All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Friday, October 06, 2006

More Sea Serpents of Maine

Loren Coleman was kind enough to mention again my post from a year ago on the Sea Serpents of Mount Desert Island. This inspired me to dig up some serpent testimonials of later date, from locations ranging from Biddeford to Vinalhaven and Rockland.
Saco, May 25. Orin F. Waterhouse and father of Saco, reports seeing a sea serpent eight miles from Wood Island light. It was black on the back, white beneath, and as large around as a hogshead. It came up twice, having its head fifteen or twenty feet above the water. The sea was so rough they could not see the length. He was seen in the vicinity of the place where the Portland fishermen recently reported having seen a sea serpent. [Daily Kennebec Journal, May 26, 1875]
Biddeford, October 10. The sea serpent of which so much has been said, made his appearance at Fortunes Rocks, yesterday, and was distinctly seen by a party of ladies and gentlemen from the city, being within one hundred feet of the shore. The monster appeared to be fifty feet in length. The head very much resembled that of a horse. He was moving south. [Daily Kennebec Journal, Oct. 11, 1879]
And now two Vinalhaven fishermen put in a bid for notoriety. They report the sea serpent seen 200 yards distant from their craft "snow white, big, round as a barrel, and 30 feet from hump to hump." [Daily Kennebec Journal, June 4, 1896]
The sea serpent's older brother was seen sporting around in Rockland harbor during the week, where its appearance made quite a sensation. It is described as perfectly white in color, estimates of his length varying from 15 to 50 feet. Some 10 or 12 feet of body rose from the water to a height of two feet or more as the sea monster rambled around in serpentine movement. There was very little lashing of the water, and none of the dragon like head, green eyes, and enormous spines and scales usually attributed to this summer resort attraction. [Daily Kennebec Journal, Sept. 16, 1904]
Last comes this report of a sea serpent washed ashore near Old Orchard "where thousands are viewing it."
To be sure it is dead, but far better a real sea serpent dead on the shore than the unverified yarn of a live one out at sea. It came ashore with the tide near Old Orchard and truly it is a monster such as the oldest sea dog never saw before. If it isn't the sea serpent it is a nearer approach to it than anything the human gaze has ever been permitted to inspect at close range. It came in on the night tide. The monster has long been dead. Of the body there is only a pulp like form enclosed in a grayish colored hide, covered with long hair as big as grass blades. The flesh had been washed away by the action of the sea until the great skull was bare and the monster vertebrae uncovered so that some of them could be removed. The tail is missing, broken short off, and how long this part of the body was can only be speculated upon. To conceive of anything like symmetry of form this tail must have been from 25 to 30 feet long. Minus the tail it measured 42 feet. The big skull terminated in beak shaped jaws which were of flesh. These two jaw bones measure nine feet. Between the jaws was a rough-shaped bone of about the same length which formed a case for the tongue. The animal, when in good condition, must have been of serpentine shape and the body at the deepest point is not over five feet in diameter. Supply the tail to match the body, terminating at the one end in the long snout and you would have a serpent shaped monster from about 70 to 80 feet long with a circumference in the biggest part of not over 12 or 15 feet. Imagine this monster with its head and long beak erect and lashing the sea with its tail and you reproduce the appearance of the fabled sea serpent. The sea has cast up a good many curiosities along the beach at Old Orchard and along the coast of Maine, but never anything like this. [Daily Kennebec Journal, June 12, 1905]
For even more local sea serpent stories, see Sea Serpents in Maine and Sea Serpents in Maine Redux at Strange Maine.


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