"Below the thunders of the upper deep
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth...
There hath he lain for ages and will lie...
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die."
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson, British poet (1809-1892)
Sea monsters are sea-dwelling mythical or legendary creatures, often believed to be of immense size. Marine monsters take many forms--sea dragons, sea serpents, or multi-armed beasts. They can be slimy or scaly, and often pictured threatening ships or spouting jets of water. The definition of a "monster" is subjective, and some sea monsters may have been no doubt based on scientifically accepted creatures such as whales and types of giant and colossal squid. Sea monsters have been seen in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Southern Oceans.
Types of Sea Monsters
The Japanese Daikaiju are beasts named by the Japanese that literally translates to "strange creature," and is used to refer to a genre of tokusatsu entertainment. Kaiju films usually showcase monsters of any form, usually attacking a major Japanese city or engaging another and more monsters in battle. Godzilla is an example of a daikaiju; produced by Toho Films, as was other giant monsters Gamera, Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah (who I suspect was inspired by the Eastern dragons of Asian mythology and the Hydra of Greek mythology), Mechagodzilla and Daimajin. Some like Godzilla can be called a sea monster, others, not. You can find kaiju films listed here: Toho Kaiju More besides the Toho monsters can be found here: Giant Monster Movies
Several pictures of sea serpents on old maps appear to be based on sightings of the oarfish, or ribbon-fish (Regalecus glesne). A long, eel-shaped fish that grows to 11 meters (36 feet), the oarfish has a crest of bright red spines on its head and a spiny dorsal fin running down its entire back.
The kraken of myth may be the largest sea monster ever imagined. Described in Scandinavian stories dating back to about AD 1180, the kraken was said to live near Norway and Iceland. Some stories described it as more than 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) around with arms as large as ship's masts. This may have been based from sightings of tentacles of sea monsters proven real; giant squid and giant octopus. This multi-armed monster rarely attacked humans, preferring to stay in deep water where it feasted on fish. The chief dangers came from being too close when it surfaced--or drawing close when it sank, as a boat could be sucked down in the whirlpool created when it submerged. Stories were told that when a kraken surfaced, a shimmering cascade of fish could be seen tumbling down its back.
Giant Squid (proven real): As far back as five hundred years ago, maybe even farther back, sailors in northern Europe told of an amazing creature: A monster bigger than a man with numerous long, snakelike arms covered with suckers for grabbing prey. Evidence for this so-called devil-fish included bits of giant tentacles found in whale stomachs and vicious battle scars left on the skin of whales by its suckers and claws. Eventually, in the 1850s, scientists recognized the devil-fish as an authentic animal--the giant squid.
The largest eyes of any living creature: Each eye can be as large as a human head. Sharp, parrot-like "beaks" provided the first hard proof of their existence. In 1853, a giant squid washed ashore in Denmark and was cut up for bait, but its beak was saved, leading to recognition of the genus Architeuthis in 1857. A deep-ocean creature rarely seen near the surface; most sightings involve dying animals or corpses that wash up on shore. Suckers can leave scars on whales. After the success of Jaws, American author Peter Benchley frightened readers all over again in 1991 with his bestselling novel Beast, about a giant squid. In the novel, the squid attacks several people--something yet to occur in reality. An adult specimen had been found in one piece until 2007, when fishermen hauled one up near New Zealand. Dubbed the "colossal squid," it is thought to be the largest living creature without a backbone. Classified in its own genus, Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni outweighs all of the eight giant squid species in the genus Architeuthis.
Gunakadeit (Goo-na'-ka-date) is a monster from a Tlingit legend who brought prosperity and good luck to a village in crisis, people starving in the home they made for themselves on the southeastern coast of Alaska.
Mythical Sea Monsters
The Aspidochelone, a giant turtle or whale that appeared to be an island, and lured sailors to their doom
Capricorn, Babylonian Water-Goat, in the Zodiac
Charybdis of Homer, a monstrous whirlpool that sucked any ship nearby beneath the ocean
Coinchenn, from whose bone the Gae Bulg is made in Celtic mythology
The Devil Whale, Extremely large demonic whale, the size of an island.
Iku-Turso, reputedly a type of colossal octopus or walrus
Jörmungandr, the Norse Midgard Serpent.
Kraken, a gigantic octopus, squid or crab-like creature
Scylla of Homer, a six-headed, twelve-legged serpentine that devoured six men from each ship that passed by
Sirens of Homer
The Rainbow Fish
Yacumama, South America
Monsters reports in modern times include Ayia Napa Sea Monster, of Ayia Napa, Cyprus, Cadborosaurus of the Pacific Northwest, Champ of Lake Champlain, Chessie of the Chesapeake Bay and even seen in the Appomattox River near Hopewell, Virginia, Nessie of Loch Ness, Lusca,Morgawr, Shore Laddie Arnarfjörður, Westfjords, Iceland, Sea Horse Arnarfjörður, Westfjords, Iceland, The Shell monster Arnarfjörður, Westfjords, Iceland, and the Merman Arnarfjörður, Westfjords, Iceland.
Monsters that people claimed to have run-ins with maybe surviving specimens of giant marine reptiles, such as an ichthyosaur or plesiosaur, from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods, or extinct whales like Basilosaurus. Again, who knows? For the prehistoric fish, coelacanth, first discovered still living in 1938, when a live specimen was caught in South Africa. Since then, more specimens have been seen and photographed, and a second coelacanth species was even found in Indonesia in 1999. Coelacanths are large predators, up to 2 meters (6′ 6″) long. They feed on smaller fish, including small sharks. Usually found in deep, dark waters, and rarely captured and consumed due to their horrible taste, coelacanths are still considered critically endangered nowadays.
Are there unknown creatures, dinosaurs, or else out there in the oceans of the world? Are are they just our imagination? It does not matter; they make great fodder for writers' stories and filmmakers' movies, but most of all, maybe, just maybe, some scientist will prove one of these myths to be really existing in the sea. Just as long it doesn't decided to go on land to destroy New York City or Tokyo--the cities need a rest from monster bashing!