Fitch Bits: The Gloucester Sea Serpent


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Fitch Bits: The Gloucester Sea Serpent

DID YOU KNOW that Gloucester, Massachusetts has its own sea serpent cryptid?

The waters around Gloucester and Cape Ann are said to be home to a 60 foot long, serpent-like creature with the head of a turtle! These sightings have been going on for many years, with the first occurring in the 17th century.

In 1638, just 18 years after the pilgrims landed in Plymouth rock, a feller name o’ John Josselyn made the earliest sighting. If you don’t know who that is, well, you’re not alone, but he was well-known in his time. He was a traveler to New England, and he wrote about what he saw and heard “with credulity.”

Then there were a few hundred years’ worth of additional sightings, with the creature’s highest activity being recorded in the years between 1817 and 1819. These sightings were reported by fishermen and sailors with the descriptions always being pretty much the same. Sometimes the head is a turtle, sometimes it’s a horse, and other times it’s a dinosaur. It’s always long, though, with humps coming out of the water.

The creature was even reported on by the Linnaean Society of New England. That was a society of fellers who promoted natural history and ran from 1814 to 1822.

While the creature’s existence is up for debate, its real claim to fame came from none other than Bernard Heuvelmans. He shared sightings of the Gloucester Sea Serpent in his book, "In the Wake of Sea-Serpents". Bernie, for those of you who don’t know, literally invented cryptozoology and you can find a link to his book right here!

The cryptid is now a beloved part of Gloucester tradition. You can see it in logos for local businesses and organizations, as well as tourist attractions.

You can decide if you want to believe in it or not, but the only way to find out would be to scour the ocean for it. Who’s in?

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