Saturday, August 6, 2011

The St. Augustine Sea Monster

When I first got my library card for the local libraries here in Florida, boy was I excited. Even more excited when the book I took out about sea monsters had an entry titled "The St. Augustine Sea Monster". Boy oh boy, I thought. Here's something I can go investigate!


After reading the entry in the book, the disappointment hit me. Although this was an older book, and so it left the prognosis as a mystery, I just knew it was too good to be true. The St. Augustine Sea Serpent, also known as the St. Augustine Monster is a "globster". Globsters are "unidentified organic masses that wash up on a shoreline or other body of water." In November of 1896, this particular globster washed up on the shore of Anastasia Island. Two boys who were riding home that evening found it and later reported it to Doctor DeWitt Webb. Dr. Webb was founder of the St. Augustine Historical society and apparently he was very interested in the so called "monster". At the time, people thought it might be the remains of a giant octopus (at over 18ft long and 7ft wide, that would be one scary octopus!)

Sadly, modern scientific advances were able to determine that it was indeed the remains of a whale carcass, like most globsters turn out to be. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't gigantic octos out there, just that we haven't found them yet. I wish there were a bit more to this legend, perhaps sightings of live sea serpents, but it seems not. Hopefully someday I'll be able to investigate the Gloucester Sea Serpent, which makes for a much creepier tale.

Happy Sailing,

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