On Sunday night’s Morton Through Midnight show the regular cryptozoology feature Morton’s Mystery Creatures focused on the Prestwick sea serpent. It is perhaps the only truly mysterious stranding reported to have taken place in Scotland.
A tale is told that during the Second World War the body of a mysterious creature was discovered washed up on a sandy beach near to Prestwick airport in Ayrshire.
Following a storm, amongst the usual flotsam and jetsam washed up onto the beach, there was something a lot more interesting: the remains of a sea serpent. Unlike many a supposed sea serpent whose skeletal remains have been reported to have washed ashore this impressive find was not in an advanced state of decay at all but was actually fresh, the flesh being soft with no smell of decomposition to it.
The creature was lying flat on its belly with its long neck stretched out in front and a long tail behind. It was estimated to be between 12 and 14 feet in length with head, neck, torso and tail complete.
The head - around a foot long - was similar in size to that of a horse but was broader and flatter. There were big eye sockets from which the eyes had disappeared, presumably eaten by scavengers. Apart from that damage the head was still pretty much intact with working upper and lower jaws complete with teeth.
The neck was around 4-5ft in length and a fan-shaped track had been left in the sand where it had been washed to and fro by the tide.
The body was similar in length to the neck and was covered in a complete layer of muscle, skin and interestingly, a short fur similar to that found on seals. The torso was buried halfway into the sand and both the pectoral and pelvic girdles and joints showed where four flippers came out of the body. The flippers themselves lay buried in the sand. There was no sign of a dorsal fin but there was a mane running down the middle of the back.
The tail was said to be roughly the same length as both the neck and body at 4-5ft. It was described as being like that of a tadpole with a fin going all the way round it. This fin was in the process of breaking down into fibres that looked like the bristles on a broom.
Local folk and fishermen who saw the remains couldn’t think of any known creature that it resembled. It was suggested that it looked like the remains of a prehistoric reptile, albeit a furry one.
After a while the body disappeared. Was it washed away or did it become covered by sand? Is it possible that some part of this mystery animal is still buried in the sand awaiting discovery on that Ayrshire beach?
If you want to read more about this stranding and others in Scotland you can find them all in my book Sea Serpent Carcasses Scotland: from the Stronsa Monster to Loch Ness, which is available in both paperback and kindle from Amazon.
If you are interested in owning my oil painting of this creature you can find it for sale on eBay; a rare chance to buy one of my cryptozoological paintings.