; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Live 'Sea Serpent' Caught in the Harlem River

New York City and it's metropolitan area is interesting in many ways...but for crypto / paranormal enthusiasts, it has offered a variety of odd creatures and high strangeness. Along with the many UFO sightings over the boroughs and suburbs, there are a very high concentration of well-known hauntings and other weird activity. Not long ago I presented vintage newspaper articles about an upright canine terrorizing the Great White Way and a possible merman on Coney Island.

The following story from the The Arizona Republican on August 18, 1902 describes the capture of a supposed sea serpent:


Eighteen Feet Long and Two Feet in Circumference

New York. August 17. The sea serpent has been caught alive in Harlem river. Its captor was Donald Burns, who has the monster on exhibition at his home. No. 8 Dover street. Crowds went to his home today to see the serpent which is alive. It is eighteen feet long and two feet around in its thickest part. For a month past bathers at Coney Island and Gravesend have been telling how scared they were at some great serpent in the water. Their stories were received with the usual smiles that such yarns usually are. But for a week bathers in Harlem river have been scared by the sight of some strange monster.

Burns heard about the sea serpent, and with two friends went to the Harlem river to look for it. They got a large catboat and sailed cautiously about. Said Burns yesterday:

"When we first saw the monster he was humping himself up about a quarter of a mile away. We sailed right at him. First he opened his mouth and darted out a forked tongue and then turned to run. Just as he did I threw a large trout net around him, and with the help of my friends landed him on the bank."

Burns tied the serpent up in the folds of the net and took it home on a truck. It resembles a monster python, has large eyes and no ears. Now that Burns has got it safely in a large tank at his home he doesn't know what to do with it.

There was no further information available, but I assume that this beast was probably an anaconda that someone has recently set loose or had hitched a ride aboard a cargo ship. But then again, there have been claims of alligators in the NYC sewer system for many years...it's not hard to imagine a few 'sea serpents' slithering about under the streets of the Big Apple. Lon

Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History

Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizensof the Dee

Dragons of the Deep: Ocean Monsters Past and Present

Monsters Of The Sea: The History, Natural History, and Mythology of the Oceans' Most Fantastic Creatures