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Morgawr: Monster of the Deep

In August 2010, Elizabeth Randall (an English author, good friend, and seeker of all-things weird) said that according to a sensational article that appeared in the pages of the British Daily Mail newspaper that same month, “…a picture has been circulating on the Internet purporting to show a sea monster that, so far seems to have eluded identification. It was seen off Saltern Cove, Devon, U.K., and has been dubbed by many as a ‘new Nessie.’ The image appears to show a greenish-brown, long-necked ‘something,’ with a reptilian-like head, that was trailing a shoal of fish just 30 yards offshore. According to reports the fish beached themselves just a few seconds later.”

Elizabeth continued: “The photo was sent to the Marine Conservation Society, who have still to decide exactly what it is. Although theories range from a sea serpent to a salt water crocodile. The lady who took the photograph at first thought that it might be a turtle but the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says that not only do turtles not chase fish, but the description doesn’t fit.”

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Jonathan Downes, the Director of the Center for Fortean Zoology, and an expert on strange and unknown animals, said: “Me? I think it is a basking shark; I think that what appears to be its back is its tail, and the ‘head’ is the tip of its nose, but golly, wouldn’t I love to be proved wrong!”

Others suggested that nothing more than a turtle was possibly the culprit. Photographs that were taken by one of the witnesses, Gill Pearce, however, clearly demonstrated that the neck of the creature was much too long for it to be that of a regular turtle. Pearce took the photos on July 27, and subsequently reported the details of the encounter to the Marine Conservation Society. A spokesperson for whom, Claire Fischer, told the press:

“Gill Pearce spotted the creature about 20 meters from the bay at Saltern Cove, near Goodrington. It was observed at about 15.30 on 27 July but by the time she had got her camera it had moved further out. She spotted it following a shoal of fish which beached themselves in Saltern Cove. The creature remained in the sea, then went out again and followed the shoal – this indicates it’s not a turtle as they only eat jellyfish. We would love to know if other people have seen anything like this in the same area and can help clear up the mystery.”

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It’s not impossible that what was encountered was Morgawr, a sea-serpent-style beast reportedly seen for decades (some say centuries) in and around Falmouth Bay, Cornwall, England. Notably, Cornwall is situated only one county away from where the 2010 incident occurred. Morgawr is variously described as looking like a giant serpent, a monstrous eel, or even a supposedly extinct plesiosaur. Morgawr came to prominence in September 1975 when two witnesses claimed to have seen a humped animal with “stumpy horns” and with bristles that ran along the length of its long neck, and which apparently had a conger-eel in its huge mouth.

A whole wave of startling encounters with the creature allegedly occurred during the period 1975-76, and such reports continue to surface sporadically from time to time and from this very same location. Did Morgawr possibly decided to take a trip along the coast for a brief vacation and to entertain the nation’s media? Maybe so…

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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