Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Weird News of the Week



Woman's Slinky Collection Out-of-Control

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Snowballs For Sale

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Fireball Seen In the Sky

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Your Journey to Love: Fear or Be Feared by SIMRAN

The greatest quest in live is to Love and Be Loved. Love continually reveals everything unlike itself. Through self-discovery, real connection, and communion, the relationship that unfolds is the greatest love of all.  Your Journey to Love is a guiding path along the inner road to true love.



Below we share an excerpt from Chapter 9 of this new release: Fear or Be Feared.

Heart Fullness
I don’t know who I am. I don’t know why I am here. I don’t know what my purpose is on the planet. I have so much to say, yet it is as if something chokes the words in my throat and does not let me speak. There is a pounding in my gut. I want to scream at times. There is so much inside of me that wants to be heard, to be seen, to be shared—to serve.

But who am I? I am not like other people. I don’t have what it takes. I am not smart enough. I don’t look like them. And, what do I have to say, anyway? Why on earth would I be so special? I wish I knew how to be strong. I wish I were not afraid to leap. I might take a wrong step or make a mistake! How do I know if I am doing the right thing?

I become paralyzed inside myself, unable to move. And the world just passes me by. I feel so small at times. I just want to hide and escape. I am even afraid people can see that about me. What if I fail? What if I am laughed at, or embarrassed? I am afraid. What about my secrets? What am I thinking? I can’t be anything more than I am. Most of all, I just don’t know how

Continue this dialogue, using your feelings and words. Journal your thoughts before moving to Mind Fullness. If words do not come, draw. If you cannot draw, doodle. Breathe. Feel. Allow. Receive.

Mind Fullness

We know as much about fear as we do about Love, really not knowing either because we never address them head on. We talk about them. But when have we faced them, held them, or become truly intimate with them? When have we stood with them? When have we gotten to know them—really listened to them? They are casual acquaintances that we turn our backs on. They remain under the surface as relationships we pretend not to have, until we choose to know them better so they may be given what they most need: attention and Love. They are “calls for Love.”

Most individuals think they Love themselves. They hope they do. They want to believe they are doing so. But is it true? Our actions, our lives, and, most importantly, our words betray us. Just listen to how you think or speak about yourself, your body, and your life. These very words and thoughts are actually the voices of deeper fears that are carried.\

You are unwilling to allow the heights of Love to the same degree you cannot face and embrace your fears. Just as many are in Love with the “idea of Love,” never really surrendering to the full-bodied experience of it, most live in fear of the “concept of fear,” never really taking the time to dive in to see what is there—if it is actually real or simply perceived. You will likely discover you have already created most of your worst fears, or you are on your way there if not taking the time to dive inward. When you dig really deep, you will discover all that remains is simply the concept of fear, clamoring in the bottom of container lacking of evidence.

Do you know what Love Is?
Do you Love yourself?
Can you Love better?
Do you fear yourself?
Does fear run your life?
Does fear rule your choices?
Is fear the security blanket you use to not have Love?

These questions will stop you in your tracks, and leave you speechless. Are you afraid of yourself? The quick response would likely be no. Check the internal response. You may discover a silent, quivering yes. Most of the world is. Just look at the degree of violence and war present today. We project it outwardly, suppressing the self, in fear of seeing it, feeling it, recognizing it, owning it. We do not want to face it. What is “it”? It is the dark resting inside.

We are afraid of the dark. There is a monster in there. Even worse, we might discover that the monster is the same face being reflected back from the mirror. In looking too deep, we may even discover a degree of hatred—self-hatred—we never wanted to know. If there is an uneasiness wriggling inside, you may have stirred it within your “sleep” and bump into it fleetingly on a daily basis through your experiences.

Fear typically gets packaged in a nice, neat, little compartment, way back in mindless storage, where it only needs to be looked upon once in a while, if at all. You might discover it is hiding with the Love that you also lock away. Unless you do a thorough inventory, you will never account for it. Yet, somewhere inside, we do keep checks and balances of all actions, words, and thoughts. Upon that moment of reconciliation, an audit takes place that clearly illustrates whether we have richly banked each moment or reached the point of emotional and spiritual bankruptcy. Completely unaware of the reserves that lay hidden deeply within the well, deposits are tucked and sealed away in the body vault. In every account, the interest accumulated will be the savings of a lifetime that return what was meant for you all along.

