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Halifax Sea Serpent

Sea serpents, or sea monsters, have for a very long time been all the rage among otherwise sober seafarers. Belief in these fearful creatures of the deep reaches back far beyond recorded history. Sightings of sea serpents have been reported for hundreds of years, and continue to be claimed today. Cryptozoologist Bruce Champagne identified more than 1,200 purported sea serpent sightings. Some cryptozoologists have suggested that the sea serpents are relict plesiosaurs, mosasaurs or other Mesozoic marine reptiles. Several sightings of sea serpent reported on Halifax. The curious thing about sea serpents and other monsters of that ilk is that a number of them have been attested to by some otherwise trustworthy people. On the afternoon of July 15th 1825, a large sea serpent was seen by a young gentleman who happened to be riding past the wharf at Mr. Goreham’s tan-pit in the harbour of Halifax, accompanied by some ladies.

The serpent raised its head about three feet out of water; its body was the size of a large log, and appeared to be at least sixty feet long, and it forced itself along by a wiggling sort of motion. It remained above water about five minutes, at a distance of about sixty yards. The editor of Nova Scotian went to the spot, and learned these and other particulars, which were confirmed by the young gentleman, the ladies, Mr. Goreham, his family and servants. It is also confirmed, with additional particulars by Mr. William Barry, of Halifax, who was going into the harbour the same evening in a whaling-boat, and, with the men in the boat, observed it for some time.

Another sighting occurred on May 15, 1833, a boat set out from Halifax, Nova Scotia, bound for a popular fishing spot; aboard were Captain W. Sullivan, Lieutenant A. Maclachlan, Ensign G. P. Malcolm, and Lieutenant B. O’Neal Lyster, all of the British army, together with Henry Ince and Jack Dowling, the latter an old salt from the Royal Navy. Not much fishing seemed to be done because the officers were firing their rifles at some grampuses (a harmless and quite innocent blunt-headed creature that somewhat resembles a dolphin). At some time during this diversion Dowling, the former navy man, called out “Oh, sirs, look at that! I’ve sailed in all parts of the world and seen some rum sights, but this is the queerest thing I ever see!”, about 150 yards away, was a sea serpent, or at least the very large head of one of these apparently increasingly common creatures, rising about six feet above the surface and with a neck “as thick as the trunk of a moderate-sized tree,” colored brown and white in an irregular fashion. Captain Sullivan, in his report of this encounter, opined that “There could be no mistake, no delusion, and we were all perfectly satisfied that we had been favored with a view of the true and veritable sea serpent.”

Sources :
Seafaring Lore and Legend by Peter D. Jeans;
A Romance of The Sea Serpent by John Bartlett;

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