Morgawr! (Cornish Sea Serpent)

Ermintruder

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There are a couple of references to the sunfish within that article (as being a possible misidentification candidate for Morgawr).

It's not a fish I'd ever heard of before, but an online image search seems to indicate a huge 500-pound round/flattened fish, with a prominant dorsal fins, with the larger Ocean type weighing as much as 2.5tons..

How this shape could be mistaken for a sinuous eel-like sea serpent is unclear, though I suppose a group swimming in a line might create the impression of humps....impressive though it is, in any case.('Hoodwinker' sunfish reference website)

7c5217b6-9176-43f4-80e8-dbc79f6b991a-022020-Hoodwinker_Sunfish_1.png

Enormous_Sunfish.jpg

(Wikimedia Commons- note the brave children hiding below the "3,500 pound catch"....the equivalent of three grand pianos or a small car hung by a single under-slung rope, that is tempting fate...the date scratched into the photo emulsion looks to be 1910, location Santa Catalina, off Los Angeles, California)
 
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IbisNibs

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OMG! That one fish could feed a small town!

I remember an episode of some TV documentary where they said that if a basking shark dies all the flesh rots away and what is left looks like a sea serpent with a long neck. Very misleading.
You mean the documentary was misleading, or the shark was misleading? (They are tricky, spooky creatures, sharks! ;) )
 

Ermintruder

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(did you notice the dwarf?)
Good grief, I did not!!!
2020-05-21 05.14.01.png

(and yes, agreed, this probably was a deliberate composition to emphasise the massive size of the "biggest boney fish species in the world")

EDIT
A Library of Congress plate of a "W.N McMillan 1910" (he appears to be named as the angler who caught the fish, inscribed below the trophy shot....you may immediately appreciate why I needed to share this picture of him)
2020-05-21 05.25.32.png

2020-05-21 05.26.17.png
 
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ChrisBoardman

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OMG! That one fish could feed a small town!


You mean the documentary was misleading, or the shark was misleading? (They are tricky, spooky creatures, sharks! ;) )

The TV doc was right, if a basking shark dies all the flab around the mouth rots away, the skeleton is left and it looks like the remains of a monster with a long neck. Sorry for being ambiguous.
 

EnolaGaia

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... This is in the same area that writer Sheila Bird saw it, some years ago.
Edit: Found this link on SB's sighting.
Link is dead. See subsequent post for the MIA text.

Here is the text of the MIA report to which the dead link pointed ...
Nessie's Kin?

A STRANGE sea creature, said to resemble the Loch Ness Monster, has been reported off the coast of Cornwall in south-west England, according to London's Daily Mail.

The first documented sighting of such a creature was in 1876, when local fishermen reported seeing it. Sporadic claims of sightings have taken place since then, but probably the most convincing is the account from teacher-turned-author Sheila Bird.
According to the Daily Mail, Sheila was walking with her brother, an eminent scientist, along the cliffs of the Cornish coast at Gerrans Bay in 1985. Her brother suddenly asked 'What's that?', and pointed to a giant sea creature which had a long neck and a small head.
'As it came nearer', Sheila said, 'we could see a huge hump. At the end of the trunk there was a wide, flat area, and an enormous long tail which could have been as long as its body. It must have measured 40 feet in all.'

Other walkers watched the creature through binoculars with Sheila and her brother, until it submerged vertically 'like a submarine'.

Sheila consulted two paleontologists, who said that from her descriptions the creature seemed to be a descendent of the supposed extinct Plesiosaurus. 'The ocean is the last unchartered wilderness', Sheila said. 'If the experts can prove what this creature is, then science must be rewritten.'

CITED SOURCE: London Daily Mail, April 29, 1996

SALVAGED FROM THE WAYBACK MACHINE:
https://web.archive.org/web/2002062...sonbay.com/~orlomo/mystery/cz/cz-gateway.html
 

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In 2015 I met a Morgawr witness who has not, as far as I am aware, gone on the record.

