1550s

1550

1551

1552

1553

CRYPTOZOOLOGY:
The first mention of South America's mysterious hominid creature called Mono Grande (big monkey) or didi, appears to be in a book written by Pedro de Cieza de Leon in 1553. De Leon recounts native superstitions about these creatures, and goes on to tell of a Spaniard who found a carcass of one in the forests.

1554

March 10

WEIRD NATURE / UFOLOGY:
A report from France: "There appeared between 6 and 8 pm, about the moon, a burning fire, emitting a great noise, what seemed to be the point of a lance, turning form side to side, from east to west, casting out flames on all sides."

1555

Woodcut of a sea serpent by Olaus Magnus.
Woodcut of a sea serpent by Olaus Magnus.

CRYPTOZOOLOGY:
Though sea serpents are ubiquitous in myths and legends, the first attempt to describe them as figures in natural history appears in a 1555 work by Olaus Magnus, the exiled Catholic archbishop of Uppsala, Sweden. The archbishop wrote that sailors off the coast of Norway had often seen a "Serpent … of vast magnitude, namely 200 feet long, and moreover 20 feet thick." A dangerous beast, it lived in caves along the shore and devoured both land and ocean creatures, including an occasional seaman. "This Snake disquiets the shippers," Olaus Magnus wrote, "and he puts up his head on high like a pillar."

1556

1557

1558

CULTS AND RELIGION / WEIRD HUMANITY:
Story of the Blessed Margaret of Metola. Margaret was a blind dwarf, hunchbacked and lame, but that didn’t stop her from living a life of heroic service to the poor. She died in 1330, but in 1558 her remains had to be transferred because her coffin was rotting away. At the exhumation, witnesses were amazed to find that like the coffin, the clothes had rotted, but Margaret’s crippled body hadn’t.

1559

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