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Eight-Armed Terror of the Deep: Is the giant octopus fact?

Eight-Armed Terror of the Deep: Is the giant octopus fact? 86

Fate Magazine

Is the giant octopus fact? Or just Hollywood fiction?

by Mark K. Bayless

Some months ago, while recuperat­ing from an illness, I was watching a sci-fi B-movie titled It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955). This classic 1950s atomic-age monster movie got me thinking. “What if a giant octo­pus really does exist, living beneath the sea?” What do we know of this virtually unknown titan of the depths? Is it fact or just good Hollywood science fiction? Here is what I found out.

The sea is full of wonders, mysteries,and unknowns, and probably always will be. Oceanographers are learning about cur­ rents and plate tectonics beneath the abyssal plains; marine geologists are discovering more and more about the geothermal vents found throughout the oceans; and marine biologists are still seeking out what lives in the deepest of our oceans, including the elusive giant squid and other invertebrates that may dwell at these depths.

We know that some invertebrates do reach great size. The giant killer clam (Tri­ dacria gigas), a mollusk of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, can reach 700 pounds in weight and is reputed to have held divers to their deaths with their feet trapped in its mighty vise-like shell.

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Giant Jellyfish

Another invertebrate, a 40-foot-long, eel-like transparent acorn worm, or jelly­ comb ctenophore (pronounced “teeno­ four”), was observed during the week of August 14, 1963, off the New Jersey coast by Dr. Lionel Walford, a biologist. This ctenophore was reported to be a sea ser­pent but was properly identified by cryp­tozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson in the Janu­ary 1964 FATE. Many benign, plankton­ eating oceanic invertebrate (and vertebrate) animals can reach great size, such as the giant clam, acorn worm, giant squid, manta-ray, whale shark, and baleen whales. However, not all giant marine animals are harmless plankton-eaters.

Dr. Karl Shuker tells of the giant lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) reported in 1865 to reach seven feet in diameter More recent was the incredible 1973 en­ counter of the sailboat Kuranda, which col­lided with a lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea arctica ) of 20 tons with tentacles stretch­ing 120 feet! Miraculously, only one man was hurt when he came into contact with one of the numerous stinging tentacles. Shuker also relates the incident of a giant jellyfish, probably also a Cyanea, ingesting a large shark. However, most jellyfish do not attain such great size.As Richard Con­niff says,”…these gelatinous animals may be the ocean’s most efficient and beautiful predators.”

The Giant Squid

The most elusive known creature of the seas today is not the whale, shark, or even jellyfish, but one surrounded in fictional sea lore, and very real: the giant squid (genus Architeuthis).Giant squid may reach lengths of 50 feet and weigh 2,000 pounds. Though most squid reach only one to three feet in length, people are most familiar with the giant squid, as depicted in Jules Verne’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea; Peter Benchley’s The Beast; John Wayne’s death scene in Reap the Wild Wind (1942), and most recently in Richard Ellis’ The Search for the Giant Squid.Someday, if we are lucky, we will actually film a living giant squid in its ocean realm.

octopus

The Octopus

A relative of giant squid, which also has eight tentacles, is jet propelled, is very in­ telligent, and is in the class Mollusca, fam­ ily Cephalopoda (“head-foot”), is the oc­ topus. Maybe, just maybe, there is also a truly giant octopus as well.

Dr. Richard Ellis has attributed most, if not all, of the giant octopus stories to giant squid. One factual event involving giant squid is as follows:

Following the sinking of his troop ship Britannia,Lt. R. E. G. Cox was clinging to a small raft with 11 other men when sud­ denly one soldier was grabbed and pulled beneath the waves, never to be seen again. Moments later, Cox felt a tentacle on his leg, and with great pain and agony felt the strength of this great beast upon his per­ son. Suddenly, the squid released his grasp, leaving a few scars behind.Dr. John Cloud­ sley-Thompson told me of his meeting with Cox:

“I met him at the Royal Armored Corps firing range at Homsey, Yorkshire, whilst I was an instructor in Tank Gunnery at Sandhurst in 1943 while recovering from a severe wound received at the Knights­ bridge tank battle in Libya, 1942. He told cause he was always playing pranks.So he showed me a spread [newspaper clipping] from the Illustrated London News [Nov. 1, 1941] to prove it! He also showed me scars on his leg which were about the size of an English penny in those days, and rings about six inches apart.”

