Mysterious creatures are sighted all over the world, from the most remote wildernesses to decidedly less probable places. It seems as if almost every habitat imaginable is a candidate for reports of mystery monsters of one kind or another. One place that has also managed to accrue its fair share of reports is that of the beaches of the world, where there are at times seemingly strange things afoot. Here we will take a look at some bizarre cases of beach dwelling monsters.
Iceland is probably not the first place one envisions when they think of beaches, but it certainly has its share of beach related monsters. One of the most well-known is called the Fjörulabbi, or “Beach Walker” or “The Shore Laddy” in English. This particular mysterious beast has supposedly been sighted since at least the 1700s roaming about the coasts of the Westfjords of Iceland, and is truly bizarre to say the least. The creature is said to emerge from the froth and foam of where the ocean meets the land, described as looking somewhat like a sheep in basic form, but with barnacle encrusted brownish-grey fur and deformed, twisted limbs variously said to end in webbed hands or hooves. The creatures apparently are known to congregate at the shore when the sheep are in their breeding season, during which time they will either devour them as prey or breed with the ewes to create horrifically deformed offspring. They also are supposed to have the unsettling habit of attacking pregnant women. One alleged sighting of the Fjörulabbi comes from Icelandic researcher Sigfús Sigfússon, and reads:
One early winter evening in Bjarnarhöfn by Breidafjordur, six men went out to see whether missing sheep had returned to the farm. They observed something moving by the shed and rushed to grap hold of the sheep and take it inside. When they came closer they realised that this was no sheep. They formed a circle around the creature which then took off towards the sea, pursued by the men, including my narrator. It ran as quickly as a dog and escaped into the ocean. It had a short, round head but otherwise resembled a dog rather than sheep. It had a hump on its back and jumped frequently as it ran.
The Fjörulabbi has apparently often been sighted right up into the modern day, and one wonders if this is sheer folklore, a misidentified seal, or what. Just as bizarre is another beach dweller from Iceland called the Skeljaskrímsli, which is said to be a massive animal similar in appearance to a cross between a bear and a hippo, but with prominent scales covering its body and long, wicked looking claws that it uses to anchor itself to the bottom during rough seas. In some accounts it has a thick mat of seaweed and barnacles that has led to its nickname “The Shell Monster.” The beast supposedly was rather fond of Iceland’s fjords, making most of its appearances in the 18th and 19th centuries and there are numerous accounts of it during this time period. One comes from a Gísli konráðsson (1787-1877), who wrote of an encounter thusly:
It was a few years ago in Grímsey that a man named Gísli Brandsson and his brother Jón Brandsson the Yztabæ, were walking by the sea, intending to use pipes conversion fishing that he had seen on the monster high. Preparation from sea to shore up, so large that horse but great value, especially the legs. Gisli that it summoned, already thought ahead and VOD under the hands of two tidal trails. Sókti it for him and he pulled it either. He heard the trap or ring to it. He ran as he could most, but it was placed on the field he had closed the town. Gisli lay on, so he searched hard before and was almost entirely shorn when he came to bed. He told himself from this, right speech man, but no mention was observed that since.
Sightings of the creatures have withered away in modern times, leaving us to speculate on whether this was a real animal that perhaps became extinct, or if it was always purely a folkloric construct. Some of the beach creatures seen around the world are a bit more humanoid in nature, and indeed beaches seem to be a good place to catch sightings of odd aquatic humanoids. One very weird report comes from Reddit user “johnnyturquiose,” who had her experience on the seaside of Brittany, in France in 2012. At the time she had been at a place called called Ile de Groix, which is only accessible by ferry and where she had come with her boyfriend for a quiet vacation. On this evening there was a full moon out, and they went out for a romantic stroll along one of the area’s beaches. The night was calm and the beach bathed in moonlight, a great night to be out staring at the cliffs and the waves, but then something very unusual caught their eye. The witness says:
So we were standing on a cliff, facing the sea, when suddenly, straight ahead of us, we saw a human-shaped figure get out of the water and hurry across the beach. I know, it’s nothing scary so far. Except the figure was pitch black, contrasting with the clear sand and was not reflecting any light, like a dark shadow (it’s weird cause remember the moon was shining). We first thought it was someone skinny dipping; problem is when you’re going out of sea you first swim to the edge of the sea, then you stand up and walk out of the water. This figure gradually went out, all the time standing tall, as if it was walking on the bottom of the ocean. Moreover, my boyfriend and I had been looking at the water for a while and never noticed anyone swimming, as if it was totally immerged for at least ten minutes. At the sight of that, I felt particularly uncomfortable, not to say really freaked out.
