Worryingly big sea monsters

Last week it was UFOlogy in a Field. This week it’s UFOlogy in a pond.

No, I’m not talking about the ‘submarine saucer’ (Nessie), but a subject I’ve mentioned elsewhere in my blog on ‘Sea Monster Files.‘   Two years ago one S. Darby, who described himself as a marine biologist, made a Freedom of Information request to the MoD that asked if there were ‘any abnormally large or dangerous sea monsters hundreds of metres under the sea that haven’t been revealed to the public.’

Naturally, he was concerned that if such information was held by the Royal Navy it should be released as ‘our lives could be at risk.’

Sketch of sea serpent spotted by the crew of HMS Daedalus in the South Atlantic, August 1949

In their 2010 response, the Navy denied it was hiding any secret evidence of sea monsters or unidentified submarine objects (USOs). Any ‘unusual sightings’, it explained, would be recorded in the logs of submarines and surface ships but these could not be unearthed without a costly search of hundreds of paper files.

After a short flurry of Press interest, Mr Darby disappeared back into the subterranean depths.  At the time I wondered if he really was a marine biologist. Could he be a vexatious leg (or flipper)-puller of the type who want to know if Liverpool has an emergency plan to deal with ‘alien invasion’ (Liverpool Echo, August 2011)?

But this week Mr Darby was back, posting on the What Do They Know? website that aggregates information gathered by those who make FOI requests. In his follow-up request Mr Darby asked:

‘Following the recent discovery of a ‘supergiant crustacean‘, reaching a staggering 34cm in length and found 7 km under the ocean, my concerns have been reinvigorated. Hence I again pose the question, are there any abormally large or dangerous sea monsters in the deep sea?’

The swift reply from the Navy Command says ‘MoD invites people to report sightings of marine mammals (which could include unusual sightings), via the Marine Mammal reporting form on the UK Hydrographic Office website.’   In other words, there’s a form for everything! Much like MoD used to invite people to report sightings of ‘flying saucers’ by filling in a form helpfully provided by its ‘UFO desk.’  A word of warning to the Hydrographic Office: The UFO desk was closed in 2009 after a tabloid silly season campaign persuaded some readers that formations of Chinese lanterns in the night sky were an ‘alien invasion fleet’ that required urgent MoD action.

Who knows, maybe there are ‘worryingly big sea monsters’ that pose a menace to marine biologists.

But I suspect this story should be placed in the same category as the one about ‘alien big cats’ on the loose in the British countryside, or frozen alien cadavers hidden away in a remote air force hangar in New Mexico.  All sound like contemporary legends to me.

Worryingly big sea monsters?:  UFOlogy in a Pond.

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4 Responses to Worryingly big sea monsters

  1. Sandra says:

    34cm, 7km under the sea? Really, is that right? That’s so funny!

  2. Darren says:

    Correct the wording to mythology and people might take you seriously. Not ufology and you are not a ufologist your a mythologist. Big difference.

    • You’re quite right Darren I’m not a ‘UFOlogist’, if such a term even exists, I’m a folklorist (see the title of my blog?). For starters in order to be an ‘ologist’ there has got to be something to study. As there are no ‘UFOs’ to study, it’s actually impossible to be a UFO-ologist.
      All we have are stories about UFOs told by people who see and believe in ‘UFOs’; it follows that the stories and the people who spread them are the only tangible thing we actually have to study.
      Which is precisely why folklore, psychology and sociology (the study of people’s beliefs, experiences and traditions)are far more appropriate disciplines than ‘UFOlogy.’
      As for the word ‘mythologist’, I think a more appropriate term for ‘professional UFOlogists’ is mythologisers because these are people who actively create and spread legends about UFOs and aliens because they want to be part of the myth and live in the heart of the myth.
      As for being ‘taken seriously’ by UFOlogists quite frankly I couldn’t give two hoots. As nobody (other than UFOlogists themselves) treats this subject in a serious manner, why should I care what they think.

  3. ncsionline says:

    I personally treat the subject of “UFOlogy” in a serious manner. Nevertheless, I mostly agree with your assessment on both popular perception of the subject and well-known UFOlogists.
    I love the “Men in Black” movies, but a constant stream of popular media like that has made the fairly innocuous term “Unidentified Flying Object” synonymous with “Little Green Men from Mars,” which is why people who are mystified by a passing satellite or a very luminous Venus and can’t tell a B52 from a Cessna will laugh in your face if you mention unidentified flying objects. A better term, perhaps, is Unidentified Arial Phenomena…which is how I look at the subject. Stuff in the sky that isn’t identifiable by the viewer, at least not at first. So, for me, the most interesting cases are ones with multiple credible witnesses–such as pilots and air traffic controllers, military personnel, or police–that also have corroborating evidence, such as radar data or physical traces.
    Even with all that, a case is still just a UAP. Little Green Men are a possible answer, but they are by no means the only one.
    As for “UFOlogy” being an impossibility due to lack of UFOs to study….I don’t think that is a fair way to look at it. There is no doubt that strange aerial phenomena do occur–for instance, ball lightning, sprites, “St. Elmo’s Fire”, Marfa Lights, etc–and they are, by their very nature, exceedingly difficult to study. Imagine trying to be an astronomer if the earth had a constant, thick cloud cover like Venus. Every once in a while, in random spots and at random times, there might be a break in the clouds that lasts a minute or two…astronomy would never have gotten started were that the case. And everyone would laugh at the guy who claimed one night he saw a bright glowing circle with a face on it shining through a hole in the sky.

    As for sea monsters….didn’t some Japanese guys successfully document the actual existence of the giant squid recently? Another elusive and difficult subject to study scientifically. So it just wasn’t. Easier to say “Myth” and stay in the lab.

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