A fisherman with nearly 60 years of experience says he has captured something unlike anything he had ever seen before in his nets. John Marsh, who has been trawling the Lower Lance Cove in Trinity bay since the early 1950’s says he and his nephew caught a creature last summer that simply can’t be identified, and he’s coming forward to see if anyone has ever seen anything like it.
After his discovery, Marsh sent a letter to a Canadian newspaper known as The Telegram, in which he detailed his account of his strange encounter with a creature of unidentifiable origin. Marsh describes the creature in great detail, indicating that after he checked his nets they contained a creature with rounded teeth, camel-like lips, and a three pronged prehensile tail. At first, when he was called over by his crew to check the nets he thought from the size of the bizarre sea creature that they had caught a whale in their nets. But as he approached, prepared to cut the nets and save the creature, he realized the creature had a ten foot long neck and lacked a noticeable blowhole that a whale would normally have. It had smooth skin, “smooth as glass,” according to Marsh, “and pretty green and blue skin.” In his interview with the Telegram, Marsh went on to say that the creature didn’t have any scratches or barnacles, typically characteristic of whales, but instead was perfectly clean as though it had just been born or had been thoroughly cleaned. According to Marsh, this is indicative that the creature had been either living in or near fresh water. Though he didn’t have a camera onboard his vessel at the time, he did return later to look for the carcass, but couldn’t find it. He concluded that the creature had sunk. Regretfully he realized that he could have likely made a fortune off the rare specimen, but is sure there are others like it out there.
But others are not so sure, voicing their vexation that Marsh didn’t find it necessary to cut off a sample of the creature to bring in for analysis. A fin or small chunk of dermal tissue could have gone a long way toward indicating what the creature was. Marine biologists who have studied the story have concluded that the traits Marsh describes in it do not belong to any known modern marine animal.
Some have pointed out that certain marine animals, after some level of decomposition, appear to be quite different after death than they did in life. Sharks and whales, for instance, can look like slightly decomposed plesiosaur complete with long neck and longer thin tail. It has been known to happen where a mysterious “sea monster” comes through and remains unidentified until DNA testing is done on samples collected from the creature and it is later determined to be of a known species such as a shark or whale. Such an incident happened in 2002 around the area of Marsh’s discovery.