Sea monsterSea monsters are mythical and legendary gigantic sea-dwelling creatures (but see also lake monster). Monsters of this type are classically depicted as either some sort of dragon, serpent, or giant squid, slimy or scaly, often spouting jets of water. The decorative drawings of heraldic dolphins and sea monsters that were frequently used throughout history to illustrate maps died away with modern cartography. Following the public success of the freshwater Loch Ness Monster, many similar sightings have been reported, of interest to chambers of commerce, local journalists and cryptozoologists.
The most circumstantial accounts of sea-monsters have arisen in cultures where traditional lore and modern scientific observation coexist, such as in early modern Europe and contemporary China. Sir Humphrey Gilbert of Newfoundland (1583)claimed to have encountered a lion-like monster with "glaring eyes". Another account of an encounter with a sea monster comes from July 1734 known as "The Good Hope Sighting". Hans Egede, a missionary sailing near the Dutch Cape Colony of Good Hope on the David Strait reported:
- [There] appeared a very terrible sea-animal, which raised itself so high above the water, that its head reached above our maintop. It had a long, sharp snout, and blew like a whale, had broad, large flippers, and the body was, as it were, covered with hard skin, and it was very wrinkled and uneven on its skin; moreover on the lower part it was formed like a snake, and when it went under water again, it cast itself backwards, and in doing so it raised it tail above the water, a whole ship length from its body. The evening we had very bad weather.
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2 Modern sea monsters of popular culture
3 Fictional sea monsters