Sea Serpents in the British Press

Famous accounts (Daedulus etc.) and hoaxes not included.

1786 Cornwall-Portleaven

A just and particular description of a very curious and most surprising sea monster driven on shore in Port Leaven Bay, on the coast of Cornwall, on the 14th of Sept. 1786, by the strong westerly winds and tempestuous weather, which continued to a violent degree for days successively, and did much damage at that place and neighbourhood. This monster was first discovered by two boys who agreeable to the custom of that place) went search of wreck soon after day break and as they stood on the dirt which commanded a prospect of small sandy cove, they, at a distance of about a mile, discovered something of enormous hulk near the shore, and which after a short time they apprehended to be the hide or part unfortunate ship which had the preceding night been broken to pieces at the extremities of the shore they immediately went towards the place with anxious expectation and great success, and as they approached the spot the breaking waves at times ; leaving it dry) they were both struck with the utmost consternation to perceive such motions which convinced them it was something which had they then with great fear to home men of their acquaintance, and related what was seen in a terrifying manner. At first heir report was not credited, but after many strong and particular declarations of the fact, a great number of people soon collected themselves into a body, and determined to go armed, some with large sticks and pokers, others with hatchets, spits, &c. which was, after some deliberation, arrived into execution. their coming near the spot they perceived it be something living, as was represented, and raised its head, which had not before been perceived, and appeared to direct its course towards them. All were alarmed— some stood their ground, others of greater fear turned back, they could see no legs to it, but it appeared to crawl on its belly, trailing its body at times a little from the sand. Various were the opinions about this creature; some said was a Mermaid, others a Whale— but the greater number disbelieving the existence of the former, and adhering to the improbability of the latter, they were all equally at a loss. When it was agreed to examine what it was, they all went towards it, and after an hour's beating, stabbing it, it expired with a groan. Its length was found to be from the top of its head to the end of its tail, 48 feet 10 inches, and its circumference in the largest part the body 24 feet and a half: Its head was large, and prickly in the hinder part, and not formed much unlike that of a man; its eyes were greenish; its mouth large; its nose flat, and from its neck to the navel, resembling nearest to the human kind; its back was hard, and more difficult to penetrate than that of a turtle; it had two short fore feet, formed like the paw of a monkey, and its hinder parts shaped something like the hinder part of a porpoise; it had a large fan tail, which when spread full 7 feet in width at the extent, and but 5 feet long. It is supposed a large quantity of oil will be produced from it, which, with the shell of its back, and its fins, are judged, if properly managed, to be of great value, and will be of considerable benefit to this neighbourhood no-one has it, its name, nor has any monster like it ever been described in record, or come within the knowledge of this kingdom. 

 

Hereford Journal - Thursday 12 October 1786

1787 Cape Breton

The description given in our Newspapers a Sea Serpent, seen for several days, and about Cape Ann Harbour, has brought recollection of one of this species. On a passage I made from Quebec, in 1787, in a schooner of about 80 tons burthen, while standing in for the Gut of Canso, the Island of Cape Breton being about four leagues distant, one of the crew cried out, A shoal a-head!’ The helm was immediately put down to tack ship, when, to our great astonishment, this shoal, as thought it to be, moved off, and as it passed the athwart bow of our vessel, discovered it to be an enormous' sea serpent, four times as long the schooner. Its back was of a dark’’ green colour, forming above the water a number of little hillocks, resembling chain hogsheads. I was then but a lad, and being much terrified, ran below, until the monster was at some distance from us. I did not see his head distinctly; but those who did, after I had hid myself in the cabin, said it was as large the boat the schooner. I recollect the tremendous ripple and noise he made in the water, as he went off from us, which compared at the time to that occasioned the launching of a ship. My venerable friend Mr -of your city, was a passenger with me at the time. He will corroborate this statement, and probably furnish you with A better description of this monster; for I well recollect his taking his stand at the bow the vessel, with great courage, to examine it, while the other passengers were intent only on their own safety. At Halifax, and my return to Boston, when frequently describing this monster, I was laughed at immoderately, that I found it necessary to remain silent on the subject, to escape the imputation using a traveller’s privilege of dealing in the marvellous.”

Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Friday 29 October 1819

1816-near Egypt (Alexandria)

Alexandria, Dec. 9.-The brig Trim, Capt. Cleve land on her passage from Gibraltar to this port, on the 25th of October, in lat. 3l. long.20, passed substance in the water, about 25 or S0 feet from the vessel, which from its extraordinary appearance, induced the Captain to tack ship with a view to examine what it was-the wind being light from the WSW S. caused the boat to be lowered down, and sent the mate with two men to make discovery. On their return they gave the following description:- When we came it sight of the before-mentioned substance, turned the boat and tacked her stern nearly over him, then about four feet underwater lying coiled up with its head on the top of the coil-the head being pointed, and about 12 or 14 inches in length, with upper and lower tusks or teeth, appeared from three to four inches outside, the jaw shut within each other, appeared curved like the tusk of a hog, and extremely white. His body bad the appearance in size of about three to three and a half feet in circumference, tapering towards the tail-and was his colour was of the deepest crimson, and reflected through the water some yards. The boat being to leeward of the reptile, the little wind and sea, while they stood viewing him, drifted it off about 30 to 40 feet then concluded to hook him ; the noise of the oars at the first stroke started him, he threw himself out at his length, with his bead towards the boat and came very near, raising himself nearly to the surface of the water in an attitude of attack, it was judged best to make for the vessel. His coils could not have been less tian 30 to 40 feet, and we judge him to be in form and appearance like a sea serpent.

 

A Sea Monster-Liverpool Mercury, Friday 26 January 1816

1817-Massachussetts

The Sea Serpent— aquatic novelty did not continue long off Kettle Island (Manchester) but returned to his old feeding place, the entrance of Cape Ann harbour. Saturday morning he was seen distinctly by two creditable persons, who were then near what is called the Eastern Point. The Linnean Society having requested several Gentlemen to obtain facts respecting this prodigy, on oath, one of the persons, Mr. Story, gave deposition of having seen it, before the Hon. Mr, Nash, on Saturday evening. He deposed, that he and his family saw the snake (as it is usually called at Cape Ann) on Saturday morning, soon after sunrise; that he lay stretched at his whole length on the surface of the water, then very smooth, between rocks near the eastern point, called Black Bess, and Ten Pound Island; and continued dormant during the space of half an hour and that he appeared as reposing : he judged the length the part of his body visible (his bead and tail being both under water) to he at least 50 feet, and, generally, that his body was round, and about the size of the body of a man.— Many hundreds of the citizens of Cape Ann have seen this novelty, and the only interesting fact of its being the snake kind is attested by the opinion a great majority of the spectators. Saturday afternoon, about 14 of the citizens of Marblehead entered Cape Ann harbour, in a sloop and boat, and continued plying in all directions, in search the monster, having all the necessary apparatus for killing and securing him"; but the weather became boisterous and unfavourable; and after dusk they anchored in the outer harbour. On Sunday, the weather continuing stormy, they returned to Marblehead. We are confident, from the spirit and energy they displayed, and the perfection of their apparatus, that their enterprise wanted nothing to ensure complete success, but their falling in contact with the serpent. (From the same Paper of a subsequent date). The serpent has been again seen Kettle island, between Manchester and Cape Ann; was following and feasting on a large shoal of ale-wires. The arrangements made in Cape Ann to take him were ready for operation yesterday morning: and skill, courage, or strong apparatus can effect the desired object, their success is certain. - We conversed yesterday with Capt. Beach, jun. who has seen this animal from 12-20 times, and has taken an accurate drawing of him for exhibition. He describes him as being, in his most contracted state, about 70 feet in length, and of the size of a flour-barrel. A number of our enterprising citizens have been at Cape Ann some days encourage and assist in the destruction of the monster. A Committee of the Lihnean Society, we learn, will repair to Cape Ann this day to collect information so interesting to natural history. Latest of the Serpent. —Capt. Doyle, who arrived here yesterday morning in three days from Cape Ann informs us, that the day before sailed, a number of boats went out in pursuit of the serpent , that the serpent soon turned upon his pursuers ; and that they with great difficulty, succeeded reaching the shore. Two thousand dollars had been offered for his skin.

 

The Sea Serpent-Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser, Saturday 25 October 1817

1818-Calabria

Letters from Marseilles state that a sea monster, of enormous dimensions, has been seen on the coast of Calabria. Some fishermen perceiving fire in the sea, and thinking that it was a coasting vessel, which was in need of assistance, approached the monster, whose motions caused a phosphoric light, which was what they had mistaken for a fire. They soon perceived a thick smoke, heard a hollow bellowing sound and the agitation of the waves was such, that the boats were obliged to return precipitately to the shore. According to their account, the monster raised itself to a prodigious height, and then replunged into the waves; so that though the night was very calm, they were covered with the spray.

