The Cryptid Zoo: Globsters

"Globster" is a technical term used by cryptozoologists to refer to mysterious carcasses that originate in a watery environment. Mostly, globsters come from the ocean, though some are found on lake or river shores, or even in the stomachs of dead whales. By definition, globsters are hard to identify. If it is easily identified as a known animal, then it isn't a globster. Locals and the uneducated are often convinced that they have a sea serpent carcass on their hands (unless the thing has tentacles, in which case it is often labeled as a giant squid or a giant octopus). A large proportion of all globsters are ultimately identified by experts as basking shark carcasses. Basking sharks assume a plesiosaur-like shape when they reach a certain stage of decomposition. Those globsters that don't get labeled as basking sharks are often highly controversial and can resist identification, causing the experts to fight with each other about what it really is.

However, even those globsters that are identified as basking sharks can still be quite mysterious. A number of these have weird features that seem incompatible with the basking shark hypothesis, and many well-documented examples have been far larger than any species of shark is supposed to get. This naturally leads to the idea that there may yet be undiscovered species of truly gigantic sharks out there, even if the world's oceans do not contain any sea serpents.

With some globsters, the official diagnosis seems particularly lacking, as if scientists are so uncomfortable with the unknown that they prefer to put the wrong label on something rather than admit they don't know what it is. One globster that seems to exemplify this process is the "dry harbor carcass" that washed onto an Alaskan beach in 1956. It was about 100 feet long and covered all over in reddish fur about 2 inches long. This globster was officially declared to be a dead Baird's beaked whale, in direct contradiction to its coat of fur and its length (Baird's beaked whales are not known to reach more than 42 feet in length, and do not have fur).

Some researchers think that the most puzzling globsters represent extinct prehistoric animals that were preserved in ice, then later washed out to sea in icebergs and released through thawing. This is an interesting idea, but so far it has not been confirmed. If it were true, you would expect that land animals would be more heavily represented, but nearly all globsters appear to be aquatic creatures. Of course, it might also be that people are more likely to interpret something as an aquatic creature if it washes up on a shore, and, if it is rotten enough, it might be hard to decide whether it has legs or paddles. Strangely, the idea that globsters are really unfrozen prehistoric animals has been used by some scientists to justify an attitude of having no interest whatsoever in globsters, when, in fact, the carcass of a mammoth or some other prehistoric creature is normally an object of intense scientific interest.

You can find out more about Globsters from the following sources:

Campbell, Elizabeth Montgomery and Solomon, David. The Search for Morag. New York: Walker, 1973. Pages 57, 180

Chorvinsky, Mark. Globster Homepage
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Chorvinsky, Mark. Gallery of Globsters

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. Cryptozoology A-Z. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Pages 99-100

Edwards, Frank. The Canvey Island Monsters

Moore, John. Globsters

Moore's Beach Monster

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 40, 57, 72, 80, 82, 84, 99, 107, 109, 114, 129-130, 139, 146-147, 164, 172, 175, 180-181, 183, 186, 192-194, 203-204, 217, 227, 230-231, 239, 255-256, 267, 275, 277, 283, 308, 320-321, 324, 333, 337, 344, 346-347, 349, 351, 353, 357, 362-364, 376, 379, 380-381, 389, 391, 397-399, 406-407, 409, 411, 416, 418, 425-426, 429, 436, 440-442, 444, 448, 451-452, 470, 475-476, 479, 482, 495, 508-509

Tyler, Royall, ed. Japanese Tales. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987. Pages 132-133

Wikipedia, The. Canvey Island Monster

Wikipedia, The. Globsters

Wikipedia, The. Trunko

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The text on this page is copyright 2006 by Jamie Hall. Please use proper citation if you are using this website for research.