In December 1996, I was on talkback radio promoting my book, Bunyips and Bigfoots. When the compere referred to the section on the Deception Bay monster, a Mr Mick Scheirupflug phoned in to say that he also had encountered a strange animal in the bay. One thing lead to another and, that evening, I was able to interview all three witnesses independently by telephone.
Matters of Agreement.
All three agreed on the basic details. Several decades before, Mr Scheirupflug, his son, and young friend had hired a boat in order to fish for whiting in the bay. The creature surfaced not too far away, and was in view for a few minutes, moving parallel to them. It was a slim, serpentine animal consisting of a series of humps, but with no fins. They had difficulty describing its motion but, after some probing, but not leading, questions they all agreed it moved by vertical undulations. They also all agreed that it finally slid forward into the water and disappeared. They did not mention it to anybody else. Now for the individual stories.
First Witness. Mick Scheirupflug, retired carpenter, aged 77 in 1996. He was vague about the year, but suggested it was about 20 years before. Then his wife chimed in and said it was more like 30 or 40. The event took place about half past 8 in the morning, about half a mile from Scarborough, where the water was only about 10 or 20 feet deep, and calm. The boat was stationary, and the animal about 150 yards away. The sighting lasted 4 or 5 minutes. It was pale brown, mottled like a carpet snake. He thought there were three humps, protruding a couple of feet out of the water, with a total length of well over 20 feet. He could not remember seeing any head or tail.
Second Witness: Peter Scheirupflug, son of Mick, aged 49. As the youngest member of the party, his memory was the weakest, and required a lot of prompting. He told me that afterwards, they convinced themselves they hadn't seen it. He thinks he was aged 10 or 11 at the time. The time was about 2 pm, and they were drifting about 2 km from Scarborough, the water being very calm. The sighting lasted 4 or 5 minutes, at a distance of 300 to 350 yards, and "we didn't want to get any closer". He was uncertain about the colour, perhaps greenish grey. There were two humps, as thick as a man's thigh, say 200 mm (8 inches). The head was not much bigger than the body, but he could not see much detail. The length of the head and two humps would have come to 9 or 10 feet.
Third Witness. John Willett, aged 55, Mick's son-in-law. He provided a quite different account of the circumstances. It was at least 35 years before. He said that the sighting occurred in the afternoon, and that they were halfway across the bay, and had decided to head home because the weather had turned rough and windy, with light rain. He contested the statements of the other two, and said he distinctly remembered putting his head down against the wind, and also remembered the sea being choppy. The animal appeared only 20 or 30 feet away. I asked him twice. He was sure it was close because the water was bad. The sighting lasted 1½ to 2 minutes, and they were scared. He mentioned that the animal was moving parallel to them, but in the opposite direction ie north. The motor had probably disturbed it.
He distinctly remembered three humps, and possibly four, and they were quite distinct despite the very rough water. They were at least a foot in diameter, the distance along the tops of each hump being about 5 or 6 feet, and the space between the humps 3 or 4 feet, making a total length of 20 to 30 feet. He couldn't remember the colour. However, he did say the head was like a snake's or eel's and, whereas the other two failed to see any tail, he volunteered, without being asked, that he saw the tail come out of the water just before the animal submerged. It was like a very large paddle, flat and horizontal - unlike a fish's vertical tail - and was not forked. He described its motion as like a snake sliding over three rocks. The body itself did not move up and down i.e. there were no coils, but the humps moved with a fluid motion.
After such a lapse of time, the variations in the accounts are not surprising. Indeed, this makes them all the more valuable, by demonstrating that the witnesses' memories have not been altered by telling and retelling the story among themselves. As far as the circumstances of the sighting, I am inclined to put more credence on the third witness. The other two were probably recalling the weather at the start of the excursion. Also, although he has probably underestimated the distance, his estimate of the duration of the sighting is probably more accurate, seeing that the animal did not apparently get too far away. Besides, you can see a lot in 1½ to 2 minutes, if your adrenaline is pumping.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the three descriptions are all variations on a theme. Readers of cryptozoology will no doubt be aware that vertical undulations, with or without a horizontal tail being visible, are only referable to mammals. They will also be aware that elongated, multihumped creatures are well represented among "sea serpent" reports. One is immediately reminded of "Caborosaurus", the sea serpent of the narrow waters around Vancouver Island on the other side of the Pacific. When did it take place? Unless a witness has some circumstance or event to "anchor" a sighting, it is very difficult to remember exactly when a sighting took place. Therefore, I am more inclined to accept the estimate of Peter, who was just a young boy at the time. While the lives of adults tend to be routine, those of children are constantly changing with respect to school and social life. So if Peter said he was 10 or 11, it is unlikely he was as young as7 or 8, or as old as 14 or 15. Taken at face value, this would place the unreported sighting about 1958 or 1959 - just before the much better publicised Deception Bay "monster" of 1959-60. I find that amazing! Not only that, it appears to have been a different kind of animal. The later, better documented one had a larger head and a heavier body. Indeed, one of the witnesses I spoke to emphasized that it was not really serpentine in form, just elongated and thickset. Not only that, but a couple of years later, a totally different kind of "sea serpent" - the classic long-necked, bulbous-bodied type - turned up off the coast of the nearby Bribie Island. Something was drawing these strange denizens of the sea to this very restricted area of water. I hope they decide to come back while I am still around!
Posted by Malcolm Smith at 15:59