 

Saunders's News-Letter - Thursday 05 February,1818

1818-Massachussetts

Capt. Woodward, and the mate and seamen of the schooner Adamant, which arrived at Hingham on Sunday last from Penobscot, saw, in the afternoon of the day previous, about twelve leagues east of Cape Ann, a Sea Serpent, apparently upwards of 100 feet long, which frequently raised its head a considerable height from the water. It was very near the vessel for about five hours; a full view was had of it, and it appeared to be about as large round as a barrel, but no protuberances were noticed. It was once fired at, and appeared irritated by the explosion.

 

The Sea Serpent Again- Westmorland Gazette, Saturday 27 June 1818

1818-Boston

A letter from a gentleman at Boston, dated Jan. 20, says, have been amused this last summer the appearance of a Sea Serpent—a very magnificent monster, presumed he, when on its full stretch, 200 feet long. She has a neck and head resembling a camel, and her tongue is long and forked; she raises as much foam as frigate, and moves majestically along, without seeming to notice any attack; bullets have no effect upon her scales, nor does she turn her enemies when assailed. Six thousand dollars were offered to any enterprising party that would take her alive or dead; but she defeated all their craft and cunning, she can move with the velocity of a mile in a about two minutes—perhaps quicker. One of her young she deposited among the reeds in a harbour near Boston, and being caught some fishermen, measured about six feet length, and was an exact miniature of the mother. There were protuberances at equal distances on the back of the old one, which appeared like so many floating hogsheads.

 

Marine Serpent-Worcester Journal, Thursday 19 March 1818

1818-New York

The Sea Serpent.—A letter, dated New York, the I9th ult. says—" his monster made bis appearance iv Sag Harbour on Monday last, party of gentlemen from this city, who were engaged in trout fishing, down the Island, immediately abandoned their sport fortius mure noble game, and as they have offered a handsome reward for the co-operation of Whalers of Sag Harbour, in securing him, have sanguine hopes this wonderful animal being shortly exhibited in our city—to the confusion all unbelievers."

Northampton Mercury - Saturday 01 August 1818

1818-Rockaway Beach New York

An Article from New York, of the 29th July, says—" An express arrived in town last night to announce the appearance, at five o'clock yesterday afternoon, off Rockaway Beach, of sea serpent and her two young ones. Several persons were bathing in the surf at the time, who were so much alarmed that they literally flew over the sand till they reached a place of safety.— From the numerous large shoals of fish which of late have been hovering on the Rockaway shore, it is probable the monsters of the deep will remain some time about that place, and will be seen by so many New Yorkers,who have heretofore disbelieved all the the Gloucester and Cape Ann stories.

Statesman (London) - Monday 07 September 1818

1818-Boston

The Great American Sea Serpent Caught. —A letter from New York, dated Sept. 9, says—" Yesterday’s Boston Mail brings an account of the capture of the Sea Serpent. He was struck by Captain Rich on Thursday last, off the Squam Light; when wounded, he darted oft with great velocity, dragging the boat after him two miles. It appears now he is taken, that he measures hut ten feet in length, seven in circumference, and has several bunches on his back. Captain Rich states, that he is the same serpent that he harpooned some time since, as the wound then made was still fresh, and that when last struck him be appeared to be 70 feet in length. Capt. Rich had arrived with bis prize at Boston.

Morning Advertiser - Monday 12 October 1818

In a contemporary account this was described as a horse mackerel

1818-Massachussetts

American Sea Serpent —Another sea serpent similar to the one just seen off Cape Anne, is said to have been seen, and the following declaration has been drawn up and attested in proper form. I the undersigned, Joseph Woodward, captain of the Adamant schooner of Hingham, being en route from Penobscot to Hingham steering N. W., and being about ten leagues from the coast, perceived, last Sunday, two pm , something on the surface of the water, which seemed to me to be the size of the of large boat, that it might the wreck of a ship, I approached it ; but was within a few fathoms of it, it appeared, to my great surpnse, and that of my whole crew, that it was monstrous serpent. When I approached nearer, it coiled itself up, instantly uncoiling itself again, and withdrew with extreme rapidty. On my approaching again, it coiled itself up a second time, and placed itself the distance of 60 feet at most from the bow of the ship. I had one my guns loaded with cannon-ball and musket-bullets and aimed it at the head the monster; my crew and I distinctly heard the ball and bullets strike against his body, from which they rebounded, as if they had struck gainst a rock. The serpent shook his head and tail in extraordinary manner, and advanced toward- the ship with open jaws. I had caused the cannon be re loaded, and pointed it his throat; but he hid come so near, that all the crew were seized with terror, and we thought only of getting out of his way. He almost touched the vessel and had I not tacked as I did, he would have certainly have come board. He dived ; but a moment later I saw him appear again, with his head one side the vessel, and his tail on the other, as if he was going to lift us up, and upset us. However, we did not feel any shock. He remained five hours near us, only going backward and forward. The fears with which he at first inspired us having subsided, we were able to examine him attentively. I estimate, that his length is least twice that of schooner, that is to say, 130 feet; his head is full 12 or 14 ; the diameter of the body below the neck is not less than six feet ; the size of the head is proportion that of his body. He is of a blackish colour; his earholes are about 12 feet from the extremity his head. short, the whole has a terrible lock. When he coils himself up, places his tail in such a manner, that aids him in darting forward force he moves in all directions with the greatest facility and astonishing rapidity. (Signed) JOSEPH WOODWARD. May 12, 1818

 

American Sea Serpent-Perthshire Courier - Thursday 05 November 1818

1819-USA

The Gazette de France contains an extract of a letter from a Dutch merchant, who recently went to America, giving some account of the famous Sea Serpent which has appeared on the shores of the United States. He says- We were sailing with a light wind, the land being about six miles distant, when all at once we felt a shock which made us think we had struck upon a rock. We, however, were soon undeceived, by seeing above the waves the head of the greatest monster I ever beheld. He raised himself about fifteen feet over the surface of the water, and coming towards us, he glided across the stern of the vessel in such a manner as almost to upset us. A cabin-boy, who was near the bowsprit, was over whelmed by the enormous mass. A sailor then advanced courageously, and fired at the serpent with a carbine, but the ball I rebounded from his scales, and appeared not to make the least impression upon him. The animal turning quickly, seized the sailor round the middle, and plunged with him under water. Our tackle was broken, and our bowsprit almost unshipped. While we were occupied in repairing the damage we had sustained, we again saw the monster lying on the surface of the water, but we saw our unfortunate sailor no more.

 

Morning Chronicle - Friday 05 November 1819

1819-Massachussetts

Early on the morning of Friday last, there was seen a large animal moving slowly along the water, which was at first sight mistaken for a whale. We were all surprised at the approach of such an animal so far south, and were soon convinced that it could be no other than the great Sea Serpent. As soon as this was suspected, some persons on-board fired it with small arms, which did not seem to make the least impression, and, indeed, not to nil regarded by the monster. There were board few small cannon; these were next tried, and appeared to disturb the creature a little, it instantly began to move on slowly. It was then within about a hundred yards of the ship, and was seen plainly by all. There were soon discovered near a few animals, comparatively small, but apparently of the same species. These the crew thought they might kill, and accordingly directed their fire against them, and when the big one had disappeared, one of them was found dead, and taken up. We were all not a little relieved by the departure of the monster, which, from its terrific size, had rather frightened most of us. It was seen altogether for about three hours, and very plainly by all on board. The most moderate calculation, it was 400 feet in length, though some say 600. Its thickness could not be well ascertained, though, from the proportions of the smaller one which was killed, we supposed it to be about or 40 feet. The small one was about 20 feet long, made much like a viper, though with flatter head. The belly was black, and the back green, with yellow spots, and was covered with scales about half inch thick, none them had waves their backs, which some of them are described as having.

 

British Press - Monday 18 October 1819

Had occurred in June

1819-New York/Salem

The following descriptions of this doubtful monster are from the separate affidavits of two individuals: The colour of the animal throughout, as far could be seen, was black, and the surface appeared smooth without scales; his head was about as big as a horse's, and was a proper snake's head ; there was a degree flatness with a slight hollow at the top of his head; the eyes were prominent, and out considerably from the surface, resembling in that respect the eyes of a toad, and were nearer the mouth of the animal than to the back of the head. It was in full view of them for seven or eight minutes and was moving in the same direction with the sloop, and about as fast. The back was composed of bunches about the size of a flour barrel, and were apparently about three feet apart—they appeared to be fixed., but ; occasioned by the motion of the animal, and like a string of casks or barrels tied together the tail was not visible, but the part which could be seen was, we should judge was about 50 feet in length ; the motion of the bunches was undulatory, but the wake of histail, which he evidently moved under water, showed a horizontal sweeping motion, producing a wake as large as the vessel made. He turned his head two to three times slowly round, toward and from the vessel, as if taking view of some object on board. I went up the rigging, for the purpose of taking view of him from the above but before I had reached my station, he sunk below the surface of the wafer, and did not appear again. The creature was entirely black: the, head, which perfectly resembled a snake’s, was elevated from four to seven feet above the surface of the water, and his back appealed to he composed of bunches or bumps, apparently about as large or little larger than half a barrel.I think I saw as many AS ten or twelve, but did not count them and considered them to be caused the undulatory motion of the animal —the tail was not visible, but from the head to ,the last hump that could be seen, was, I should judge, 50 feet. The first view had him appear like a string of empty barrels tied together, rising over what little swell of the sea there was. What motion I could discern in the body the animal was undulatory, but he evidently moved his tail under water, and the ripples produced by it indicated a sweeping motion, making a wake large as that made the sloop.

