August 10

Reports from Solomon Allen III: I have seen a strange marine animal, that I believe to be a serpent, in the harbour in Gloucester [Massachusetts, USA]. I should judge him to be between eighty and ninety feet in length, and about the size of a half barrel…I was about 150 yards from him…His head formed something like the head of a rattlesnake, but nearly as large as the head of a horse. When he moved on the surface of the water, his motion was slow, at times playing about in circles, and sometimes moving nearly straight forward. When he disappeared, he sunk apparently down. In a compilation of sightings printed in the Boston Weekly Messenger it was further reported that the creature was sixty to seventy feet in length, that it was about as wide as a barrel, that it moved rapidly in a serpentine fashion, that it was able to double back upon itself instantaneously, that it was "full of joints and resemble[d] a string of buoys on a net," and that all attempts to kill or capture it, including shooting a musket at it from close range, failed.

August 18

The Linnaean Society of New England, in response to the sightings of a sea-serpent in Gloucester, Massachusetts, appointed a special committee to "collect evidence with regard to the existence and appearance of any such animal." This committee subsequently published a pamphlet in which it announced that the sightings of the creature represented the discovery of an entirely new genus, the Scoliophis Atlanticus. The society's pamphlet, however, was met with ridicule, and inspired several fake accounts of the creature to be reported. The account was particularly ridiculed in the Southern USA, where it inspired the Charleston playwright, William Crafts, to compose a play titled The Sea Serpent; or, Gloucester Hoax: a Dramatic jeu d'esprit in Three Acts. The premise of this play was that the serpent was a hoax, designed to promote the reputation of the town of Gloucester in Massachusetts.





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