Monday, July 7, 2008

The Medway Monster

Here's an interesting story brought to my attention by monster-hunter Neil Arnold: it deals with a large, eel-like creature seen swimming in England's River Medway. There is, as you'll see, some speculation that people were fooled by porpoises, but witness testimony seems to point in the direction of one, large animal, "30 feet long, dark brown and mottled gray in color."

Any updates on this, Neil?


cryptidsrus said...

Coincidentally enough, Nick, I was browsing through Oberon Zell-Ravenheart's "A Wizard's Bestiary" at my local book store (you reviewed the book last year).

One of the chapters I paid particular attention to concerned his theory that all of these sightings of sea snakes and Nessie-type monsters all over the world basically come down to Gigantic Sea Slugs!!!

Sorry, Wizard Guy, but I do not buy it. At least not totally.
ALL of them?

I know it's a hypothesis, and some of the sightings may indeed come down to that---but I just think it's basically trying to do a "one size fits all" thing to explain various behaviors and even body and swimming types to these things. Whatever the hell they are.

I give him credit for at least trying to come up with a rational,
scientific-based explanation for this, and of course he's way more knowledgeable about this than I will probably ever be, but I don't get it...
Oh, well, I guess it's as good an explanation as any...
Gigantic Sea Slugs???
Intuitively I don't quite take to that...
That's ALL it is? An ugly, slimy sea slug??? Takes the "romance" out of the whole sea serpent legend, doesn't it?

I also disagree (among other things) his contention that all mermaid sightings in all climes and temperatures and locations worldwide going back thousands of years are merely the result of people mistakingly thinking a Dugong is a mermaid. Really?

I know the eye can be tricked and I know the Dugong sort of looks like a woman, but I don't buy it that sailors who are qualified to distinguish between sea life and something outside of that all would all make that mistake. I also don't think Dugong are found all over the world. Especially near Greenland, where one was once seen. By Henry Hudson's men, no less...

One of your countrymen, John Smith, once saw one. Whatever it was, it was "pretty" enough for him to declare it was "not unattractive." It swam up pretty close to get a good look at it. I think he was amorous enough and "experienced" in the world enough (i.e., Pocahontas---he-heh) to know a fish-like animal with human features from a human with a fish tail. These are scientifically worthless sightings, but I am less empirical than most people. Maybe I trust people more. Maybe I'm more open to the idea these "merfolk" and "sea snakes" exist. My grievous fault. That of course, would get me booed most places. Call me a naive romantic.

I'm not saying there ARE such things as mermaids...I'm just saying there has got to be something more to this than just a Mannatee or Dugong or a Gigantic Sea Slug. At least for a good portion of these sightings.
Maybe some of them are, sure, but not all of them.

I'm man enough to say I don't know what the hell these things are, Nick, and I'm also man enough to admit that I'm a latecomer and amateur to cryptozoology, but coming up with a "one size fits all" hypothesis to cover sightings such as these is not within the scientific method. If I'm wrong, then I stand corrected. And if that is not what Zell-Ravenheart meant, then I stand corrected too.

I admit Slugs are awful-looking and their undulating movements would account for the behavior seen in some of these creatures, but can you honestly say the sighting you just linked to could be classified as "sea slug?" Slugs are gray with mottled coloring?
Heck, it may indeed be. Who's an unknown creature. It's as good of a guess as any.

I'm just unwilling to stick my neck out and say "it's an otter!" or "it's a giant sea slug!" or even the classic "it's a plesiousaur!"

I just think the insisting of scientists and others on a strictly empirical method to deal with things and sightings that cannot be tabulated or measured, indeed may be beyond the scope of science to deal with, is one of the reasons that science has not made more progress on identifying these creatures.

Maybe insisting on "proof" is not going to cut it and doesn't work.

Has it ever occurred to rational people that maybe what they say they saw may sometimes indeed be what people say they saw?

What do you think, Nick?

Nick Redfern said...


I'd pretty much agree with you - I think that for a lot of these "things" (whether it's lake-monsters, sea-serpents, Bigfoot type creatures, big cats etc) there could be a variety of explanations.

For example, Patrick Huyghe and Loren Coleman's book on lake monsters and sea serpents does a good job of showing that there's not one answer to what these creatures may be - but a wide range of possibilities. And I would agree with that.

cryptidsrus said...

I also agree with that. I just think that the "scientific method" may have to change (as unlikely as that is) to accomodate creatures that are not within the range of empirical proof. By that I mean considering the fact that some of these beings may be "supernatural" partially or completely. That goes for things like Nessie, Bigfoot, the Almsty, even "aliens" and UFOs.

