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Lair of the Beasts: A Monster of the Sea
Sea-Serpent or Shark?
By Nick Redfern
August 07, 2010
Is a sea-serpent roaming the coast of England?
Over at her Krystal Kave blog, English seeker of all-things weird, Kithra, states that according to a sensational article that appeared in the pages of the British Daily Mail newspaper last weekend, “a picture has been circulating on the Internet purporting to show a sea monster that, so far seems to have eluded identification.
“It was seen off Saltern Cove, Devon, U.K., and has been dubbed by many as a ‘new Nessie.' The image appears to show a greenish-brown, long-necked 'something,' with a reptilian-like head, that was trailing a shoal of fish just 30 yards offshore. According to reports the fish beached themselves just a few seconds later.”
Kithra continues that: “The photo was sent to the Marine Conservation Society, who have still to decide exactly what it is. Although theories range from a sea serpent to a salt water crocodile. The lady who took the photograph at first thought that it might be a turtle but the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says that not only do turtles not chase fish, but the description doesn’t fit.”
Meanwhile, of this very same affair, Jonathan Downes of the Center for Fortean Zoology, and who is an expert on reports of strange and unknown animals, says: “Me? I think it is a basking shark; I think that what appears to be its back is its tail, and the ‘head’ is the tip of its nose, but golly, wouldn't I love to be proved wrong!”
Others, however, suggested that nothing more than a turtle was possibly the culprit. Photographs that were taken by one of the witnesses, Gill Pearce, however, clearly demonstrated that the neck of the creature was much too long for it to be that of a regular turtle.
Pearce took the photos on July 27, and subsequently reported the details of the encounter to the Marine Conservation Society; a spokesperson for whom, Claire Fischer, told the press:
"Gill Pearce spotted the creature about 20 meters from the bay at Saltern Cove, near Goodrington. It was observed at about 15.30 on 27 July but by the time she had got her camera it had moved further out. She spotted it following a shoal of fish which beached themselves in Saltern Cove. The creature remained in the sea, then went out again and followed the shoal - this indicates it's not a turtle as they only eat jellyfish. We would love to know if other people have seen anything like this in the same area and can help clear up the mystery."
So, was it really a mystery animal, such as a sea-serpent? Or: could it have been, as Jonathan Downes suggests, a shark after all? Doubtless this thought-provoking story will be circulating for a while.
In the meantime, it’s worth noting that this is not the first time that a strange-looking water-based creature has been seen off the coast in this particular part of England. Indeed, such reports proliferate.
Morgawr (which translates as "sea giant"), is a sea-serpent-style beast that has been reportedly seen for decades in and around Falmouth Bay, Cornwall, England, which, very notably, is situated only one county away from where this new incident occurred.
Variously described as looking like a giant serpent, a monstrous eel, or even a supposedly extinct plesiosaur, Morgawr was viewed in September 1975 by two witnesses who claimed to have seen a humped "animal" with "stumpy horns" and with bristles that ran along the length of its long neck, and which apparently had a conger-eel in its huge mouth. A whole wave of startling encounters with the creature allegedly occurred during the period 1975-76, and such reports continue to surface sporadically from time to time and from this very same location.
Has Morgawr possibly decided to take a trip along the coast for a brief vacation and to entertain the nation’s media? We will, I suspect, have to wait and see...
Nick Redfern’s latest book is Monsters of Texas, co-written with Ken Gerhard.