Monstrous sea creature with 'human-like head' washed up on UK beach during storm

A monstrous creature reportedly washed up on Porthleven Beach
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A monstrous sea creature with a shell-like back and a human-esque head once reportedly washed ashore at a popular beach in Cornwall. The "enormous" beast was described as being 48ft in length with green eyes after it appeared at Porthleven following a violent storm in the 18th Century.

The discovery was made by two boys who were scouring the beach for shipwreck debris when they happened upon the mysterious entity on September 14, 1786. The tale of their hair-raising encounter travelled inland, eventually featuring in the Hereford Journal a few weeks later, Cornwall Live reports.

The story had been relayed to the newspaper by a Cornishman, who told how the locals had killed the beast. Appearing in the Journal with the headline 'Sea Monster', the article read: "A just and particular description of a very curious and most surprising sea monster driven on shore in Portleaven Bay (sic), on the coast of Cornwall, on the 14th of Sept. 1786, by the strong westerly winds and tempestuous weather, which continued to a violent degree for several days successively, and did much damage at that place and neighbourhood.

"This monster was first discovered by two boys who (agreeable to the custom of that place) went in search of wreck soon after day break; and as they stood on the cliff which commanded a prospect of a small sandy cove, they, at a distance of about a mile, discovered something of enormous hulk near the shore.

"After a short time they apprehended it to be the side or part of an unfortunate ship which had the preceding night been broken to pieces by the extremities of the shore.

"They immediately went towards the place with sanguine expectation of great success, and as they approached the spot (the breaking waves at times leaving it dry) they were both struck with the utmost consternation to perceive such motions as it was something which had life."

The beast was spotted by two young boys on September 14, 1786
The beast was spotted by two young boys on September 14, 1786 -Credit:Getty Images

The terrified pals ran to a group of men whom they knew and told them what they had seen. The disbelieving men took some convincing before they eventually followed the lads to see the creature themselves.

The article continued: "A great number of people soon collected themselves into a body, and determined to go armed, some with large sticks and pokers, others with hatchets, spits, etc, which was, after some deliberation, carried into execution.

"On their coming near the spot they perceived it to be something living, as was represented, and it raised its head, which had not before been perceived, and appeared to direct its course towards them.

"All were alarmed, some stood their ground, others possessed of greater fear turned back, they could see no legs to it, but it appeared to crawl on its belly, raising its body at times a little from the sand.

"Various were the opinions about this creature; some said it was a mermaid, others a whale – but the greater number disbelieving the existence of the former, and adhering to the improbability of the latter, they were all equally at a loss.

"When it was agreed to examine what it was, they all went towards it, and after an hour's beating, stabbing it, etc, it expired with a groan. Its length was found to be from the top of its head to the end of its tail, 48 feet to inches, and its circumference in the largest part of the body 24 feet and a half.

"Its head was large, and prickly in the hinder part, and not formed much unlike that of a man; its eyes were greenish; its mouth large; its nose flat, and from its neck to the navel, resembling nearest to the human kind; its back was hard and more difficult to penetrate than the shell of a turtle; it had two short fore feet, formed like the paw of a monkey, and its hinder parts shaped measured full seven feet in width at the extent, and but five feet long."

The fate of the monster's remains is shrouded in mystery, with no clear indication of whether it was examined by experts. The Cornish local who reported on the beast said: "It is supposed a large quantity of oil will be produced from it, which, with the shell of its back, and its fins, are judged, if properly managed, to be of great value, and will be of considerable benefit to this neighbourhood.

"No one that has seen it knows its name, nor has any monster like it ever been described in record, or come within the knowledge of this kingdom."

The strange sighting may be the first of a now-mythical sea beast that, legend has it, swims in the waters of Cornwall's coast. Although not as well-known as the Loch Ness Monster, there have been numerous reports of a mysterious 20ft snake-like creature, dark in colour with distinctive humps along its back and an elongated neck.

The sightings date back over 140 years, to an incident where fisherman in Gerrans Bay claimed to have captured a long-necked monster. The stories are now part of local folklore, with the creature being named Morgawr, which means 'sea giant' in Cornish.

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