For as long as there have been sailors on the oceans, singing shanties and saying pirate stuff about enjoying rum, there have been sightings of strange and fantastic creatures – from krakens to sea serpents and mermaids.
Reports of the Kraken – a deadly, gigantic monster that had a rather inconvenient hankering for human flesh – go all the way back to 1180, when King Sverre of Norway wrote of a sea monster. Before long, sailors claimed that the beasts were the size of an island, attacked ships with their colossal arms, and, as the legend evolved, able to sink whole ships by creating a gigantic whirlpool that could drag whole ships to the bottom of the ocean.
This particular monster can most likely be explained by sightings of giant squid.
For other creatures – specifically, sightings of sea serpents – the mystery can’t be solved without taking a good long look at whale stiffies.