There are a few authentic and chilling accounts of giant squid attacking and sometimes killing humans at sea. Are there any such accounts for the supposed giant octopus?

The answer is yes.

The Giant Octopus Attacks

“Survivors Say Giant Octopus Over­turned Boat in Philippines

“MANILA-Survivors of a Christmas Eve sea accident in the southern Philip­ pines said yesterday that they were attacked by a giant octopus that overturned their motorized canoe.

“Fishermen on Monday found 12 sur­vivors clinging to the overturned craft and recovered the body of of a 2-week old boy off Manticao, 17 miles from where the ac­cident took place.

“All the survivors suffered from severe sunburn but none was seriously hurt, said Manticao Police Corporal Samuel Cabasan. “The Philippine Navy and Coast Guardheadquarters in Manila said they had not Iligan Bay, about 490 miles southeast of the capital.

jellyfish

“‘Suddenly, the waters began to bub­ ble;said survivor Agapito Caballero.’Then with the use of flashlights, we saw some­ thing that looked like a giant octopus. It was as huge as an imported cow.’

“Caballero’s brother, Alfredo, whose baby boy died, said the octopus grabbed the vessel’s pontoons and overturned it. But the octopus submerged after the attack and did not harm them, he added” [San Francisco Chronicle, December 27, 1989].

The Manticao octopus could have come from the Marianas Trench, which ex­ ceeds 36,000 feet. The Philippine Trench is nearly as deep, at 34,650 feet below sea­ level. Nobody knows what lives in deep trench regions.

There are actually quite a few accounts of large or giant octopi attacking men and/or their ships. In Richard Ellis’ Mon­ sters of the Sea (1994), Dr. Thomas Beale, surgeon on the British whaler Kent in 1831-32, recounts his encounter with a large octopus while ashore in the Bonin Is­ lands (south of Japan). This octopus was on the beach near some rocks when he ap­proached it. Dr. Beale placed his foot upon the mollusk, whereupon the octopus grabbed Dr. Beale’s arm and the tug of war ensued. The captain of the Kent, also looking for shells on the beach, came to Dr. Beale’s rescue, and soon dispatched the huge octopus with a knife. Dr. Beale was the aggressor; the octopus was only de­fending itself, especially since it was beached. Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea (1866) comes to mind, with the heroic Gilliat fighting a mighty octopus to the death in a cave.

And, as Forest Wood recounts in Michael Bright’s There are Giants in the Sea (1994):

“They were off Andros Island in about 180m [ 540 feet] of water fishing for silk snappers when his father thought he had snagged the bottom. But then they dis­ covered that the line could be slowly drawn up. As it came nearer to the surface, they peered through the crystal-dear water and could make out the shape of a gigantic oc­topus. Suddenly, the animal detached itself from the line and clung to the bottom of the boat. Then, much to the occupants’ re­lief, it let go and returned to the depths.”

Another incident described by Bright involved Bermuda fisherman John (Sean) Ingham, who was searching for new deep­ water fishing grounds off the continental shelf. He began at 11,400 feet (1,900 fath­ oms), on to depths of 4,800 feet. His crab traps were coming up totally smashed. In­ gham reports, “We had seen a large shape close to the trap and at first thought it was a large mass of crabs moving towards the bait, but when the boat started to move I knew it couldn’t be the crabs. We were over a rocky bottom and could see this thing on sonar moving from rock to rock-and then it released the trap:’

Conger eels (Conger oceana) feed on crabs, but the dimensions reported by Ing­ ham’s Bermuda mystery beast excludes these animals entirely, as they only reach just over three feet in length. However, there are numerous stories of lusca and scuttle (local names for octopi or octopus-like creatures) and giant octopus in blue holes in Bermuda and the Bahamas.

