Morgawr (cryptid)

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Grouping Cryptid
Sub grouping Sea serpent
First reported 1896
Last reported 1999
Country United Kingdom
Region Falmouth Bay, Cornwall

Morgawr (meaning sea giant in Cornish), is a Plesiosaur-like cryptid purported to live in the sea near Falmouth Bay, Cornwall.

First sighted in 1906,[1] various theories have been proposed as to the identity of this sea serpent, ranging from a hoax or mistaken identity, to the suggestion that the creature is a surviving species of Plesiosaur or that it is a previously undiscovered species of long necked seal. In the absence of a carcass or a living specimen, identity explanations depend only on eyewitness accounts and on low-quality photographs and videotape.


  • 1876: A sea serpent was allegedly captured by fishers at Gerran's Bay.[2]
  • Allegedly sighted in 1906 off Land's End.[citation needed]
  • Pendennis Point, September 1975. Two witnesses claimed to have seen a humped figure with "stumpy horns" and bristles on its long neck, catching a conger eel in its mouth.[3]
  • Rosemullion Head, Falmouth, February 1976. "Mary F" sent two photographs, apparently of Morgawr, to the Falmouth Packet, along with a covering letter. She said, "It looked like an elephant waving its trunk, but the trunk was a long neck with a small head at the end, like a snake's head. It had humps on its back which moved in a funny way... the animal frightened me. I would not like to see it any closer. I do not like the way it moved when swimming." Neither Mary F nor the negatives have ever been traced. Janet and Colin Bord, the noted mystery writers and photographers,[4] have examined first-generation copy prints, and "feel that these photographs could well be genuine".[5] It has been suggested that the photographs are hoaxes and that "Mary F" is a pseudonym of Tony 'Doc' Shiels, who claimed to have his own sighting in 1976.
  • 25 miles south of Lizard Point, July 1976. Fishers John Cock and George Vinnicombe claimed to have sighted a creature whose neck "reared 4 feet up in the water". They estimated the animal's length at 22 feet.[5]
  • Parson's Beach, Mawnan, November 1976. Tony 'Doc' Shiels claimed to have photographed the creature lying low in the water. He mentioned "little stumpy horns" on its head, and he described the body of the animal as 15 feet long.[6] (For more mysterious happenings at Mawnan in 1976, see Owlman).
  • Gerran's Bay, August 1985. Christopher and Susan Waldron of King's Stanley, Gloucestershire, reported having seen the creature while on holiday. It was noted that Mrs Waldron was watching her husband swimming in the sea when she noticed a large silhouette under the surface behind him. The shape was described as that of a large, long necked creature.[citation needed]
  • Devil's Point, off Plymouth, 1987. An experienced diver saw a dog-like head on a neck rising 1 metre out of the sea. He noted that it was in a spot favoured by conger eels.[7]
  • Gerran's Bay, 1999. John Holmes videotaped what was claimed to be an unidentified creature in the sea.[8]

Hoax tape[edit]

In 1991, Strange magazine published transcripts from a series of tapes made by Shiels, in which he discusses the possibility of hoaxing the people of Falmouth with a sea-serpent story.[9] The article reported him saying:

  • "I am a born hoaxer" (30 January 1976)
  • "I think that I mentioned that I am hoping to hoax the people of Falmouth, and thereabouts, here in Cornwall, into thinking that there is a Cornish sea monster on the loose." (30 January 1976)
  • "They have to be bad photographs in order to seem authentic." (4 February 1976)
  • "Of course we are going to have our hoaxing session here with the Cornish sea monster..." (19 February 1976)
  • "[There is] a great revival in public interest in things that are strange and mysterious, and we may as well ride the crest of this wave as long as we possibly can..." (19 February 1976)
  • "A fisherman friend of mine... he is a good man to start a little bit of a rumor going down here concerning the famous Cornish sea monster as will be, heh-heh. We hope to build the thing up during the next three or four weeks. Paul has agreed to see something strange within the next few days when he is fishing." (19 February 1976) (note, however, that this fisher is not one of the two fishers listed as witness above).

Mentions in other literature[edit]

The Morgawr is the name of a powerful demon in the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. Other than the name, there is no connection between the two.

The Morgow Rises! is the title of a horror novel by Peter Tremayne, set in the fictional Cornish village of Bosbradoe.

The main villain in A Warlock in Whitby by Robin Jarvis is an ancient serpent god named Morgawrus, who appears to be based on the Biblical Leviathan.

Boat name[edit]

The Falmouth-made reproduction of the Ferriby Boats was named Morgawr after this cryptid beast.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Heuvelmans, B. In the Wakes of the Sea Serpents (Rupert Hart-Davis 1968), p.358. cited by Bord, J. & C. Modern Mysteries of Britain (Guild Publishing 1987), p 123
  2. ^ Morgawr – sea serpent
  3. ^ Bord, J. & C. "Alien Animals" (Granada 1980), p 27
  4. ^ As stated in their A Guide to Ancient Sites in Britain (Paladin 1979), p.1
  5. ^ a b Bord, J. & C. Alien Animals (Granada 1980), p 28
  6. ^ Bord, J. & C. Alien Animals (Granada 1980), p 31
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Ooparts & Ancient High Technology-Evidence of Noah's Flood? 20th Century Dinosaurs
  9. ^ Shiels Tapes