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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Decemystery (2020) 23: The U-28 Creature

The War to End All Wars—better known as World War I—was the progenitor for the more famous war known as World War II. We’ll talk about the many mysteries of both wars at some point in the future, but for now, let’s focus on a cryptid sighting from ye olden World War I: the U-28 Creature.

The Story

The one and only sighting with this weird creature comes after U-Boat 28 got into a tussle with a British steamer known as the Iberian. Commander Freiherr George G. von Forstner, who was the head of the U-Boat, wrote about the encounter with the creature in a log book. Take a look.

“On July 30, 1915, our U-28 torpedoed the British steamer Iberian, which was carrying a rich cargo across the North Atlantic. The steamer sank so swiftly that its bow stuck up almost vertically into the air. Moments later the hull of the Iberian disappeared. The wreckage remained beneath the water for approximately twenty-five seconds, at a depth that was clearly impossible to assess, when suddenly there was a violent explosion, which shot pieces of debris - among them a gigantic aquatic animal - out of the water to a height of approximately 80-feet.

“At that moment I had with me in the conning tower six of my officers of the watch, including the chief engineer, the navigator, and the helmsman. Simultaneously we all drew one another's attention to this wonder of the seas, which was writhing and struggling among the debris. We were unable to identify the creature, but all of us agreed that it resembled an aquatic crocodile, which was about 60-feet long, with four limbs resembling large webbed feet, a long, pointed tail and a head which also tapered to a point. Unfortunately we were not able to take a photograph, for the animal sank out of sight after ten or fifteen seconds.”

After that, the U-28 Creature was never seen again. Seriously, that’s it. As odd as it may seem for a story to be so short, that’s really all there is to the creature in the way of history. Try as one may to find more on the story, the account from Commander von Forstner is all there is. So with that little bit of oddball history out of the way, let’s jump into the theories as that’s where most of the fun is.


1. A Mosasaur

This is the most popular theory if you’re a cryptid enthusiast. The idea that the Mosasaurus survived from the times of old into the modern day is a really exciting one. Not only would Jurassic World be a reality, but it opens up the possibility to a plethora of other aquatic reptiles to have survived too.

Though what are the odds—and I mean realistic odds—that the creature is alive? Well, truth be told, I don’t know. Many scientists put it at near zero; it would take a great deal of luck and adaptation for the beast to have survived into the modern day. So unless the Mosasaur got itself some gym gear and did a Rocky-style training montage across millions of years, I think it’s a bit outlandish to assume it’s still alive—at least, to the degree it was in millennia ago.

That doesn’t deter those who are adamant that we can make Jurassic something-or-other into a reality though! Some have put forth the idea that the Ichthyosaurus was the culprit of this fantastical sighting. Others say it was Metriorhynchus. Others say it was Mixosaurus. Then there are others who say it was a Kronosaurus. Some also say it was a Dolichorhynchops. At least, those are some culprits that the Cryptidz Wiki has. I’m shocked Liopleurodon wasn't there. Let’s make sea monster sightings terrifying again, bros!

With that said, that appears to be where this theory ends. The Mosasaurus is the most popular suspect in the way of the prehistoric creature as it resembles a crocodile the most and if you were to ask me, I would be inclined to agree. We just have to swallow the extremely large pill that a creature from so long ago could survive. Though if the Coelacanth can survive, I guess it isn’t impossible that a Mosasaur could have.

2. An unknown species of saltwater crocodile

This is a simple one. Given that von Forstner stated it was a crocodile-like beast, some have taken a sort of centrist perspective and posited that it was an unknown species of saltwater crocodile. This is probably the most likely culprit (barring that it wasn’t mistaken identity, which I’ve not seen put forth anywhere oddly enough). Not much else to say.

3. It was made up

This is I guess a possible theory, even though there’s virtually no reason for von Forstner to make up such a fantastical story (unless he had aspirations to become a writer). Like, seriously, he won the battle. What else did he want? To brag that the British got Tyrannosaurus Rekt by a sea monster? I guess that would be embarrassing, but I think more would be interested in why a prehistoric reptile decided to pop up for a visit than the fact the German navy is superior.

Hey, speaking as someone who’s a quarter German, I’d throw the nationalistic aspect away and be more interested in the prehistoric thingamabob! C’mon, it’d be awesome. Imagine if your enemy got destro—wait, I think this theory makes sense now.

Well, anyways, as far as I’m aware, von Forstner was never one for embellishment. If my history’s wrong, then do correct me, but as far as I’m aware, his accounts seem rather consistent in the way of not including giant sea creatures. So if he did opt to make this up, I’m confused as heck as to why he’d make this detail up—as are others.

My Take

I don’t really know where I stand on this story. I see next to no reason for von Forstner to have made up the story. Like, at all. At the same time, the idea of a Mosasaur surviving is incredibly unlikely. While I don’t see it as impossible, I see it as so unlikely that I cannot grasp the concept without feeling like I’m betraying my better judgement.

The idea that it’s an undiscovered species of saltwater crocodile doesn’t seem impossible either, but the incredible acrobatics this creature displayed—coupled with its odd timing after a battle—seems really strange. It feels almost too good to be true, though some animals are drawn to the noise and chaos of man, so I guess it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. I mean, we’re talking about a naval battle. At least one creature would be like, “huh, I wonder what’s going on over there?”

I guess if I had to take a stance, I would say it was probably some sort of deep sea creature that heard the chaos of war, swam up, got spooked or curious about the wreckage, then swam back down. I don’t know what kind of creature, but I would say it could have been some sort of undiscovered species that may be an offshoot of a plesiosaur. Though don’t take my word for that. It’s possible that von Forstner decided to make it up because he was a troll.


Zoom zoom goes the U-Boat. Chomp chomp goes the sea monster. Type type goes the writer. See you all tomorrow!

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