Dec 29, 2020 I Nick Redfern

When Monsters Aren’t Really Monsters: They Just Look Like They Are

Some strange creatures are called "monsters" because, well, they are monstrous. The  Chupacabra certainly is. As are the Bigfoot creatures, the Abominable Snowman, the Jersey Devil, and the Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Other creatures achieve the term "monster" because of one thing: they are giant-sized. That's right, it's the scale that provokes the "monster" description, rather than the beasts themselves. Today, I'll share with you a few examples of how regular creatures can be thrust into the "monster" category. How about something no stranger than as a turtle? Well, the one I'm thinking of is far from being innocuous. Adam Benedict says: "First reported in 1494 by explorer Christopher Columbus near the Dominican Republic, the Father of All Turtles was described as being the size of a whale, while also possessing a long tail with a fin on each side to help with movement through the water. The giant turtle was said to have kept its head out of the water the entire time it swam within close proximity of Columbus’s ship, the Santa Maria. Eventually, the Turtle felt it had spent enough time on the surface and dove back below the surface of the Atlantic where it was seen no more by the explorer and his men."

Scientific American has also addressed the possibility that our oceans may be home to turtles of gigantic proportions. Scientific American, back in 1883, wrote: "Captain Augustus G. Hall and the crew of the schooner Annie L. Hall vouch for the following: On March 30, while on the Grand Bank, in latitude 40 10′, longitude 33, they discovered an immense live trunk turtle, which was at first thought to be a vessel bottom up. The schooner passed within twenty-five feet of the monster, and those on board had ample opportunity to estimate its dimensions by a comparison with the length of the schooner. The turtle was at least 40 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 30 feet from the apex of the back to the bottom of the under shell. The flippers were 20 feet long. It was not deemed advisable to attempt its capture."

How about eels? One of the theories for the Loch Ness Monsters is that they are massive eels. Such a thing is not impossible. Around 10:00 p.m. on May 26, 2007 Gordon Holmes filmed, well, something, in Loch Ness. It was something that turned him into an overnight media sensation – albeit a brief sensation. The day in question was dominated by heavy rain, but which cleared as the evening arrived, allowing Holmes to get clear footage of what looked like some kind of animal moving at a significant rate of knots in the waters of Loch Ness. The specific location from where all the action was captured was a parking area, on the A82 road, just a couple of miles from Drumnadrochit.  Not only that, Holmes estimated, as he excitedly watched and filmed, that the creature was around fourteen meters in length - which, if true, effectively ruled out everything known to live in the inland waters of the British Isles.

Holmes, a lab technician, caught the attention of not just the British media, but also the likes of NBC News and CNN. He, and his near-priceless film, were quickly big news. Holmes said, when the media descended upon him in absolute droves, that he could scarcely believe what he was seeing. It was a large, black-colored animal that had a length of around forty-five feet. His first thought was: giant eel. Holmes told the media of the eel theory: "They have serpent-like features and they may explain all the sightings in Loch Ness over the years."

"Giant squid live up to their name: the largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet (13 meters) long, and may have weighed nearly a ton. You’d think such a huge animal wouldn't be hard to miss. But because the ocean is vast and giant squid live deep underwater, they remain elusive and are rarely seen: most of what we know comes from dead carcasses that floated to the surface and were found by fishermen." Those are the insightful words of the Smithsonian. Marine Bio say: “In 1965, a Soviet whaler watched a battle between a squid and a 40 ton sperm whale. In the case of this battle, neither was victorious. The strangled whale was found floating in the sea with the squid’s tentacles wrapped around the whale’s throat. The squid’s severed head was found in the whale’s stomach."

How about a large snake? Like a gigantic snake? There is the following account of Reymondo Zima, a Portuguese merchant: "On 6th July 1930 I was going up the Jamunda in company with my wife and the boy who looks after my motor-boat. Night was falling when we saw a light on the river bank. In the belief it was the house I was looking for I steered towards the light and switched on my searchlight. But then we noticed that the light was charging towards us at an incredible speed. A huge wave lifted the bow of the boat and almost made it capsize. My wife screamed in terror. At the same moment we made out the shape of a giant snake rising out of the water and performing a St. Vitus’s dance around the boat. After which the monster crossed this tributary of the Amazon about half a kilometer wide at fabulous speed, leaving a huge wake, larger than any of the steamboats make at full speed. The waves hit our 13-meter boat with such force that at every moment we were in danger of capsizing. I opened my motor flat out and made for dry land. Owing to the understandable excitement at the time it was not possible for me to reckon the monster’s length. I presume that as a result of a wound the animal lost one eye, since I saw only one light. I think the giant snake must have mistaken our searchlight for the eye of one of his fellow snakes."

None of the above are literal monsters. They have, however, achieved monstrous statuses. Two very different things!

Nick Redfern
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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