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Part of the Here Lies the Truth Project Witness of Patron Saint of Greenland

Witness from the Patron Saint of Greenland

The story to come is narrated by an eye witness and has none of the characteristics of a myth or legend. I have found two accounts of this incident both attributed to the missionary and patron saint of Greenland: Hans Egede.

The first account quoted in Wikipedia is as follows:

‘Hans Egede describes of a sea serpent. On 6 July 1734 his ship sailed past the coast of Greenland when suddenly those on board.’… “Saw a most terrible creature, resembling nothing they saw before. The monster lifted its head so high that it seemed to be higher than the crow's nest on the mainmast. The head was small and the body short and wrinkled. The unknown creature was using giant fins which propelled it through the water. Later the sailors saw its tail as well. The monster was longer than our whole ship."

Year: 1734 Scientist/artist: Hans Egede. This second account has slight variations, almost certainly the same story being told to a different audience.

"On the 6th of July 1734, when off the south coast of Greenland, a sea-monster appeared to us, whose head, when raised, was on level with our main-top. Its snout was long and sharp, and it blew water almost like a whale; it has large broad paws; its body was covered with scales; its skin was rough and uneven; in other respects it was as a serpent; and when it dived, its tail, which was raised in the air, appeared to be a whole ship's length from its body."

The descriptions above come close to describing a plesiosaur with complete accuracy. The detail of large broad paws / giant fins, which are characteristic of plesiosaurs, is a confirmation that this was more than likely a real event. There are various forms of plesiosaurs, short necked and long necked.

From Egede's illustration he seems to have encountered the short necked plesiosaur.

A long necked plesiosaurus is shown below. Imagine the impact the sighting of a creature like this would have on a ship’s crew.