In the Mediterranean, as noted by Jacques Cousteau in Three Adventures (1973) and Odopus and Squid (1973), both shellfish and octopi are much larger there than reported elsewhere–and so are white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias).Why, exactly, remains a mystery.

The Sinking of the Pearl

One of the most tragic events at sea in­ volved the 150-ton schooner Pearl, cap­ sized and sunk in the Bay of Bengal in 1874 by a giant octopus-Octopus giganteus. Al­ though the culprit in the attack of the Pearl is identified by Bernard Heuvelmans in In the Wake of the Sea Serpents ( 1968) and in Richard Ellis’ The Search for the Giant Squid, as a giant squid (Architeuthis), the recollections of witnesses better describe a gigantic octopus.

Many giant squid have been either captured at sea in fishermen’s nets or beached, in accounts ranging from the Danish zo­ologist Johan Steenstrup’s observations of a giant squid in 1857 to the present day. But have any giant octopi ever been found and properly identified as such?

The answer is yes. Giant octopi, both dead and alive, have been reported and photographed. Hans Hass in Diving to Ad­ venture (1952) describes an octopus with tentacles 11 feet in length. Frank Lane, in Kingdom of the Odopus (1960), also depicts a very large octopus.

But octopi don’t just go after crab traps in the Bahamas or Bermuda. In July 2001, at Anchor Bay on California’s Mendocino coast, 11 miles south of Point Arena, Lenny Suokko brought up an octopus (Octopus dofleini) while pulling up crab traps. It weighed 40 pounds and had tentacles ten feet long . He had it in a net on the beach, but it worked its way out and back into the ocean-no doubt it wanted to have its crabs. Mrs. Gerry Eagan told me that An­chor Bay had never seen such a large oc­topus. (I have been vacationing in Gualala/ Anchor Bay since 1967 and have seen only one tiny octopus in a tide pool in all these years.)

octoeat

The Pacific Octopus

But larger octopi are known. The giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is currently recognized as the largest in the world. Dr. Cosgrove states, “It seldom ex­ceeds 100 pounds but even that is a very large animal. The largest I have ever seen and measured was 156 pounds (wet weight) and measured slightly more than 20 feet across.”

Clayton Fischer told me that he and his dive master, John Lachelt, videotaped a very large octopus measuring 21 feet and weigh­ ing 200 pounds that resides in a cave 45 feet deep in an area just off Juneau, Alaska, called the Shrine of St. Theresa (see www.delpion.com). Both Lachelt and Fis­cher state emphatically it is always there and does not bother divers if they leave it alone.

As Dr. Murray Newman recounts in The History of the Vancouver Aquarium (1993), “In March, 1956, Jock [MacLean] said he came upon a huge octopus and managed to get under it in such a way as to fill its umbrella with air from his breath­ ing equipment. This caused the animal to rise to the surface where it was gaffed and dragged on board the boat. Measured dead it was 28 feet across from the tip of one to the tip of the opposite one. It weighed 437 pounds and completely filled a 45 gal­lon barrel. In March, 1957, he came upon an even larger specimen just 10 to 20 feet from the location of the previous capture. It measured 32 feet across and had an es­timated weight of 600 pounds.”

Dr. Newman wrote most of the Van­ couver Aquarium guide books throughout his curatorship there. He reports: “Jock MacLean is our authority of the lair and habits of the octopus. They live in colonies or ‘beds;as he calls them, which are usu­ ally where rocks come near mud, not over clean sand substrates. The colonies are sep­ arated and often suitable habitat is not oc­ cupied by octopuses.. .the very large oc­ topuses, however are not usually found in dens but lurk on the bottom in the vicinity of the smaller specimens upon which they feed. Pursuing the elusive giant: We have good reason to believe that the Pa­cific octopus grows to great size and far exceeds the size of the sixty and seventy pound specimens that we have had in our aquarium.”

