Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Happier Topic: Sea Monsters

Comic books and cartoons have so thoroughly hackneyed the concept of "sea monsters" and "sea serpents" that the subject is currently regarded as philosophically absurd.

Yet, respecting descriptions of the beast, there is surprising order within the sightings, even well before the Age of Communication when various forms of media abetted the ordered formation of homogenous cross-cultural ideation.

To put it in "the language of the gutter," there's no way all of those people from diverse places and times could have "gotten their stories right" -- could have told essentially the same story. The mechanism just wasn't there.

I've got two theories about sea monster reports, and maybe both are true at the same time: They are the few surviving members of a dying ancient species (and may now in fact, be gone, in the last few decades); or, they are semi-mystical accretions called "tulpas," but of the demonic variety. I believe that the Loch Ness Monster is a demonic tulpa, for example. (Years ago, an Anglican priest actually died trying to exorcise the thing out of Loch Ness.)

In any event, here is a story, written for translation into Vietnamese, of a sea monster which washed-up on the beaches of Massachusetts. I beliueve that this one was of the dying species variety...

For many centuries, men crossing the seas in their ships have reported seeing sea monsters and being attacked by them. Such stories are nonsense, correct?

A sketch of a sea serpent based on an old

Ask the people in the town of Scituate, Massachusetts. There, in November of 1970, a very strange dead thing washed up onto the beach.

Scituate, Massachusetts

Writer Edward Rowe Snow, famous around the world for his books of true sea stories, rushed to the beach. He was able to examine the dead creature and he also spoke to many witnesses, and so in his 1974 book Supernatural Mysteries and Other Tales he had a chapter describing the creature, and he included photographs of the thing. Snow, who was a very careful researcher, wrote that the creature was about 10 meters in length, had a body which smelled very much like fresh fish, and had four fins or flippers tipped with talons -- long claws like those of an eagle -- with hair between the talons. The most interesting photographs of the creature are of its head.

The Scituate sea monster.
The eyes are not very
visible in this over-exposure,
but in fact the creature has
eyes on the top of his snout,
pointing forward.

It really does look like the head of a plesiosaur, one of the long-necked creatures which used to roam the seas in the time of dinosaurs.

Scientists who are very skeptical about such things say that dead bodies of creatures which look like ancient plesiosaurs are actually the dead bodies of a kind of shark called the basking shark, which happens to rot in a way that makes it look like a plesiosaur.
Top: Diagram shows how a basking shark breeaks down
and rots into the shape of a plesiosaur.
Middle: A plesiosaur-shaped basking shark carcass
pulled-up in the Pacific.
Bottom: The basking-shark skeleton: Easily mistaken
for that of a plesiosaur.
Two things make us think that the Massachusetts sea monster was not a rotting shark body. First, Edward Rowe Snow reports that the creature smelled like fresh fish -- not rotten garbage. In fact, the meat of the creature was so fresh that the crowd on the beach began to cut off pieces and cook and eat them right on the beach! The next day a Massachusetts restaurant even mixed the flesh into its soup and began to sell Sea Monster Soup! That does not sound too much like a rotting shark body, does it? Second, there is the photograph of the monster’s head, included with this article, up above. It just does not look like a rotting shark’s head.

1 comment:

  1. Tom sent me an e-mail along these lines...

    "OK, I've stayed quiet. But this one is over the top. I'm not in this world to pop other people's baloons. But I have to ask, my question to you is, how tongue in cheek is this blog entry."

    Well, look at the first sentence in the main article, Tom. You're responding the way your culture asks you to respond. The trick in investigating any topic is to free yourself of cultural dynamics and to exercise your own judgment, only.

    If you do that, then you perceive that there is a suspicious amount of order in the reports.

    Go here, for instance...

    That is a drawing of the Cape Ann sea serpent. If you look at it carefully, you will see light-colored ear-like protrusions behind the head. Some reports call them "gills," some "feathers," some a "cape," some just call them "rings." But it is a detail in many of the reports.

    Another feature is the "humps" -- the VERTICAL component of the writhing through the water. Despite the fact that eels and snakes don't move that way, because it is contrary to efficient natural dynamics and therefore against natural selection, the vertical component in surface writhing is commonly reported. In other words, when sailors make these reports, they are reporting something which is contrary to their own experience. Yet, they make the reports, anyway.

    I personally think that the vertical writhers aren't natural -- that instead they are another demonic tulpa.

    I'll post on tulpas, soon.