Saturday, December 7, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
For centuries sailors have traveled the world's seas and returned with stories of a creature that would emerge from the water and attack their vessels, snaring men off their decks and capsizing boats. In some tales the crew might see an island and attempt to land but are surprised when this "island" submerges and attacks the ship, destroying the vessel and killing its crew.
This creature became known as The Kraken and it was THE beast that many came to fear, as second-hand stories of encounters with this beast traveled from crew to crew and port to port. Descriptions varied, but many described it as a gigantic crab-like creature.
However, since the 18th century, this legendary creature has been described as more octopus-like and reports of this creature attacking men in whaling vessels started emerging.
Since the 12th century, Norwegian sailors first described a squid-like creature that had large tentacles that could reach the tallest of masts and sink ships. The word 'Kraken' actually comes from the Norwegian and German languages and many have depicted these encounters in art and fiction. The most notable depiction was in Jules Verne's classic tale '20,000 Leagues under the Sea',which depicts the crew aboard the Nautilus being attacked by a number of Giant Squid. The chapter depicting the battle between crew and these monsters was inspired by stories Verne had heard from sea-farers tales.
But are these stories, of ships and men being attacked and killed by squids, based on fact?
Is The Kraken an actual creature?
Architeuthis Dux is the scientific name given to a species of squid commonly known as Giant Squid and although these creatures are yet to be observed alive, specimens of this large creature have been caught in fishing nets off Norway, Tasmania and New Zealand. Little is known about the Giant Squid but many marine biologists have theorized that they are deep sea dwelling creatures that rarely come to the surface and feed off large amounts of smaller creatures, perhaps even smaller squid.
Even less is known about the Colossal Squid, a creature that has been captured a handful of times dead or dying and is theorized to grow as large as a school bus and has 5x the length from tail to the tips of its 2 larger tentacles.
The largest squid ever washed ashore was found off New Zealand, was 57 feet long and was found in the 1920's. Creatures of these sizes or even larger would rival the sizes of sea-faring vessels of centuries past, so could a large species of squid, yet unknown to science, explain the fearsome tales from the oceans?
Fiction has popularized the creature, with Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, writing 'The Beast', a story of a giant squid and its offspring attacking humans off of a seaside village. The Kraken has also been depicted in various forms in films as 'Clash of the Titans' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.
Many scientists are now no longer dismissing tales of giant squid, with evidence mounting up indicating that these creatures may grow to massive sizes but dwell in the deepest depths of the seas.
So could the tales of The Kraken be fact and explained by current scientific evidence and theory, or could it perhaps be another yet un-classified creature lurking beneath the surface of the world's oceans?
By Matteo Sweeney 2013
Picpost by Ashley Hall
Main Pic: Illustrations from first edition 'Twenty Thousend Leagues Under the Sea'.
Left: A ship is attacked.
Lower: The Colossal Octopus.
Did you find this article interesting?
If so, maybe your friends and family will too!
Click the 'like' and 'share' buttons to spread the intrigue!
For more information about the paranormal, strange, dark and macabre through articles, discussions, podcasts, videos and competitions visit The Paranormal Guide: www.facebook.com/theparanormalguide and www.theparanormalguide.com