Even if you have done much inner work, there are pieces and parts of your life, of yourself, you are too afraid to look at. Fear stands in front of Love because it protects. It stands guard at the door, knowing it has to lead the way. It is the bridge between you and your Love. What lay between you and fear? A walk in the dark, as dark as night, utilizing everything outside of you, for as long as you choose. These things will tug at you, pull at you, agitate you, and ask you to let go of them, especially those you most cherish. Fear will taunt and tease the mind with chatter around the past and the future, leaving you questioning how to save, fix, or heal the situation. You will react in ways that activate your masculine sense of doing, believing enough action will make the change. However, only one simple step actually creates the miracle: you opening to feel. You must be the change. Everything about you must change from a place of mindset and heart-set. Love is bringing up everything unlike itself for the sake of being known. What lay between you and Love? Only your self-created veils of resistance, warrior-ship, and pride. They begin appearing in increasing degrees until you surrender what you Love and what you fear.

We want to be at peace, prosperous, and abundant, and find Love. We want to be whole, discovering the breadth of our Light and the depths of the soul, but we do not know how. We seek to find the way, the truth, and the life, but we keep seeking outwardly, instead of hearing the sacred spoken message to “go inside.” The way is on the inside. The truth is on the inside. The life we outwardly keep searching for lay on the inside.

We desire to be with the Divine, immersing ourselves in all that is holy and venturing into lands of ecstatic trance. We seek to be timeless, boundless, and expansive, but unwilling to recognize inherent qualities of omniscience, omnipotence, and Godliness.

What holds human beings back from what is most desired? The answer is distraction from the truth path of longing and Belonging, where Lover meets BeLoved. Uniting within the shadows of the night and ever-expanding horizons of Light, emergence happens when merging takes precedence.
Most turn away from the past. Everyone wants the grass that is greener on the other side. Their own is brown and dead, only because they have not been tending to it. In a world of humans being, humans doing, and the dead walking, what has been lost? Our humanity—mistakenly referenced outwardly as seven-billion-plus people.

Each one of us has lost varying levels of personal humanity. Not as elevated as animals, nor as authentic as beasts. Not as enlightened as the mythical beings, or ascended as the great Masters. We are fallen angels trying to rise above ourselves after having clipped our own wings. Upon the surface, we bow down to others who have also fallen, wearing the most intricate of masks in a great ball called Earth.

Does the ball have to come to an end for all masks to fall and angels to rise, or can you create heaven on earth by bringing Light to all that is in the shadows and darkness?
Can you invite onto life’s grand stage the fallen, the weak, the derelict, and the homeless?
Can you bring forth the insanity, giving it the spotlight to be seen?
Can you ask the beaten, the bruised, the imprisoned, and the molested to stand with you in the bubbling fountains of used and abused, as the waters of re-memory bathe you back into your mellifluence?

These cleansing waters will heal all the his-tory and her-story that has compiled over time. They will wash through the great divide between masculine and feminine forces, creating a unified Divine river that nourishes all back to their righteous place in the kingdom of heaven. The water flows nearby, within our grasp right here, right now. It begins with a baptism upon all that is separate. A blessed communion bathes each one of us in the Light of Christ Consciousness, being the Light of unconditional Love, acceptance, and compassion. The problem is not the sin we believe we have committed. It is that we have become gluttons for punishment and intoxicated by our own stories.
We want to forgive them. They want to forgive us. But how and who and when and why should we? Forgiveness is necessary, but celebration is liberation for one and all. Celebration of what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and to whom it happened is the calibration that moves us from a victim’s story into the sacredness of the whole Divine text.

We are each a sacred text walking, filled with wisdom, a plethora of story—and a whole lot of made-up stuff. Because we are good at making stuff up! But sacred, nonetheless! And yet, we are scared at the same time, mostly of the stuff we made up. This scare-city we call earth will only come into its whole-fullness when we are real with one another: open, honest, vulnerable, and transparent.
We have been determined to be God-fearing; it is time to be God-loving. Who do you think God is, anyway? Just look around and you will see God, in everyone and everything— animate and inanimate. If you cannot see God in all, then you cannot see God at all. The world is in a state of fear because we are seeing All That Is from a displaced perception. Instead, become gods walking that are “all-seeing gods.”

We have come here to do what we have come to do—in Oneness, in pieces, and parts—in fragmentation and unification, through the beauty of story and for play. Let yourself be open to the idea that all of your life has not been Love, but instead, a call for Love, two halves of a whole in beautiful harmony, the comedy and tragedy, yin and yang—the absolute beginning courtship of a romance of Lover and BeLoved. In this union, a call for Love brings on relationship; an idea of life that offers opportunities for greater connection and aliveness.

It is time to open your heart, tearing down the walls built around it to keep everyone and everything at arm’s length. It is what life shows each one of us about us.

How do you keep people at a distance?
How do you test them?
How have you prejudged every relationship experience?
What is your life revealing to you, about you?

Imagine you can see beneath the surface of the physical body, it may look hardened, fractured, or decayed. Your heart will show you the texture, even though the mind may convince you otherwise. Beneath this calcified landscape lay the authentic you. Chipping away at what is hardened need not be work. It requires presence, a commodity that is a rare treasure. Take stock of everything that has led you to this point and build bonds that will grow exponentially.