 

Saunders's News-Letter - Tuesday 27 July 1819

1819-Massachussetts

We have it from various and unquestionable sources, that the sea serpent was distinctly seen Friday afternoon, about six o'clock, Beach, near Nahant, and was discovered about four o'clock in the afternoon by Mr. Jacob Phillips, a fisherman of Lyon, who was fishing off Nahant and stated that be was about 20 feet from his boat; and, as near as he could estimate, it was about 100 feet in length, apparently covered all over by shell, which was full of joints, and discernible when moving in the water. Mr. Phillips was somewhat alarmed for his safety, and made for the shore. . . Mr. James Breed, well known respectable citizen Lynn, states that he had full view of the serpent, on Lynn beach Friday afternoon was not more than ten rods off, saw him distinctly through a good glass, so as to perceive the eyes in his head. Mr. Benjamin Alley, Lyon, saw the serpent, this morning about nine o'clock, on Lynn beach, near low water mark and saw him move along the beach a distance of two miles, with his head about six feet out of water, till he came near Red Rock, where he lay a considerable time in view of great many persons who had assembled thither from Lynn, and other places. We are also informed that a number of respectable gentlemen from Boston, visitors at Nahant, repaired to Lynn beach, on information being that sea serpent was there, and bad a distinct view him for some time. The number of persons from Lynn, and other places, who saw him this afternoon, computed at between two and three hundred—and they all agree that the accounts already published, are the best description that can be given of this monster. Among the number who saw the sea serpent this morning, was James Prince, Esq. Marshal of this district, and James T. Austin, Esq. and many others from Boston, whose names could be mentioned this time, were necessary. In addition to what has already appeared, the above testimony ought to satisfy our incredulous friends at the south and for ever prevent any further and doubts the existence of ibis monster in out waters.

 

Sussex Advertiser - Monday 11 October 1819

1820 USA-various

 1.    The Massachusetts Sea Serpent.  From the various contradictory accounts given of this monster witnesses, the following description may collected. It is. 100 feet long; the body is round and two feet in diameter, It is dark brown, and covered-with large scales in transverse  rows its head is scaly, brown mixed with white, of the size of horse’s and nearly the shape of a dog’s ; the mouth large, with teeth like shark; its tail is compressed, obtuse, and shaped like an oar. This animal came in August last into the bay of Massachusetts, in pursuit of shoals of fishes, herrings, squids, etc. on which it feeds. Its motions are very quick and it was seen by a great many; but all attempts to catch it have failed, although dollars have been offered for its spoils.  

 

2.    Captain Brown`s Sea Serpent.  This fish was observed by Captain Brown, in a voyage from America St. Petersburg July 1818, near 60 degrees north latitude, and 80 degrees west longitude, or the north Ireland. In swimming, the head, neck, and forepart of the body stood upright like a mast; it was surrounded by porpoises and fishes. It was smooth, without scales, and had eight gills under the neck; which decidedly evinces that it is not a snake, but new genus of fish.  

 

3.    The Scarlet Sea Serpent This was observed in the Atlantic Ocean, the Captain and the Crew of an American from New York, while reposing and coiled up, near the surface of the water, in the summer of 1816. It is very likely that it was fish, and perhaps might belong the same genus with the foregoing 

 

4.    Lake Erie Serpent  It appears that the large lakes have huge serpents or fishes, the same as the sea. On the of July, 1817, one was seen in Lake Erie miles from land, by the crew of a schooner, which was 35 or 40 feet long, and one foot diameter; its colour was dark mahogany, nearly black. 

 

 

Classification of Water Snakes-Birmingham Chronicle, Thursday 13 January 1820

1822 New Jersey

The Gazette de France contains an extract of a letter from a Dutch merchant, who recently went to America, giving some account of the famous Sea Serpent which has appeared on the shores of the United States. He says- We were sailing with a light wind, the land being about six miles distant, when all at once we felt a shock which made us think we had struck upon a rock. We, however, were soon undeceived, by seeing above the waves the head of the greatest monster I ever beheld. He raised himself about fifteen feet over the surface of the water, and coming towards us, he glided across the stern of the vessel in such a manner as almost to upset us. A cabin-boy, who was near the bowsprit, was over whelmed by the enormous mass. A sailor then advanced courageously, and fired at the serpent with a carbine, but the ball I rebounded from his scales, and appeared not to make the least impression upon him. The animal turning quickly, seized the sailor round the middle, and plunged with him under water. Our tackle was broken, and our bowsprit almost unshipped. While we were occupied in repairing the damage we had sustained, we again saw the monster lying on the surface of the water, but we saw our unfortunate sailor no more.

 

Morning Chronicle - Friday 05 November 1819

1822 New Jersey

The animal recently caught in the waters of Jersey, and now exhibiting in Broadway, is really a curiosity. It is no shark, nor horse mackerel, and whether fish or flesh; it is really sea monster of no ordinary kind. It has two huge muscular fins, or rather wings, little back of the gills, and two legs or paws, fifteen feel back of the fins, about the size of a man's leg, and the fore half somewhat resembling the fore half of a human fool, with nail about an inch long on the heel. On the back is a large bunch, with a fin at the top of it. The tail is perpendicularly constructed, and when the animal was in motion, was elevated about six seven feet. The mouth and throat are enormously large. The animal had no heart, and the liver was almost back the tail. There was not a bone in the body. The hardest substance, (of which we have a specimen) being a kind of elastic gristle. The skin is of a dark brown colour, and entirely without scales. The animal must have been of immense power, and in the water might well have been taken for a sea-dragon, worthy of being rode by Neptune himself. After all, we know but little of the wonders of the mighty deep.

Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal - Tuesday 03 September 1822

1823 Massachussetts

We are informed that the Sea Serpent was seen off Squam Bar on Wednesday last, and again Thursday in Sandy Bay Harbour. At the latter place he was visible for some time, within fifty yards of the shore, and was fired at a number of times with muskets; two balls were seen to strike him and rebound. He was distinctly seen by as many as fifty people and is described appearing perfectly calm, with his head about two feet out water, and his body visible only in parts or humps, as before described, with a space of about two feet between each. He was judged to be at least or 80 feet long. A Gentleman of the strictest probity and honour declares to us, that he was on board a small boat, and had for the space of half an hour, leisurely surveyed of this monster He was lying at his ease, and appeared in no way disposed to do injury. The Gentleman describes his appearance and his length much in the same way they both have been described already. The monster approached the boat in a direct line and fears were entertained by the passengers for their safety. On his coming alongside, however, like a quiet citizen of the deep, he gently sunk under the water, and rose on the other side, little dreaming of the dismay and consternation that he had excited above.

Dublin Evening Post - Thursday 25 September 1823

1826 USA New York

The Captain of a vessel lately arrived at New York, writes as follows: — Ship Silas Richards, June 17, 18-6. Lat.41. E. Long. 67. SS. While standing by the starboard bow, looking at the unruffled surface of the ocean, about seven o'clock, p.m. I perceived a sudden perturbation of the water, and immediately on that an object presented itself with its head above the level, about four feet, which position it retained for nearly a minute, when he returned it to the surface, and kept approaching abreast of the vessel at a distance of about fifty yards. I immediately called to the passengers on deck, several of whorn observed it for the space of eight minutes as it glided along slowly, and undauntedly passed the ship at the rate of about three miles an hour. Its colour was a dark dingy black its visible length appeared to be about sixty feet, and its circumference ten feet. From former accounts which have been given of such a monster, and which have never been credited, this exactly corresponds, and I have no doubt but it is one of those species called Sea Serpents; it made a considerable wake in the water in its progress. I remain your obedient servant, Henry Holdridge.