I was studying in Cornwall as a mature student. I was with a new group of people and had not disclosed my interest in all things Fortean, so what happened was quite out of the blue and unprompted. Essentially it was a random class discussion in Social Science that somehow ended up with the topic being the Raquel Welch 'One Million Years BC' movie, how we got there I'm not entirely sure, but it was always enjoyable lesson...!

Anyway, I laughed at how preposterous it was that the film featured our human ancestors running around with dinosaurs. Our lecturer then replied with a dead straight face, "I've seen a dinosaur mate." That stopped us dead in our tracks. The lecturer in question is Cornish and related that as student himself he had a summer volunteer job with the National Trust on the Lizard peninsular. This had involved outdoor clearing scrub etc One sunny day he had looked up from his work and "seen a dinosaur powering out to sea, with the long neck and everything." No-one laughed but there was a slight uncomfortable atmosphere as he was clearly ready to challenge anyone who would mock him. I timidly mentioned something along the lines of, "wasn't there some sort of Cornish sea monster?" and the discussion moved on after an uncomfortable silence.

Now given his age and what I know about him, this would have taken place in the late 1970s. He is a well educated, sound guy and never made any further paranormal or cryptozoological claims. I sometimes wonder if he had mistaken a replica Viking boat perhaps? But he was pretty adamant and its the first and so far only time I have spoken with a witness to a famous cryptid. With hindsight I wish I had pressed him further but I was somewhat taken aback at his forthrightness.

I don't have his permission to provide his name (the witness, not Morgawr) but happy to cooperate with any serious researchers who won't splash his details all over Cornwall.Live.
 

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In 2015 I met a Morgawr witness who has not, as far as I am aware, gone on the record.

I was studying in Cornwall as a mature student. I was with a new group of people and had not disclosed my interest in all things Fortean, so what happened was quite out of the blue and unprompted. Essentially it was a random class discussion in Social Science that somehow ended up with the topic being the Raquel Welch 'One Million Years BC' movie, how we got there I'm not entirely sure, but it was always enjoyable lesson...!

Anyway, I laughed at how preposterous it was that the film featured our human ancestors running around with dinosaurs. Our lecturer then replied with a dead straight face, "I've seen a dinosaur mate." That stopped us dead in our tracks. The lecturer in question is Cornish and related that as student himself he had a summer volunteer job with the National Trust on the Lizard peninsular. This had involved outdoor clearing scrub etc One sunny day he had looked up from his work and "seen a dinosaur powering out to sea, with the long neck and everything." No-one laughed but there was a slight uncomfortable atmosphere as he was clearly ready to challenge anyone who would mock him. I timidly mentioned something along the lines of, "wasn't there some sort of Cornish sea monster?" and the discussion moved on after an uncomfortable silence.

Now given his age and what I know about him, this would have taken place in the late 1970s. He is a well educated, sound guy and never made any further paranormal or cryptozoological claims. I sometimes wonder if he had mistaken a replica Viking boat perhaps? But he was pretty adamant and its the first and so far only time I have spoken with a witness to a famous cryptid. With hindsight I wish I had pressed him further but I was somewhat taken aback at his forthrightness.

I don't have his permission to provide his name (the witness, not Morgawr) but happy to cooperate with any serious researchers who won't splash his details all over Cornwall.Live.
Maybe that's the true origin of the Lizard Peninsula name?
 

WeirdExeter

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Could it be a leatherback?

He was adamant about the long neck and that it was "powering" out to sea but misidentification can't be ruled out. Might even have been a basking shark and he mistook its fin for a neck. What I don't know is if he was aware of the other sightings at around that time. I am pretty confident he didn't hang out about with Tony 'Doc" Shiels, the larger-than-life character who was based in Falmouth at that time and may have been responsible for both Morgawr and Nessie hoaxes*. I just think he was far too focused on getting ahead in life and would hold a senior role with a major company before entering education

*I know about this guy from reading the books of Jon Downes
 

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Interesting as there seems no consensus of the origin of the peninsular's name and it is where Morgawr is mostly encountered
It's been said that it originated in old Cornish 'Lis-Ardh' or 'Lys Ardh', which means a fortress or a high court.
However... I'd love it if it was named after an actual lizard.
 

