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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Valhalla Serpent - 111 Years Ago Today

75 years ago today, Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was attacked. Also on this date, 111 years ago, one of the most famous sea serpent sightings occurred.

While on the yacht Valhalla, two naturalists (Yes, scientists saw a sea serpent!), Michael J. Nicoll and E.G.B. Meade-Waldo, were fifteen miles east of the Parahiba River in Brazil on a research cruise when they spotted something strange around 10:15 a.m.
The Valhalla monster
Nicoll spotted the thing first, and asked Meade-Waldo, "Is that the fin of  a great fish?"

They both saw a fin moving through the water about a hundred yards away from them, which Meade-Waldo described as "dark seaweed-brown, somewhat crinkled at the edge." The fin was rectangular, about six feet long, and about two feet high.

Meade-Waldo grabbed some binoculars to see the creature better, and when he did, a long neck, "about the thickness of a slight man's body" rose out of the water. The neck of the creature, he said was "from seven to eight feet out of the water." The head and neck were the same thickness. He went on to describe it more:

"The head had a very turtle-like appearance, as also the eye. It moved its head and neck from side to side in a peculiar manner. The color of the head and neck was dark brown above, and whitish below - almost white, I think."

Nicoll also noted that under the water, they could see a "very large brownish-black patch, but could not make out the shape of the creature. They watched the creature for several minutes until the yacht moved too far away.

At 2 a.m., December 8, 1905, three crew members on the Valhalla may have seen the creature again, entirely submerged.

Neither naturalist knew what they had seen. Meade-Waldo had no theory, and Nicoll thought that they may have seen a species of mammal. "The general appearance of the creature, especially the soft, almost rubber-like fin, gave one this impression."

He did add, however, that he thought that "…This creature was an example, I consider, of what has been so often reported, for want of a better name, as the 'great sea-serpent.'"

Nicoll's original eyewitness drawing of the sea serpent

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