A “globster” is an unidentified (at least initially) organic mass that washes up on the shores of a body of water.
The word “globster,” which is a perfect word, was coined by the biologist and writer Ivan T. Sanderson. Unlike ordinary beached sea creatures, globsters have such perplexing appearances that their identities remain a mystery (or controversy) even after scientific appraisal.
According to Wikipedia, most globsters are eventually thought to be whales or large sharks.
Regardless of what they’re “determined” to “actually” be (and even then, you don’t have to believe anyone you don’t want to!), globster sightings are among the best possible things that can happen in the summer. There have not been any good globsters in Summer 2014. There was a skeleton found on the super-British-sounding beach of Weston-Super-Mare, but pretty much everyone agrees that’s obviously a stingray.
While we wait for this summer’s true globster to arrive, take a look at 13 of history’s best recorded sightings.
1. Stronsay Beast
Perhaps the OG (original globster), the Stronsay Beast (artist’s rendering here) washed ashore on the Scottish Orkney Islands in 1808. The creature measured 55 feet long, but would have been longer if not for a missing tail. At the time, the Natural History Society of Edinburgh deemed it evidence of a new species of sea serpent. Later, anatomist Sir Everard Home would argue that the beast was simply a decayed basking shark, but because the largest recorded basking shark was 40 feet long, there are still some questions as to that claim’s reliability.
2. St. Augustine Monster
The St. Augustine Monster washed onto the coast near St. Augustine, Florida, in 1896. It was about 18 feet long and was thought to have weighed near five tons. At the time, various scientists argued about the globster’s true identity; some thought squid, others thought octupus, and others, a sperm whale. Tests done on the remains in 1995 pointed most convincingly toward sperm whale.
Trunko is the friendly nickname given to the horrifying white blob that washed ashore in Margate, South Africa in 1924, originally written about in the local papers under the headline “Fish Like A Polar Bear.” It was alleged that the creature was first seen in a three-hour battle with two killer whales. (!!!) Though Trunko was on shore for 10 days, it was never examined by scientists, and it was only in 2010 that photographic evidence was found.
4. New Zealand Globster
The New Zealand Globster washed ashore on North Island, New Zealand, and measured 30 feet long. Reportedly, J. E. Morton, the chairman of the Zoology department at the University of Auckland, said of the globster, “I can’t think of anything it resembles.” Here are some things I think it resembles: a banshee wearing a stringy black cloak with its head hanging low and its arms raised; a willow tree you’d see in a nightmare before it turns into a monster; a mess of garbage-y plants that came from the ocean.
Gambo was first spotted on Bungalow Beach in The Gambia in 1983, by a 15 year-old named Owen Burnham, who drew this picture. Burnham didn’t think to take samples, and was left to draw sketches after realizing he’d forgotten his camera. The story gets dark after that, with local villagers reportedly decapitating the carcass, selling the head to a tourist (but why?? Also, for how much?), and burying the body. Various attempts to locate the buried creature have failed.
6. Bermuda Blob
The Bermuda Blob is actually the name given to two separate globsters who washed ashore on Bermuda — one in 1988 and the other in 1997. For clarity, they’re sometimes referred to as Bermuda Blob 1 and Bermuda Blob 2. Tests done on the specimens in the years afterward would strongly suggest that they were the remains of whales.
7. Hebrides Blob
The Hebrides Blob, seen here in casual beach attire, is a 12-foot globster that washed up on Benbecula Beach in Scotland in 1990. Discovered by Louise Whitts (seen here in casual beach attire), the globster had a visible head and fin-like shapes along its back.
8. Four Mile Globster
The Four Mile Globster, disappointingly, was not four miles long, but was so named for washing up on Four Mile Beach in Tasmania, in 1997. It was 15 feet long and thought to weight 4 tons, and it was very grossly described as having “six fleshy lobes along its sides.”
9. Chilean Blob
The Chilean Blob is notable for its enormous size among fellow globsters: it showed up on the shores of Los Muermos, Chile weighing 14 tons and measuring 39 feet across. For some time, biologists were unable to identify the globster, and it was thought to be the remains of a previously unknown giant octopus. However, in 2004, tests done on DNA found in the blob were found to match that of a sperm whale.
10. Montauk Monster
The Montauk Monster walks the fine line between globster and cryptid, but because it’s one of the better things to have ever washed up on a beach, it’s included here. First spotted on a beach near Montauk, New York in July, 2008, the strange-looking carcass quickly made national news. Speculation about the creature’s identity includes: a raccoon, a turtle without its shell, a water rat, a latex hoax, and, best of all, the byproduct of an animal experiment at the nearby government testing site at Plum Island. Before it could be determined what the Montauk Monster was, it disappeared. Per Wikipedia: “It is not known what happened to the carcass.”