Huge Octopus in Solomons

Fellow amateur cryptozoologist Nick Sucik sent me the following news clipping:

“MAKIRA, SOLOMON ISLANDS-A huge octopus believed to be the biggest ever seen in the country was found dead near Parego village, Haununu district, West Makira [ap­proximately l0°S and 161°E in the Solo­mon Islands].

“Eyewitnesses say the octopus’ tenta­ cles were as big as 20 litre kerosene drums [which have a diameter of about a foot].

“They say the octopus died last month and is still rotting on a reef near Parego vil­lage.

“They say before the octopus’ tentacles were found, the reef on which the octopus died was covered in black liquid released by the dying octopus.

“Villagers who have seen the octopus have described it as the biggest octopus they’ve seen in their lives.

The shark–prey as well as predator

“The villagers are puzzled at what caused the octopus to swim to shallow wa­ters to die” [Solomon Islands Broadcast­ ing Corporation, May 6, 2001].

Sucik sent me the following article on the giant Hawaiian octopus of July 1936:

“Giant Octopi Discovered in Local Water?

“Mr. Robert Todd Aiken claimed to have found a school of six large sea denizens, according to Mr. Aiken, who made the trip to Hawaii expressly to photograph the colony of octopuses. The largest octopus officially measured around 17 feet but Mr. Aiken says his specimens are all of 40 feet. Octopuses are found in water 30-40 fathoms deep; however they are attracted to the surface largely by their mortal enemy, the shark” [Honolulu Ad­ vertiser, July 27, 1936].

Octopi of such size have never been re­ported in print elsewhere. Aiken says he filmed this huge carcass. It would be very valuable to zoology to find and review this film clip. I am surprised no one else has ex­amined this incident in more detail. There is also a report from the Honolulu Advertiser dated May 14, 1997, that giant oc­topi come to Hawaii one month of the year. One such octopus was seen near the sea turtle nesting grounds (perhaps the Pacific green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas). To my knowledge, this has never been examined with scientific scrutiny. It may be worth­ while to check out these observations.

The late Dr. Archie Carr reports in his classic So Excellent a Fishe (1967): “Huge nesting colonies of sea turtle have been wiped out in Florida, the Bahamas, Ber­ muda, Cape Verde islands and   in the Hawaiian Archipelago;’ the same places that giant octopi have been found, or sus­ pected to be (i.e., St. Augustine blob in Florida; lusca in Bermuda; 1936 Aiden Hawaiian octopus). Could the elusive giant octopus be a sea turtle predator? On Mokil Atoll, in the Caroline Islands, Bentzen (1949) observed octopi living in sand bur­ rows, and nearby, the nesting and hatch­ ing grounds of the green sea turtle (Che­ lonia mydas ).What would a giant octopus eat? Octopi do combat with sharks. They are enemies to one another, and sharks may also be a possible food source for the oc­topi, giant or otherwise. Hollywood depicts such a battle between octopi and shark in another atomic-age sci-fiB-movie, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). Octopi also feed upon crustaceans (shellfish), crabs and lobsters, fish, and each other. A giant octopus would probably prey on larger forms of the same diet as smaller ones do.

Globsters and Blobsters

Now we come to the topic of globsters and blobsters-mysterious, amorphous creatures, generally dead, rotting, and stink­ ing to high heaven. One of the strangest such varmints was found in August 2001 washed up on a Newfoundland beach. The 23-foot-long thing was estimated to weigh at least three tons. It appeared to have a backbone and ribs, but no head. The most disturbing thing about it was the coarse white hair all over its body.

Mysterious hunks of dead but uniden­ tifiable flesh, some with tentacles, have been found washed up on the beaches of the world at least since 1896. They resemble nothing so much as huge piles of tapioca pudding with a few animal or fish-like fea­ tures, such as rudimentary fins, flaps of flesh-blasphemous, eldritch, fetid things worthy of the best otherworldly horror fic­ tion of H. P. Lovecraft.