Morning Post - Saturday 22 July 1826

1827 Mid-Atlantic
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Dear Sir, —Having been informed by your grandson R. F. R , that you were anxious to see a sketch of the Sea Serpent as seen by me in crossing the Atlantic, and to have some account of the same, in compliance with your wishes I have enclosed a rough pencil drawing of the monster as it appeared during the time its head was elevated out of the ocean, and shall state the particulars attending this novel exhibition. The Captain and myself were standing on starboard side of the vessel between the and the mainmast looking over the side and remarking how perfectly smooth was the surface of the ocean, it was about half past six o'clock p. m. and a cloudless sky; a sudden we heard a rushing in water ahead of the ship we imagined to the spouting a whale, and turning around to the quarter from whence the sound proceeded, we observed the serpent in the position it appears in the sketch, slowly approaching at the rate of about two miles hour, in a direction as straight as a line. I suppose we were hardly going through the water so fast, for there was scarcely a breath of wind. (I must premise bad never beard there was such animal in existence.) I immediately exclaimed, “Why, its a sea snake." "By the great Mogul," replied the Captain, a favourite expression of his, “that’s the Sea Serpent, and I would give my ship and cargo to catch the monster." I immediately called down the cabin sky-light to the passengers who were all below to come up on deck, but only or came up, one of which was Miss Magee, the daughter of merchant at New York; the rest declined, saying there had been too many hoaxes of that nature already. I was too eager not to lose sight it to stand parlying with them, I returned to the Captain, who was standing like statue transfixed with wonder. this slow and majestic style he passed by the vessel at a distance from us about fifty yards, never condescending turn his head either to the right or left. As soon as his head had reached the stern of the vessel, he gradually laid it down in a horizontal position with his body, and floated along like the mast of a vessel. That there was upwards of 60 feet in length out of the water was demonstrable from the length of the ship which was upwards of 120 feet long, and at the time his head was off the stern, the hinder part of him, which was above the surface, had not passed the mainmast; the time we saw him as described in the drawing was about two minutes and half: after that he had declined his head, we saw him nearly twenty minutes astern of us, floating along like an immense log of timber; his motion through the water was meandering like that of an eel, and the rake he left behind was 'similar to that occasioned by the passing of small craft through the water. We had but one harpoon on board, and the ship's long boat was converted into a sort of stable for the cow. We had two guns on board, but no ball: and if we had I do not suppose bulk a ball would have had more effect upon him than on a fortification. Two days after we saw him, lie was seen by another vessel off Cape Cod, about 200 miles from where he made his appearance to us. This intelligence reached New York about 4- days after we arrived there, and the description there given exactly corresponded with the foregoing. I dined with Sir Isaac Coffin at the Hotel, who discredited the existence of such animal, which was reported to have been seen by Captain Bennett of Boston, about years back ; but as assured By him I had never heard there was such a monster, and that I was an Englishman, he gave full credit to it, because the sketch I gave him corresponded with the description that was given at that time. Yours’s respectfully, Pentonville, 20th Sept. 1826. W M. WARBURTON. P.S. The humps on the backs resembled those of the dromedary, und nearly about that size.

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 15 March 1827

1827 USA Virginia

Another Sea Serpent.—As several gentlemen of Norfolk (Virginia), were fishing near the Rip Raps, a huge aquatic animal suddenly thrust its head above water, within a hundred yards of their boat. The apparition startled the whole party. The head was of size, shape, and colour of large pumpkin, with eyes of about the diameter of the bottom of a quart bottle. After gazing steadfastly at the fishermen for near a minute, the creature shook his head, drew it under water, and moved on toward Cape Henry, and leaving a long wake in his rear. The party were awed into silence its sudden and terrific appearance, so that no attempt was made secure the intruder.

 

Oxford University and City Herald -Saturday 15 September 1827

1828 USA Cape Cod

The skull and jaw-bone of a monstrous sea animal, recently exhibited in this town, was unquestionably the greatest natural cursorily which has ever presented to the age. lt is said to have been taken from a serpent that was found floating dead upon the water, on the I5th of May last, near Cape Cod. The tail of the animal was broken off, and hanging by the skin, which supposed to have been the occasion of its death. The monster, the advertisement described it, was seventy -five feet long, and shaped like serpent, with no fins, and tail like that of a fish ; the back wag black and hard, like an alligator’s, and the belly yellow and ribbed like the belly of whale. The skull and jaw -bone were all that the finder. Captain Abraham. Small, was able to bring ashore, on account of the putrid and offensive state of the creature, which had probably been dead for some time when it was discovered. The bone exhibited was fifteen feet long and seven wide, and weighed twelve hundred pounds ! When the flesh was upon it, it might have borne some resemblance to a horse’s bead. We are strongly inclined to the belief that this may have been the great Gloucester Sea serpent himself, or at least one of the family.

Morning Advertiser - Tuesday 09 December 1828

1830 Isle of Lewis, Scotland

A gigantic monster of the deep, supposed to be a sea serpent, was lately seen off the toast of the island of Lewis. It was from sixty to eighty feet in length, and was visible for fourteen days, gambolling in an arm of the sea called the Broad Bay. The usual want of accuracy in people describing sights of this kind and the difficulty of observing well any distance at render it almost impossible collect such information the subject as could wish to lay before our readers. Gentleman, to whom we addressed some inquiries, writes as follows -The incredulous here declare their conviction that it was not sea serpent, but a whale. Two very distinctive facts, however, seem to bear strongly against these sceptics. First, the monster was never observed to spout water, in which there could be no mistake by a native of this island, as scarcely a summer and autumn pass without some of the largest sized whales visiting the Lewis shores and the Minch which divides the island from the mainland of Rosshire. Secondly, this monster seemed to have a mane like a horse, only much larger and a white colour. This appearance might no doubt be caused the light in which it was seen by the observer; but a high-crested mane could scarcely be mistaken for any appearance of a whale. It is intended, we understand, to publish some account this sea monster.

Inverness Courier - Wednesday 24 February 1830

1830 Havana

We have all heard of the sea serpent, but now we have an account, in a New York paper, of a monster which beats the serpent hollow. Jonathan may well head the article The Sea Serpent Outdone.” We give the account as found it. The following statement, made by Don Jose Maria Lopez, captain the steamer Neptune (plying between the ports of Havana and Matanzas), to the Captain-General of the Port of Havana, translated from one of our late Havana papers Having sailed from the port of Matanzas, at seven o’clock on the morning of the 3d inst. for the Havana, in the steamer Neptune, under my command, we continued our course without any particular occurrence until 12 o’clock, when, at distance of some four miles from the coast, we descried, in the direction of N. W., about a mile and half from us, a large object, which to myself, well the passengers and crew, appeared a vessel in distress. I immediately gave orders to approach, with the purpose of speaking her, but while we continued nearing, it changed its appearance to that of a large boat; but when had got within musket shot, we saw distinctly, that it formed the upper jaw of a fish of immense magnitude; it raised itself some feet above the surface of the water, and we discovered it to be surrounded by an infinite number of others of different sizes, playing about in all directions, occupying a circumference of nearly a mile ; in making nearer approach, we saw its mouth open, and at the same time heard a tremendous noise; on his back was observed a wing of some nine feet in height, of a dark colour, and probably about sixty feet distant from its mouth. Its full length could not be ascertained, in consequence of its tail being under water; at this moment it disappeared. The anxiety of the passengers to have a speedy passage obliged me to abandon the idea of remaining for the purpose of making further discoveries, and immediately directed out course for the port, where we arrived at o’clock same evening. About ten minutes after the disappearance of this Leviathan of the deep, we again saw it in the direction of north, and in the same position it was first presented to our view. The size of the monster was incomparably larger than that of the largest whale, and of a shape so different in appearance from these, induced me to believe that it belonged to an entirely different species. This important information I feel it my duty to communicate to you Havana, Jan. 5th, 1830

Globe - Monday 29 March 1830

1830 USA Georgia

Captain Delano, of the schooner Eagle, (arrived here on Saturday, from Turtle River,) has furnished us with the following particulars, to the truth of which he declares himself willing, with his whole crew, to make affidavit.—On Monday the 22d inst., at ten o'clock, a. m., when about one mile inside of St. Simon's Bar, endeavouring to beat out, observed, at the distance of 300 yards, a large object resembling an alligator, occasionally moving along in the same course with the vessel, and times lying nearly motionless on the surface. Captain D., finding himself likely to approach very near this strange visitor, charged a musket with ball, and tacked so as to run within or yards of him, at moment when he was lying perfectly still, and apparently unconcerned. Captain D. took deliberate aim at tbe back part of his head, the only part then exposed, and fired—the ball evidently taking effect.—instantly, to the no small astonishment and apprehension of the crew, the monster aroused himself, and made directly for the vessel, contracting his body, and giving two or three tremendous sweeps with his tail as he passed, the first striking the stem, and producing a shock which was very sensibly felt by all on board. On seeing his approach, the Captain jumped upon his deck-load of cotton, and the whole crew, including the man at the helm, were not less prompt in consulting their safety. They all had fair opportunity to observe their enemy, both before and after the shot, and concur in describing him as upwards feet in length—his body as large, or larger, than 60- gallon cask, of a grey colour, shaped like an eel, without any visible fins, and apparently covered with scales—the back being full of joints or bunches, the head and mouth resembling those of an alligator—the former about 10 feet long, and large as a hogshead. A smaller one of like appearance was observed at greater distance, which vanished on the firing of the shot; but both were afterwards seen together, passing the North Breaker, where they finally disappeared.— Captain D. says he saw a similar creature off Dooby, about four years since, which he fired three shots, but without obtaining quite so familiar an interview as in the present instance. He believes that this formidable nondescript has strength to injure seriously, not totally destroy, vessel of the Eagle's size, a single blow fairly given, and deems himself very fortunate in the result of the encounter. He re-loaded his musket before his enemy disappeared, but it was only in self-defence, as he felt no disposition to renew the contest with so potent an adversary.—Captain D. states that he could not have been deceived in the general appearance of this marine prodigy, and that it differed altogether from any species of hale or other inhabitant of the deep which had ever before seen, with the exception mentioned above."

