The ocean is a mysterious place and has been subject to much research since the beginning of time. Throughout history, men and women have studied what lurks below, often finding themselves in terrifying and dangerous situations. From rogue waves to crazy currents, the ocean is a marvellous place to behold. However, it's the things that are living and breathing that interest us the most, with sea creatures holding a special place of interest for many. But what is it about these underwater beasts that makes us so curious?
With many originating from folklore, sea monsters are usually located in the darkest depths of the ocean. Taking a number of forms, these beasts can be anything from sea dragons, sea serpents, strange noises, lone heartbeats, scaly insects, slimy monsters or colossal squids. Before acquiring the technology that we are so used to today, science had to rely on drawings and eyewitness accounts. These drawings depict some of the scariest creatures ever described along with a terrifying encounter to go with it. Now, with the invention of cameras and machines that can record supposed sea creature noises and sights, the myths have become much more real. However, is it all as it would seem?
Here are 15 viral photos of sea creatures that have been debunked.
15 Loch Ness
The Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, is one of the most legendary sea monsters of all time. Said to inhabit lake Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, the creature has been described as being large in size, with a long neck and a hump that protrudes from the water. Resulting in a number of photographs and half a dozen hoaxes, the monster is still making waves with regards to its existence. However, it is the photo above that generated the most interest with the photo generating mounds of attention on its release in 1934. Nicknamed the "surgeon's photo" the picture caused a stir and was printed in a number of newspapers across the world. Sadly, years later the photo was debunked when it was revealed that Loch Ness was actually a toy submarine and not a gigantic sea beast.
14 The New Zealand Sea Monster
When a grisly body washed up on the shores of a New Zealand beach in 2013, the locals began to panic thinking they had stumbled upon a prehistoric sea creature. The carcass, which resembled a large lump of flesh with teeth attached, was the stuff of nightmares. Mangled and decomposing, the creature was a whopping 30 feet long but was also half buried in the sand. Displaying a healthy set of sharp and terrifying teeth, the creature looked as if it had come straight out of Jurassic Park. However, although causing some people to massively freak out, scientists were quick to calm them down, claiming that the dead dinosaur was most likely a deceased whale due to the flipper on the right side of the body. Phew.
13 Google Earth Antarctica Sea Monster
Google Earth has entertained millions since its creation in 2001 and has even lent a hand in solving murders and a variety of crimes. In 2016, a member of the public revealed that they had spotted a gigantic sea creature on the coast of Antarctica while using Google Earth. Sadly, the picture was proven to be a rock and had actually been named a few years earlier. However, this wasn't the first time eagle-eyed viewers had spotted something strange down in the ocean, with one person claiming to have found the lost city of Atlantis. This theory, however, was also debunked, with Google claiming that it was just dated artifacts, whatever that means. The images were later removed from the forthcoming update and never spoken of again...
12 The Gloucester Sea Serpent
First seen in 1638, the Gloucester sea serpent has been a frequent visitor over the years and was last seen in 1962. Located in the icy waters surrounding the Gloucester sea, the creature's heyday was between 1817 and 1819 when it was said to have been viewed more than five hundred times by a large number of people. Said to resemble a serpent of "immense size", the monster was also reported to be quick, moving at excessive speeds and pace. However, modern-day researchers have now debunked the sea serpent theory, claiming that the sightings were probably large whales that had come too close to the shore. With the waters a hot spot for whales every summer, it is likely that the Gloucester sea serpent was in fact just a number of whales quietly going about their business every year.
11 Unknown Australian Ocean Beast
Google Earth seems to be the best way to find mysterious objects at the moment, with the application used by many in order to find strange and mysterious sightings. Captured on camera in Aussie waters, many believed that they finally had proof with regards to sea beasts and ocean creatures. The photograph, which was taken in 2016, shows a monster like object measuring around 100 feet. Appearing to have tentacles on either side of its gigantic body, the beast had already been spotted before but had evaded having its photo taken. With everybody having their own opinion on what the beast was, some even suggested that it was an alien. However, sadly the monster wasn't a monster at all, with scientists believing the beats to be just a rather large squid. How disappointing.
10 Washed Up Texan Ocean Monster
Strangely, it seems we may know more about the Moon then we do our own oceans, with scientists claiming that only 5% of the world's waters have been investigated. So what is really going on down there? Washed up on the shores of a Texan beach after a hurricane, locals panicked when they saw what looked to be a giant sea creature. Pictured with a full set of fangs and no eyes, the creature looked exceptionally scary. However, debunked rather quickly, scientists were quick to claim that the monster was, in fact, an eel and that the lack of eyes may have been a result of decomposition. Also said to be swollen due to the nature of its death, the eel was said to be harmless and is usually located deep in the burrows of the ocean away from all human life.
9 St. Augustine Sea Serpent
Nicknamed the St. Augustine Monster, the washed-up carcass was found on a Florida beach in 1896. First thought to be that of a massive octopus, rumors quickly spread that it was, in fact, a gigantic sea monster. Half buried in the sand due to its enormous weight, the carcass was immediately dug out for further inspection. Described as being in an advanced state of decomposition, the carcass was reported to be a pale pink like color with rubbery skin. Unidentified for a number of years, the term 'globster' was coined in 1962 to describe an organic mass, such as the St Augustine carcass, that is difficult to identify. Then, nearly one hundred years later, the 'globster' was finally figured out when scientists concluded that the St. Augustine Monster was actually a large mass of whale blubber, likely from a sperm whale.
