Canvey Island Monster
Artist's interpretation of the Canvey Island Monster.
|Habitat||Salt Water Estuary|
The Canvey Island Monster is the name given to an unusual creature whose carcass washed up on the shores of Canvey Island, England, in November, 1953. A second, more intact, carcass was discovered in August, 1954.
The 1953 specimen was described as being 76 cm (2.4 ft) long with thick reddish brown skin, bulging eyes and gills. It was also described as having hind legs with five-toed horseshoe-shaped feet with concave arches – which appeared to be suited for bipedal locomotion – but no forelimbs. Its remains were cremated after a cursory inspection by zoologists who said that it posed no danger to the public. The 1954 specimen was described as being similar to the first but much larger, being 120 cm (3.9 ft) long and weighing approximately 11.3 kg (25 lb). It was sufficiently fresh for its eyes, nostrils and teeth to be studied though no official explanation was given at the time as to what it was or what happened to the carcass.
Some have speculated that the specimens may have been some type of anglerfish, whose fins had been mistaken for feet, while others have come to a more likely conclusion, that the specimens may have been frogfish, which do in fact walk on leg-like fins, have bulging eyes, and take on a variety of colours including reddish brown.
In 1999, Fortean journalist Nicholas Warren carried out an investigation into the 1953–54 sightings. He was unable to locate any official records at the Plymouth Marine Biology Association Laboratory or the National Rivers Authority identifying the creature as being a known or unknown specimen, but was able to find accounts from locals who believed the creature was an anglerfish. This determination was later seconded by Alwyne Wheeler, former ichthyologist for the Department of Zoology at the British Natural History Museum, who put forward that the creature was an anglerfish whose pronounced fins had been incorrectly described as being hind legs.
A character with the same appearance to the Canvey Island Monster appears in the webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court; it remains unconfirmed as of yet if the character just bears a semblance of the creature or if it is indeed the creature itself.
- Edwards, Frank (1959) "Stranger than Science", L. Stuart, ISBN 0-8065-0850-7 (1983 reprint)
- Warren Nick (02-1999), The Fortean Times, #119