It’s time to know the truth, hear the truth, and tell the truth. In attention and present intention, open to receive more Love while also realizing that it is all a call for Love. Judgment day has come. This is the day of reckoning. Will you judge or be judged? Will you set yourself free? Speak now or forever hold your “piece”? We are made up of many fragmented pieces that are to be reclaimed, reunited, and recognized. When we find each one, we also find peace.

Who is the one calling for Love?
Who is the one to BeLoved?

From where and when, why, and from how far back?

SIMRAN is a creative visionary, love catalyst, and rebel humanitarian in the realms of metaphysics and spirituality. Her work inspires people to live beyond self-imposed limitations, allowing life to be experienced courageously and boldly.  In addition to speaking nationally and internationally, Simran initiates movement into new paradigms for humanity through vulnerability, realness, and loving expression.  Simran is also the author of Conversations with the Universe and 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Creature of the Month: The Graveyard Werewolf by Nick Redfern


It probably won’t surprise many to learn that the British Isles – which are steeped in legend, myth, and folklore - have traditions of full-blown lycanthropy in their midst that date back more than 1,000 years.

One of the most famous of all such beasts has become known as the “Flixton werewolf.” It was a marauding animal that prowled around the village of Flixton, North Yorkshire, around 940 AD. It struck terror into the hearts of the locals as it went on violent killing sprees, reportedly at the bidding of a sinister magician who was familiar with the black-arts.



I have other cases of alleged sightings of werewolves in Britain from times long gone, including the 12th and 15th centuries. But, what may well surprise many is that these legendary, menacing shape-shifters are still seen today. Welcome to the diabolical world of what I call the “Graveyard Werewolf.”

It’s a creature that haunts a certain cemetery in central England, one which is located only about a fifteen-minute drive from where I grew up as a child. It’s known locally as the “German Cemetery,” as a result of the fact that it contains the remains of numerous German military personnel, who died on British soil during both the First and the Second World Wars. Its official title, however, is the Cannock Chase German War Cemetery.

And, it was at this particular location, in 2007, that sightings began of something very strange, and downright monstrous. You have probably, by now, guessed what it was. That’s right: nothing less than a definitive werewolf.

The controversy (which soon overflowed with hysteria) began in late April 2007, when the local newspaper, the Stafford Post, astounded and entertained the folk of the Cannock Chase with the following story:

“A rash of sightings of a ‘werewolf’ type creature prowling around the outskirts of Stafford have prompted a respected Midlands paranormal group to investigate. West Midlands Ghost Club says they have been contacted by a number of shocked residents who saw what they claimed to be a ‘hairy wolf-type creature’ walking on its hind legs around the German War Cemetery, just off Camp Road, in between Stafford and Cannock. Several of them claim the creature sprang up on its hind legs and ran into the nearby bushes when it was spotted.”

Nick Duffy, of the West Midlands Ghost Club, went public with what he knew of this monster-mystery: “The first person to contact us was a postman, who told us he had seen what he thought was a werewolf on the German War Cemetery site. He said he was over there on a motorbike and saw what he believed was a large dog. When he got closer, the creature got on his hind legs and ran away.”

Then there was the case of a local scout-leader, who said of his encounter at the cemetery: “It just looked like a huge dog. But when I slammed the door of my car it reared up on its back legs and ran into the trees. It must have been about six to seven feet tall. I know it sounds absolutely mad, but I know what I saw.”

In the aftermath of the initial sightings, even more controversial stories began circulating amongst the people of the surrounding villages and hamlets that are situated close to the cemetery. There was hushed talk of pet dogs going missing – and on a large scale, no less. Others spoke of hideous creatures – half-man and half-wolf – creeping out of old and abandoned mines across the Chase; the theory being that they dwelled deep below the ground, only surfacing to feed savagely on whatever crossed their paths.

Echoing this, an off the record source, one that the media described as a “senior local resident,” said: “It’s a fact that there has been significant mining activity under Cannock Chase for centuries. And it's a fact there is a high rate of domestic pet disappearance in the area - especially dogs off the lead. Just ask anyone who walks their dog near the German War Cemetery.”

Interestingly, this was not the first time that something strange and sinister, and of wolfish proportions, had been seen in the area. On the morning of June 28, 2006, numerous motorists passing junction 10A on the M6 Motorway reported seeing a strange beast that the press described as “a wolf-like creature” that was “racing between lanes at rush hour.”

The creature reportedly charged around the busy lanes at an incredible rate of speed, skillfully avoiding cars, trucks, and motorbikes as it did so. The Highways Agency announced that its staff was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. They did not. The final words from the agency were that a rumor was going around suggesting the creature had been captured “…but we don’t know where, who by, or what it was.” In other words, no-one really had a clue what was going on.

