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Sea Creatures Throughout History: Sea Serpent, Mermaids and More!

Updated on March 20, 2018
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has had paranormal experiences her entire life. These experiences have fueled her passion to write about all things supernatural.

Sea serpents have long frightened sailors.
Sea serpents have long frightened sailors. | Source

The Deep Blue Sea's Mysteries

Throughout the history of man, the sea has always been a dark, dangerous and mysterious place. Dating back thousands of years, when man first spunked up enough courage to begin to sail the seas, there has been many a legend told of enormous and destructive sea monsters that come from the deep. Shockingly, at least one of these sea creatures has been proven real! Read on to learn more about sea creatures and sea monsters throughout history and today.

Sea Serpent

The Sea Serpent is a mythical sea monster that has been in Norse mythology for thousands of years. The Norse sailors believed that the Sea Serpent was so long that it's body could wind around the entire earth. Sea serpent sightings have occurred in other parts of the world, including the waters off the coast of China and even off the coast of Massachusetts.

Sea serpents were said to wrap themselves around a ship and take the entire vessel under, along with its terrified passengers. Others said that the Sea Serpent would eat the ship whole...men and all. Some believed that the Sea Serpent was a demon or even the devil himself, as there are passages in the Bible referencing the Leviathon or Rahab (snakes in the sea).

Many sightings have been documented throughout the ages, but there is no solid scientific proof that Sea Serpents exist. I guess we'll have to wait and see if someone will ever discover and prove one's existence. One thing is for sure...I don't want it to be me!

The Illusive Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster. This is a story I am sure most people in America and Europe have heard, if not people from all around the world. This infamous yet seemingly gentle sea monster occupies the Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands (Loch Ness is a Loch - a sea inlet). The Loch Ness of Scotland is a very deep body of water, in some places reaching a thousand feet deep, the perfect place for a sea monster to dwell.

There are many people that believe a sea monster lives in the Loch Ness waters, and they call her Nessie. There have been dozens upon dozens of sightings of her, some say they've even seen her cross a road and slither back into the Loch's cold waters. The first sighting of Nessie was in the year of 1934, with many more to follow. The description given by most witnesses tells of a creature with a long neck, broad body, and long wide tail, similar to the plesiosaurus (a prehistoric dinosaur). My question is, how could one survive this long? There would've had to have been more than one in order to survive this long, so does that mean there is at least two that mate and create more? There have been many pictures taken of this supposed monster of the Loch Ness waters. When I look at them, I see either a giraffe or elephant's trunk protruding from the waters. What do you think?

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Photo of a Colossal Squid Replica of a giant squid. These things are massive!
Photo of a Colossal Squid
Photo of a Colossal Squid | Source
Replica of a giant squid. These things are massive!
Replica of a giant squid. These things are massive! | Source

The Giant Man-Eating Squid

If you have ever read Jules Vernes' 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, you will remember the terrifying part of the giant man-eating squid with tentacles that look like a nest of anacondas. This fictional book was inspired by some of the oldest myths of the sea, including the giant squid myth. But here's the scariest part of this hundreds-year-old sea myth, it was based on reality!

That's right! The giant squid is real and in existence today. Now, there is an even larger and more ferocious cousin of the giant squid perusing the seas of the Arctic. It's name - the COLOSSAL squid. The last picture on the right is a real-life picture taken of a colossal squid. It was found by a fishing boat off the coast of Antarctica, with eyes as big as plates and sharp hooks connected to some of its suction cups! Weighing in at nearly a thousand pounds, these sea creatures are speculated to be very fast animals, traveling in speeds up to 20 MPH in the water and are even believed to have the ability to launch themselves out of the water upon will. I can see how myths of giant squid got started!

Mermaids

Mermaids are mythical sea creatures that have inspired writers and movie producers for decades; however, did you know that many sailors throughout the ages believed in mermaids wholeheartedly and would tell you that they were not nice creatures? Belief in mermaids date back to the biblical times, specifically in the Babylonian empire. The Babylonians believed in gods and goddesses which were half-man-half-fish sea creatures, that resided in the sea and ruled the seas.

In Greece, sirens were sometimes pictured as mermaids and they were considered to be extremely dangerous and, if seen, very bad luck. Sirens were thought to be demoted goddesses that were stranded on an island in the Mediterranean, as punishment for some deed they refused to fulfill for a much stronger, ancient Greek Goddess. The tales said they would sing a beautifully enchanting song, which would lure sailors (whether by ship or by swimming) towards their island. Unfortunately, before the men or ships could make it to the island, their bodies or vessels would be dashed upon the jagged rocks.

Mermaids have been a part of many beautiful love stories and fairy tales, some inspiring modern day movies, such as Disney's The Little Mermaid and the 80's film - Splash. And more recently the movie The Shape of Water and TV show Siren. Personally, I love the idea of mermaids and mermen living their lives at a beautiful kingdom in the bottom of the ocean. To this day, many people still believe the existence of mermaids is possible, or at least it could have happened in centuries past. The idea has been discredited by historians and scientists, as they say sailors' sightings of mermaids can be attributed to other sea creatures, such as seals, dolphins or manatees.

