Otoctopus giganteus (giant eared octopus)

Octopus giganteus
Giant Octopus
Lusca
Giant Scuttle
Globster
Him of the (hairy) hands

Note: In light of the discoveries in Chile, it is now apparent that the St. Augustine is almost certainly a whale, probably a Sperm Whale. Analysis of this new evidence is available on my
Globsters page. The story of the monster is recounted many times on the internet and need not be told again here. The best versions I have read were on Michael Raynal's site, and Richard Ellis's book, for those that are still interested. I have chosen to include some very rare pictures of the carcass, for those who are interested.


Aside from the now dubious St. Augustine Monster, there is some evidence of a gigantic, cryptid octopus. Some of the more recognizable reports are of "Him of the Hairy Hands" and the "Lusca". Fishermen tell tales of huge octopi with arms 75 feet long alone, and normally living in very deep water. Some individuals believe that the creatures live in giant limestone caves called "blue holes", and possibly their inland equivalent "banana holes". The legendary "Lusca" is either octopus or squid like, but it often combines elements of a dragon-like creature. There are some assorted tales of very large creatures stealing bait from fishing boats, although it is not certain that they all were cephalopods. Of additional interest is a photograph taken by the Cousteau team of one of those mysterious animals, although it just shows unidentifiable brown flesh. Cuba also has some legends of a giant octopus, except that they often have phosphorescent eyes and other parts. In addition, there was at least one non-ambiguous giant octopus sighting from Florida.

It appears that tales of giant octopi are not limited to the Western Atlantic. Interestingly there have been reports of a giant octopus like creature "covered in eyes" from Chile, although Shuker feels it could have been a jellyfish. Hawai'i also has many reports of giant octopi, as well as one poorly hoaxed photograph. Researchers have yet to conclude how related, if at all, these hypothetical animals are.

I feel that the time of the giant octopus is almost at a close. Without the carcass, the reports are rather insignificant. Basically all of the evidence is folklore and fisherman's tales, and only one report from the coast of Florida is worth mentioning. Some authorities pointed out that there are in fact giant squid in the area, and it may have been misidentified. Most authorities treat the bait stealing stories as those of sharks, or possibly even an excuse for a bad fishing year. So, weeding out all of the ambiguous evidence, there really is not much supporting this cryptid. The possibility of a giant octopus in an area with giant crabs and large holes is tantalizing, but not very provable. Octopodes are cryptic creatures, so even if they did exist, they wouldn't be seen often. So, the creature is very far fetched, but an interesting possibility.

Sources:

Clarke, Arthur C.
The Ghost from the Grand Banks. Victor Gollancz Ltd. London 1990

Ellis, Richard.
Monsters of the Sea. Knopf, New York, 1994.

Mackal, Roy.
Searching for Hidden Animals. Doubleday, Garden City 1980.

Raynal, Michel.
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/cryptozoo/welcome.htm

Shuker, Karl.
In Search of Prehistoric Survivors. Blanford Press, London, 1994.

Sucik, Nick. Hawaii's
Giant Octopuses. www.strangeark.com/nabr/NABR.pdf

An overexposed photo.

Men digging the carcass out of the sand

A photo, now destroyed, of the monster in heavy decomposition.

Another photograph of the cetacean.
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