Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Sea Serpent Killed !


THE JOURNAL

JAMESTOWN, MAY 25, 1836 

_____

From the Buffalo Whig & Journal

The Sea Serpent taken at last. -- It 
appears by a letter from Captain Saul Coffin
of the Barque Baracoota, dated New Bedford,
may 10th, and published in the Boston
Daily Times, a penny paper, that when
 off Montauk point, the day previous, a
 strange fish was discovered about a mile
 and a half ahead, which on nearing was
declared by one and all to be the sea serpent,
looking like a long row of kegs strung
upon a rope, and growing larger from the 
head downwards. After witnessing his
gambols for sometime around the ship, and
the chase, Capt. Coffin ordered three of the
boats to be hoisted out and manned, and
proceeded to attack his snakeship. The
following is the captain's account of the
fight.


"The monster was now lying motionless
but when we drew nigh, he roused
and swam rather lazily about among the
boats, sometimes rising before one of them,
sometimes sinking and showing 
himself astern of another. He seemed to
enjoy the sport as keenly as any of us. We 
made several casts at him, but the irons 
either fell short or could not touch the right 
spot. At last he rose between Mr. Weeks
and Mr. H. Coffin's boats with his head
just abeam the latter. At this moment
Mr. C. by the merest accident in nature
hit him in the eye, where the iron entered 
and held. then for the first time we saw
his tail, with one blow of which he
 stove Mr. weeks' boat killing that 
gentleman and desperately wounding Gilbert
Wilson, the bow oarsmen. Mr. Weeks
instantly sunk, but all the rest were safely
picked up by boat.


"I have struck my own harpoon into 
forty-five right and sperm whales in my
time, but I never saw one fly as his snakeship
did Mr Coffin's for about five minutes.
We could hardly see the boat's crew
for the spray, and the bucket was in good
use on the Holland.  the only feelings of
the creature seemed to be rage and fear--
he made no attempt at defense or resistance.
But the iron had cut his brains half into,
and could not stand it long. By the
time he had dragged the fast boat a mile
he stopped and went into his flurry, and
was when towed along and made fast.
And now it appeared that the monster was
no snake at all, but a snake at both ends
and a kind of slender lizard in the middle.
 He had both fore and aft his legs, four great
arms or flippers, shaped something like a
duck's foot , spread out and garnished like
it, with five great hooked claws, the use of
 which I cannot guess, unless it was to take
hold of rocks and plants at the bottom. 
there is a blow hole in his head, about as
big as a spy glass behind his fore flippers,
between the fore and hinder flippers his body
is as big as a hogshead, and tapers away
at both ends. He is covered all over with
hard scales, about the size of half dollars, 
excepting his belly, and they are covered
with a soft skin, like the scales of a horse
mackerel. He has several rows of sharp
small teeth, fit to devour small fish, but
not to attack or defend himself. We took
out his entrails for a good reason and found
the stomach full of monhadod, mackerel,
and other fish. The whole length of the 
animal is one hundred and five feet
precisely."


This odd fish was subsequently taken in 
the sight to the mouth of Nautic River, and
sunk until a proper place could be procured
at Newport, R.I., for an exhibition.


We give the foregoing just as we find it,
-- hoax or no hoax. No mention is made 
of the circumstance in the other Boston
papers.   


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