Visit of the Sea Serpent

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on June 17th, 2013

Cryptomundian barrycdog shares the following article:

We have all our lives been skeptical in regard to the actual existence of the Sea Serpent, but the following statement comes to us so well authenticated by veritable witnesses, that we are forced to acknowledge our self “on the fence” in regard to a matter one which we have heretofore held a decided negative opinion.

On Sunday afternoon last, about five o’clock as the Steamer William Seabrook, Captain Blakenship was passing Broad River, about thirty miles North of Tybee Light, bound for this city, those on board the vessel saw at a distance of several hindered yards ahead what they at first took to be a floating log. As the boat neared it, however, they discovered it to be a living something, lying apparently still, partly submerged in the water; and as they came still closer, it assumed the appearance so often described by those who profess to have seen the Sea Serpent. The passengers and others describe it as being dark, muddy color, with a head somewhat resembling that of an alligator, 10 to 15 feet in length which was entirely out of water. The body which described a curve as it lay in the water, discovered slumberous bumps of the size of a hogshead rising out of the water, by which they were enabled to make an estimate of its length, which they state 140 to 150 feet. Captain Blankenship, in order to gratify the passengers and crew with the best possible view of the sea monster, made a circuit around him within twenty or thirty feet of it, during which his Snakeship seemed to take no notice of the vessel. After holding himself on exhibition until the boats crew enjoyed a full view of him, he slowly sunk beneath his native element. As the steamer passed on her course, the serpent again emerged from the water, and leisurely directed his course Southward.

The passengers of the Seabrook express themselves highly delighted with the exchange of the nautical courtesies with his Snakeship, and though many of them were disbelievers in his existence before, all are confident that he was a veritable Symon Pure. The report of this stranger on our coat, created quite an excitement in nautical circles yesterday, and we have heard of an expedition to capture the Sea Serpent spoke of. –
Savannah Morning News 12th Inst.

Source: Southern Recorder, Mar. 19, 1850 — page 3

Thanks for the contribution barryclog!

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

6 Responses to “Visit of the Sea Serpent”

  1. springheeledjack responds:

    A lot of those early sightings had lots of witnesses as ships passed through areas. It’s those kind of mass sightings that gives me confidence that there are some sort of living “sea serpents” alive in the oceans. There have been too many detailed sightings over the years.

    As to why people don’t see them more often, I have several theories that are hardly new or my own:

    1) Back in earlier days, ships didn’t have motors which would probably steer large aware critters away–or at least keep them back.

    2) Most ships stick to regular “shipping lanes” these days and it wouldn’t take animals long to figure out how to avoid these lanes in order to avoid harassment.

    3) In these modern days, people have more to do aboard ships (especially now with phones and Ipods and so on) and probably spend a lot less time just staring over the side and watching the sea.

    Even though there’s no physical evidence, there are a couple of reports from the 1800’s where capture of a “sea monster” has been reported in captain’s logs. One in particular the captain went to great lengths describing and measuring the creature–as to why they didn’t leave it on the boat: they were due at sea for a longer period and the creature began stinking up the ship, to which end they made their measurements and drew pictures and then tossed it overboard. Pity they didn’t at least save the skull.

  2. springheeledjack responds:

    Of all the cryptids at large, the “sea monster” is the one I put the most stock in (I’ll put BF up there too). There’s a consistent body of sightings, and the ocean is the one place where there’s enough room and food supply to support populations of larger than average critters. The surface area is enough that ever coming across one has to be the equivalent of winning the lottery.

    Isaac Asimov hosted a short lived TV show that dealt with the unknown and he as much said the same thing: that statistically, sea monsters had the best chance of being real because of everything I stated above (he said it much better:).

    It doesn’t seem a stretch to me at all. We’ve only just recently gotten gooooood photographic and video evidence of the giant squid. It’s my hope that with more ROV’s in the water we’ll eventually get some evidence on that front.

    Ironically, ROV’s and cameras set up along oil rigs have gotten more footage of sea critters over the last decade than most other sources. It’s just a matter of someone going over the footage to see what’s caught on film.

  3. chadgatlin responds:

    Alligator-ish head and bumps? Sounds like one of these guys to me:

    Humpback Whale, Photo Source

    Humpback Whale Photo Source

    springheeledjack, your reason #3 makes a lot of sense. I actually think this is why we shouldn’t be so shocked that ancient civilizations such as the Maya were such good astronomers. They didn’t have anything else to do after the sun went down except look up at the sky. No TV or modern distractions from nature.

  4. springheeledjack responds:

    Chadgatlin–yeah on the Mayans. Human civilization today might actually be a lot further than we are except for the fact that instead of pushing boundaries, we’re absorbed in self entertainment, though I suppose Punkin’ Chuckin’ does push people to make a bigger and better trebuchet…

  5. corrick responds:

    springheeledjack, I’ve read those three theories more than once before and while they sound reasonable on the surface…

    Today there are more oceanic sailboats that at any time since about the 1890’s. The vast majority of sea serpent sighting since that time have been from noisy motorized steam & oil powered vessels. Regular “shipping lanes” are not some modern invention. That’s how mankind has always traveled when given a choice.

    My theory about to the decline in sea serpent sightings coincides with the rise of modern media as in books, television and global communication. Unlike most sailors and people of the past who had to rely on first hand experience, knowledge of animal appearance, even obscure ones became far more widespread eliminating many misidentifications. So too has the days of unchecked journalistic when fantastic stories were made up simply to sell papers. Pardon the pun, but many, many old sea serpent accounts when researched simply don’t hold ay water.

    Case in point, your specific 1800’s example. Might be wrong that it was Karl Shuker, but that case has been thoroughly research. A hoax.

    Not saying, there isn’t something unknown in the world’s oceans largely behind some sea serpent accounts, but weak excuses do nothing but cloud the waters.

  6. AreWeThereYeti responds:

    @ springheeledjack: (I apologize if the following seems like piling-on; just wanted to make a point)

    Unfortunately, even the above sighting appears to contradict two of your suppositions. To wit:

    1. In this instance, the vessel from which the alleged sighting was made is identified as “the STEAMER William Seabrook” – obviously not a quiet sailboat but, rather, a “noisy” steam-powered ship.

    2. As corrick pointed out; even back then ships such as the Wm. Seabrook tended to follow established shipping lanes.

    I do however share your view that the vastness of ocean, coupled with relative lack of mid-to-deep water exploration, leaves plenty of room for large creatures to dwell undiscovered, as of yet, by science.

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