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Aspidochelone - Giant Whale or Turtle

The aspidochelone is a term that isn't spoken or read much today; however, in times when Latin was a widely used language, The Physiologus was written and this term was spread throughout the text. The aspidochelone is a mythic sea creature, either whale or giant turtle, which inhabits the ocean, with its backside sticking up out of the water. This giant sea creature is said to have had sailors land upon it, disembark upon the new found island, and begin making meals over a bonfire. Once the aspidochelone feels the heat on its backside, it dunks its whole body under the sea's water...taking the unlucky sailors and their ships with him.

The aspidochelone is compared to the devil's "wiles", according to the Physiologus. It says: "Such is the fate of all who pay no heed to the Devil and his wiles, and place their hopes in him: tied to him by their works, they are submerged into the burning fire of Gehenna: for such is his guile."

One can see how terrifying this thought might have been to Medieval sailors and their captains. In the times when they crucially need to find land and food, after days of sailing without sufficient supply of food, they might feel very wary of landing on any small island for any reason in fear that they would be drowned to death by a gigantic sea monster and then go to hell! Shew, I sure am glad we have science now!

The belief in giant whales and turtles crosses into many ancient and Medieval cultures, both Pagan and Christian alike. Obviously today many of us do not hold such beliefs, but consider them a part of our world's colorful mythological past.

Various other s ea monster sightings have been recorded throughout history, only to be discredited and even made out to be jokes by the scientific community. I believe that the ocean is so vast and so deep that there could be sea monsters or even human-like creatures dwelling in the sea's depths, just waiting to be discovered. As they say, the ocean is the last frontier!

© 2011 Nicole Canfield

Comments

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  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    4 years ago from Summerland

    They're in another hub. :)

  • profile image

    Erin Leserette 

    4 years ago

    You forgot the Selkies!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Lilleyth - I'm so flattered that you're taking the time to read my hubs. I absolutely LOVE writing and when people enjoy my writing, that just makes me feel that much better about it! Actually, I think writing is my favorite thing to do...besides nursing, being a mother & wife, and growing spiritually. Tell me more about these stories...how fascinating. I can't believe that he actually heard singing...too much. Look up "nixies"...they were mermaids that would lure men to the ocean and to their doom.

  • Lilleyth profile image

    Suzanne Sheffield 

    6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

    Kitty - I've been reading all your hubs and this one reminded me of a story my father told about being on the aircraft carrier Ranger and how he could hear women singing as his bunk was at the waterline -he could scrape frost off beside it sometimes it was so cold in the north Atlantic - but some sailors would turn up missing who actually were lured off the ship by the voices of the sirens!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Thanks, KeithJK! Appreciate the support friend. :)

  • KeithJK profile image

    Keith James Kennedy 

    6 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

    The Loch Ness Monster is in Lake Michigan harboring Carthage College's campus in Kenosha, WI. I have seen it after a few drinks. Having said that, I loved this piece. It takes a great writer to keep the flow going between the sea creatures.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    carriethomson - I agree and you're right, many of them have been portrayed in movies time and again...except the apsidocholene. Thanks for reading!

  • carriethomson profile image

    carriethomson 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom

    Wow what fascinating and dangerous creatures!! most of them have been portrayed in movies. the mermaids were in the latest pirates of Caribbean movie. Characters far far different from Ariel in the little mermaid by disney. enjoyed reading!!

    carrie

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    katyzzz - Thanks so much!

    glenn wallace - I didn't want to get into the whole leviathan myths, but that is a good point to bring up. Thanks for reading & commenting! ;)

  • glenn wallace profile image

    glenn wallace 

    6 years ago

    Great hub! I love this sort of stuff, and it's good to see a well-written hub bring up some of the history behind these fantastical creatures. Major points for dredging up info on the aspidochelone! My one critique would be you didn't tie in the leviathan myths with that section.

  • katyzzz profile image

    katyzzz 

    7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    These creatures are certainly fascinating, especially those delightful mermaids, the legend lives on, kitty

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    Carolyn Moe - Yes, it truly is! It looks like a creature from a different planet, if you ask me. :) Thanks for dropping by.

  • Carolyn Moe profile image

    Carolyn Moe 

    7 years ago

    isn't that giant squid so ugly?

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    myi4u - I think Nessie may have existed at one point, but maybe left or passed away? Do you have pictures of the Loch Ness (the lake), by chance? I'd love to see them! And I loved the Water Horse, too by the way. :)

  • myi4u profile image

    myi4u 

    7 years ago from United Kingdom

    I used to be fascinated by Loch Ness, well, I suppose any kind of mysterious stuffs! I even went to Loch Ness once while I was in Scotland. Erm... nothing special except a big fake Loch Ness near the lake. Went on a boat trip to the nearby castle. The scenery was beautiful though there was no sign of Nessie at all!

