The Mystery of the Giant Octopus "Kraken", Does it Exist?


The sea has a million mysteries, especially underwater creatures that rarely appear on the surface. It is very possible that there are many underwater species that have not been recorded, considering that the depth of the sea, especially in the sea passages or troughs, is very difficult to reach and has not been mapped in its entirety. After all, no one can dive at such depths, as the depths can be tens of kilometers, the deepest recorded dive ever made by humans is only 330m. 

However, some have dived to greater depths than that using James Cameron's Vertical Torpedo. They managed to enter the deepest trough on Earth, the Mariana Trench. But only half of the total depth of the Mariana Trench can be up to 10 kilometers deep. Even the true depth is still mysterious. That means there are still many strange creatures and perhaps giant ancient beings sleeping in the sea.

Sailors have long told stories about the existence of giant underwater creatures, one of which is a giant octopus nicknamed the Kraken. The Kraken is a legend of a giant underwater creature, which is said to live on the coasts of Norway and Greenland. Many stories describe this giant octopus measuring 12-15 meters long with a thin membrane and a scary face. The legend of the Kraken was first introduced by Dane Erik Pontoppidan in 1752.

Kraken comes from the Norwegian Krake, which means unhealthy animal or something that writhes, while in German, Krake means octopus, which could also refer to the mythological creature Kraken.

In the late 13th century, there is a story of a journey to Helluland that passed through the Greenland sea. On the way, they saw 2 giant creatures named Hafgufa and Lyngbakr. Hafgufa is believed to be related to the Kraken creature. Here's the quote:

Now I will tell you that there are two sea monsters. One is called Hafgufa, and the other Lyngbakr. Lyngbakr is the largest whale in the world, but Hafgufa is the heaviest monster in the sea. This is the nature of these creatures, they like to swallow men and boats, even whales and everything within their reach. They stay submerged for days, then pop their heads and nostrils above the surface and stay that way at least until the tide changes. Now, all we have passed is the distance between its jaws, and its nostrils and lower jaw are the rocks that appear in the sea, while Lngbakr is the island we saw sinking. 

However, Ogmund Tussock has sent these creatures to you by using his magic to cause the death of you and your companions. He thinks more men will go the same way as those who have drowned [that is, to Lyngbakr which is not an island, and drown], and he predicts that Hafgufa will swallow us all. Today I am sailing through his mouth because I know that it has just appeared.

kraken monster

After returning from Greenland, the author of the Old Norwegian scientific work Konungs skuggsjá (1250) describes in detail the physical characteristics and feeding behavior of these animals. The narrator proposes there should be only two in existence, according to which, according to observations, the animals are always seen in the same part of the Greenland Sea, and each of them seems to be incapable of reproduction since their number does not increase.

There is a fish still unmentioned, which it is not advisable to talk about because of its size and people would consider it an outlier. There are few people who can say it clearly, because it is rarely near land and is not seen where whales are seen, and I don't think there is much fish of this type in the sea. Most often in our tongue, we refer to it as Hafgufa ("Kraken", for example, Laurence M. Larson's translation). 

I also cannot conclusively speak of its length in ells, because the times it has appeared before humans, it has looked more earth-like than fish-like. Nor have I ever heard of one being caught or found dead; and it seems to me as if there could not be more than two in the ocean, and I take it that each cannot reproduce itself, for I believe that they are always the same. Nor, then, would the fish do so if the Hafgufa were like other whales, because of their great extent, and how much they require. 

It is said to be the nature of this fish that when it wants to eat, then it wraps its neck with a big burp, and after burping, a lot of food comes out, so that all kinds of fish close to its hand will approach it, then gather together, small and large, believing that they will get their food and good food. But this big fish leaves his mouth temporarily open, and the gap is no less wide than that of a sound or a good bundle, nor can the fish run together there in large numbers. But once its stomach and mouth are full, then this creature locks its jaws and the fish is caught and closed, that is before the glutton comes there looking for food.

Swedish writer Jacob Wallenberg described the Kraken in 1781 in Min Son På Galejan ("My son in the kitchen"):

The Kraken also called a crab fish, which is not so big, since the head and tail are counted, he is no bigger than the width of our Öland (less than 16 km)... He lives at the bottom of the sea, constantly surrounded by innumerable small fish, which serve as his food and are fed by him in return. His feeding, (if I remember correctly what E. Pontoppidan wrote,) lasts no more than three months, and another three are then needed to digest it. 

His feces raise the following children less fish, and for this reason, fishermen climb his resting place. Gradually, the Kraken rose to the surface, and when he was ten to twelve years old, the ships had moved better than the surroundings, because he would soon afterward explode, like a floating island, spouting water from his monstrous nostrils and making waves all around him, which could reach tens of miles. Could anyone doubt that this was the Leviathan of Job?

giant squid

In 1802, French malacologist Pierre Dénys de Montfort recognized the existence of two types of giant octopus in Histoire Naturelle Générale et Particulière des Mollusques, an encyclopedic description of mollusks. Montfort claimed that the first type, the Kraken octopus, had been described by Norwegian sailors and American whalers, as well as ancient writers such as Pliny the Elder. The second, much larger type, the colossal octopus, was reported to have attacked sailing ships from Saint-Malo, off the coast of Angola.

Montfort then dared to make more sensational claims. Ten British warships, including a captured French ship of the line Ville de Paris, which mysteriously disappeared one night in 1782, must have been attacked and sunk by a giant octopus. The British, however, took thanks from survivors of the Ville de Paris, who said that the ships had been lost in a storm off the coast of Newfoundland in September 1782. This was a humiliating blow to Montfort.

In the modern world, this kind of creature does exist. According to the BBC website, this creature is called Architeuthis dux, which is known as the largest squid specimen that appeared in 1639 in Europe. Since its discovery, there has been much debate about the maximum size of the animal. In solving the mystery, Dr. Chris Paxton from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland has researched Architeuthis dux how and what its maximum size is. 

A total of 460 specimens were measured in different methods. Since none of the measurements were accurate, he calculated it based on the size of the squid's beak and mantle. Based on his measurements, the squid that washed ashore in Cook Strait in New Zealand in May 1879 was 14.28m long, but the maximum size is uncertain due to the changing body proportions. According to him, a squid with a mantle length of 2.79 meters would have a total length of between 5.83 meters and 27.53 meters. Due to the uncertain proportions, it is very likely that many squids larger than that are hiding under the sea.

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