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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

GLEN VAUDREY: U109 monster

While trawling through Bernard Heuvelmans's In the wake of the Sea-Serpent I came across the story of a sea serpent spotted by a German submarine during the First World War. The report first surfaces in the German newspaper Bremer Nachrichten in 1933 when a former U boat commander, Werner Löwisch, announced that he and his crew of the submarine U109 had seen a marine saurian in the North Sea. He described how, on the evening of 28 July 1918, he and another member of the crew had seen an animal around a 100ft in length which had ‘a long head, jaws like a crocodile’s and legs with very definite feet’.

I have to admit I have seen this sighting used as proof of dinosaur survival, but something troubled me about the description: just how do you get to see the feet of a sea creature if it’s swimming by, unless it was resting on its back, feet in the air. Still, that was only a minor quibble and I thought it was worth looking into the tale a little more. Perhaps I would be able to identify where the sighting had taken place. I figured out that these days it's no doubt possible to track down records of the voyages of U109 so I reckoned it wouldn’t take long to have a rough location.

Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered the location of U109 that July evening; it was sunk with all hands at the bottom of the English Channel having run foul of a minefield. There is some confusion of the date of the vessel’s actual sinking, either on 26 January 1918 or 4 July 1918; whichever date it was it would make spotting that North Sea creature a little hard to believe. Perhaps it’s the wrong boat, the wrong year or maybe it's been just made up. I will let you decide; personally I know which answer I would choose.

5 comments:

Dale Drinnon said...

As a matter of fact, different accounts list different numbers for the submarine involved in that encounter. I have seen other accounts listing it as U20. Not having access to the records, I cannot say which submarine the Captain actually was in command of.

We have been discussing the matter separately in my Cryptozoology group this week, BTW.

Marozi said...

Georg-Günther von Forstner (who sighted as Kapitänleutnant of the SM U 28 his own Seamonster) wrotes in his book "Begegnungen mit Seeungeheuern" that after he published his own sighting in 1933 Werner Löwisch wrote him a letter. In this letter Löwisch describes his sighting and states that he was the "I. Wachoffizier" of SM U 108. This U-Boat surrendered to France and became the french submarine Léon Mignot until 24 July 1935. For more please see Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_U-108) or Uboat.net (http://uboat.net/wwi/boats/index.html?boat=108).

The sighting has taken place at 60 ° 20' Nordbreite (North-Latitude?) on the degree of longitude of Muggle Flugga.

Marozi said...

I'am not sure if my first comment got through because of troubles with my account. Nevertheless I've added some more information in this one so please when delete my first comment... I appologize for the inconvinience.

Georg-Günther von Forstner (who sighted as Kapitänleutnant of the SM U 28 his own Seamonster) wrotes in his book "Begegnungen mit Seeungeheuern" that after he published his own sighting in 1933 Werner Löwisch wrote him a letter. In this letter Löwisch describes his sighting and states that he was the "I. Wachoffizier" of SM U 108. This U-Boat surrendered to France and became the french submarine Léon Mignot until 24 July 1935. For more please see Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_U-108) or Uboat.net (http://uboat.net/wwi/boats/index.html?boat=108). If you take a look at the Bibliography (page 618) you see that there he has written the correct number of the U-Boat.

The sighting has taken place at 60 ° 20' Nordbreite (North-Latitude?) on the degree of longitude of Muggle Flugga.

Dale Drinnon said...

Yes, Marozi is the one at my group where we had been discussing this account just prior to your posting. I mentioned there that the submarine's number in Heuvelmans was U 108 after I had checked again and he replied with the same information as he posted here.

Marozi has been most helpful on this matter up to this point and I trust his information.

Marozi said...

Thank you Dale. Nevertheless for those who want to check the informations for themself I want to add some more information on my source: Gould, R. T., & Forstner, G.-G. F. von. (1935). Begegnungen mit Seeungeheuern. Leipzig: Grethlein & Co.

At WW1 Von Forstner began to write books. Most of them about german U-Boats (naturally during the war written somewhat glossing over for the public; if you want you can read one in english at http://www.archive.org/details/journalofsubmari00forsuoft). After the War he continued writing and after Nessie raised her head in Loch Ness in 1933 he tolds his own sighting to press. He then writes the above mentioned book (engl.: "Encounters with Sea-monsters") for which he uses mainly authorized translations of Rupert T. Gould's books "The Case for The Sea-Serpent" and "The Loch Ness Monster").