    National Geographic and numerous scientists have actually made a clean sweep in Loch Ness using the most advanced technology available. The results? They found nothing. Over the years, the sighting has become less and less. I suppose it is easier to fake things in the past. Though my belief is that it never existed, I still went and watched the film, The Water Horse.

    Great hub!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    there is definitely a video out there, i swear it! if i find it, i'll let you know for sure! So crazy that you're pisces...ironic, because that is the fish sign. my daughter is a pisces...i picture her growing up to be an ocean and water lover. ahhh...splash! that movie was too cool...daryl hannah, right? and you dive, too? wow...you really are a pisces! can't wait to read more of your hubs, too. toodles.

  • profile image

    Marina Lester 

    7 years ago

    Here's the video that was so exciting in 07, I remembered it as footage weirdly :P But they're photos, my excited imagination at work. Here's the video off youtube anyhow http://bit.ly/3foQI5. I got a chuckle at your comment, I'm pieces, and yes The Little Mermaid was the ultimate as well as Splash when I was a little girl, I always carried my mermaid dolls everywhere. :)And my sport is free diving. Look forward to sharing more in future. Take care :)

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    Hi, Jack! Great to meet you. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Though I am a Sagittarius, I have always had a fascination with sea mythology too. :)

  • Jack E Pitt profile image

    Jack E Pitt 

    7 years ago from Bilston

    I am an Aquarian and I was drawn to your article, must be the water carrier within. Also a big fan of sea mythology and I really enjoyed reading it.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    I did want to correct myself - An aquarius is actually an air sign...weirdly enough. Though i've found that aquarians tend to be drawn to the water (just as their name is). Now that I'm thinking about it maybe you're a Pisces? Cancer? It's killing me...what's your sign Marina?

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    quester.ltd - thanks for following me! I definitely believe in Nessie...there's just been too many sightings and experiences to deny her! Thanks for the comment and the vote up. :)

    Marina - You must be a water sign? Possibly aquarius? I could be wrong...either way, you have a definite connection to the element water and the ocean. I bet your favorite movie as a child was the Little Mermaid? Have you ever read about selkies? You would probably love those stories. Look it up. I promise you won't be disappointed. I can't wait to check out that youtube video! Giant squids seem almost alien-like to me...yet so fascinating! Toodles, love. Thanks for stopping by.

  • profile image

    Marina Lester 

    7 years ago

    I'm pretty excited to be sharing with you Kitty, I was very excited to see a sea monster piece, I LOVE sea mythology. I love reading and writing and my huge library is dedicated to all things ocean. Thank you for this hub! I love reading of these creatures, I keep searching for more and more to read, we know still so, so little of the Architeuthis. But a brief moment of footage has been put on you tube from a fisherman's boat, just a glimpse of the great creature in the deep, very exciting! I really enjoyed the bit about aspidochelone, I have heard practically nothing of them, so thanks! :D I very much look forward to reading more you have done, you go into many topics I love. Cheers! You made this hub interesting and fun! :D

  • quester.ltd profile image

    quester.ltd 

    7 years ago

    Nicely done, Kitty - yes Nessie roams the waters of the Lock unseen by most.

    The older the world gets and people are around, the more stories are told. As you said, sometimes based on fact, sometimes based on undiscovered facts LOL

    Thanks for the good read - voted up

    q

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    i didn't know that about the lake monsters...very interesting! as for the sea serpent off the coast of mass. i had heard of it, but i didn't know people could see it from dry land! now i must dig further into this phenomenon!

    the mer-babies? well, i can take a weird guess but i don't know that i want to talk about it here...or maybe they lay fish eggs? thanks, alastar!

  • Alastar Packer profile image

    Alastar Packer 

    7 years ago from North Carolina

    The ocean still holds a lot of mysteries. There are probably thousands of undiscovered species. These stories you've written on here all have a basis in reality I believe. Giant squids can be proven by the size of the sucker scars on Sperm Whales. Too many people have seen lake critters, all apparently on the same longitude or is it latitude around the world. In 1817 a sea serpent appeared off the Mass. USA coast for weeks and was seen by thousands sometimes on dry land. This is a very good hub kitty but i wonder..how do the mer-people have babies? yours kitty.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    cogerson! good to hear from you again! so glad you enjoyed it...i find the ocean to be a very mysterious place. it would be an amazing thing to have those creatures living in the same world as ours, wouldn't it be? anything is possible, i always say! thanks, again!

  • Cogerson profile image

    UltimateMovieRankings 

    7 years ago from Virginia

    Great hub.....you have a hub that has lots of interesting and fascination information.....I think a world that would have all of this creatures would be an amazing world....amazing but dangerous world...voted up

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Nicole Canfield 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    very true. weird enough that the man-eating squid was pretty close to the truth! i'm not sure that they eat men, but i guess given the chance they might, as they have been said by scientists to attack large whales and other large sea creatures. maybe they thought ships were whales back in the day? thanks dahoglund!

  • dahoglund profile image

    Don A. Hoglund 

    7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

    The sea is still a largely unexplored place. Myths usually are based on something in the real world although often very distorted.

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