April 29, 2009

San Francisco Sea Serpent, 1885

The Clark twins of San Francisco contribute the following:

We found this 1885 newspaper article in the New York Times archives. The article was first published in the San Francisco Chronicle on March 28, 1885. We find this article interesting because it establishes that there was a reported multiple eyewitness sighting of a Sea Serpent in SF Bay in 1885, which was similar in appearance to the animal we have seen.

The “Goat Island” mentioned in the article is now named “Yerba Buena Island.”



From the San Francisco Chronicle, March 28.

The existence of the giant sea serpent is no longer in doubt. It has been seen in the waters of San Francisco Bay. According to the statement of J.P. Allen, of the Bank of California, he and several other residents of Alameda were standing on the deck of the ferryboat Garden City yesterday morning, at about
8:00 o’clock, about midway between Alameda and Goat Island, when a huge black monster suddenly raised its head and neck from the water to a height of about 10 feet, opened its jaws, displaying a mouth two feet wide filled with rows of sharply pointed teeth, and after taking a curious glance at the passing steamer plunged again into the water, at the same time elevating a sixty-foot tail, with which it thrashed the water for some time, after which it made off in the direction of the Alameda baths, near which some fishing boats were anchored. Some incredulous persons to whom the story was told say that the ferryboat struck a floating spar, forcing one end downward in the water and elevating the other as the steamer passed over the submerged end, and that after the steamer had passed the elevated end fell back into the water with a splash. We may expect soon to hear of the destruction of the Alameda fishing fleet, or more probably the establishment of a hotel for Summer boarders in the vicinity of the Alameda wharf.

Besides the sea serpent, which gave a powerful impetus to the romancing powers of several reputable gentlemen crossing on a ferryboat, the bay yielded a sea monster of such strange appearance that the oldest tar on the seawall has not yet given it a name. The monster was first seen by Carl Sevening and John Peat, who were rowing near the North Heads at about 9 o’clock yesterday morning. The animal exposed a fiercely mustached head of a shape between that of a seal and a sea lion, surveyed the scene, took a dislike to the rowboat, and charged upon it. Just before reaching the boat the monster dived and came up under the boat, lifting it and the occupants, but not capsizing it. The enemy made a second
appearance on the opposite side of the boat, four foot off, and was met with active battle.

Peat dealt a blow on the monster’s head with an oar, knocking it out for a moment, and Sevening followed with another blow which knocked the beast silly. The pair then secured the animal with the boat’s painter and began towing it, when the enemy came to time for a second round. This it began by towing the boat
rapidly for a quarter of a mile. It then came to the surface for breath, when Sevening landed it a blow, gaining first blood, and ending the fight with a square knock-out. The enemy turned belly up and was towed to the foot of Larkin street, where it took six men to land it. The animal measured 6 feet in length and weighed about 300 pounds. It had green eyes and a long, white, bristling mustache. It had two flippers
of great strength, which measured 1 1/2 feet in length. The capture will be kept at the foot of Larkin street until noon today.

The New York Times
Published April 5, 1885.


Thank you.

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.

Filed under Cryptotourism, CryptoZoo News, Sea Serpents, Year In Review