Look at fairies and elves. I know that sounds ridiculous, but people still see and supposedly "interact" with fairy-type beings. You only have to go to and look through their files or other "weird phenomena" message board to see that the Wee Folk are still "with us," so to speak. I know they do not fall under the type of cryptozoology, but they do fall under the banner of things that cannot be "measured" or "tested". So what do we do?

Keep waiting for the other "Big Shoe of Proof" to drop? Just accept on word of mouth and trust that many of these sightings are for real and be laughed out of town by the "scientific community" for supposed ignorance and naivete?
Or just accept the fact some of these things are supernatural and just hope the aliens/yetis/saquatches/champs/jersey devils show themselves---in other words, just say "they are because enough people say they are" and just go on faith alone?

There was a new sighting on Loch Ness. The undulations look suspiciously like boat wakes. At least that's what the folks at Loren's site say. Maybe, maybe not. It's ambiguous evidence, as usual. What I'm trying to say, Nick is: how am I to "take" this? Just take this at face value and say it IS Nessie and risk being called "naive" and "stupid?" Go with my hope that it IS Nessie? Or just say "It's a boat wake or natural phenomenon that causes people to project their hope of Nessie into it" and just dismiss this?

I guess probably what I should just say is "Maybe, maybe not, we'll just wait for more CLEAR, definite, unambiguous evidence."

That would be Ok, but it is boring as heck to do that. It is in our nature to be conjectural animals.

I'm sorry if this is too involved a message. But I just think we need to come up with a new paradigm or method for dealing with this and maybe not insist on keeping alive the split between science and spirituality that has dominated society since the seventeenth century. Because ultimately the back and forth will continue on this and nothing will advance.

Maybe we need to realize that the ancients had it right when they still had the union of science and religion. Maybe that's the way to get something done. Not have science be just concerned with materialism and the physical world. Because ultimately phenomena like this are not totally "from this world." MY opinion, at least.

I don't know---I'm just sick and tired of the uncertainty and the way things are dealt with now.

I do agree with your comment about Loren and others.

I'll take my meds now. Thank you for the forum. Bah humbug and to all a good night. (Smile).

Nick Redfern said...

Cool comment. I agree: some of these things are undoubtedly flesh and blood...others are undoubtedly not.
I wish I knew how to move it to the next step, too.
In the new book, I speculate about if some of these things are from elsewhere and can access our realm, can we do the same in reverse...? Remote view it to get the evidence? Access it via an altered state?
Maybe it's time we played them at their game.
They appear, they vanish, but to where? If we can answer that, we may start getting somewhere solid...

kyrie said...

Okay Nick, we'll try again with this post. As I said before the sightings of sea snakes and gigantic sea slugs and serpents may very well be the King of Herrings - the Oarfish! It looks like an eel or serpent, it's on average 30 feet long or more, is a deep sea creature but occasionally pops its head out of the water for a look. It's the longest bony fish in the world and they have washed up on beaches. I suspect this creature is responsible for many serpent and "sea snake" or whatever sightings. It can also swim upright. You can even see footage on the Internet of the critter in situ. All hail the King of Herrings - the Oarfish!

kyrie said...

It's an Oarfish maybe - the King of Herrings -= looks like a serpent, grows to more than 30 feet long, longest bony fish in the world!! All hail the King!

Nick Redfern said...

Hey Kyrie
Thanks for this. I don't doubt that some sightings probbaly do fall into this category. I think Neil Arnold is still following the story, so hopefully we might know more.

cryptidsrus said...

I agree Oarfish may be the explanation for some of the sightings...

Red Pill Junkie said...

Hey C'mon cryptidsrus! slugs can be fun too, ya know? ;-)

Neil A said...

Sorry Kyrie but there's no way an Oarfish would reach my neck of the woods...I'm putting the local sighting down to a misidentification, possible pod of porpoises, wake, or possibly eel or seal exaggerated, still makes a cracking mystery...even better that it's outside my apartment window!
I certainly don't agree with the sea slug theory, but think the suggestion once put of shoals of fish is interesting too, I can't recall now which species but a certain shoal has been observed in the ocean as taking on a twenty to fifty-foot long silver form that from a distance would resemble a serpent. Of course, it doesn't explain some of the very impressive serpent sightings, there could be anything down in the water, but again, locally, I can't put my finger on what was seen but hope it returns...