The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: sea monster monday

Behold the Elusive Feegee Mermaid. “The Very Perfection of Art, Imitating Nature.”


Throughout the mid to late 1800’s, P.T. Barnum’s traveling sideshows grew notorious through the showcase of ‘freaks’ of nature, curiosities and other oddities. Some of the human ‘live’ exhibits like Siamese twins, Tom Thumb, the bearded lady and the human skeleton were indeed caused by real mutations and deformities. Most though, were completely fabricated, constructed in imagination and held together by glue, smoke and mirrors.

One exhibit that drew thousands to the sideshow was the Feegee Mermaid, a grotesque mummified skeleton of a supposed half mammal and half fish version of a mermaid. Nothing like beautiful sirens in typically portrayed in ocean folklore, this thing looked like a mini monster that would happily eat your face.


P.T. Barnum’s feegee mermaid from 1842. Originally published in: The New York Herald

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Join ‘Obsura Day’ on May 30th for a Worldwide Celebration of Unusual Places


Image: Lala Coeur de Noir/Pinterest

Altas Obscura, an online travel magazine, has deemed May 30th, 2015 its ‘Obscura Day’, and will co-host over 150 events around the world that highlight curious and awe-inspiring, coastal locales.

If you happen to be in the chosen 39 states and 25 countries with May 30th events, it is your lucky day. Most are free or very low in cost. Check out Atlas Obscura’s Web site for a full list of tours but here ‘s a sample of coastal destinations.

New York: Coney Island – Mermaids, Cyclones and Sea Horse Sideshows! Discover the wonder and amazement of a New York  institution since the 1840s.

New York: Islands of the Undesirables. Discover the dark and fascinating history of New York City’s penal, quarantine and asylum islands aboard the Water Table on this special Obscura Day cruise.


Renwick Smallpox Hospital and later the Maternity and Charity Hospital Training School, is an abandoned hospital located on Roosevelt Island in ManhattanNew York CityPhoto from Wikipedia.

Indonesia: The Sacred Caves of Bali. Discover a 9th- century sanctuary entered through the ornately carved mouth of a demon and visit an ancient cave temple home to thousands of bats and a mythological snake king.


The Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave in Bali. Photo from Wikipedia.

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Our Favorite Nautical Prints from Alternate Histories: Where the Past Comes Monstrously to Life


“Woe betide the sailor or shipping merchant who failed to heed the warnings of Bessie, the South Bay Behemoth. This overhead map kindly shows the usual location of the mighty Bessie in a vividly rendered re-enactment of the great Water Monster wreaking havoc with the shipping industry, a major problem for commerce in the growing city.” Description and digital print from: Alternate Histories on ETSY.

Alternate Histories of the World by Mathew Buchholz is a fascinating collection of maps, photographs, engravings and paintings from the early ages to modern day, providing a stunning new look at the world as defined by our struggles and alliances with mythical monsters and supernatural creatures.


“What a fine, multicolored lithographic map of Charleston, South Carolina! Dating from 1872, this map includes a full view of the Harbor Horror, aka the Cooper River Creature, aka the Creeping Terror of Charleston, aka the Scourge of South Carolina, aka the Unholy Horror, aka the Colossus of the Citadel, and many, many more.” Description and digital print from: Alternate Histories on ETSY.

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Life in Salt: David and Goliath – One Man’s Quest to End Myth Mongering at the Discovery Channel – A Scuttlefish Feature


Depiction of a megalodon. Image: CC BY 3.0 Karen Carr

On January 8, 2015, the Discovery Channel’s new president Rich Ross shared a surprising new commitment. While on the Television Critics Association press tour, he declared that starting in 2015, Discovery (and its subsidiary Animal Planet) will not run any new fake-documentaries. He also announced the replacement of several senior-level executives to oversee documentaries, specials and scripted programming. Discovery networks had aired so-called ‘docufiction’ shows, touting the existence of mermaids and the extinct megalodon shark. This docufiction phenomenon is a fairly new phenomenon – a new media reality where entertainment blurs reality and mocks science altogether. As a result of these shows, an astonishing number of viewers actually came to believe the megalodons still existed and mermaids existed in the first place.

For one scientist in particular, the announcement of Discovery’s change in tack represented a personal vindication – the result of a two-year campaign to stop the spread of disinformation through these fictitious programs. David Shiffman, a Ph.D. student in shark ecology at the University of Miami, Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, and a senior correspondent for the blog Southern Fried Science has been among the most vocal opponents of these programs. To Shiffman and his colleagues in the scientific community, shows like these represent a colossal – and even dangerous – blunder of myth mongering.


“I would have loved these Discovery Channel programs – if they were on the SyFy channel instead.” David Shiffman in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina tagging a shark. Photo courtesy of David Shiffman.

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Wish You Were Here: 24-Hours in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam


The bustling streets of Saigon are like a living organism – connected via a central hub, with its different parts moving in unison, yet seemingly disconnected. The beat of the city is palpable, but close by lies the mouth of the Mekong River and Delta, and its serene and slower pulse.

The only way to truly experience the Mekong is to get on it, and submerse yourself in the tales of old, of sea monsters and boat people, and of war and peace. From high-end, private sampan voyages to a night on a converted rice-barge to a rowboat, there are endless possibilities to choose for your voyage.

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Selfie on the Mekong, a day trip with the wonderful Le Cochinchine guide, Dang Ngoc Loi who shared with me many of the stories in this article.

So began my 24-hours on the Mekong, tucked into Le Cochinchine’s beautiful 4-cabin, luxurious rice-barge. To some travelers, the waters seem dirty, ruddy and lack appeal – but to me, they hid secrets beneath the opaque surface. The tour company Le Cochinchine, offers an authentic experience with a mixture of history, geography, ecology, culture and culinary delights.

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Wish You Were Here: Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam


“A rock wonder in the sky” is how 14th century poet and Confuscian scholar Nguyễn Trãi described the over 2000 islands sprinkled throughout Vietnam’s Hạ Long Bay. With mist cloaking the majestic limestone mountains, you can feel the ancient history of the Bay and its 500 million years of geological transformations. Located in northeast Vietnam close to the border with China, Hạ Long Bay has served as a shelter against not only enemy combatants but also shelter from the elements, storm surges and tsunamis.

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The mysterious cascade creature is a Scyphomedusa Deepstaria

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute explained what this mystery ocean ghost like creature was in this popular undersea video. It’s a jelly called the scyphomedusa Deepstaria, which was named after the deep star sub that discovered it in 1966. Watch the first video, and then the second and if you want more, read more proof by the scientists of Deep Sea News.

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Sea Monster Monday: Swordfish

The Swordfish is part of the bill family of fish, the middle sized, as compared to the sailfish and marlin. If left to grown on its own, each can reach roughly 1500 pounds. From Caitlyn’s LetsBeSeaMonsters and Wiki:

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