Monday, December 1, 2014

Sea Serpent Evidence ... A Carcass Found!

The Buffalo Courier

Thursday  August 1, 1895

Page 4, Column 3

Thoughts on a Timely Topic.

One of the New York papers of Sunday

had a piece of news under this heading:

"The Sea Serpent off Eaton's Neck." The

natural Inference was that a gentleman,

Eaton by name, had tackled the ophidian

and had in turn been tackled by it; that

it had wound its slippery, scaly carcass

around Mr. Eaton's neck until he looked

like a girl in a feather boa, and that he had

then managed to throw it off. But, on reading

farther, to obtain all the particulars, it

was disappointing to learn that Eaton’s 

neck was only a ridge of sand stretching

out into Long Island Sound, and that in

the waters near there, at dawn of Saturday,

Capt. Hatfield, Sergt. Horton, and

Corp. Miller of the United States Army

saw the serpent plainly. It is a pleasure to

record that these soldiers, who were cruising

in   yacht did not immediately run

away.  They first bad their attention attracted

to the monster "by an agitation of

the water. There was a great splashing, and

the water appeared to be whipped as though

by a powerful animal or fish. They eased off

the sheets and stood by to witness the outcome.

In a few minutes the agitation ceased, 

and the yacht was gotten under way again, 

but the monster appeared some distance 

away and the boat was headed for the spot"

These men were heroes, A man may be

as ambitious as the youngster of Ephesus

and yet deliberate long before he ventures

to win undying fame by a grapple with the

sea serpent. It is not what he knows of

the creature which makes it so terrible. It

is what he does not know. The mystery

of it the traditions, legends, vague descriptions,

 surmises—all these things affect the

imagination strangely.  Sea serpents are, in

fact very much like ghosts. There are so

many authentic stories of their appearance

that the generality of mankind have a lurking

belief in them.

These soldiers, as has been said, made

straightway after the serpent. It sank as

they approached, and again came up some

distance off. Three times did the creature

do this, luring them on and on into the

deeper waters of the Sound. At last it disappeared

utterly. The soldiers admit that

they were scared at first, and that at no

time were they anxious to get too close to

the fish, or whatever it was.

But it has remained for Mr. Gilligan, a

keeper at Black well's Island, to do what

the soldiers could not do, and to win a

name that will be borne with pride by generations

of Gilligans. It was on his Island

that one sea serpent's career was ended, and

it was he who practically ended it Tuesday

night when he discovered the ophidian

stranded in shallow water he was as

shocked at its appearance as were the soldiers.

Its head, he says, was as big as a

flour barrel and its body was many rods

long. He called it a Thing, and said that

its teeth were inches long, newly whetted,

sharp, and clean like well-dusted piano

keys Its eyes were ferocious, and its head

was crowned with a row of bristling spines

that stood up like nails on a fence top.

This is what Gilligan saw, and then he got

a rope and a man and they pulled the

thing ashore.

Dr. Stewart of the Metropolitan Hospital

staff, who is a scientist of some repute, was

summoned to the spot, and after poking

around the ophidian with his cane said: "Of

course, convincing proof as to the identity

of the beast can only be had by a careful

autopsy, but I have little doubt that it

is a genuine sea serpent.   At any rate, it is

a good enough sea serpent for me." Then

the newspaper men began to arrive in small

boats from New York, for it was late at

night, and what regular boats there were

had long ceased running. One of them

wrote to his paper that the Serpent was

25 feet long from nose to tail; that its head

was fiat, and its mouth wide, and lined with

spike-like teeth. Its neck was narrow and

scaly, but gradually widened into a rather

large, well-ribbed body, which in its turn

narrowed into a rattlesnake-like tail. Its

backbone was prominent and formed a

ridge, which bristled with sharp-edged


This is all good enough, to be sure, but

it is very disappointing after the glowing

descriptions we have lately had concerning

sea serpents. In its small way it proves

that they do exist, which is a considerable

gain in the cause of science, and which

fortifies the stand long ago taken by the

Courier.  However pleased we are with this

phase of the discovery, we still regret that

the proof lies in an ophidian only 25 feet

long. We are inclined to believe that this

Serpent is not more than quarter-grown;

that it is a calf, if the term male be used,

that has carelessly wandered from its

brothers and sisters and the watchful care

of its mother.

Article used with the permission of:

Buffalo State College Archives
 and Special Collections
E. H. Butler Library #135
Buffalo State College
          1300 Elmwood Ave.        
   Buffalo,  NY 14222-1095

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