Are they octopi, shark, or whale tis­ sue (blubber)? The consensus is that the 1896 St. Augustine, Florida, blob (which Dr. A.J. Verrill first thought to be an oc­topus); the 1960 Tasmanian globster; and the 1988 Bermuda blob were octopi.It was noted that none of these two blobs and one glob had any distinctly offensive odor to them at all. Numerous other blobsters and globsters have been examined and turned out to be rotting basking sharks, whales (i.e., blubber, such as the 1997 Tasman­ian globster), and beaked whale carcasses. I have seen basking shark and whale car­casses, and do they stink!

However, there are over a dozen blobs and globs that require further scientific ex­ amination. Dr. Sidney Pierce, in his 1995 study, examined tissue of the St. Augustine and Bermuda blobsters with chemical analysis and electron microscopy and con­ cluded that these two blobsters are whale blubber. To me, the data Pierce presents is not conclusive one way or the other. Where and why do these giant octopi die before they are found washed up on beaches, reefs, and in shallow waters? It is known that Octopus dolfeini females mate, lay their eggs only once, and then die. Could the giant octopi be females dying off following their egg-laying duties?

Anchor Bay, California, where a 40-pound octopus was found attacking crab traps

Conclusions

After reading Dr. A. J. Verrill’s origi­ nal texts of the St. Augustine globster, the Tasmanian globster, and Bermuda blob­ ster, Frank Lane’s Kingdom of the Octopus, Jim Moore’s accounts, and the others pre­ sented in this article, the circumstantial ev­ idence leads me to the following conclu­ sions:

  1. Megafauna are discovered annually, many from the sea (i.e. whales, sharks, ben­ thic fish).
  2. The unrelated anecdotes and stories corroborate details of the natural history of giant octopi, even by those persons not familiar with them.
  3. Gigantism is not new to marine mol­lusks, cephalopods, fish (sharks), reptiles(sea turtles), or mammals (whales).
  1. The majority of the sea abyss and benthic life within it is virtually unknown, especially of octopi.
  2. 5. No conclusive data has been written to absolutely disprove the existence of Oc­ topus giganteus. I believe they Do you?

 

Mark K. Bayless is a student of cryptozo­ology, herpetology, and ethology. He has written for academic journals, magazines, and newsletters on the subject of monitor lizards, marine mammals, sea life, and other natural wonders. He resides in Berkeley, California.

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Fact or fiction

Was an Angel filmed over a house extinguished by firefighters?

Was an Angel filmed over a house extinguished by firefighters? 89

Having appeared on the network, this photo caused a lot of comments – from the fact that it really was a Guardian Angel who guarded the firefighters during work, to those who assured that all this was just an illusion, no more complicated than a cloud in the shape of a lamb.

At the end of December 2020, while extinguishing a fire in the Polish village of Maldyty, an Angel hovered over the firemen, or at least something like an Angel. This photo appeared on the Facebook page of the Maldyta fire station and generated many comments.

“This is something that was formed during the last extinguishing of the fire from the ignition of soot in the chimney in Maldyty. Write in the comments your thoughts about it,” was written under the picture on their FB page.

Poles are known to be very religious and there are plenty of people willing to comment on the picture.

Many indeed believed that the Angel oversaw the work of the firemen and, perhaps, even helped them to extinguish the fire. But there were also enough of those who believed that it was all just a random silhouette between clouds in the sky and pareidolia (illusion). The photo was taken by an unspecified person sitting in the cab of a car parked next to the burning house.

“Christians have always believed in the existence of guardian spirits. Some call them Guardian Angels. The Bible confirms their existence,” Pastor Leszek Kozheniecki told reporters, commenting on this photo.

By the way, Kozhenetskiy is a well-known Polish pastor who believes in the existence of supernatural beings.

Three years ago, he told the press that he had driven out the evil spirit that settled in his house in Turza Wielka. One of the firefighters who worked on the extinguishing of the house that night said:

“If we have this kind of protection watching over us, I am pretty calm about safety during work.”

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Fact or fiction

The skeleton of a mysterious “prehistoric beast” found in Antarctica?

