For centuries, sailors have been spinning tales of fantastic creatures lurking in the deep. These “cryptids” — from the Greek “kryptos,” meaning hidden — have captured the imaginations of people around the world, and many have become famous in their own right. Here are five of the most famous cryptids of the sea.
The Kraken is a mythical sea creature said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Iceland. Descriptions of the Kraken vary, but it is typically said to be a giant squid- or octopus-like creature capable of dragging ships to their doom. The first written account of the Kraken comes from Norwegian author Erik Pontoppidan, who described it as “the mightiest creature in creation.” In recent years, some scientists have speculated that reports of the Kraken may actually be sightings of giant squids, which can grow to lengths of more than 40 feet.
The Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster is perhaps the most famous cryptid in the world. For centuries, people have reported seeing a large, serpentine creature in Scotland’s Loch Ness. Some believe that Nessie, as she is affectionately known, is a plesiosaur, a type of long-necked marine reptile that went extinct 65 million years ago. Others believe she may be a sturgeon or eel. Despite numerous expeditions and searches, no conclusive evidence has been found to prove her existence — but that hasn’t stopped people from looking.
The Cadborosaurus is a sea serpent said to inhabit the waters off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Descriptions of the creature vary, but it is typically said to be snake-like with multiple humps or fins protruding from its back. The first reported sighting of the Cadborosaurus dates back to 1892, when two fishermen claimed to have seen “a horrible monster” chasing their boat. In 1937, two men claimed to have seen an identical creature while fishing off Vancouver Island. In 2013, a group of scientists analyzed DNA samples taken from an alleged Cadborosaurus carcass and determined that it was actually a whale—specifically, a humpback whale ( Megaptera novaeangliae).
The Lusca is a legendary sea monster said to inhabit the waters around the Bahamas and Cuba. Descriptions of the creature vary, but it is typically said to be octopus- or shark-like with a body as large as a ship and tentacles that can reach up to 100 feet in length. One popular legend tells of how the Lusca capsized a ship by wrapping its tentacles around it and dragging it beneath the waves. Another legend tells how fishermen who venture too close to her lair are pulled into the water and devoured alive.
Mermaids are perhaps one of the most popular cryptids, thanks in part to their portrayal in popular culture (think The Little Mermaid and Pirates of the Caribbean). Mermaids are said to be half-human, half-fish creatures that live in the sea. The first recorded sighting of a mermaid was by Christopher Columbus in 1493 when he claimed to have seen three “female forms” swimming near his ship. However, many people believe that Columbus was actually seeing manatees, which are large aquatic mammals that resemble mermaids from a distance. Although there is no conclusive evidence that mermaids exist, they continue to capture our imaginations and remain one of the most popular cryptids out there.
The sea is a vast and mysterious place full of unknown creatures. For centuries, sailors have been sharing stories of encountering strange and unidentified creatures in the depths of the ocean. These creatures are known as “cryptids,” and while some may be hoaxes or misidentifications, others might be real animals that we have yet to discover. In this blog post, we’ve taken a look at three famous cryptids of the sea: the kraken, Nessie, and mermaids. Do you believe these creatures exist? Or are they just figments of our imagination? Only time will tell!