The ocean can be a scary place. Let’s face it – it’s a massive, uncontrollable and occasionally destructive force of nature that rules 70% of the planet. In addition to that, there’s also that nagging fear of the unknown that comes with the 750,000 currently undiscovered species that live there, and the intimidating darkness of looking down from water’s surface into the seemingly never-ending depths below. Because, when you leave it to our imagination, anything could be down there.
But the idea of anything (particularly magical or mysterious creatures) dwelling beneath the waves isn’t an entirely new concept. Fear and curiosity can be both powerful and dangerous things, and have been creating strange sea-creatures in the minds of people for many centuries. After all, it could well have been the same scared and seasick sailors that thought manatees were mermaids, as the ones who imagined man-eating, fish-tailed horses stalking the waters. But is this a bad thing? I don’t think so, no. Honestly, I think that sea monsters and their fellow cryptids are a great example of human imagination. And they’re also pretty cool. So, to celebrate their (unlikely) existence, here’s a list of the Top 5 sea monsters of all-time.
5. Aspidochelone. Suppose you are a sailor, sent out to sea in ancient times. You’ve been sailing and sailing for months and months, so you’re pretty relieved when you see a nice, big island with beaches and maybe even some food. You and the rest of the crew beach the ship and pitch up for the night. Unfortunately, as soon as you light a fire to cook your dinner, the island ups and sinks deep into the sea, taking you and your ship with it. Why? Because it was actually a giant sea turtle. Or a whale. It really depends on who you listen to, but a good amount of people see it as a form of Satan that likes to trick unsuspecting sailors to a watery death. That sounds a bit unfair, to be honest. Still, Aspidochelone, a giant turtle/whale the size and shape of an island, deserves enough respect to come in at number 5 on the list.
4. Megalodon. Okay, so it’s not actually a cryptid. In fact, scienists are pretty sure megalodon existed. Still, it’s just so huge and menacing and powerful, that it still has a right to be on this list. But let’s just say it’s not a bad thing it doesn’t actually exist anymore. An enormous shark, with 7 inch teeth and the most powerful bite of any creature that ever lived, would probably be enough to put a few people off swimming in the ocean. Strangely, most people, even though they’ve heard of the T. rex and liopleurodon, haven’t even heard of megalodon. Then again, we live in a world where some people won’t swim in the sea because of little 11 feet great white sharks. Let’s put it this way: the shark from Jaws was about 25 feet long, maximum. Megalodon was over 60 feet. Still think Great Whites are scary?
3. Hydra. According to Greek mythology, the origin of many fantastical beasts, the Lernaean (from the lake Lerna) Hydra was an enormous, serpent-esque water spirit. Its parents were the formidable Typhon and Echidna, who were regarded as the most fearsome creatures in all of Greek mythology (they weren’t sea monsters, though, sorry). The part of the Hydra most people will know about was its many heads. Nobody really knows the exact number, but apparently there were too many for painters to paint (which is quite something, really, as that is their job). And the only way to kill it was by cutting off all of them. And if that wasn’t bad enough, even if you did manage to cut a head off, two more would grow in its place. But you’d probably have run off by then, anyway.
2. Leviathan. Nowadays, a leviathan is pretty much any large sea monster or creature. In Modern Hebrew, it means a whale. In the bible and Demonology (yes, it’s a science) Leviathan was one, singular creature, who was a sort of……..well, if you ever come across something that looks like a cross between a dragon, a snake, and whale, whose eyes are “like rays of dawn” (whatever that means), has fire coming out of his mouth and smoke from his nose, and can’t be killed by arrows, swords, or any other weapon, then you’ve most likely found Leviathan. In fact, Leviathan is so powerful, that he can only be destroyed by divine intervention. So, why isn’t Leviathan hailed as the greatest sea monster that ever lived and put at number 1 on this list? Quite frankly, because he’s too perfect. Even Hydra could be killed, but Leviathan just refuses to go away. So yes, he is pretty amazing, but even Superman had kryptonite. Without a weakness, Leviathan falls just short of first-place.
1. The Kraken. He’s featured in 5 books, 4 computer games, 3 films, and and has a rollercoaster named after him. He destroyed ships and killed sailors like they were mere insects. And there is good evidence a creature like him may actually have existed. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Kraken! The Kraken was a gigantic squid/octopus, supposedly originating around Norway and Iceland. Its main hobby was swimming about underneath ships, picking one it liked, creeping its creepy-creepy tentacles up and around the chosen marine vessel, and using its enormous strength and size to pull it under the ocean. Some say it also liked to snack on the sailors on board, and if you’ve seen The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, you will have seen a Kraken with lots of nasty looking teeth. But he could be killed, too. I won’t say any specific examples, but there have been cases of Krakens dying at the hands of humans. Although they didn’t go down easily. The Kraken was huge, dangerous, feasible, and fallible. And whichever version of the Kraken you think of him as, he was, at least in my opinion, the most awesome sea creature that ever (probably never) lived.