When I was a kid, I saw the film Jaws. It was the scariest film I had ever seen and still ranks high on my scare-o-meter. That film affected me so much that it is one of the major contributors to why I refuse to go into the sea (I don’t have a problem with water; I like pools, but not the sea).
Now I know the shark in Jaws was not real but, as an adult, it really got me thinking; we don’t really know what is lurking deep in the ocean depths. I’m not one of those who believe we still have a full-size Megalodon, the largest prehistoric shark that ever lived, still swimming around today, but perhaps there are still some sea creatures far larger that we had previously believed sharing this planet with us. When you consider that over 70% of our planet is covered in water, with 95% of that still unexplored, how far-fetched is it to believe that there still remains some secrets to the depths?
If there are some large sea creatures still left unseen, the scariest would have to be a mystery shark. I’ve seen some of the network television specials, or read online, about the giant sharks of the deep, but most of those are exaggerated or sensationalized. However, there is some nugget of truth to the sightings and reports. I decided to do my own research and compile a list of the best cases of real-life legendary man-eaters. These are the top 10!
There is no concrete evidence that Submarine actually exists. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, reports were coming in of a massive shark lurking in the area of False Bay, off the coast of South Africa, not far from the famed hunting waters of Seal Island. The enormous great white was said to be between 24 and 28 feet long, depending on various witness accounts. Reportedly he has a long scar across an eye.
Nicknamed Submarine for his massive size, trophy hunters began seeking the shark. This was back in the days before sharks were protected under South African law. None ever claimed their prize. Sporadic sightings are still reported. With an average lifespan of 70 years for a great white shark, could this 1970s legend still be out there?
9. Mariana Trench Mystery Shark
In 1989, during a simple research experiment in Suruga Bay, at a depth of almost a mile (1.5 kilometers), not far from the Mariana Trench, Japanese scientists witnessed something incredible… and they got it on video. Scientists were researching deep marine life and had placed a container with bait on the sea floor. A camera was attached to see what kind of aquatic life would investigate.
Numerous deep-water sharks and fish came around but, unexpectedly, a very large shark entered the frame. The shark was so huge that the other sharks, attempting to scatter, couldn’t avoid running into it and being deflected off. The massive shark is unidentified and hard to measure with estimates placing it at 30-50 ft. (9-15 meters) in length. An accurate measurement is difficult as the size of the bait trap is unknown.
8. The Shark That Devoured a Great White
In 2003, researchers tagged a 9-foot female great white in order to track its movements. Four months later, the tracking device washed up on a beach. The information recovered was astounding. The data showed that in an instant the temperature rose rapidly from 46°F to 78°F (8°C to 26°C), indicative of being eaten whole. Then, the device registered plunging more than 1,900 feet into the ocean depths. The tag slowly moved closer to the surface over a period of a few days until washing up on the shore – minus one shark.
Clearly something ate the shark, researchers agreed. Filmmaker and researcher David Riggs remarked, “The internal temperature of the animal that ate the shark is a weird one… it appears to be too low for a killer whale and too high for another shark, unless it was massive.” What could eat a 9-foot alpha predator whole?
Colossus is the loveable name attributed to a massive great white shark first sighted off the coast of South Africa, near Seal Island. As you might guess, Seal Island is known for its dense population of seals, which naturally attract hungry sharks. Estimated at over 16 ft. long and as wide as a school bus, this 2-ton giant rules his particular part of the ocean.
This area is where great white sharks are known to perform aerial breaches while seal hunting, with Colossus being an acrobatic master. It is incredible to watch him stealthily and swiftly come up from directly beneath his prey and pummel the seals high into the air. Recently, Colossus has strayed from his normal feeding grounds and his current whereabouts are unknown.
No, this shark doesn’t wear a black top hat and shred guitars unmercifully, but he is still considered a rock star in his own field. Commonly found every summer off the cost of New Zealand, this great white shark is one of the most aggressive sharks researchers have ever come across.
This 16 foot behemoth is covered in scars, with the most distinctive being a gaping “slash” across the left side of his mouth. This distinguishing mark, which will heal eventually, is from a failed tagging. The experience made him understandably more aggressive and quite pissy towards people. I wouldn’t want to be in the water when Slash is around. After all, what if he thinks I was involved in his failed tagging incident; scary thought!
5. The Cuban (“El Monstruo de Cohimar”)
You might have seen the famous photo or heard the story. There is a small fishing village called Cohimar, on the northern coast of Cuba. It’s a famous hotspot for sharks. In 1945, they say that six fisherman set out on a mission. A dangerous shark was driving all other marine life away from the area and the men were determined to catch the predator responsible.
Armed with hooks, lines and harpoons they engaged the creature – a massive great white – and eventually caught him with only a baited hook attached to a large oil drum. The catch was dubbed “El Monstruo de Cohimar.” Witnesses claimed the shark was over 21 feet long and weighed an incredible 7000 lbs., making it the largest great white ever caught!
4. The Malta Great White
On the morning of April 17, 1987, in the waters off Filfla on the coast of Malta, an incredibly large great white shark was caught by local fishermen in an area known as Blue Grotto, using a fixed surface long-line. The female great white was so heavy that a harbor winch was used to bring the shark ashore.
In the shark’s stomach was a complete 7-foot blue shark, an 8-foot dolphin that had been bitten in two, a marine turtle, and a full plastic garbage bag. Witnesses claim the shark measured 23.4 feet and weighed and incredible 3 tons.
3. The PEI Shark
The PEI (Prince Edward Island) shark is the world’s largest accurately measured great white shark, according to the Canadian Shark Research Center. This specimen was caught in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, near Prince Edward Island in Canada. It was 1983, and a young fisherman had caught the massive shark in his net. The huge shark had already died by this point.
Measurements of the shark put it at 20 feet. Parts of the skeleton were removed and preserved at the shark research lab in Bedford, while the jawbone was put on display at a museum in Florida. Being a young female shark, had it been left alone and well-fed, experts believe, she would’ve gotten even bigger!
2. The Black Demon of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez has long been reported by residents as being the home of an enormous shark, similar to a great white but larger in size and weight. This sea is between mainland Mexico and the Baja California Peninsula and has depths down to 12,000 feet; a perfect hiding spot for a giant shark. The locals refer to the shark as “The Black Demon” and it has them scared.
It is said to be anywhere from 20-60 feet long, roughly the girth of a school bus, with enormous eyes and a massive whipping tail. It is described as dark black, rather than typical great white shark grey. Unlike most sharks, this one reportedly has been known to attack boats. Sightings are rare and, as of yet, no physical evidence has been found to definitively prove its existence.
1. Deep Blue
Have you seen this footage? It’s incredible! Go search for “deep blue” and you’ll see. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Did you see it? Released footage shows a massive 20-foot great white shark, nicknamed Deep Blue, which is believed to be the largest great white ever filmed in the world.
Sighted in waters near Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, she, yes she, is shown in the video swimming around researchers in a steel cage. One brave man gets outside the cage for some up-close time with the massive apex predator and receives what can only be described as a high-five, but only after Deep Blue takes a little nibble of the cage to see if it’s edible.