Stamford Mercury - Friday 14 May 1830

1830 USA Charleston

It appears that this novel visitor in the waters of the south has recently appeared in the neighbourhood of St. Augustine, Capt. Hanford, who arrived at that port the 4th instant, in two days from Charleston, when lying to, off St. Augustine bar, obtained full view of the monster, and affirms to the following description of him, under his own signature When we first saw him,” says Captain Hanford, it was at the distance of 150 yards, with his head continually out of the water ; his jaws were extended sufficient receive a rice tierce of the largest size; he steered for the vessel with rapidity, showing many fins, resembling the sword a sword fish, from four to six feet in length. We could plainly discern four rows of teeth on each jaw; his length from 20 to 25 feet. then stood off the north,- making a leap forward to catch porpoise, clearing himself from the water five or six feet, which gave a fair opportunity to view his elegant form. His head appeared to be as large as a sugar hogshead, resembling that an alligator, with his upper jawbone back. He had fins or paddles on each side near the neck, resembling the flappers of a seal, apparently the size of a common door. WE saw him afterwards standing in for the liar, with his head and tail out of water ; the tip of his tail appeared very sharp, resembling a harpoon. Should any persons in an open boat fall in with this hungry looking fellow, I would advise them to leave his company soon possible, for he has the power leaping into and destroying any open float that may fall in his way.

London Evening Standard - Thursday 03 June 1830

1831 USA Maine

This monster made his first appearance this season at Boothbay on Sunday week. was seen again on Tuesday by two gentlemen a distance of about sixty feet, and afterwards ten or twelve citizens of Boothbay, as he passed and repassed several times about 150 feet from them. He is described by the Editor of the Wiscasset Journal, who was on the spot, as from to 200 feet in length, of a brown colour on the back, and a yellow brown on the belly. moved with an undulating motion, like that of a leech or blood sucker, which gave to his hack the appearance of the humps described by those who have previously seen him.

London Courier and Evening Gazette - Wednesday 27 July 1831

1831 USA Connetticut

The steamer Connetticut arrived this morning later than usual, having been employed for about an hour in chasing a shoal of sea serpents. About six o'clock last evening, a schooner off Nahant hailed the Connecticut, and told Captain Porter that if he would look out he might see the sea serpent, for he bore east of Nahant. The Connecticut steered accordingly—-and very soon, not one sea serpent alone, but three, some say four appeared in sight. All the passengers saw these monsters of the deep with their own eyes distinctly and clearly. One of the passengers who had good view, says, that one serpent was one hundred feet length—with a head partly in the form of a snake and partly in the form of a pickerel. Some say this largest serpent was yet longer. Another of the serpents was judged to be about ninety feet long. One threw his body out the water about fifty feet in a spiral undulatory motion, which formed lines upon the calm sea, a beautiful dark arch. During a portion of this time, one of the serpents was thought to distant about twenty rods. And before and after this near approach, they could be seen for some time with a glass. The serpents seemed to enjoy the sport and played around the boat for some time—perhaps they took it for another serpent in or on the deep and were seeking an introduction. Of all these facts, are informed by many persons, verbally one, upon whom can rely—.and who has hitherto been credulous enough. We do not, cannot doubt the testimony of so many persons, a steam boat on a quiet sea, with the power of stopping and following the objects of their curiosity whithersoever they pleased. Extract of a letter to a gentleman in this city. Portland, July 6. Dear Sir, I arrived safety this morning tight, having passed an hour or more yesterday afternoon among a shoal of sea serpents, three of which, measuring from 90 to 120 or 130 feet, I distinctly saw with my naked eye, and afterwards carefully examined through a glass. They were lying full length the water, occasionally lifting their heads four or five feet above the surface, and showing or 30 bunches, or snakelike undulations, at a time. Their heads bore resemblance to the pickerel’s, and the crease of their mouths, marking the division of the jaws, was like that of a common snake. The engine of the boat was stopped, and for three quarters of an hour we had cool and deliberate view these monsters. Since the above was received, we have conversed with several people who came the Connecticut yesterday, and they all state that they saw, about ten o’clock yesterday morning, a little below Nahant, three or four of the serpents, one of which was certainly 100 feet in length.

Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Wednesday 21 August 1833

1831 Batvia

The following extract from the journal of a passenger on board the ship Bencoolen, Captain Roberts, dated Batavia, May 11th, 1831, will read with interest at the present moment, when sea-serpents are among the staple topics of conversation:—A most wonderful and extraordinary circumstance happened here lately. As the Bencoolen’s boat was returning from the shore to the ship, it was attacked most enormous monster, sea-serpent, as large, suppose, at least, as any of those prodigies so frequently mentioned by the Americans. Of course the greatest alarm prevailed, and I know not what fatal consequences would have ensued, had not one of the men, with exemplary courage and presence of mind, seized the boathook, and succeeded in forcing it down the throat of the audacious monster, it being at the time in a menacing position, with its head above water and its mouth wide open. The serpent was kept alive on board the ship and in the water for three or four days, and was eventually strangled in the folds of the rope by which it was secured alongside. Its length was sixteen feet. The stuffed skin is now in the possession of Mr. Ripley, merchant, of this town.

 

Derbyshire Courier - Saturday 18 November 1848

1835 USA Boston

Boston, April 6, 1835. On passage from the river La Plata to this country, lat. South, and 48 W. longitude. I saw what was at first supposed to be the fish called Albicore, but which on further examination was discovered to a serpent, of which I cannot give better idea than by saying that common dark coloured land snake in miniature a perfect representation. A light breeze prevailed at the time, and the sea was quite smooth. The animal first appeared within ten feet of the vessel, its head was two feet above the water, and appeared large as a ten gallon cask: the eye was distinctly seen. The whole length of the serpent was about 40 feet. The size or circumference of the body near as large as a barrel: nothing like fins were seen; nor could I make out the distinct form of the tail. The serpent remained almost motionless the head above water and the eyes directed towards the vessel, the distance of the place of observation being several hundred miles from the nearest coast, this serpent must have been an inhabitant of the ocean ; for the huge land-snake of South America cannot navigate that  far out to sea. If indeed ever it takes to the sea at all. We may therefore consider ibis case as settling the question of the real existence of a sea serpent.

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 15 October 1835

1836 USA New York

The Bangor (Maine’) Advertiser of the 10th of August publishes the subjoined account of another visit to our shores paid by the Sea Serpent, who has been absent for a considerable time :—This creature was seen in the inlet between Mount Desert Rock and the mainland, on Saturday, by Captain Black, of the fishing schooner Fox, of Sedgwick. Captain Black is an elderly man of intelligence and veracity. He says that he was within 50 yards of his snakeship for an hour, and at least 60 feet of his body were exposed when in motion and that he must be at least 20 feet longer. The head was only two or three feet above the surface, it was precisely like the head of a land snake, and the neck was smaller just below the head, in this particular resembling the snake family; his colour was perfectly black, and looked like a porpoise. When in a state of quiet, about one-third of his diameter was exposed, and Capt. Black judged that the exposed part was about the size of half barrel. There were no protuberances, but when in motion it answered the description of the lumps. The captain attempted to near him, but the noise of the boat alarmed him, and he sank and rose at some distance off. If he had had a gun he thinks he could have killed him. He is going again immediately, prepared to give him battle. He has never believed in the existence of the monster before, but is now ready to make oath to the above statement. There were with him at the time a man and woman. At the Bucksport Hotel is an old woman who was in the boat with Parson Cummings the revolutionary war, when he saw the serpent, and her account coincides with this. Our information comes from a gentleman of this city, who conversed with Captain Black at Bucksport.

Globe - Thursday 22 September 1836

1837 USA Mississippi

The story of the great sea serpent lately seen in the Mississippi, of the truth of which there cannot single doubt, reminds of own experience in that line, on a voyage from Boston to Dublin, in the schooner Two Pollys- the passage out, one Tuesday morning, just before day being my watch below. Barnegat shoals bearing east by south three miles, in sixty fathoms, heading west north, the man at the helm came running down to the cabin in great terror, stating in broken language that an enormous monster had suddenly appeared upon the lee bow, and. extending his hideous head over the vessel, deliberately picked off the cook from the cabouse, and the man in the tbretop, and swallowed them whole before his eyes ; of which I had positive proof in missing men, the terror of the helmsman, and discovering two protuberances the snake himself, exactly the sha|>e of the unfortunate victims. The Two Pollys was eighty feet on deck, and the snake lay stretched alongside, the vessel then sailing at the rale of eight knots, it took her nine minutes and half to clear the end of his tail, my chronometer watch, making the monster. of course, just seven hundred and twenty feet long. At this juncture he raised his head to sneexr, and tremendous was effect that the topsail was blown from the yards, every sail split, and the ship thrown her beam ends.

Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Saturday 07 January 1837

1837 USA New Orleans

The Captain of the ship Havre, which arrived New Orleans on the 3rd instant from Havre, makes the following report respecting the sea serpent: " Feb. 19, lat. 35 32, long. 26 05 W., at noon, saw something very singular the water, about 100 feet from the ship, and as it approached discovered that it was a snake—its head, which was shaped similar to that of a flying-fish, and its body entirely round, and of the size of a ship's main-mast, lying in perpendicular position to the ship's side, and of a greyish colour, appeared to be between 400 or 500 feet long. The day was perfectly calm, and the whole ship's company (28 number) had a fair view of this monster of the deep for the space of half an hour, when he gradually left the ship; his motions in doing which were similar to those of a series of barrels, at equal distances from each other in a direct line, rolling in the water.

West Kent Guardian - Monday 20 February 1837

1837 Norway
The following details we take from a Dutch paper:—“ Dronlheim, Sept. 6. The Avis of this city contains an account from Tosen, of the end of August, which, it says, was communicated to the editor by a very enlightened and upright man, so that it merits attention, as tending to remove the doubts respecting the existence of the sea serpent. The account says that since the beginning of the dog-days the sea serpent had seen at various points of the coasts of that district; one of them seems to have remained constantly during this summer near Storfosen and the Cregvang islands. Several fishermen have been dreadfully alarmed at the sudden appearance of the serpent so near to their boats that they did not know in what direction to escape. The serpent did not attack, but followed the boat for some distance; and the men, in their haste, so over exerted themselves, that two are confined to their beds. Very credible persons affirm that the length of the sea serpent may be taken at or 800 ells, or perhaps much more, for when the people were near its head they could not clearly discern the tail of the monster. Its greatest thickness is close behind the head, and it seems about the size of a large horse. Its black or dark eyes are of the size of common plate, neither bright nor very moveable. His skin is smooth and of a dark colour; on the snout are hairs, as on a seal, two or three quarters in length, and on the neck there is something moveable, which looks like a horse’s mane; the jaws, far as the correspondent knows, have not been clearly seen, and it is quite uncertain whether it a beast of prey or not. The sea serpent is seldom seen except in a calm. The shape and motions are those of a serpent. These observations were made very clearly within these few days, among other persons, by a credible sensible man, who, his two sons, was on an island where they landed, and where the serpent, after following their boat, swam slowly by.
Globe - Friday 29 September 1837
1839 USA Massachussetts

As Lieutenant Bubier, of the United States Navy, was passing in a sail boat from Deer Island to Nahant, on Friday last, about one o'clock, p.m., he saw a remarkable fish in the water, rapidly approaching the boat's bow, at the distance of about an eighth of a mile. The head of the fish was plainly to be seen resting on the surface of the water; then, after a space of about eight or ten feet, there followed a number of protuberances, such as have heretofore been described; after which there was a space of about fifteen or twenty feet, when some smaller protuberances followed, apparently the tail of the fish. The whole length of the monster was estimated by Lieutenant Bubier at from 120 to 135 feet in length; and the size of the head was nearly the size of a barrel, thus corresponding with descriptions which have been previously given. A sketch of his majesty's appearance was taken at the time. Beneath the head of this extraordinary looking fish was a white appearance; but whether this was owing to the colour of the skin, or the foam caused by the rapid motion of the animal, or to a glimpse at the horizon between his head and the water, could not be ascertained. Mr. Bubier is an experienced officer, having entered the service is 1813, and is familiar with the inhabitants of the sea in every quarter of the globe ; yet, in all his ' goings down' to the mighty deep, he has never seen anything bearing any resemblance to this animal before. He is positive that it could not have been any species of fish with which he is acquainted. There were in the boat with aim several men belonging to the navy, one of whom, with a readiness which bears testimony to his courage and simplicity, grasped the boat-hook, and stood ready to grapple with the monster. It may not be improper here to state, that Lieut. Bubier had been, heretofore, incredulous in relation to the existence of a Sea-serpent on our coast."

 

Globe - Thursday 17 October 1839

1840 USA Massachussetts

This strange monster that has regularly, once a year, made its appearance in the neighbourhood of Nahant, has this season taken up its residence on the coast of New Jersey. The Untied Males Gazelle publishes a letter from Mr. Jon Salmon, of Crammer Town, near Manahawk, dated April 9, saying that four or five persons saw his majesty of the great deep on the 28th of March, quietly sunning himself on the surface of the waters in Dinner Point Creek. It is a snug sort of hiding-place for his snakeship, just large enough to allow him to sport at his ease, which lie seemed to be doing, when Mr. Job Salmon and several others suddenly came upon him one day proceeding down the creek. He appeared of a black colour, 50 feet long, eight inches in diameter, and holding his head five or six feet above the water. A posse of villagers, to whom the news of this extraordinary arrival had been communicated, with arms, ammunition, harpoons, stakes, seines, lines, and divers other instruments, proceeded to the beach to give a warm welcome to the stranger, but lie had snuffed the secret, and hurried himself away .

Globe - Friday 05 June 1840

1840 USA Massachussetts

We are informed that this monster as seen a few days ago from Cohasset. A party of five or six persons, among whom was a sea captain of no inconsiderable experience, watched his motions for more than half an hour, during a part of which time he approached within thirty rods of the shore. None of the party had the slightest doubt as to its nature. The head and a considerable part of the body were visible; that part which was seen was supposed to be about sixty feet in length. The motion appeared to be caused by lateral fins, or the movement of the tail under water, and not by the undulations of the body as in the land snakes. The bumps on the back were observed, as they have been described by previous witnesses. We have this information from a source removed from all suspicion of misrepresentation or exaggeration.

 Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 21 August 1840

1840 USA Gulf of Mexico

Captain D'Abnour, commander of the Ville de Rochefort, makes the following statement : — "On the 21st of April, 1840, while we were in 24 deg. 13 min. N latitude, and 89 degrees 52 mins. W longitude (calculated from the meridian of Paris), in the Gulf of Mexico we were running under a light breeze from ENE with beautiful weather. In a few hours we distinguished something like a long chain of rocks, falling off by a gentle inclination at the two extremities, and elevated at the middle by only a few feet over the level of the sea. Against this object the broke softly. As we approached, we remarked that different parts changed their position, and even their form, and we became perfectly certain that it was not a reef. A little later, we distinguished by the assistance of a telescope a long chain of enormous rings, resembling a number of barrels linked together, and in form very like the back of a silk-worm. It was a three-quarter view of the object which we had first obtained. As the ship approached, these appearances became more distinct, and we presently saw the extremity of an enormous tail, longitudinally divided into two sections, white and black. The tail appeared to wind itself up, and repose on a part of the object itself. Then, at the other extremity, we saw a membrane rising to the height of about two metres from the water, and inclining itself at a considerable angle upon the mas (without leaving it, however), and this led mc to conjecture that the monster before us was provided with an apparatus for the purpose of respiration, like the lampreys. At last we perceived something like an antenna rising from the water, to the great height of nearly eight metres, terminated by a crescent of at least five metres from one extremity to the other. " We could not approach sufficiently near to acquire any very positive idea as to what we had seen ; but everything led us to believe that it was an enormous serpent of at least 100 metres in length."

 

London Evening Standard - Tuesday 15 September 1840

1842 USA Louisiana

A sea-serpent has been killed near Baton Rouge, lie was fifty-three feet eight inches long, and two and a half feet thick; skin like an alligator, with scales and a double row of teeth, sharp as needles, and two inches long. Carlisle Journal - Saturday 10 September 1842  The Sea Serpent.—The sea-serpent has been caught at last; or, at all events, a snake of most marvellous size and monstrous propensities. Lieut. Brook, of the United States navy, with fifteen men, including officers, volunteered to capture the creature, which it appeared had been for some time committing dreadful depredations on farming stock, children, and negroes, at Baton Rouge, Louisville. One of the garrison boats was rigged out with swivel, loaded with musket-balls, and all the men had loaded fire-arms. When seen, one half was in the water, the other on land; good aim was taken with the swivel, and its contents lodged in the body of the gigantic reptile, one half the men firing also at him alternately. The great bulk fell over into the water, dragging a calf which the monster had commenced gorging, which he had no doubt captured it came down drink was finally harpooned and dragged ashore, when its length was found to be fifty-three feet eight inches, and its width two feet and a half. The jaws are described as fearful and horrible behold, more like alligator than a snake, with a double parallel row of teeth, two inches long, and sharp as needles at the point.

