Yes, release the Kraken!
Recognizable by its massive size and tentacled limbs,
the Kraken is one of the most legendary
and feared sea monsters of the deep.
Stories of the Kraken say it could take down whole ships,
grab sailors off decks and create whirlpools
all to get humans into the water and into the monster’s waiting beak.
Because despite having more than half of the world’s species to choose from for dinner,
apparently there is nothing in the ocean more delicious than humans.
I’m Dr.Emily Zarka,
and this is Monstrum
We know less about the oceans on our own planet
than we do about our solar system.
And before we started going to space,
sailing far away from land
was just about the scariest most uncertain trip a person could take.
So much about the ocean is inherently terrifying.
It’s dark, vast, deep, and unpredictable.
它黑暗 辽阔 深不见底 充满了未知
It sparks our imaginations of what could lie beyond the horizon,
or what lurks beneath the waves.
And that’s where the Kraken comes in.
The first written mention of the colossal sea beast
was by King Svarah of Norway in 1180.
He tells sailors to look out for a large squid-like monster
that swims the coasts of Norway, Greenland, and Iceland.
Since then, the Kraken has continuously appeared in literature,
most famously in the work of Jules Verne, Victor Hugo and Alfred Tennyson.
It’s not surprising that we first find this creature in Northern Europe
given the reliance that Nordic people had on the ocean for trade, travel, and survival.
Unlike other sea monsters that require a bit more imagination,
the idea of a giant, tentacled creature
prowling below the surface of the water,
waiting to take down unsuspecting ships and sailors.
Because there are living organisms that fit the description ,
minus the sailor-eating part.
The giant squid and the colossal squid
are two living cephalopods that can be found in every ocean on Earth.
Giant squid really are giant,
measuring up to 43 feet in length.
But the colossal squid holds the title of world’s largest living invertebrate,
growing up to 49 feet long, at current record.
The largest one found so far weighed over 1,000 pounds.
Oh, and in addition to suckers,
it has barbed hooks on its tentacles,
and they are very fast swimmers.
Both species frequent the deep, cold waters of the ocean,
making it hard to see them in their natural habitat.
Before the 21st-century,
no photographic evidence of a living giant squid existed.
It wasn’t until 2006
that we first caught these creatures alive on video .
The Kraken is bigger than giant and larger than colossal.
It’s a sea beast with multiple tentacles
that often acts aggressively towards humans.
A Kraken is basically an angrier, much larger version of a squid.
Personally, I’m terrified of the Kraken.
Something about those giant eyes, wiggling tentacles,and suckers
巨大的眼睛 蠕动的触手 还有大量吸盘
just completely freaks me out.
And I’m not the only one.
Victor Hugo apparently hated anything with tentacles.
In his 1866 novel The Toilers of The Sea,
a character has a frightening encounter with an octopus
who wraps itself around his body and almost kills him.
Hugo dedicates an entire chapter outside of the plot
to rant about how terrifying and monstrous these quote “Devil-Fish” are.
Writing about quote, “what ancient legends call the Krakens”,
he describes them as “glutinous masses endowed with a malignant will” .
Hugo describes how such a creature could
wrap itself around a swimmer and drown them.
And even goes as far as to say
that they are capable of sucking blood with their tentacles.
He summarizes his fear of suckers stating quote,
“Claws are harmless compared with the horrible action of these natural cupping-glasses.
The talons of the wild beast enter into your flesh,
but with the cephalopod, it is you who enter into the creature.”
There are real accounts of octopuses
attacking and even drowning swimmers,
many of which occur in the 19th century,
the same time Hugo, Tennyson and Verne wrote their Kraken stories.
In Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea,
Captain Nemo and his crew are attacked by not just one,
but “10 or 12 horrible monsters” described as giant octopuses.
It’s a bloody, inky, chaotic fight scene
with tentacles flailing everywhere,
and the crew defending itself with hatchets and harpoons.
Tennyson’s 1862 poem “The Kraken”
depicts the monster as an apocalyptic force
that will rise from quote “His ancien, dreamless, uninvaded sleep”
one day to be seen by men and angels.
The Kraken appears in nonfiction literature as well,
with reports of giant squid corpses beginning in the 14th century.
We have accounts of massive tentacles washing ashore
and of giant squid corpses floating at sea.
Sperm whales are the natural predator of giant squid,
so pieces of the creatures have been found in their stomachs,
and they even sometimes get scars of huge sucker marks
from a squid that put up a fight.
Okay, but how does that explain the legends of Kraken attacking humans?
Well, octopuses have attacked swimmers and divers—we have the footage.
But there’s another element at work—sharks.
We need to take these predators into account
when talking about the kraken.
Though shark attacks are rare, they do happen.
Often, all a witness would see is a flailing body, blood,
and maybe even the victim dragged under the surface of the water.
But no evidence of what was causing the attack.
This established the idea
that large creatures in the ocean posed a threat to humans.
Combine that with sightings of the alien body of a giant squid or a large tentacle,
and the Kraken legend begins to take form.
To quote Hugo: “These animals are indeed phantoms as much as monsters.
They are proved and yet improbable.”
The Kraken is unnerving
because it resembles a real animal.
Sure, we don’t have conclusive evidence of one over 50 feet long,
but we’ve only measured around 500 giant squids throughout recorded history.
We can hardly call that a representative sample of an entire species.
All we really have
are glimpses of a creature we don’t completely understand.
The relatively few species we do know about in the deep ocean are frightening
because they seem otherworldly.
We don’t need to look to space for aliens,
they exist right here in the uncharted territories of Earth.
Even more bizarre creatures may exist in the dark depths of our oceans,
inspiring authors to craft even stranger, more terrifying sea monsters.
Yes, release the Kraken!