Sea Serpents & our Fascination With Them.

sea

This author’s illustration of a sea serpent.

Saint Olaf or Olaf Haraldsson the former King of Norway (his reign spanning from 1015 A.D. To 1028) certainly isn’t someone you may think of often, if ever! He is however a fascinating facet in the link of history; especially one of the Catholic Church. Pope Alexander III recognized Olaf universally as a saint in 1164. Though little is mentioned about his darker side; Olaf was indeed a symbol of national independence and pride. Olaf was also said to have killed a sea serpent in 1028 A.D. in Norway. As legend suggests, St. Olaf had at some point crossed a giant sea-serpent—he first seized the large creature—he follows this by smashing it with great force upon the rocks where it suffered horrible convulsions until its death. It has been mentioned in quite a few sources that the marks left by the giant creature are still visible today at a location appropriately titled ‘St. Olaf’s Slange.’

Olaus Magnus; a name recognized by Swedish historians was also one himself. Among his many achievements, he was made cathedral provost and was later appointed as successor to brother John Magnus (whom in 1523 was named archbishop of Upsala by King Gustave I.) Olaus is responsible for drawing the earliest map the Carta Marina of the Nordic countries dating 1527-39. Upon viewing this map, you will immediately notice illustrations of sea-creatures in its waters. [follow the provided link to view the Carta Marina: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/Carta_Marina_AB_stitched.jpg ] Magnus later publishes History of the Northern Peoples in 1555 which features illustrations as well as descriptions that discuss a Norwegian Sea-Serpent. **for further reading on Olauf Magnus and the Giant Sea Serpent, follow this link: http://publicdomainreview.org/2014/02/05/olaus-magnuss-sea-serpent/ **

In 1639, America would have its earliest recorded sighting of a sea serpent in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. It was reported that the creature could be seen in the waters just off the coast of Cape Ann when it had then approached land and coiled itself on the rocks. The account was recorded by Englishman John Josselyn. ** For much more information on this sighting, please follow this link http://www.phantomsandmonsters.com/2014/06/americas-first-sea-serpent.html **

Outside of the aforementioned; there is an incredible list of notable cases we can consider to include: Hans Egede, bishop of Greenland 1734. Bishop Erik Pontoppidan, 1755. The Gloucaster sea serpent, 1817. Albert Koch, 1845. H.M.S. Daedalus, 1848. Valhalla, 1905. Zuiyo Maru, 1977. Stinson Beach, 1983. Bob & Bill Clark, 1985.

The bible even offers us this: Isiah 27:1 [English Standard Version] In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.

So. What exactly has been spotted in the sea?

One of the more popular claims we have recently heard is that the sea serpent is most likely an Oarfish. In 1996, an Oarfish about 23 feet in length washed ashore in California. By description and photographs, it is easy to see how someone at sea could consider this eerie, greatly elongated bony fish as some type of a monstrous sea serpent. **follow this link to view an artist interpretation of the Oarish http://images.onset.freedom.com/ocregister/muqlgt-oarfishgraphiccolor.1016.gif ** Our discovery of this magnificent creature can explain most of the sightings recorded throughout history, or so it seems. By appearance, we are easily persuaded into this belief because it makes the most sense. Any current species of animal was once a mystery at some point in time and was probably widely considered as a monster by those who didn’t understand what they were in the presence of.

The same can be said about a serpent of some type that lives within the seas. Many theories hold standalone angles to their arguments that can almost sell you on their theories, but what exactly is definite proof? Though one argument holds up a smoking gun with the Oarfish, one must remember as well that the Oarfish is a deep water fish who would rarely be seen at the surface. I have crossed other arguments that perhaps it is nothing more than a giant squid. Again, the giant squid is as well a deep sea animal and therefore would rarely be seen at the surface. Some claims go on to explain the sea serpent by way of suggesting it as existing from prehistoric times (which at this point seems to make more sense.)

This cryptid as like many will be a hard case to prove. The men I have mentioned at the beginning of my article were quite notable and honorable members of history. They were well established, successful individuals who have had some sort of experience with a sea serpent. One enough to make graphic maps and one incredible tale … We must set aside part of our argument to observe that these men believed with such faith, and such passion that their stories are still known today. The same can be said with each notable sighting.

Many have argued that when we finally do have solid proof of the extraordinary, a fleet of disbelief and judgment will be had by those who can’t accept the (im)possible as it stares them in the face. Whatever is to come, I personally believe that this mystery has yet to be solved, how about you? What are your thoughts? Could all of these men have seen an Oarfish? What about St. Olaf and the impression left on that mountain that can be seen to this day? Perhaps all of those recorded sightings by seamen, and sailors are just blips of a type of shark, or even a whale. Maybe the serpent has existed since the prehistoric period on earth. Maybe perception gave life to an unknown object which was submerged just below the surface. Perhaps its really a rather large snake that is responsible for half of these experiences. Or … just maybe we have yet to properly identify this cryptid. You be the judge.

References:

Slingsby, W. (n.d.). Norway, the northern playground. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
(n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_serpent
Olaus Magnus. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2015, from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09536b.htm
Olaus Magnus – History of the Northern Peoples – Introduction. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2015, from http://www.avrosys.nu/prints/prints23-b-olausmagnus-intro.htm
Isaiah 27:1 In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword– his fierce, great and powerful sword– Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2015, from http://biblehub.com/isaiah/27-1.htm