So was my boyfriend who is not easily scared. Weirdest part is once the human-shaped figure got out of the water, it headed straight ahead to the foot of the cliff where we were standing, but it wasn’t walking or running, it was SLIDING on the sand, like really fast. A pitch black human-shape, with indistinguishable face and features, sliding fast as fuck on the sand, almost gliding, not moving its legs or anything, leaving no trail or footsteps behind. We stared at it silently until it got a few meters away from the foot of the cliff; then, without talking, we decided to get the fuck out of dodge, still with this feeling of dread and fear. We never saw or heard of this creature again, and nothing strange happened during the rest of our vacation. My boyfriend however has witnessed strange things on the island before, but nothing that’s related to this story.
In one report from researcher Linda Moulton Howe, in 1968 there was an odd encounter with some sort of aquatic humanoid made by a former U. S. Army Specialist 4, military policeman who at the time had been stationed at the Presidio, in San Francisco, California, as well as at and Fort Baker in Marin County, California. The witness calls himself “David,” and says that at the time of his weird encounter he had been on a patrol of Fort Baker at approximately 1 AM in the morning, not far from the main installation and only about 20 feet from the water’s edge of San Francisco Bay. He had been with a partner, and at some point during their lonely patrol they noticed fleeting movement off in the dark and slowed the vehicle to see what it was, thinking it must be a trespasser. In a way they were right, but this was no human intruder. The witness says:
When I applied the brakes, it lit that thing up. And it was a humanoid form. The only way I can describe it is if you saw the movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was very, very close to that. Very close. The head was a little bit smaller, but the overall form of it was very close to that creature. And it came out of the water and it stood on the road. And when I put the brakes on, I could see it clearly. And my partner turned around, and he saw it. It was a humanoid form, but what I could make out of the detail of it, it looked like it wasn’t flesh. I could look at it, it kind of looked like, well, it looked like some kind of a lizard skin or something like that. That’s what it looked like. But it was a little smoother than that. The color of it was kind of a greenish-brown, dark greenish-brown. And it had broad shoulders, so it looked very healthy. It looked very strong and healthy because it was tall. I would guess that it was about nine feet. It’s kind of hard to judge, but definitely not under seven feet. I’d say it was about nine feet tall. And as we looked at it, the creature stood there for maybe five seconds or at the most ten seconds, and it took off. I could see it just run, but it ran not back into the water, but towards the cliff that was there. There was a sheer cliff there that it ran against and disappeared! We were both a little shaken, to be honest with you. So my partner, we both saw this thing, and we saw it run into the cliff. There’s nothing but a cliff there. I can’t imagine anybody being able to climb that cliff. It was just like a wall.
Very strange indeed. Moving over to the sun soaked beaches of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands , which include Okinawa island, we have reports of something that seems almost akin to a type of unknown primate of some sort. One of the weirdest mystery creatures said to inhabit the Ryukyu Islands is a type of alleged small, hairy ape-like creature called the Kenmun, or also known as the Kijinuma in more southern areas. The stories originate from Amami Ōshima, which is the largest island in the Amami chain of islands, in the Northern part of the Ryukyu archipelago. The Kenmun, also variously known as the Kenmon, Kunmon, Kunmu, and Nebuzawa, is said to be around 1 to 1.3 meters tall, about the size of a 5 or 6 year old child, but with a stocky, muscular build and covered in kinky, reddish or black hair, that looks mussed, matted and dirty. The Kenmun has a face that is most often described as being like that of an ape or monkey, but also sometimes as dog-like. It is a nocturnal animal, with eyes that supposedly glow red in the dark when light catches them. The creature’s arms are disproportionately long compared to the legs, and it is said to be an agile and powerful climber.
