The Serpent of Gloucester, Massachusetts
An artist’s interpretation of the Serpent of Gloucester. Image: Wikipedia
In August 1817, the skipper of a trading ship entering Gloucester Harbour, Massachusetts, witnessed a baffling 60-foot long, leathery sea creature. This spectacle birthed the story of the Serpent of Gloucester.
The Sightings of the Serpent of Gloucester
In August 1817, a ship was sailing into Gloucester Harbour, Massachusetts. All of a sudden, the boat’s captain saw something weird in the rough sea that he couldn’t explain. It was a huge creature in the water, 60 feet long, with humps on its back. It was black, shiny like silver, and its skin looked like leather.
It moved like a snake and had a massive snake-like head with dark eyes. The captain was shocked. He couldn’t tell if it was a dream or real. He rushed to tell other sailors about this incredible story. To his surprise, they also claimed to have seen the monster.
James Mansfield, who saw the creature, said its head was about the size of a hat’s top. Another person, Solomon Allen III, said the creature’s head was like a rattlesnake’s but almost as big as a horse’s. Sewall Toppan, a boat captain, said he had never seen a fish like this creature in all his years at sea.
Everyone in Gloucester was scared. They respected the sea and knew it held many secrets, but this was different and frightening. Before the boat’s captain saw the creature, two women claimed they saw a similar ‘monster’ in a harbor north of Gloucester. Although most people didn’t believe them, some sailors said they saw the creature too. Then, Amos Story, a sailor, claimed he saw a ‘monster’ from the shore. More and more people claimed they saw the creature, making it seem real. It looked like there was something strange in the sea that didn’t belong to this world.
Hysteria about the Serpent Sweeps Gloucester
Soon, there was a frightened buzz growing in Massachusetts, due to something strange arriving. What made it weird was that the fishermen, who knew the sea best, also saw this monster. Gloucester was America’s oldest fishing port, and its fishermen had all the knowledge passed down from their ancestors. They had seen everything in the ocean. But this monster? It was something new for them. If these expert fishermen couldn’t figure out what it was, who could? The monster seemed to be teasing them, right under their noses.
The local gossip in Gloucester was full of guesses about the monster. It was the hot topic at the harbor. Local newspapers were packed with stories and accounts of this odd creature, often with headlines like ‘Monstrous Serpent’ and other dramatic phrases. Before long, Gloucester was swamped with tourists. The ferries were packed with eager visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the serpent. They all wanted to see this monster.
“200 people saw the serpent at once, playing around all afternoon,” said David Humphreys, a former aide-de-camp for George Washington. There were even claims that the monster was seen as far as Long Island Sound off the coast of Connecticut, 160 miles to the south. As expected, a big cash prize was offered to anyone who could catch the creature.
The Hunt for the Gloucester Serpent
The Folklorist covers the story of the Gloucester Serpent
Fishermen, whalers, and people hoping to make some money crowded Gloucester’s harbor trying to spot and catch the big sea creature. They used nets and shark hooks as traps. Many people, including locals, camped by the sea, keeping a close watch for the creature. Some even searched the beaches for large eggs that might have been laid by the sea serpent. There was even a big shed built in Boston to show off the captured sea creature, a symbol of pride for Massachusetts.
They didn’t want it alive. They wanted it dead because they were afraid of it. The New England Linnaean Society of Boston eagerly awaited a sample as more and more people told their own stories.
Then one day, Matthew Gaffney, a carpenter on a ship, saw the creature and shot at it with a musket. He shot it in the head twice, but it seemed to have no effect. The creature quickly vanished, only to reappear a little later. But it got dark, and they lost sight of it.
Later, a farmer near Cape Ann found a four-foot-long snake swimming near the shore and killed it with a pitchfork. He took the snake to the Linnaean Society, who cut it open and decided that it must be the baby of the big sea creature. No one knows how they made that decision. They named it ‘Scoliophis,’ a new kind of snake that means ‘humped snake’ in Latin. They gave the creature the scientific name, ‘Scoliophis atlanticus’. But this victory was short-lived. A French naturalist later showed that the ‘baby of the big sea creature’ was just a common black snake that was sick.
