The Stronsay Beast
The Stronsay beast was a large carcass or globster that washed ashore on the island of Stronsay, in the Orkney Islands, after a storm on September 25, 1808. The carcass measured 55 feet in length, but as part of the tail was apparently missing, the animal was actually longer than that. The Natural History Society of Edinburgh could not identify the carcass and decided it was a new species, probably a sea serpent. Later the anatomist Sir Everard Home in London dismissed the measurement, declaring it must have been around 36 feet, and deemed it to be a decayed basking shark (basking sharks can take on a ‘pseudo plesiosaur’ appearance during decomposition) [NOT UNTRUE]. However, the largest reliably recorded basking shark was 40 feet in length, so at 55 feet in length, the Beast of Stronsay still constitutes something of a cryptozoological enigma.
- The Stronsay beast was 55 feet long, as measured by three witnesses (one was a carpenter and the other two were farmers).
- It was 4 feet wide and had a circumference of approximately 10 feet.
- It had three pairs of ‘paws’ or ‘wings’.
- It had skin that was smooth when stroked head to tail and rough when stroked tail to head.
- Its fins were edged with bristles and it had a ‘mane’ of bristles all down its back.
- The bristles glowed in the dark when wet.
- Its stomach contents were red.
I’m quite sure basking sharks don’t have six legs though…