Blockness Banner  The Atlantic Ocean is teaming with many unusual and very frightening creatures. For centuries  sailors have spun tale of denizen from the deep that would make even the bravest of anglers shudder in fear. Giant serpents, colossal fish with razor sharp teeth, and behemoths with tentacles that could crush the hull of a ship were believed to lurk beneath the waves.

Belief in many of these mythical creatures has been put to rest as our knowledge of the ocean increase by leaps and bond. While most of these monsters only survive in flights of fantasy, the truth concerning a few has been brought to the surface. Oceanographers have discovered many real monsters in our oceans. Though not as gargantuan as their fanciful  counter parts, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how they may have by been the inspiration of many a salty tale. Any uninformed man would be lost for words after witnessing leviathans like the great white shark,  sting ray, or the recently captured giant squid.

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Still there are many creatures yet to be discovered that inhabit the oceans. Every once in a while a weekend sailor or career fisherman stumbles on a signs of what waits for us below.

In June 27th 1996, Block Island residents were witness to something strange from the waters along their shore. While trawling for monkfish, two fisherman aboard the Mad Monk discovered a  14-foot serpentine skeleton in their nets. The beast consisted of a long spine with no fins and a narrow skull with strange whiskers .

They laid this odd creature out for display on the stone breakwater by the ferry at Point Judith. For two days the carcass remain along the shore. As it basked in the summer sun, the odor did not prevent it from drawing people from all over to see the monster.

The skeleton was eventually brought to the island and put it in a freezer. The following day the creature was to be picked up and brought to National Marine Fisheries Service in Narragansett to be examined. Unfortunately, the skeleton was pilfered from the freezer by locals who were concerned that it would never return to the island.  The kidnappers called several times and made certain demands concerning the remains. When last heard from they planned to give the beast back to the historical society October of that year. The kidnappers never did deliver and the spiny carcass has never been seen again.

Blockness t-shirts that were sold by local vendors, and a local bar sold a Blockness cocktail. Debate concerning the Blockness monster continued on the island long after its disappearance. Some people believed it was a sturgeon, others believe it was a manta ray or remains of a basking shark. Until the creature resurfaces, we may never know what it really was…

 


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