Theories about the Identity of the Serpent of Gloucester
The people of Gloucester definitely saw something that caused a huge stir. That much we can confirm. What it was exactly is anyones guess. Sea serpents were definitely in our oceans during the time of the dinosaurs and, like other deep-sea monsters such as the Loch Ness Monster, some have suggested that the Gloucester serpent might be a creature that escaped extinction.
This idea might not be as crazy as it sounds. Sea snakes, some as long as 10 feet, live in the ocean today. While that’s smaller than the Gloucester monster, most people now think that the monster was an actual animal that was misidentified. Back in the early 1800s, most animals from other parts of the world would seem really weird. Many thought the monster was simply mistaken for something else, and experts at the time did their best to explain it.
Naturalist Constantin Rafinesque said it was a real sea snake, while others thought it was some kind of whale. The creature didn’t move side to side like a reptile, but up and down like a sea mammal. It’s pretty common for people to see a snake-like shape when looking at a group of whales or dolphins. Some even thought it might be a narwhal, which can grow really big. Maybe a large group was seen off the coast of Massachusetts and mistaken for the monster. After all, some people said they saw a ‘long, pointed prong or spear’ sticking out two feet from its head.
The creature’s behavior was similar to a narwhal, often staying still for hours near the shore. Its size was also similar to a narwhal, and most people said it was ‘dark’ on the top and ‘nearly white’ on the bottom, just like a narwhal. Many people also said the creature would ‘dive straight down without twisting its body at all,’ swim really fast, and wasn’t aggressive, all behaviors that are common with narwhals. People’s descriptions of the creature varied a lot, but many of them saw it at night, during storms, or from really far away, with one person looking through a telescope a quarter mile away.
This could explain why there haven’t been any sightings in the last century. Whale and narwhal populations are going down because they’re the animals most affected by climate change.
Investigator Richard Ellis once asked, “Shall we assume that hundreds of reputable citizens were deluded or victims of mass hysteria?” They saw something out in the vast ocean, something they couldn’t explain. Maybe we’ll never know for sure what the creature was.
Bigfoot Researcher Leads Historic Expedition in Thailand
C. Thomas Biscardi, a renowned Bigfoot researcher with more than 50 years of experience, has announced
the launch of “Bigfoot in Thailand: The Definitive Expedition”, a
groundbreaking venture that aims to uncover proof of the legendary
creature in a country where it is known as Orang Pendek.
and his team of experts will collaborate with Thai government
officials, academic leaders and locals who have witnessed or encountered
the elusive beast in the remote jungles of Southeast Asia.
said that Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia have a long
history of Bigfoot reports, dating back to the 16th century, but they
have been largely neglected by serious researchers due to various
challenges such as weather, terrain, wildlife, culture and politics.
said that his team, which includes tracker Robert “The Swede” Holmberg
and researcher Chris Contrearas, has the skills and experience to
overcome these obstacles and conduct a thorough and rigorous
investigation. He also said that Buddhist Monk “Att” will be a vital
part of the expedition, providing access and guidance to the lands and
people associated with Bigfoot sightings.
expedition will be documented by cameras that will capture every aspect
of the historic journey, from interviews with witnesses and experts to
field investigations and possible encounters with the monster.
footage will be used for a new documentary that will showcase the
definitive historical library of Bigfoot in Thailand, as well as the
clear evidence that Biscardi hopes to find.
“I am confident that
this expedition will be informative and successful in not only creating
the definitive historical library of Bigfoot in Thailand, but will also
produce clear evidence of the monster,” Biscardi said.
“Bigfoot is no stranger to the people of Southeast Asia, yet the
legendary monster remains just that – a legend. To add some real
evidence to the centuries of stories surrounding the mysterious beast,
we need to go where no one has gone before.”
