The term “globster” was coined by biologist and writer Ivan T. Sanderson to describe unidentified masses of organic matter that wash up on land from oceans or lakes.
Although a significant proportion of globsters are eventually identified as basking sharks or other parts of decaying animal carcasses, a number remain unidentified. These globsters are the source of much contention amongst experts.
In fact, even if a carcass is identified as being part of an animal, it can still cause arguments.
Some globsters have very unusual features that seem incompatible with known creatures, leading some experts to believe there is an as-yet-undiscovered species out there.
Some researchers also suggest that globsters could be prehistoric creatures that have been preserved in ice.
Then, when the ice melts, their bodies float to shore — by which time they have somewhat decomposed. This decomposition, of course, means it is harder to identify the species.
Many globsters are proven to be blubber from whales (the blubber floats to the surface after detaching from the skull or another major bone) — and this is, in fact, the most frequent explanation. Some, however, simply remain a mystery.
Sightings and Tales
Globster sightings are many and varied, but here are some of the most noteworthy.
The St. Augustine Monster
Back in 1896, a globster was washed up on St. Augustine Beach in Florida. “The St. Augustine Monster” measured 5.4 meters in length and five tons in weight.
No one could confirm its identity at the time, but tests were carried out a century later. Using preserved samples from the site, these tests concluded that the mass was actually whale blubber.
Another intriguing globster is South Africa’s “Trunko,” a creature described as being a half-polar bear, half-fish.
In 1924 it was seen fighting two whales in the ocean, hitting them repeatedly with its tail. It would seem that the whales won the fight because, after a time, Trunko was washed ashore and remained there for 10 days before being dragged back into the sea.
Witnesses described Trunko as being 14 meters long, 3 meters wide, and 1.5 meters high. Sensationally, they also described it as having white fur, a tail like a lobster, an elephantine trunk, and no blood.
Another version of events suggests that Trunko won the fight with the whales, swam ashore, fell unconscious due to exhaustion from the fight, then awoke ten days later and returned to the ocean.
New Zealand made the news in 1968 when a globster was reported at Muriwai, near Auckland. This beast measured over 9 meters long and 2.4 meters high and was covered in gray hair growing out of a tough hide.
J. E. Morton, who was at the time the chairman of the University of Auckland’s Zoology Department, was totally baffled by the creature. He said it could not be a whale because of the hair and could not be a sea cow or sea elephant because of its size.
He could not, at the time, think of anything it resembled but later decided it was the incomplete carcass of a decomposed whale.
The Four Mile Globster
“The Four Mile Globster,” found in 1997, was not named for its size but after the Tasmanian beach on which it was found. This globster was 4.6 meters long and weighed four tons.
It had paddle-shaped flippers, six fleshy lobes on each of its flanks, and strands of white hair.
Monster of Sakhalin
The so-called “Monster of Sakhalin” was washed up on a beach on Russia’s Sakhalin Island in 2006.
Officials removed the unidentified carcass, and it was never seen again — adding fuel to the debate about what it was.
Another unidentified creature was washed ashore in Montauk, New York, in 2008. As with many globsters, its carcass was washed away before any samples could be taken, so there is no definitive explanation of what it is.
Some speculate that the Montauk Monster, as it became known, may have been the product of experimentation at the nearby Plum Island Animal Disease Center – a controversial facility in its own right.
Dinagat Islands, Philippines
In 2017, a globster washed up on the tropical shores of an island in the Philipines. The hairy blob was about 20 feet long and weighed over 4,000 lbs.
This was one of the first globsters to appear in the age of social media, which led to its image being plastered all over the internet. This led to heightened interest in the phenomenon.
Some experts weighed in on the puzzle and determined the globster was likely the remains of a manatee or a dugong in the final stages of decomposition. There had recently been a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in the region, which was thought to have dislodged the creature causing it to wash ashore.
And there’s been an even more recent sighting in Florence, Oregon. In October 2022, Adoni Tegner and Merica Lynn were driving along the coast when they spotted a large gooey mass on the beach.
The couple described the mass as blubbery and feeling “firm but squishy.” They also said, “It looked more stringy, and it almost looked like it had been a large squid or something.”
Jim Rice of the Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center suggested the globster was a whale carcass. Rice explained, “What looks like hair is the decomposing remains of other body tissues: muscle, nerves, tendons etc. I would estimate that this one has been dead for several months.”
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