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surely Jack Dowling was right. It is most difficult to give correctly the dimensions of any object in the water. The head of the creature we set down at about six feet in length, and that portion of the neck which we saw at the same; the extreme length, as before stated, at between eighty and one hundred feet. The neck in thickness equalled the bole of a moderate-sized tree. The head and neck were of a dark brown, or nearly black colour, streaked with white in irregular streaks. I do not recollect seeing any part of the body.
"Such is the rough account of the sea-serpent, and all the party who saw it are still in the land of the living." The communication was signed by the gentlemen above named, but does not appear to have been published till 1847, when it appeared in the pages of the Zoologist.
Mr. Philip Henry Gosse's interesting collection of stories concerning “The Great Unknown," published in the first series of his “Romance of Natural History,' brought several confirmatory letters, one from Mr. Stephen Cave, formerly M.P. for Shoreham, who sent an extract from a journal kept by him while travelling. Mr. Gosse printed it in the Appendix of the second series of his charming work. It is as follows:
“Thursday, Dec. 10 (1846).–Of Madeira, on board H.M.S. Thames, made acquaintance with a Captain Christmas of the Danish navy, a proprietor in Santa Cruz, and holding some office about the Danish Court. He told me he once saw a sea-serpent between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. He was lying-to in a gale of wind, in a frigate of which he had the command, when an immense shoal of porpoises rushed by the ship as if pursued; and lo and behold! a creature with a neck moving like that of a swan, about the thickness of
a man's waist, with a head like a horse, raised itself slowly and gracefully from the deep, and seeing the ship, it immediately disappeared again, head foremost, like a duck diving. He only saw it for a few seconds; the part above the water seemed about eighteen feet in length. He is a singularly intelligent man, and by no means one to allow his imagination to run away with him."
The Norwegian newspapers, during the summer of 1846, were much occupied with the sea-serpent. The vicinity of Christiansand and Molde—the latter the same locality as that mentioned by Captain de Ferry a hundred years before—were the principal points where it appeared, as testified by many people of respectability. It had been for the most part observed in the larger fiords, rarely in the open sea.
In the Christiansand fiord it is believed to have been seen nearly every year, always in the hottest summer days, and when the sea had been calm and unruffled. Affidavits of observers were given in detail, these agreeing in the main, though full of minor discrepancies, as might be expected. It was an animal of considerable length, ranging in the accounts from fifty to one hundred feet. The head, which was occasionally raised-doubtless to obtain a view of the situationwas compared for size to a ten-gallon cask, rather pointed, as described by one witness; by another as rounded. All agreed that the eyes were large and glaring; that the body was dark brown, and comparatively slender; and that a luxuriant mane of hair waved behind its head. The movements were in vertical undulations, according to the majority of observers, some few attributing to it lateral undulations also. The witnesses were of various grades in life, ranging from fishermen, workmen, and students, to a sheriff, a curate, and a rector.
Later in the year, the Rev. P. W. Deinboll, Archdeacon of Molde, published the following additional testimony, which is here printed verbatim.
“On the 28th of July, 1845, J. C. Lund, bookseller and printer; G. S. Krogh, merchant; Christian Flang, Lund's apprentice; and John Elgenses, labourer, were out on Romsdal fjord, fishing. The sea was, after a warm, sunshiny day, quite calm. About seven o'clock in the afternoon, a little distance from shore, near the ballast place and Molde Hove, they saw a large marine animal, which slowly moved itself forward, as it appeared to them, with the help of two fins, on the fore part of the body nearest the head, which they judged from the boiling of the water on both sides of it. The visible part of the body appeared to be between forty and fifty feet in length, and moved in undulations like a snake. The body was round and of a dark colour, and seemed to be several ells in thickness. As they discerned a waving motion in the water behind the animal, they concluded that part of the body was concealed under
That it was one connected animal they saw plainly from its movements. When the animal was about one hundred yards from the boat, they noticed tolerably correctly its fore part, which ended in a sharp snout; its colossal head raised itself above the water in the form of a semicircle; the lower part was not visible. The colour of the head was dark brown, and the skin smooth. They did not notice the eyes, or any mane or bristles on the throat. When the serpent came about a musket-shot near, Lund fired at it, and was certain the shots hit it in the head. After the discharge it dived, but came up immediately. It raised its head like a snake preparing to dart on its prey. After it had turned and
got its body in a straight line, which it appeared to do with great difficulty, it darted like an arrow against the boat. They reached the shore, and the animal, perceiving that it had come into shallow water, dived immediately, and disappeared in the deep.
"Such is the declaration of these four men, and no one has any cause to doubt their veracity, or imagine that they were so seized with fear that they could not observe what took place so near them. There are not many here, or on other parts of the Norwegian coast, who longer doubt the existence of the sea-serpent. The writer of this narrative was for a long time sceptical, as he had not been so fortunate as to see this monster of the deep; but after the many accounts he has read, and the revelations he has received from creditable witnesses, he does not dare longer to doubt the existence of the sea-serpent.
In the Times for November 4, 1848, an Englishman, writing under the signature of “Oxoniensis," confirms these Norwegian accounts. After expressing some doubt as to there being any well-authenticated instances of these monsters having been seen in southern latitudes,
“During three summers in Norway, I have repeatedly conversed with the natives on this subject. A parish priest, residing on Romsdal fjord, about two days' journey south of Drontheim-an intelligent person, whose veracity I have no reason to doubt-gave me a circumstantial account of one which he had himself seen. It rose within thirty yards of the boat in which he was, and swam parallel with it for a considerable time. Its head he described as equalling a small cask in size, and its mouth, which it repeatedly opened and shut, was furnished with
formidable teeth; its neck was smaller, but its body-of which he supposed that he saw about half on the surface of the water-was not less in girth than that of a moderate-sized horse. Another gentleman, in whose house I stayed, had also seen one, and gave a similar account of it; it also came near his boat upon the fjord, when it was fired at, upon which it turned and pursued them to the shore, which was luckily near, when it disappeared. They expressed great surprise at the general disbelief attaching to the existence of these animals amongst naturalists, and assured me that there was scarcely a sailor accustomed to those inland lakes who had not seen them at one time or another."
In the Zoologist for 1850–1, the Rev. Alfred Charles Smith, M.A., a naturalist who passed several months of the former year in Norway, published a series of articles, in one of which he states
"I lost no opportunity of making inquiries of all I could see, as to the general belief in the country regarding the animal in question, but all, with one single exception—naval officers, sailors, boatmen, and fishermenconcurred in affirming most positively that such an animal did exist, and had been repeatedly seen off their coasts and fjords, though I was never fortunate enough to meet a man who could boast of having seen him with his own eyes. All, however, agreed in unhesitating belief as to his existence and frequent appearance; and all seemed to marvel very much at the scepticism of the English, for refusing credence to what to the minds of the Norwegians seemed so incontrovertible. The single exception to which I have alluded, was a Norwegian officer, who ridiculed what he called the credulity or gullibility of his countrymen; though I am bound to add my