 

 Cambridge Independent Press - Saturday 17 September 1842

1845 USA Connetticut

The statement of Captain Powers given verbatim. It was tent to the Woonsocket paper. Mr. C. D. Byron, who dates his letter, Newport, September 8. The day on which it was seen was the Monday previous, (September 1), while the ship (the Albatross) was becalmed off Stonington, Ct., about five miles off land. We would not ridicule these researches into natural history; but we must say that this story is long, tough, and hard to swallow. The wind during the day had been light from the N.E., and at about half-past two p.m., while almost becalmed, one of the men who had gone aloft discovered him about one point off the lee bow, distant quarter of mile. I immediately went aloft, taking with me an excellent sea glass, and stationed myself on the maintop gallant trees. As he neared the vessel, I was enabled, from my elevated position, to observe the peculiarity of his shape, and to reconnoitre all his movements. When first seen he was lying on the surface of the water, with his head and nearly the entire length of his body in sight. In this position he remained for about fifteen minutes, without any apparent motion, though from his gradual proximity to the vessel, it is evident he must have been under some headway. After this, he slowly changed his course, so to bring his body athwart our bows, and again appeared to remain stationary until by the current and slight puffs of wind, we had drifted silently into his immediate neighbourhood. The sea being unusually smooth and clear, the view which was now afforded could not well have been better, and the opportunity to enjoy was eagerly embraced all hands. I should think his length could not have fallen far short of 70 feet. The head appeared be much the largest and most formidable part, and was of oval shape. The end of the upper jaw appeared be square, and very blunt; that of the under part was not much dissimilar in shape to that of the ordinary snake. About ten feet from the extreme point of the head, was located a thin apron or ear of flesh, of about four feet in length and one in width. Directly in roar, and just below, appeared large full-orbed eye, of a dark colour, with an elongate horizontal pupil, surrounded a white outline. Under the throat, and about a line with the eye, appeared two enormous fins or flippers, which seemed to be his main dependence in giving headlong motion to the huge mass of living flesh which lay behind them. About eight or ten feet still farther back, and near the surface of the water, two other fins became visible; these were about six feet long, rather narrow, and quite thin. They lay horizontally on the water, and were occasionally moved to and from the side with a sculling motion. This circumstance led to the conjecture that they might have been designed as material aids in turning the body to the right or left. The ridge of the back was considerably notched, and at equidistance’s of two or three feet, sharp transparent protuberances, a vermillion colour, appeared, to the number of fifteen; after which the back became smooth as far as discoverable. These points or horns were about eight inches long, starting with a diameter of perhaps four inches, and gradually tapering to an extreme point. It is not impossible this singular arrangement may have been wisely ordained to serve as weapons self-defence. The termination of the body was quite small, ending with & callous or bony projection, about four feet length, and nearly' white. The entire body appeared to be shielded in complete ‘coat of mail,’ of a dark brown hue, divided into regular joints, passing around the body, which were slightly opened and shut by the motion occasioned when lying head to the sea.’ This singular exterior covering would undoubtedly present invulnerable barrier against the attack of any aquatic enemy who might chance to seek the citadel of his life. Its extreme inflexibility was thoroughly tested before we parted company, several well-direct, shots of a rifle, which left visible impression whatever, and did not seem to disturb his equilibrium even the slightest degree. At about half-past three we were so contiguous to each other, that fears began to be entertained for the safety of the vessel. I came down from aloft, and ordered the sweeps to be put out, to get steer-way’ on her in order to avoid a collision, he was then lying broadside to ’just under the bow. At this critical juncture a scene of confusion and alarm occurred which can only be imperfectly described. The oars were scarcely the water when a terrible commotion was heard directly. I jumped forward at once to the staysail nettings, and looking down, could see nothing but one complete cauldron of bubbling and boiling foam, as white unstained snow. Whether the serpent had taken alarm at discovering his proximity to the vessel, or from the noise made the oars as they dropped into the water, I could not tell. In another instant the commotion ceased, and the monster breached from the water head foremost, coming up in nearly perpendicular line, until his head struck the martingale with such force as part the guys, and carry away the flying jib-boom near the boom-iron. The concussion was so severe that the whole ship trembled beneath it, and the countenance of every man board was blanched with fear. Had I not been holding on to the foretopmast-stay at the time, I should doubtlessly have fallen overboard. Immediately after this, he slowly settled away, and entirely disappeared from sight. it being now about four o’clock, and the wind beginning . to set from the southward and eastward, we hauled our ‘tacks’ aboard, ‘sheeted home’ the topsails, and gathering headway on the ship, stood in for the land. Nothing more was seen of the leviathan, though every eye aboard long and intently searched for his whereabouts. Whether this strange inhabitant the deep is the same which has been often seen and described others, or is 1 some new visitor in our waters, I have no means of knowing. I can only say that its appearance was novel and interesting the highest degree, and differed entirely its construction, size, and colour, from any tenant of the deep which ever came under my observation, during a n nautical life of 25 years.—Jabez Powers

 

Morning Advertiser - Tuesday 07 October 1845

1846 Norway

I have several times seen the sea-serpent, but some time since, twelve years ago, in the dog-days, in the fjord not far from here, one afternoon as I was fishing in my boat. I saw it twice in the course of two hours, and for some time quite near me. It came close to my boat, so that it was only about six feet from me. I became alarmed, recommended my soul to God, laid down in the boat, and only held my head far over it that I could observe the serpent. It swam now past the bait that was agitated by the ripple caused by its movement in the water, which was previously smooth, and afterwards removed itself. After it had swum a considerable distance from me, I began again to fish. Not long afterwards the serpent came close to the boat, which now was strongly agitated by its movements in the water. I laid down and remained quite still, and notwithstanding my fright, kept watchful eye on the animal; it passed me, disappeared, and returned, though not so close as previously, and disappeared entirely when a light wind arose, and ruffled the water. Its length was about five or six fathoms, and the body, which was as round as a serpent's, was about two feet in diameter. The tail seemed to be very round. The head was about as long as a brandy anker [ten gallon cask], and about the same thickness, it was not pointed but round. The eyes were very large, round and sparkling. Their size was about the diameter of the box here (five inches), and they were as red my neckerchief (crimson). Close behind the head, a mane like a horse's commenced along the neck, and spread itself on both sides, right and left, while swimming on the water; it was of tolerably long hair. The mane as well the head and the rest of the body, was brown this looking-glass frame (old mahogany). Spots, stripes of other colours I did not observe, nor were there any scales; it seemed if the body was quite smooth. Its movements were occasionally fast and slow, which latter was the case when it neared boat; I could clearly observe it; it was serpent like, and moved up and down. The few undulations which those parts of the body and tail that were out of the water made, were scarcely a fathom in length. These undulations were not so high that I could see between them and the water.

 

The water was smooth as a mirror, and the animal had, as it moved on the surface, the appearance of serpent. Its motions were in undulations, and strong that white foam appeared before it, and at the side, which stretched out several fathoms. It did not appear very high above the water, and its length was quite discernible. Once it stretched its head quite erect in the air. The body was somewhat dark, and the head nearly black, it bad nearly the form of eel, or snake, and a length of about 100 feet, and in proportion to its inconsiderable thickness. The breadth diminished remarkably from the head, so much so that the tail ended in a point. The head was long and small in proportion to the throat, as the latter appeared much greater than the former; probably it was furnished with a mane. Foged (Sheriff) Gottsche made the following remarks: I saw the sea-serpent for some time in a small fjord, first from a boat, afterwards from the beach, several minutes, at a distance of from thirty to thirty-six feet. In the beginning it swam round the fjord at Torvig, afterwards it went in the deeps. I saw its head stretched considerably out of the water. I remarked as well two or three undulations of the fore part of the body. Its motion was not like that of an eel, but consisted in waving undulations, up and down. They were excessively strong, and caused tolerable large waves; they were largest at the fore part of the animal, and towards the back gradually lessened. The head seemed blunted, and had the size and form of a ten-gallon cask; the undulations of the body were round and about the dimensions of a good timber stock (twelve to fourteen inches square). The entire length of the animal I could not judge, as it was not possible to observe the extremity. Its colour appeared to be dark grey. The back of the head there was a mane, which was the same colour the rest of the body.

 

The Rev. Mr. Deinboll, Archdeacon of Molde, gives the following account of one which was seen list summer near Molde. The sea was, after a warm sunshiny day, quite calm. About seven o'clock in the afternoon, a little distance from shore, near the ballast place and Molde House, they saw a long marine animal, which slowly moved itself forward, as it appeared to them, with the help of two fins, on the fore-part of the body nearest the head, which they judged from the boiling of the water on both sides of it. The visible part of the body appeared to between forty and fifty feet length, and moved in undulations like a snake. The body was round, and of a dark colour, and seemed to be several ells (an ell is two feet) in thickness. As they discerned waving motion in the water behind the animal, they concluded that part of the body was under water. That it was one connected animal they saw plainly from its movement. When the animal was about 100 yards from the boat, they noticed tolerably correctly its fore-part, which ended in a sharp snout; its colossal head raised itself above the water in the form a semi-circle; the lower part was not visible. The colour of the head was dark brown and the skin smooth. They did not notice the eyes or any mane or bristles on the throat. When the serpent came about a musket shot near, Lund fired at it, and was certain the shots hit it in the head. After the shot he dived, but came up immediately. He raised his head in the air like a snake preparing to dart on its prey. After he had turned and got his body in a straight line, which he appeared to do with great difficulty, he darted like an arrow against the boat. They reached the shore, and the animal perceiving it had come in shallow water, dived immediately, and disappeared in the deep.