“The Swede” Holmberg, who will be in charge of the field crew, said: “I
have been tracking and hunting animals for most of my life, but nothing
compares to the thrill of pursuing Bigfoot. I have seen some amazing
things in my previous expeditions with Tom, but I am ready for a new
challenge in Thailand. I believe we have a good chance of finding
Chris Contrearas, who will be responsible for
collecting and analyzing information, said: “I have been fascinated by
Bigfoot since I was a kid, and I have dedicated my career to finding the
truth behind this phenomenon. I have studied hundreds of reports and
cases from around the world, but Thailand is a unique and intriguing
location. I am looking forward to working with Tom and his team to
uncover the secrets of this region.”
A photo of the Cornwall Owlman taken in 2019. Photo: Cornwall Live
The Cornwall Owlman is a Mothman-like creature spotted repeatedly since the 1920’s in a churchyard in the UK.
What is the Cornwall Owlman?
A sketch of the Cornwall Owlman
St Mawnan and St Stephen’s Church, located in Cornwall, is believed by some to be home to a creature that looks like a mix of a man and an owl. This creature has been scaring the local people and tourists since the 1920s. The church is in a peaceful area surrounded by trees and a beautiful view of the sea.
The first sighting of the Owlman was in 1926. The Cornish Echo newspaper told a story about two boys who were being chased by a really huge, angry bird. The boys were extremely frightened, but luckily they were able to get away and find safety behind a strong metal grating.
St Mawnan and St Stephen’s Church, located in Cornwall.
Another sighting of the Owlman of Mawnan Smith was reported 50 years later in April 1976. Two girls, June (12) and Vicky (9) Melling were on vacation with their parents They decided to walk to the old church for a look around. While they were on top of the church tower, they saw something they didn’t expect. It was a menacing creature that looked like a mixture of a bird and a man, with wings and feathers.
The girls were so terrified by what they saw that their father made the decision to end their vacation and leave Cornwall right away.
In July of that same year, two other 14-year-old girls chose to go camping in the woods surrounding the church. They also reported seeing a gigantic owl that looked like a human, and its eyes were glowing.
News about the sightings travelled quickly and even made it to the front pages of national newspapers.
Two years later, there was another incident where some people saw something strange. At first, they thought it was someone trying to prank them by wearing a costume, dressed as a very big bird that looked silvery-gray.
They quickly changed their minds however when they saw the creature actually fly up into the sky and vanish. After it flew away, they noticed a weird buzzing sound coming from the trees for a while.
In 1989 and then again six years later, there were more sightings of the owl man. This time, an American tourist was the witness. She described the owl man as being at least 5 feet tall and having enormous claws coming from its large wings.
At the end of the summer in 1995, she wrote a letter about her experience and sent it to Simon Parker, who was the night editor of the Western Morning News at that time.
Here is what she wrote:
I am a student of marine biology at the Field Museum, Chicago on the last day of a summer vacation in England. Last Sunday evening I had a most unique and frightening experience in the wooded area near the Old Church at Mawnan, Cornwall. I experienced what I can only describe as a ‘vision from hell’.
The time was 15 minutes after 9, more or less. And I was walking along a narrow track through the trees. I was halted in my tracks when about 30m ahead I saw a monstrous ‘Birdman’ thing. It was the size of a man with a ghastly face, a wide mouth, glowing eyes and pointed ears. It had huge clawed wings and was covered in feathers of silver grey colour. The thing had long bird legs which terminated in large black claws. It saw me and rose, floating towards me. I just screamed then turn and ran for my life. The whole experience was totally irrational and dreamlike.
Friends tell me that there is a tradition of a Phantom Owlman in that District. Now I know why. I have seen the phantom myself. Please don’t publish my real name and address. This could adversely affect my career. Now I have to rethink my ‘worldview’ entirely.
Yours very sincerely scared Eyewitness.”
Recent Sightings of the Cornwall Owlman
Another sketch based on sightings of the Cornwall Owlman
In 2019, a paranormal investigator in Falmouth claimed that he saw the Owlman, and that his friend was attacked by it.
Mark Davies, was in the graveyard with his friend Chris Power from Manchester. Suddenly they heard a hissing sound coming from the trees, accompanied by flapping noises. The sound seemed to pass right above their heads. At that moment, they saw a figure with horns on its head, which greatly alarmed them. They were carrying a meter used to detect electromagnetic energy, typically used for detecting ghosts. Surprisingly, they received coherent responses to their questions through the meter.
