The Gloucester Sea Serpent Mystery In Massachusetts Still Baffles People Today

Nothing excites like a good mystery, and Massachusetts has plenty to pick from.

However, one particular unsolved case has puzzled residents and visitors in Gloucester for almost 400 years. The so-called “Gloucester sea serpent” is Massachusetts’ very own Loch Ness monster, and the legend of its existence still baffles people to this day.

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Sea serpents have actually been a part of Massachusetts folklore for centuries. Reports of strange creatures in the water, including sea monsters, have been documented as far back as 1638. However, the first alleged sighting of the Gloucester Sea Serpent was actually a much more recent occurrence.

Gloucester has always been a sea-faring town. With its sheltered harbor and convenient situation just north of Boston, the town became a shipping and fishing hub. Its people were nautical experts, and deeply connected to the sea. That is why on August 12, 1817, the town erupted into __ when reports came in that local fisherman had seen a snake-like creature rise up out of the waters of Gloucester Harbor. Two days after the first sighting, ship’s carpenter Matthew Gaffney shot at what he described as a massive serpent moving through the water in a motion the carpenter described as “vertical, like a caterpillar.”

All in all, there were 18 sightings of the Gloucester serpent that year. However, there have been a total of 190 sightings in the years since then. In 1962, a couple sailing near the harbor reported seeing the gargantuan humps of what they first thought were a group of seals, before realizing that the “humps” were moving in perfect harmony. This report was particularly interesting, as the individuals involved were actually vacationing in the area from Italy, and had no prior knowledge of the sea serpent legend.

So what was this massive aquatic monster? Some think that the motion of dolphins leaping in a single line might be at the root of these legends. Others think that the entire story was a hoax.

In any case, the monster appears to be keeping a low profile. Sightings have been less frequent since 1950, and some suspect the serpent has been chased away by rising water temperatures and pollution. Still, it’s an almost irresistible thought to imagine that somewhere in the waters just off Gloucester, a massive serpent is sliding silently through the depths.