alanborky30 August 2012 14:19
Based on what you've written here Malcolm I've just googled 'deception bay australia webcam' in the hope there might be one pointing out towards this highly promising monster hotspot.
Alas motorways aplenty but nothing focused out on the bay itself.
Wouldn't such a cam make an excellent but cheap device for promoting tourism in the area especially if someone saw something?

Replies Malcolm Smith30 August 2012 20:31
It's an idea. However, since the bay is 8 miles wide, and there have been no further reports for the last 50 years, I have my doubts.

-Now as for my commentary: contrary to what Malcom says, the humps are spoken of as humps as humps on the back and not vertical undulations, and a set of two or three humps on the back is common in reports of the Longneck: and Cadborosaurus is a clasical Longneck (read Merhorse+Longneck with "Merhorses" being the males and "Longnecks" being the females) and so it IS valuable to have reports of the same type across the Pacific. Also since Heuvelmans' classic n The Wake of the Sea Serpents ends its collection of reports in 1969, the majority of sources that speak of SeaSerpent reports at all are commonly referring to reports that are more than 50 years old.As a matter of fact there were also other reports more recently as we shall see from the other materials reprinyted below-DD.

An earlier blog posting on Australian Sea-serpents is here:
And it was subsequently reprinted on this blog (as the notes at the bottom indicate)

A longer selection by Rex Gilroy follows:
By Rex Gilroy
Loch Ness Monster

The enigmatic Loch Ness Monster of Scotland. For centuries the monster of the Loch Ness has frequented the folklore of Scotland but no serious attempts have ever been made to study the beast until well into the present century (1900's). Nowdays with modern photography, radar and other devices scientists have come to accept the fact that there is indeed some mysterious animal lurking in the depths of the loch. All that is needed now to verify the creature's existence is a skeleton or carcass. From the available photographic evidence and descriptions by eyewitnesses many researchers believe the Lock Ness Monster is indeed a latter-day form of Plesiosaurus. This contention is further supported by the mass of evidence gathered from numerous Irish lochs where the creatures have been known for centuries also.

Plesiosaurus Around The World

In fact, strange creatures answering to the description of the plesiosaur have been reportedly seen throughout the world. Plesiosaurus like sea creatures have been a sighted off the coasts of mainland Europe, Africa, America, New Zealand and also Australia. Yet if indeed the Plesiosaurus, how are we to account for its survival since its dinosaurian relatives supposedly became extinct 70 million years ago? How could such a creature have survived this long without having been captured and identified. My answer to these questions is that for one thing, unlike the land surfaces of this planet which have been subjected to considerable geological change in Earth's long history, the oceanic environment has changed little.