These occurrences indicated the presence of a demonic energy, which made them feel unsafe. Their friend experienced an attack in the form of scratches on his arm. Mark claimed that his camera broke during the incident. Although he didn’t see anything, he suddenly felt a surge of energy. It wasn’t until around half an hour later that he began to feel a burning sensation.
Mark and Chris managed to capture this photo that they claim may be the Owlman:
Could the Cornwall Owlman be Mothman?
The sightings of the Cornwall Owlman have a striking resemblance to stories of the Mothman, a legendary creature often described as a large, winged humanoid with glowing red eyes, known for its association with sightings of impending disasters and a sense of foreboding.
Could the Cornwall Owlman be Mothman? We decided to check if the reported sightings of the Owlman line up with any disasters in Cornwall’s history over the last 100 years.
There are a few disasters that the Cornwall Owlman could have been trying to warn us about.
The Accident at Castle-an-Dinas
Not long after the reported Owlman sighting in 1995, Cornwall’s worst ever traffic accident occurred.
On December 15, 1995, a digger’s arm, being carried on a lorry, swung out unexpectedly and hit the cars behind it, causing a devastating collision with shattered glass and twisted metal. Five people lost their lives, and others suffered severe head injuries.
The accident happened on a minor road at Castle-an-Dinas at 6:30 PM when the driver was returning the vehicle to the depot after a long day’s work. The companies responsible for the vehicle, Bazeley Plant Hire and Chepstow Plant Hire, were fined a total of £500,000 for not ensuring its safety.
The driver, who hailed from Fraddon, was found guilty of causing the death of five people due to dangerous driving. He was ordered to receive treatment at a psychiatric hospital due to mental illness linked to post-traumatic stress disorder and depression resulting from the accident.
The Camelford Poisoning
On July 6, 1988, a serious accident occurred at the water treatment plant near Camelford, Cornwall. Due to a mistake made by a relief lorry driver, around twenty tonnes of aluminium sulphate were dumped into the wrong water tank, contaminating the water supply for about 20,000 people in the area. This resulted in the water becoming highly acidic and filled with metals.
As a consequence, numerous residents experienced health problems such as stomach cramps, rashes, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, and joint pain. Some even claimed that their hair turned green due to copper residues in the water. Despite receiving numerous complaints about the quality of the water, the South West Water Authority initially assured the public that it was safe to drink. However, it took nearly three weeks before a warning was finally issued. The incident left lasting health concerns within the community for many years.
The Cornwall Owlman wasn’t sighted again until the year after the poisoning occurred, but perhaps it was trying to warn us about the ongoing affects of the poisoning.
Possible Explanations for the Cornwall Owlman
Shrouded Hand covers the Owlman of Cornwall
The reason behind all these strange events occurring near Mawnan church remains a mystery. Some people suggest that the sightings could be attributed to an escaped Great Grey Owl. These owls can have a wingspan of almost 2 meters, possess large talons, and reach a height of around 4.5 feet. The fact that the Owlman has been seen over such a long period of time makes it unlikely that witness are seeing the same owl.
Another theory proposes a connection between the stories and the church’s location within ancient earthworks. Some researchers also mention the presence of a ley line, an energy line in the Earth, passing through the site. Some visitors to the area have described Mawnan Woods as brimming with a vibrant energy. Is it possible that this natural Earth energy is somehow linked to the reports of the Owlman?
Some people are skeptical about many of the sightings in the 1970’s as they were connected to one man, a magician and paranormal researcher Tony “Doc” Shiels.
During that period, Doc Shiels gained attention and recognition for his involvement in a project dedicated to discovering and summoning monsters. He claimed to have witnessed the Loch Ness monster and even captured a photograph of it.
For a long time, he resided in St Ives before relocating to Ponsanooth. He has since departed Cornwall and moved to Ireland.
What do you think about the Cornwall Owlman? Tell us in the comments.
If you enjoyed learning about the Owlman of Cornwall you might also be interested in of reports of a train hitting and killing a bigfoot or the Fresno Nightcrawler.
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