8 The Hook Island Sea Monster
One of the most famous pictures in the world, the Hook Island sea monster is familiar to many. Discovered in Stonehaven Bay, Hook Island, Queensland, in 1964, the photograph shows a large, tadpole-like creature lingering in shallow waters. Said to be around 80 feet long, the photographer claimed that they had spotted the beast when boarding a boat nearby. Suspecting that it might be dead, the photographer then jumped into the seawater in order to film the beast but was forced back when it opened its mouth and moved towards him. Yikes! However, the photograph was later debunked when it was revealed that the sighting may have been a tightly bunched shoal of fish instead, or that the photographer had faked the whole thing himself with some plastic and clever photography.
7 Iceland's Mysterious Sea Beast
Over the last few centuries, the waters around Iceland and Greenland have become infamous for sea monster myths. However, it is the Lagarfljótsormur, Lagarfljót worm, (or simply Iceland Worm Monster) that has garnered the most attention. Reported to be alive and living in Lagarfljót in the town of Egilsstaðir, sightings of this gigantic worm have been noted since 1345. Described as resembling a serpentine-like creature, the worm is said to be as long as 40 feet with a number of humps. Usually spotted inside the lake the creature has also been seen on land, with many witnesses claiming they saw the worm slithering along the grass and climbing up trees. Creepy! Sadly the serpentine was debunked, with the explanations coming in the form of debris rising to the surface and creating strange and scary optical illusions.
6 Sea Beast Of Corfu
Taken by a Scottish tourist while on vacation in Corfu, the photograph depicts an unknown marine animal resembling a strange sea creature. Said to have popped out of the water before swimming off again, the grey creature was also likened to a hippopotamus. Causing a number of rumors to surface with regards to what the actual animal was, some suggested that it may even be extraterrestrial. However, spoiling the party once more, scientists quickly put a stop to the rumors by debunking the myth no more than a few days after it began. That's right, claiming that the sea monster was, in fact, a piece of plastic, marine biologists also explained that the human brain is wired to recognizes faces in inanimate objects, thus explaining the plastic sea monster.
5 The Japanese Sea Beast
Nicknamed Ningen (simply meaning human being), the monster has been sighted since the 1960s. Described as resembling a real-life person, the monster has mostly been spotted in the waters that surround the Japanese whale research vessels. Reported as being 65-95 feet in length, the monster is also extremely terrifying, mostly down to its human shape. That's right, said to have two arms and five fingers on each hand, the monster also sports a human-shaped head. However, with a long fin and no distinct facial features, the beast is a far cry from a real-life person. However, with scientists insisting there is no such thing that exists in the waters, the sightings have been put down to large eels or water snakes that are said to frequent the area.
4 The Bloop
The Bloop, which was discovered by the USA in 1997, was an extremely powerful and creepy underwater sound that was first described as mysterious and strange. Said to be consistent with that of a large marine animal, rumors quickly began to spread with regards to what was actually making the sound. From aliens to giant squids to mythical sea monsters and even underwater dinosaurs, it seemed that everyone had their own opinion on what was making the noise. However, sadly the rumor was debunked, with it finally revealed that the origin of the sound was actually that of a massive ice-quake. That's right, producing the same noise as an ice-quake, the sounds resembled the noises generated when large icebergs scrape the ocean floor. I guess that is still kinda cool.
3 The Monster That Attacked The Mary Celeste
The Mary Celeste was an American merchant ship that was discovered deserted in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in 1872. While jumping on board in an attempt to investigate, the Americans soon discovered that the captain and crew had seemingly disappeared into thin air leaving their food and water supply behind them. Sparking a number of theories as to what happened from mutiny to a lethal pirate attack, it was later believed that the boat was victim to a giant sea monster. Said to be mounted by a gigantic squid, the captain and crew perished with the boat left to sail on through the darkest depths of the ocean. However, recently it was revealed that an explosion was more likely to blame, with the captain ordering the crew to abandon ship and fend for themselves.
2 The Sea Monster Of U-28
Submarines were a new form of modern warfare during World War I, with the Germans ahead of the game with regards to underwater technology. In 1915, the SS Iberian, a British merchant steamer was torpedoed and sank by the German submarine, U-28. During the explosion the German commander Freiherr Georg-Günther von Forstner swiftly reported an unusual sighting, stating, "the wreckage remained beneath the water for approximately twenty-five seconds, at a depth that remains clearly impossible to assess, when suddenly there was a violent explosion, which shot pieces of debris – among them a gigantic aquatic animal – out of the water to a height of approximately eighty feet." However, it has since been suggested that the sighting was a hoax and that instead, it was the heavy impact of the explosion and the subsequent boilers that were aboard the British merchant ship that instead added to the impact.
1 The Maine Marine Monster
Since the 18th century, the people of Maine, Portland, have been witness to a number of strange sightings beneath the waves. In 1779, Navy man Edward Preble claimed to have encountered a sea creature that was a least 100 feet long. Attempting to shoot the thing, the beast swam off, unharmed. Over the next few decades, sightings of the creature have been frequent, so much so that the sea monster was given a name, Cassie. Described as being a brownish color, Cassie has often been spotted poking her head out of the water before slithering off like a snake. However, that's exactly what she was, with the monster revealed to be a large eel or snake. In fact, Cassie quickly became plural, with the monster said to be a number of eels or snake-like creatures rather than a giant sea monster that had been alive for centuries.