Therefore there is no physical barrier whatsoever to have prevented the survival of Plesiosaurus or any other aquatic creatures from the past to present day. As scientific dogma teaches that Plesiosaurs and their kin did not survive the Cretaceous period then it is only natural that scientists have never bothered to even consider the possibility that Plesiosaurs, or latter day variation of them, might still exist in the depths of the world ocean, and therefore they have never attempted a proper search for the creatures. On the other hand, Dr William Swinton, the world famous paleontologist, has admitted there is no reason why there should not be enormous, unknown creatures, unknown, or "extinct" creatures inhabiting the sea. He has been critical of the Plesiosaur theory.

These beasts he says were oviparous and must therefore have come ashore to lay their eggs. Nobody has seen them doing so or even found a single egg. He points out that plesiosaurs are believed to have been fresh water animals, However, although their remains have been discovered in marine strata, mainly in the estuaries of the rivers where they lived, there is no reason why they should not have undergone in the course of their history a radical change in their physiology. In fact many Palaeontologists are of the opinion that the Plesiosaurs were indeed adapted to life in the sea.

Mysterious Sea Creatures

On April 20th, 1913, Mr Oscar Davies and a friend were walking along the beach near Macquarie, a remote town on the Tasmanian west coast late one afternoon. Half a mile ahead of them they sighted an enormous dark object lying among the sand dunes. Believing it to be one of the mysterious sea creatures that had been reportedly seen off the coast they began making their way towards it. They managed to get within forty yards of it when the creature suddenly rose and rushed down across the dunes and into the sea.A short way off shore it paused, glanced round at the men and then dived out of sight. The men were able to describe it later as having the now familiar long neck and serpent-like head, large broad body with two sets of flippers and along eel-like tail, being blackish in appearance.
[This description differs considerably from the version in Heuvelmans, which sounds like a large pinniped of some sort. Some experts have said this was an elephant seal]

South Coast Sightings

A similar creature was seen on several occasions during 1936 by Mrs... M. McCord from her house overlooking the sea at Milton on the far south coast of N.S.W. The South Coast of N.S.W has for generations been the scene of a great many "sea serpent" reports. Perhaps the strangest occurred back in 1942 when the Lambs Point "monster tracks" were discovered by surfers. The scene of the mystery was the beach between Lambs Point and Huskison in the vicinity of Jervis Bay. The tracks consisted of a trail of big fin-like prints which appeared to have come up from out of the sea and in an horseshoe fashion extended up on to the beach before turning round and going back into the water. The prints were a good 2 ft in width but the monsterous creature that made them was never identified.

Bellambi Reef Sightings

During June 1930 four men were fishing on the Bellambi Reef 50 miles south of Sydney when they spotted what appeared to be a very long animal which they thought was a sea serpent. Overcoming their fear they rowed nearer to have a better look at the creature. The head they all agreed looked like a serpent. Several days after this event a "sea serpent" was reported seen at Scarborough a few miles away; perhaps it was the same animal. Many witnesses saw it undulating lazily in the direction of the Bellambi rocks. It was at least 80 ft in length and swam with its head in the air at the end of a long snake's neck. What appeared to be a bulky body and long tail was detected below the surface.

Hawksbury River {Central Coast}

Some very unusual things have been happening lately around the central coast and Hawksbury River district north of Sydney. Throughout 1975-76 there have been several reports of sightings of "longnecks" thereabouts. During May 1976 a husband and wife of Woy Woy decided to go fishing in their rowboat in nearby Brisbane Waters. They had rowed out 200 yards from the shore and begun fishing. Suddenly their craft was caught up in some unusual disturbance. It was then that the wife noticed a large greyish creature swimming alongside of their boat and about 3 ft below them. In the clear water she detected what she later described as a 30 ft long animal with the familiar long neck, broad body with flippers and along eel-like tail. The "thing" had swum rapidly past their boat when a few yards distant it raised its snake like head above the water to a height of 3 ft and continued heading towards the open sea. It was then that the would-be fishermen began rowing hastily for shore.