The Kenmun is said to be highly arboreal, making its home primarily in banyan trees near the beach, yet it is also supposedly a good swimmer, and is thought to prefer habitat near water, such as rivers, lakes or the sea. Its favorite foods are said to be fish, crab, and octopus, as well as shellfish and snails, and indeed it is thought that a sure sign of a Kenmun’s tree is the shellfish and snail shells littering the area under it. The creature is said to be particularly fond of fish eyes, which it will pop out and eat with relish. They are said to be mostly harmless, although the mostly nocturnal creatures are said to spook people at night with their eyes, which supposedly reflect light like a cat’s.
A prominent feature of the Kenmun is its powerful stench, variously described as smelling like goat, horse, and rotting yams. The smell is believed to instill great fear in animals that come into contact with it, and there have been modern accounts of this. For instance, in 1973, a rancher reported that as he moved his cows to pasture, they suddenly became spooked and refused to move. It was strange since they had never acted this way before. The curious rancher took a look around and didn’t see anything unusual, but he became aware of a thick, pungent stench in the air. It was not until the smell passed that the cows finally regained their composure. Similar effects have often been reported on horses and dogs.
Although mostly considered as harmless, the Kenmun has a somewhat bad reputation nevertheless. In folklore, it was thought to be a trickster as well as a bit headstrong, known to challenge travelers to wrestling matches. In more modern reports, the creatures are said to steal fish or bait from fishermen, and indeed Kenmun are most often seen by fisherman fishing at night. There have even been cases where Kenmun have reportedly aggressively tried to scare fishermen away from their catches. Some more violent behavior include shrieking at passerby and hurling rocks or stones. There have even been accounts of homes being besieged by rock throwing Kenmun. One man told of seeing a small, dark form sitting alone on the beach one evening, which he at first took to be a child. When he called out to it, the figure suddenly whirled around in surprise and the man was astonished to see that it was a hairy creature like a small ape. This creature proceeded to start throwing rocks at the terrified man, even chasing him to his nearby home, where it continued to pelt the dwelling with rocks for some time before leaving the area.
Although the Kenmun has long been sighted by islanders, physical evidence has mostly taken the form of trees with a disproportionate amount of discarded shells under them, and footprints that turn up from time to time. In November, 1986, a man by the name of Isamu Satoyama photographed a series of strange tracks in the sand on a secluded beach. The tracks went on for 500 meters, and measured 10 cm by 30 cm in diameter. Similar trackways have been found time to time in areas the Kenmun are said to inhabit, most often in sand but not always. There was even a plaster cast made of one such print, although it proved to be inconclusive. In more recent years, very few tracks have been found and eyewitness reports are rare.
The Kenmun is not the only type of creature like this to be found in the Ryukyu islands. It is very similar to another type of mysterious creature known as the Kijimuna, which is said to live in the more Southern Okinawa prefecture and which also prowls the shoreline. What could the Kenmun possibly be? A new type of primate? A hominid or proto-pygmy of some sort? Is this some sort of subspecies of yet another cryptid, the Kappa? Are they just a figment of the imagination? The lack of any new sightings or evidence suggest that if these things ever existed at all, then they may well have already gone extinct or are close to it. If that is the case, then perhaps we will never know what they were or are.
What are these creatures and why are they drawn to these beaches? Are these misidentified animals that have managed to gain an air of mystique or are they something truly unexplained and outlandish that we have yet to understand? We have no answers at the moment, and such stories will likely continue. So the next time you are taking a leisurely stroll down the beach keep an eye out around you, because you never know what strangeness you will find.