Following Dale's recent post on the Monongahela SS sighting, I found this interesting site by Tom Lytle : http://www.tomlytle.com/Sighting.htm
He is writing a book called Here Be Monsters - the true account of Captain Jason Seabury, young master of New Bedford whaleship Monongahela, reported to have captured and killed a sea serpent in the Pacific Ocean on January 13, 1851.
He goes on to say:
'I have done the research and unraveled the facts that have been lost for over 155 years. The complete story reveals a much more fascinating true account of what happened than previously thought. There is much more to it. Is it true? I am writing a book, Here Be Monsters: The Great Sea Serpent Caught At Last!, which examines all facts including many that have been long hidden and unknown. This web site is to provide some background, sample chapters and additional chapters that I have cut from the book. Is the account true? The account is based on six very true, related stories intertwined resulting in this true account. Please read the book when it becomes available and you will fully understand this greatest of sea mysteries. Meanwhile, please read the sample chapters. I would appreciate your feedback, comments and questions.'
An extract from the site:
'Sea Monsters Unmasked is a booklet written in 1883 by Henry Lee for the International Fisheries Exhibition in London. In it he writes of a sea serpent seen in Norway on July 28, 1845:
… they saw a long marine animal, which slowly moved itself forward, as it appeared to them, with the help of two fins, on the fore-part of the body nearest the head, which they judged by the boiling of the water on both sides of it. The visible part of the body appeared to be between forty and fifty feet in length, and moved in undulations, like a snake. The body was round and of a dark colour, and seemed to be several ells [an ell is forty-five inches] in thickness. As they discerned a waving motion in the water behind the animal, they concluded that part of the body was concealed under water. That it was one continuous animal they saw plainly from its movement. When the animal was about one hundred yards from the boat, they noticed tolerably correctly its fore parts, which ended in a sharp snout; its colossal head raised itself above the water in the form of a semi-circle; the lower part was not visible. The colour of the head was dark-brown and the skin smooth; they did not notice the eyes, or any mane or bristles on the throat.
'The use of fins on the forepart of the body near the head clearly indicates that this was not a snake. It “moved in undulations, like a snake” most likely means vertical motion similar to the sideways motion of a snake. Holding its head above water, dark brown color and size continue the thread of practically all sightings.
'Another Norwegian sighting in 1847 was described by Lee:
'He described it as being about six fathoms long, the body (which was as round as a serpent’s) two feet across, the head as long as a ten-gallon cask, the eyes large, round, red, sparkling, and about five inches in diameter; close behind the head a mane like a fin commenced along the neck, and spread itself out on both sides, right and left, when swimming. The mane, as well as the head, was of the colour of mahogany. The body was quite smooth, its movements occasionally fast and slow. It was serpent-like, and moved up and down. The few undulations which those parts of the body and tail that were out of water made, were scarcely a fathom in length. These undulations were not so high that he could see between them and the water.
'Other witnesses confirmed the description and added, “… its motions were in undulations, and so strong that white foam appeared before it, and at the side, which stretched out several fathoms.” If a wake of white foam appeared before it, the monster must have been of a great size and capable of great swimming speed. The interesting feature is the undulations; only mammals swim with vertical motion, undulations, while reptiles, or serpents, swim with a sideways motion. Also, most reports of sea serpents report that the creature swims with his head and neck sticking up from the water; snakes and eels cannot swim this way. Mammals, who must breathe air, swim with their heads or nostrils above the water.'