Hawksbury River Sightings

Within a couple of weeks other people began reporting having seen the same beast near Ettalong. One woman who lives near the headwaters of the Hawksbury River watched for fifteen minutes with binoculars late one afternoon as an enormous dark shape moved inland up the river. As it passed offshore the creature raised its head at least 4 ft out of the water. It was then that the woman also detected part of its back breaking the surface. She said later, immediately reminded of the creatures similarity to photographs she had seen of the elusive Lock Ness Monster. Could these and many more sightings thereabouts have anything to do with the large fin and slide marks that have turned up on the banks of the Hawksbury River near Wisemans Ferry and the disappearance of whole boating parties that have gone out on the river never to return?

Deception Bay {Queensland}

There have been many similar happenings around Deception Bay out of Redcliffe, Queensland. Early in 1960 a fisherman, Mr Ron Spencer, said he had seen this same creature five times and that it had surfaced near his boat and his companion with "strange staring eyes". He said that its head was 3 ft long and 2 ft wide and that it had a long neck and large body.

A much smaller creature was seen later in the same region by a Mr Nigel Tutt of Hendra. The beast swam within 8 ft of his boat. He described it as being of mottled brown colour with a squarish head the size of a full cornsack, a body 3 ft across and 20 ft in length. The beast appeared to have nostrils, a yellowish mouth and flippers 6 ft back from the head.

There was a rash of sightings of a large Plesiosaurus-like sea creature around Deception Bay and Redcliffe during the period 1969-70. On one occasion a party took a fishing boat outside the bay. Suddenly they were surprised by a long-necked "thing" which appeared from out of the water nearby their craft. The creature turned its head to look in their direction and then submerged. The event terrified the group so much that ever since they have kept clear of fishing out of the bay.

Cairns Sightings

Further northand outside Cairns in far north Queensland fishing boats and other craft have been seeing strange sea creatures for the past 50 years. it was here during 1975 that a young skin diver working in 20 ft of water searching relics of old shipwrecks observed large bubbles of air 3 ft in width rising from beyond a nearby cliff. Upon investigating he saw that the bubbles were rising from an enormous long-necked dark shape further below him and which he estimated to be 35-40 ft in length. Wasting no time he returned to his boat and left the area.

Conventional Science

Clearly we are still a long way from finding the answers to the perplexing problem of these enigmatic creatures. Although sightings of mysterious monsters of the deep have plagues the records of maritime history, conventional science has always remained skeptical. Too often when sightings of unusual creatures have been reported to the authorities they have been lightly brushed aside as either being known species such as seals or whales, or else the imagination of ship's crews. These explanations do not however always stand up to serious argument. it is evident that the scientists still have much to learn about the creatures inhabiting the worlds oceans, for it is obvious from the growing mass of evidence that creatures thought long extinct may still inhabit the murky depths.

Psychic Australian March 1977
Based on info from Malcolm's book "Bunyips and Bigfoots"
This seems a fair composite of an elephant seal going by reports, ca 20 feet long
Type 1A_Long-Necked_by_Pristichampsus
The common "Plesiosaurus" Type of Sea-serpent seen aound Australia and worldwide.


  1. DON'T LOOK OVER THIS COMMENT! Sorry but I had to make sure. Anyway, how do you suscribe here?

    P.s. Do you know of any sightings of pliosaur-like creatures?

    Best Wishes,

    Noah Eckenrode,

    Amateur Cryptozoologist

  2. Around Australia? Yes, a few, and they include one report of a "Young one netted" about the turn of the century. Tim Morris might not have made illustrations of the type, though.

    You have the option to "Follow" this site and to receive updates by email. Basically all you have to do is push some buttons in the upper right hand corner of the page. Having your accounts associated with a regular email account would help us both out.


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