A nearly-complete encyclopedia of underwater cryptozoological knowledge


The St. Augustine Globster

St. Augustine, Florida
200 feet long
The St. Augustine Sea Monster

1896: An enormous carcass washed ashore on Anastasia Island off St. Augustine, Florida, some time before November 30 (according to Richard Ellis, author of Monsters of the Sea). Two local boys reported the globster to local physician DeWitt Webb.

The creature was white, rubbery, and incredibly thick. It was about 21 feet long, seven feet wide, and four feet tall. It was so massive that it could not be picked up or moved, but it was estimated to weigh about five to seven tons.

Dr. George Grant, who was staying in a hotel in South Beach near where the carcass was found, wrote this article for the Williamsport, Pennsylvania paper for December 13, 1896:

The head is as large as an ordinary flour barrel, and has the shape of a sea lion head. The neck, if the creature may be said to have a neck, is of the same diameter as the body. The mouth is on the under side of the head and is protected by two tentacle tubes about eight inches in diameter and about 30 feet long. These tubes resemble an elephant's trunk and obviously were used to clutch in a sucker like fashion any object within their reach. Another tube or tentacle of the same dimensions stands out on the top of the head. Two others, one on each side, protrude from beyond the monster's neck, and extend fully 15 feet along the body and beyond the tail. The tail, which is separated and jagged with cutting points for several feet, is flanked with two more tentacles of the same dimensions as the others and 30 feet long. The eyes are under the back of the mouth instead of over it. This specimen is so badly cut up by sharks and sawfish that only the stumps of the tentacles remain, but pices of them were found strewn for some distance on the beach, showing that the animal had a fierce battle with its foes before it was disabled and beached by the surf.

Professor Addison Verrill of Yale, the United States' foremost expert on cephalopods, was sure that the creature was a huge octopus--one that was bigger than any octopus known to man. He named it Octopus giganteus. Verrill later considered that the monster could be a huge squid, bigger than those that had been washing up in Newfoundland. He said that when it was living, it must have been about eighteen or twenty tons,
"had enormous arms, each one a hundred feet or more in length . . . and armed with hundreds of saucer-shaped suckers, the largest of which would have been at least a foot in diameter . . ."
Later still, upon studying samples cut from the blob, Verrill decided it could not be a cephalopod (like octupuses--yes, that's the correct plural--and squid), and was probably a whale. What kind of whale he could not say--he admitted it was highly unusual for a whale, perhaps the detached skin from a sperm whale's head, or maybe the head of some undiscovered whale from the dark abyss. In 1897, he wrote: "The moral of this is that one should not attempt to describe specimens stranded on the coast of Florida, while sitting in one's study in Connecticut."

More than sixty years later, Forrest Wood, a curator at Marineland of Florida, discovered an old yellowed newspaper clipping informing that Verrill had examined the specimen and found that it weighed over six tons, was 25 feet around and had 72-foot long tentacles.

Wood located a remaining bit of the animal being kept by the Smithsonian Institution, which he sent to his colleague Joseph Gennaro, a cell biologist at the University of Florida. In The Creature Revealed, a volume about the mysterious St. Augustine Monster, he wrote:

After seventy-five years, the moment of truth was at hand. Viewing section after section of the St. Augustine sample, we decided at once, and beyond any doubt, that the sample was not whale blubber. Further, the connective tissue pattern was that of broad bands in the plane of the section with equally broad bands arranged perpendicularly, a structure similar to, if not identical with, that in my octopus sample . . . The evidence appears unmistakable that the St. Augustine sea monster was in fact an octopus, but the implications are fantastic. Even though the sea presents us from time to time with strange and astonishing phenomena, the idea of a giant octopus, with arms 75 to 100 feet in length and about 18 inches in diameter at the base--a total spread of some 200 feet--is difficult to comprehend.

This identificaiton was confirmed by another scientist using extensive chemical methods;. The blob was a huge cephalopod--likely a gigantic octopus.

And so we are left with the conclusion that there are probably giant octopuses out there in the Atlantic, near Florida, inhabiting the deep dark depths of our oceans. Not just giant; they're 200 feet long.

The mystery of the St. Augustine, Florida, stranding of 1896, could indeed be a “Giant Octopus,” according to Roy P. Mackal’s analysis of the material on file in the Smithsonian archives. But more recent findings, especially as noted by French cryptozoologist Michel Raynal, indeed, nicely compares the blob found in Chile, which was definitely found to be part of the carcass of a sperm whale to that of the St. Augustine beaching of 1896.