by JF

A quaint little book, written in 1975, of regional interest to Californians interested in the state’s maritime history, and especially Californians harboring any small interest in that bugaboo pseudoscience, cryptozoology.

The entire book focuses on the Monterey Bay region. The first two-thirds of the book is devoted to recording the history of the surprising number of shipwrecks that have occurred in and around that bay between the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The last one-third of the book, however, is dedicated to discussing the many tales of sightings of unusual sea organisms and yes, apparent “seamonsters” and other aquatic anomalies. Just off the coast of the Monterey Bay in California is an unusually deep underwater trench, and thus have the residents of the local towns in and around the bay in the past century and a half been witness to some very odd denizens of the deep being occasionally washed up on the beaches there. The most odd creature of all being the body of a still unidentified animal which was washed ashore in the 1920s. Scientists at the time debated whether the creature was some form of rare “beaked whale” or perhaps even some sort of plesiosauric holdover of the dinosaur clan. The best photos to be found of the decomposing creature appear in this book, and it is indeed a strange sight. However, like any and all photos of cryptozoologic critters, don’t expect these photos to provide the reader with much more clarity than that it is indeed a very, very strange creature, and, yes, very, very real–but definitive identification of it shall elude the reader even as it has eluded the scientists.

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