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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Decemystery (2019) 5: Giant Jellyfish

Don't touch the tentacles.

Jellyfish are some of the most peculiar creatures on the planet. With no brain to speak of (save for Box Jellyfish, which do have a brain), they float around to the ocean’s current. The largest one on the planet, stretching at a whopping 120 feet long, is the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish. However, what if there was a larger one? Well, as luck would have it, sightings of such creatures exist. So today, let’s take a gander at the reports of
Giant Jellyfish.

Jellybomb: The Mystery of Giant Jellyfish

Now, I want to mention that all of the information that I’m going to be referring to here is from Michael Newton’s book “The Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology”. I highly recommend it if you’re into cryptozoology as a subject—it’s a well put together book and more than worth your money. With that said, all credit goes to him for the stories I’m going to mention here.

#1: In the mid-1950s, a man by the name of Eric Russell was diving in the South Pacific. As he trailed a shark, Russell claimed the shark ducked down into a chasm; a massive, dull brown shape rising up from the darkness within it. Russell claims that the blob lacked any eyes or tentacles, but that it didn’t have any problem subduing the shark. Upon coming into contact with the blob, the shark went into convulsions and entered the beast’s body. Having presumably eaten the shark, the beast sunk back into the murky depths.

I’m unable to find information on whether or not all Jellyfish have tentacles, so unless someone can inform me of a species that does in fact lack the them, I’m skeptical if this was a jellyfish or some enigmatic new species of animal entirely. I digress though, let’s continue.

#2: The second story conveyed by Newton states that in November of 1969, two divers—Pat Boatwright and Richard Winer respectively—saw a jellyfish between 100 and 150 feet beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The two estimated that the beast was a massive 50–100 feet in diameter. This was after the swam away when the beast started to rise towards them though.

#3: The third story takes place in January of 1973 aboard the Kuranda. The ship was headed from Australia to the Fiji Islands when the ship and her crew met a hazardous sea. Eventually, the bow of the ship was submerged and upon rising back up, a terrifying sight met the sailors.

Described as a “pulsating mass”, a gargantuan jellyfish—one that was two feet deep—was draped across the deck, the tentacles whipping around wildly. These tentacles were estimated to be at least 200 feet in length by the captain of a ship, a man named Langley, who also estimated that the creature weighed upwards of 20 tons. As for the other men aboard the Kuranda, one sailor ended up ensnared in the beast’s tentacles. Upon being freed, the man was said to have burns reminiscent of a man exposed to hot steam and he ended up dying right then and there.

Langley sent out an SOS, to which a deep sea salvage rig named the Hercules arrived. Two high pressures were used to dislodged the jellyfish, and the Kuranda was ultimately saved from ending up in Davy Jones Jellyfish sandwich. Meanwhile, a fragment from the creature was salvaged and sent in for testing. The results deduced that it was from a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish.

#4: In 1989, a French fisherman by the name of Henri Baiselle was swimming with his wife and two children in the Bay of Biscay, which is off Bordeaux. Suddenly, from the depths below, a jellyfish the size of an automobile rose up and devoured Baiselle’s family.

Or so goes the story that Baiselle told authorities after he was arrested on three counts of murder. The police were skeptical at best and insulted by the notion of such a story at worst. Though they no doubt got the shock of their lives when Baiselle passed a polygraph test. As such, he was let go and the case remains unsolved.

Well, that is if it even exists. This is one story that I took into my own hands and attempted to find a source for. I even downloaded Tor in hopes that maybe a website that wasn’t indexed by Google had some sort of source or “anonymous revelation” that I could use. However, try as I may, there was nothing that I could find. The only two things I could find was another blogspot—which you can view here—that cites the same exact story I just conveyed, though its wording is closer to Newton’s; the second thing being another book written by Newton himself that gave an actual date. The Encyclopedia I mentioned at the start of this section merely stated that this event took place in the 1980s.

Whether this story is one that simply never made headlines outside of France and has since collected dust in some archive or was a hoax by some tabloid and it caught on in France, I don’t know. If someone asked me though, I’d say that I’m not at all a believer in it. Unless someone can bring about an actual document related to it or Baiselle himself, I’m left thinking that this story was a hoax. That’s just me though.

Those are the four reports that the the encyclopedia I own mentions.


1. They’re just Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

Something I excluded from the start was something that Michael Newton mentioned at the start of the entry that I’ve cited quite often from. There have been massive jellyfish—Lion’s Mane ones to be exact—that have measured at gargantuan lengths. The largest had 120 foot long tentacles and a 247 foot tentacle spread—over twice as long as a Blue Whale. As such, some believe that these creatures are merely abnormally massive Lion’s Mane Jellyfish. Nothing more, nothing less.

2. They’re an unknown species of jellyfish

As advertised on the tin, this theory states these creatures an unknown species of jellyfish. Given a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish is a mere 20 inches wide and, should we believe the story involving Henri Baiselle, the average automobile is nearly 15 feet long, I’m doubtful that a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish ate his family.

However, without any evidence to the existence of Baiselle at my disposal aside from the word of an author and one other blogspot user, I’m hesitant to proclaim the truths of a new species of jellyfish based on that story. So what of the others? Well, in my eyes, they’re more plausible. Sailors have reported some wild things out at sea, though some have been more fantastical than others. Sailors are nothing if not great at embellishment, so to take everything they say at face value is a bit silly in my eyes.

Nevertheless, the ocean has barely been explored. As someone who wanted to be an oceanographer as a child, I’d be hard pressed to say that there can’t be massive jellyfish lurking somewhere.

3. They don’t exist

This theory posits the stories above aren’t real and these giant jellyfish just flatout don’t exist, or that they’re merely abnormally large Lion’s Mane Jellyfish. I’m personally of the opinion that this mindset is a bit on the ignorant side given how little we know of the ocean, but to each their own. One does have to think that a creature of this size wouldn’t be very good at hiding. Not unless it lurks very deep in the ocean at least.

My Take

Given the massive size that Lion’s Mane Jellyfish have grown up to be, I’d say it’s highly ignorant to say that these creatures don’t exist. Adding onto this is just how massive the world is and how mysterious the ocean is in its ways. There’s no telling what lurks below, so why should we exclude jellyfish from the equation?


Jellyfish are among my favorite animals in the world—the Irukandji being my favorite. Small, deadly, and capable of leaving a lasting effect on its victims that survive its hyper venomous sting. Though as scary as it may be, I’d hazard to say it’s scarier than an automobile-sized jellyfish. Could they exist? Possibly. Would they be docile? I’m doubtful. Let’s hope they are though.

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