The skeleton of a mysterious "prehistoric beast" found in Antarctica? 90
Photo: © thesun.co.uk/Google Earth

Blogger MrMBB333 shared an image of a “mysterious creature.” It was discovered 80 kilometers off the coast of Antarctica in a remote region of Antarctica, according to the Sun.

According to the blogger, the pictures are screenshots from the Google Earth service, which were sent to him by his subscriber and conspiracy theorist under the nickname BONKERS.

They estimate the length of the remains at 3.6-6 meters.I don’t know if it was frozen for thousands of years or appeared recently,- the blogger said.

MrMBB333 believes the skeleton belonged to a dinosaur. He came to this conclusion by examining the front and hind limbs of the creature. His subscribers are sure that these are the remains of a seal.

The skeleton of a mysterious "prehistoric beast" found in Antarctica? 91
© thesun.co.uk/Google Earth

A google search for seal skeleton images shows a pretty good match,- one of them wrote.

Other subscribers call the skeleton “suspicious”. They explain that “seals have no hind legs.” Another wrote that the remains belonged to an alligator or some other reptile.

In the comments, conspiracy theorists also expressed their opinion that “Antarctica is full of unexplained phenomena that may be related to ancient aliens.”

It is also believed that most of the “discoveries” made by users of Google Earth can be explained by the unusual shape of ice or other natural phenomena.

MrMBB333 uploaded his investigation video to YouTube on January 5. Since then, the video has been watched more than 200,000 times.

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Fact or fiction

150 thousand years old Metal pipes in Tibet, contradict the official history

150 thousand years old Metal pipes in Tibet, contradict the official history 92

It is said that there is a mountain in Tibet that contains a network of special formations that extend to the nearest lake. Many researchers believe that this is an artificial pipeline system. But, strangely enough, its origin dates back to the era of the Neanderthals.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

This mountain rises about 40 km from the city of Dalingha in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. It is called Baigongshan (White Mountain). In the world, it is better known for the wonderful formations that are in its heart and wide surroundings – they are called the Baigong pipes.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

This miracle has been the subject of controversial discussions for many years. Some believe they are a natural formation, but there are many who are sure that someone built them in the distant past to drain the lake. They base their arguments on research results, but there is a catch; the mysterious aqueduct should have appeared 150 thousand years ago. Traces of settlements around the mountain are not even older than 30 thousand years. So who could build metal pipes inside an uninhabited mountain?

There are three caves at the foot of Mount Baigongshan, two of them have already collapsed and are inaccessible, but the largest of them has since been the target of many tourists who come to the area.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

The cave looks like it was artificially created by someone. Visibility is enhanced by a massive pipe about forty centimeters in diameter that sticks out of the stone.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

Another apparently hollow pipe of the same diameter ran into the cave from the top of the mountain. Another one came from the bottom of the cave somewhere below.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

At the entrance to the cave, you can see several other pipes with a diameter of 10 to 40 cm. All this gives the impression of the remains of some ancient system or mechanism. About 80 meters from the cave, Lake Toson sparkles with a large number of scattered pipes on the beach.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

They stretch from east to west and have a diameter of 2 to 4.5 cm, these archaeological finds are described by the Chinese scientist Liu-Shaolin:

The unmistakable rust color indicates that they are made of metal. And their craftsmanship showcases advanced attachment techniques. Who could have built such a complex pipe system? Only one who knew well what he was doing and why.

The version that such an engineering miracle was created by the Chinese disappears immediately. The inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom could not build something like that 150 thousand years ago. As the authors of many amazing inventions, bureaucracy became one of them. Therefore, it is simply impossible to imagine that such a large-scale and, without exaggeration, a great construction project was reflected in any ancient Chinese source. Any emperor, during whose reign this happened, would make sure that his great deed was not forgotten by descendants.

Baigong tubes are another unsolved mystery in human history. This find once again refutes the facts of the official history. Where is the true and where is the misconception? Maybe there will be people among the readers who will logically explain the origin of the ancient aqueduct.

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