WeirdExeter

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It's been said that it originated in old Cornish 'Lis-Ardh' or 'Lys Ardh', which means a fortress or a high court.
However... I'd love it if it was named after an actual lizard.
Or perhaps:

"The Lizard Peninsula, Britain's most southerly point on the mainland. The Lizard is not named after some mythical dragon, one suggestion is that the name comes from the Cornish "lezou", or headland."

http://www.st-keverne.com/Treleague/lizard-peninsula.html
 

Frideswide

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He was adamant about the long neck and that it was "powering" out to sea but misidentification can't be ruled out. Might even have been a basking shark and he mistook its fin for a neck.
Long neck... powering out to sea... could it have been a submarine?! (disclaimer: I don't know anything about submarines)
 

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It is surprising how far a seal can stick its neck out of the water. I had one pop up in front of me off Selsey, and for a short time its craning neck made it look like Nessie. I'm not saying that's what it was, but there are a lot of seals in that area.
 

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In 2015 I met a Morgawr witness who has not, as far as I am aware, gone on the record.

I was studying in Cornwall as a mature student. I was with a new group of people and had not disclosed my interest in all things Fortean, so what happened was quite out of the blue and unprompted. Essentially it was a random class discussion in Social Science that somehow ended up with the topic being the Raquel Welch 'One Million Years BC' movie, how we got there I'm not entirely sure, but it was always enjoyable lesson...!

Anyway, I laughed at how preposterous it was that the film featured our human ancestors running around with dinosaurs. Our lecturer then replied with a dead straight face, "I've seen a dinosaur mate." That stopped us dead in our tracks. The lecturer in question is Cornish and related that as student himself he had a summer volunteer job with the National Trust on the Lizard peninsular. This had involved outdoor clearing scrub etc One sunny day he had looked up from his work and "seen a dinosaur powering out to sea, with the long neck and everything." No-one laughed but there was a slight uncomfortable atmosphere as he was clearly ready to challenge anyone who would mock him. I timidly mentioned something along the lines of, "wasn't there some sort of Cornish sea monster?" and the discussion moved on after an uncomfortable silence.

Now given his age and what I know about him, this would have taken place in the late 1970s. He is a well educated, sound guy and never made any further paranormal or cryptozoological claims. I sometimes wonder if he had mistaken a replica Viking boat perhaps? But he was pretty adamant and its the first and so far only time I have spoken with a witness to a famous cryptid. With hindsight I wish I had pressed him further but I was somewhat taken aback at his forthrightness.

I don't have his permission to provide his name (the witness, not Morgawr) but happy to cooperate with any serious researchers who won't splash his details all over Cornwall.Live.

Any more details: time of day, how distant was it, how big did he reckon it was, colour/detail?
 

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Any more details: time of day, how distant was it, how big did he reckon it was, colour/detail?

Sorry, all I can say is that it was definitely the Lizard peninsular, the summer holidays and during the hours volunteers would be at work with the National Trust, so I would imagine between 9am and 5pm...? He described it as a "living dinosaur" and mentioned a long neck. His specific description was that it was "powering out to sea". He left me in no doubt he was clear about what he had seen, for example he didn't say "I think it was a .." or "...might've been a...", so that would imply he had a good look at it. He was adamant about what he had seen and in the three years he taught me he didn't make any claims or express beliefs that might have led me to doubt his integrity. But it remains he may have mistaken something else for the 'dinosaur', such as a replica Viking boat with a long curved 'neck' at the front...?

I regret not pressing him further but I was bit taken aback to be honest...! So yeah, kicking myself about that. I finished my degree in 2016 and moved away, but returned in 2019 to take up employment there. However, I've been located in a different building and because of Covid we have not been able to mix (bubbles and that). That said, I will see if I can arrange to bump into him next academic year and see if he is amenable to provide further details.
 
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