 

On Saturday, the 8th last, in the course between the islands of Sartor Leer and Tos, a sea monster, supposed to be a sea-serpent, was seen by several persons. The head appeared like a Faering boat (about 20 feet long) keel uppermost, and from behind it raised itself forward three and sometimes four and five undulations, each apparently about 12 feet long: its rate appeared to be that of a light boat rowed four active men. When it reached Gronnevigskoerset at distance of two rifle shots it turned with considerable noise and continued its course towards Lundences. Later about 11 o'clock in the same day his wife Ingeborg, in Daniels absence, heard a loud noise in the sea, and she and two little children saw a great monster, such as described above, take a northerly course, close by their place at such a rate that the waves were dashed on the shore in the same way when a steamer is passing by. Neither of them say that they saw anything like eyes or fins, indeed anything projecting from its round form, but they declare that the colour of the animal was dark brown, and that it often rose up with gentle undulations, sometimes, however, sinking below the surface so that merely a stripe indicated the rapid course of the gigantic body. On the same morning a lad, by name Abraham Abrahamsen Hagenoes, was out fishing in the Rognefjord, not far from  Lundences, and just ready throw out his line when he, he asserts, became aware that at about 100 fathoms distance monster with a head as large as a Faering boat (about 20 feet long) and a long body lay upon the sea like large kegs and was nearing his boat. Seized with a panic  he exerted all his strength to reach the shore, and as the animal apparently following him was only about 40 fathoms off. He leaped ashore, drew up the boat and ran up the bank, whence he viewed the monster which had by this time approached the shore within 20 fathoms. He says that that part of the body which was visible was about sixty feet in length, and that it’s undulating course similar to the eel: that the colour of the back was blackish, shining strongly, and as far as he could distinguish there was a whitish stripe under the belly.

 

The Sea Serpent  - The London Daily News, Thursday 03 December 1846

1847  Massachussetts

The sea serpent was at Nahant (U.S.) on Sunday by six sons who were upon two rocks. It raised his head apparently ten feet above the level the water, and then gradually sunk and disappeared.

 

Hereford Times - Saturday 07 August 1847

1848 Atlantic

An enormous sea serpent which appeared to be one hundred and fifty feet in length, with a head as large as a fifteen gallon cask, and the body about the size of a common flour barrel in circumference, was seen by Captain Samuel Thomas of the schooner Elizabeth whilst on a voyage from Pennsylvania to this country.

 

Nottingham Review and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties - Friday 25 August 1848

1848 Massachussetts

The Salem Observer reports that a creature supposed to the renowned sea Serpent, was lately cast ashore from the sea and found to be 60-70 feet long. The discoverer having made known the fact, his neighbours rushed down to the beach, but the tide had washed the wonder away.

 

 John o' Groat Journal - Friday 08 September 1848

1848 Atlantic

The brig Deux Adrien, commanded by Captain Bara, has just arrived at Havre; the captain says that on the 27th ult., being in deg. 45 mm. west longitudes, he saw something on his starboard bow very like a whale. He bore up for it, and on approaching it thought that it was a large ship, bottom upwards ; but on coming alongside he discovered it to be gigantic turtle or tortoise, armed with enormous sharp blades which glittered in the air, and served for the defence of the creature, like the quills upon the fretful porcupine. The shell was black, and from out thereof poked his enormous head, which Captain Bara describes being the most terrific sight that he ever beheld.

 

 Hereford Times - Saturday 25 November 1848

1848 Tenerife

I beg to inform you that, the 19th ult. in passing west-ward of the Peak Tenerife, wind N.N.W., the man on the lookout made signal of what he supposed to be the mast from wreck drifting on our weather bow. On closer observation it turned out to be a huge sea-monster, with head and neck elevated nine feet above the water, and drifting swimming quickly towards us. Our carpenter, under my directions, procured quantity of broken iron and langrage, with which we charged the signal gun, which we fired with effect—part of broken chain cutting the monster across the back over the vent. The sea was in a cloud of foam from his lashings and writhing’s; and when we noosed him with three-inch cable, dropped from our bow, he coiled his tail round our second anchor, and bent it up as if it were lead. We took the animal in tow, and brought him safe into this port. The length measures 57 feet 21 inches, diameter 2 feet 7 inches: the tail ends in point, and is octagonal from the vent, where there are two umbilical pins —the colour, under the throat, is of a spotted yellow—skin hard, and resembling shagreen the back, sprinkled with short strong bristle—the head resembles a horse with short rounded ears, having a coarse irregular mane. The animal now lies at the quay here, and is open for inspection of the curious, before being prepared by the Faculty, who are preparing a large receptacle for same. — Captain Duggan, our Harbour-mister, calls the monster a great Sea-Snake.

 

Wexford Independent - Wednesday 06 December 1848

1849 Portugal
 

Plumper, dated at sea; Jan. 1, 1849, Yesterday morning I was at the mast head, looking out for the squadron, when what should I see but a long black thing in the water. I hastened to deck and told the captain. We looked at it, and found it was the great sea serpent! We immediately called the officers and men aft to see it. It came close us, holding its head a little out of water, and we could see about 15 to 20 feet out of water. It had a kind of mane on its back, and a white breast: very ugly looking beast, very much resembling the picture in the Illustrated London News, only the head was sharper. Two artists have taken sketches of it, and I will bring one with when I come home.

 

Cheltenham Chronicle - Thursday 25 January 1849

1849 USA-Florida

Captain Adams states that on the morning of Sunday, the 18th of February, about nine o'clock, when off the south point of Cumberland Island, about twelve miles from the St. John's (Florida) bar, the attention of himself, crew, and passengers was suddenly riveted upon an immense sea-monster, which he took to be a serpent. It lifted its head, which was that of a snake, several times out of the water, seemingly to take a survey of the vessel, and at such times displayed the largest portion of its body and a pair of frightful fins or claws several feet in length. His tail was not seen at any time; but, judging from the dimensions of the body, the captain supposes the leviathan to be about ninety feet in length. Its neck tapered small from the head to the body, and it appeared to measure about seven feet across the broadest part of the back. The colour was that of a dirty brown. When first seen it was moving towards the mouth of the St. John's. The monster moved from the side of the vessel and placed itself athwart its track, in front of her bows; but Captain Adams, not feeling partial to an encounter with his snakeship, ordered the vessel to be kept off. A boy on the deck, not knowing his antagonist, had seized a harpoon, and was in the act of striking when he was prevented by the vessel moving off.

 

Lady's Own Paper - Saturday 12 May 1849

1849 South America

The rising sun shone upon the small island of Tarazeda, lying on our left. It is said that the fabulous gigantic serpent, the man-eating " Boi-uassu*,is seen occasionally upon this island : it is probably the same monster which Spix and Martius call the "Muss- mutter" (Water-mother). We subsequently procured more detailed information respecting this imaginary creature, and from the lips of a man whose credibility we had otherwise not the slightest reason to doubt — our faithful travelling-companion on the Xingu, Father Torquato, to whom the reader will soon be introduced, and who assured us that he had himself seen the Boi-uassu. He told us that three or four men are unable to encircle it with their arms, and that its articulated body resembles a number of hogsheads strung together; adding that at Vigia a cannon was fired at this creature without hitting it, upon which the serpent took to the water. Popular tradition likewise speaks of a monster called "Aca ra-mboya," that generally lives in deep places abounding in fish, and swimming against the current meets the fishermen and displays its breast and head, the latter decked with three feathers. But the most formidable creature of all is the seven-headed "Serpente," which, according to Albuquerque's description, lives in the lake of "Sette Cabecas," formed by the Ajara (an arm of the Amazon) opposite the Serra de Almeirim ; he said that  Bo'i-uassu is the name of this great serpent, from Bo'i or Boya, serpent, and uassu or guassu, great. The Indians call the Boa- constrictor by this name. Acara-mboya signifies "Heron-serpent." the existence of this serpent was not quite certain, but the Acara-mboya had shown itself under the following circumstances as recently as the year 1834, in his neighbourhood on the Peturu, not far from where the Xingu is joined by the Aquiqui. A father went with his three sons to fish, but before setting to work he was anxious to ascertain the truth respecting the existence of this serpent. All three (?) discharged their guns thrice, as nine shots fired three at a time constitute the charm to call up the Acara-mboya to the surface just as the ninth shot was fired, the serpent appeared, and made straight toward them, whereupon they threw down their guns and sought safety in flight. To this wonderful story the pilot added from his own experience, that he had once heard the roaring of the serpent; but as many other creatures, especially the alligators, joined in the concert, it was difficult to say from what part the sound proceeded.

 

Chester Chronicle - Friday 26 October 1849

1849 California

He saw at the bottom a large marine animal with the head and general figure of an alligator, except that the neck was much longer, and that instead of legs, the creature had four large flappers, somewhat like those of a turtle, the anterior pair being larger than the posterior; the creature was distinctly visible and all its movements could be observed with ease. It appeared to be pursuing its prey at the bottom of the sea, its movements were somewhat serpentine, and an appearance of annulations or ring like divisions of the body was distinctly perceptible.

The Zoologist 1849