Dan Brown’s Surprise: Giant Squid

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 15th, 2009

If you don’t know that Random House has delivered five million (yes, 5,000,000) copies of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol to bookstores and book dealers, you may be unaware of the news that’s already leaked out about the contents. Oh yeah, it’s been the #1 bestseller on Amazon.com since April.

Well, we all figured out it would be about Freemasonry, obelisks, and Masonic symbolism, but who could have guessed that one of the “characters” would be a giant squid?

According to the New York Times book reviewer Janet Maslin, writing in the Sunday editions, there’s a “Katherine Solomon” who has a lab in “the Smithsonian Museum Support Center in Maryland” which is “located within an immense, highly guarded building that also houses Mars meteorite ALH-84001 and an architeuthis (a k a giant squid).”

Well, technically, the name for the giant squid is capitalized and in italics because it is a genus name in Latin. But it is cool to see the fact that an Architeuthis is located in the Smithsonian didn’t escape Dan Brown and may be of some significance.

Actually, this is the giant squid that washed ashore in Massachusetts, which I wrote about for Boston Magazine in 1980. Found on Plum Island, Massachusetts, earlier in that year, it is only the third giant squid found stranded on U.S. shores. The total length of this specimen is 2.7 m (9 ft). The Plum Island squid was the first and the best preserved specimen that has been passed along to Clyde Roper at the Smithsonian.

The Dan Brown-mentioned giant squid is presently on loan from the Smithsonian at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

Architeuthis is a darling of cryptozoology, a formerly ethnoknown “legendary” animal, the Kraken, proven to be real.

The Alecton attempts to capture a giant squid in 1861.

Architeuthis sanctipauli was first described in 1877 based on a specimen found washed ashore in Île Saint-Paul three years earlier.

But what is a giant squid doing in this book?

Let me know if you find out.


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Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

One Response to “Dan Brown’s Surprise: Giant Squid”

  1. Matt_J responds:

    It’s funny that you bring up Latin, because in an excerpt I saw from the book, apparently the only person in the world who can read Latin is the main character in The Lost Symbol *eyeroll*

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