As I grew up in the area where the werewolf encounters occurred, the local press contacted me on several occasions for my views on the werewolf wave of 2007. When my comments were published – in both the Stafford Post and the Chase Post newspapers – it led several people to contact me with their own, hitherto unknown sightings.

They were all eerily similar: the location was the same, the old cemetery. And the nature of the beast was the same, too: it had the ability to run on both two legs and four, and when standing on its hind legs it reached a height of around seven feet. There was something else, too: all of the witnesses got a sudden feeling – but for reasons they couldn’t fathom – that the beast was both supernatural and downright evil.

Thankfully, there were no human casualties and the sightings of the graveyard werewolf finally faded away, as the summer of 2007 became the autumn, and as the days became shorter and the nights became longer.


We may never know, for sure, what the creature was, from where it came, or to where it vanished. But for the people that live in the vicinity of the Cannock Chase German War Cemetery, it’s likely to be a mayhem-filled few months they will never, ever forget. 

Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including his new release Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind . He has appeared on more than 70 TV shows, including: Fox News; the BBC’s Out of This World; the SyFy Channel’s Proof Positive; the History Channel’s Monster QuestAmerica’s Book of SecretsAncient Aliens, and UFO Hunters; the National Geographic Channel’s Paranatural; and MSNBC’s CountdownNick writes regularly for UFO MagazineMysterious Universe, and Fate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Positive News of the Week



Boy Gets Vader Star Wars Arm

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Love After Death

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Mufasa Rescue!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Weird News of the Week


Joggers Beware the Barred Owl

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Plan Your Pee Breaks

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Online Life Extension

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Positive News of the Week



Flood of Donations for Walking Man

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Cat Survives Fire, Gets Oxygen Mask

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Strangers, a Penny and a Daisy

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Weird News of the Week



Boston Yeti Spotted

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Space Lighting!

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Bigfoot Poop Expert

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Spring 15 New Releases Announcement

Our Spring 15 list features 15 New Releases this Season. Find out more by visiting the individual book links below.

Paranormal/Unexplained Phenomena
The Haunted House Diaries :The True Story of a Quiet Connecticut Town in the Center of a Paranormal Mystery
By William J. Hall, author of The World’s Most Haunted House
August 15 Release
Experience a ‘paranormal crossroads’ where entities, spirits, cryptids, and UFOs converge. Nestled deep in Litchfield Hills Connecticut, a 1790 farmhouse sits upon a paranormal flap. The family regularly encounters ancestors and strangers – human and non-human—occupying physical space while still in their own parallel worlds. When famous ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, story behind ‘The Conjuring’, investigated, they dubbed the house “Ghost Central.”

Conspiracy
Mind Wars :A history of Mind Control, Surveillance, and Social Engineering by the Government, Media, and Secret Societies
By Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman
April 15 Release
From the dawn of humanity, the desire to control the thoughts, behaviors, and actions of others has been a pervasive one. Mind Wars includes fascinating stories of mind control from ancient spell casting to electronic harassment, “voice to skull” technology.

Ancient Mysteries/UFOs
Bloodline of the Gods :Unravel the Mystery of the Human Blood Type to Reveal the Aliens Among Us
By Nick Redfern
August 15 Release
The vast majority of humankind—85 to 90 percent—is Rh positive, which means a person’s red blood cells contain an antigen directly connected to the Rhesus monkey. This antigen is known as the Rh factor. Each and every primate on the planet has this antigen, except for one: the remaining 10 to 15 percent of humans. The Negatives are unlike the rest of us. They are different. They are the unique individuals whose bloodline may have nothing less than extraterrestrial origins.

New Thought/Spirituality
Awaken Your Third Eye :How Accessing Your Sixth Sense Can Help You Find Knowledge, Illumination, and Intuition
By Susan G. Shumsky
April 15 Release
There is a sixth sense, an inner eye that can open the gateway to subtler realms of existence. Developing this inner eye will enable you to view a previously invisible world of multiple dimensions, spiritual planes filled with light, and alternate realities of indescribable wonders.

The Oneness Blessing :How Deeksha Can Help You Become Your Authentic Self, Heal Your Relationships, and Transform the World
By Paula Rosenfeld
April 15 Release
In The Oneness Blessing, Paula interviews awakened Oneness Trainers whose lives have been transformed through Deeksha. Their humor, gratitude, insights, and inspiration intimately illuminate what it means to live an awakened life.

The Power of Angel Medicine :Energetic Exercises and Techniques to Activate Divine Healing
By Joanne Brocas
May 15 Release
Discover powerful exercises that will instantly go to work within your spiritual and energetic anatomy to effect positive changes and help you align with divine truth and love, the greatest sources of power for healing.
By Lisa Barnett
March 15 Release
The Akashic Records is equal parts practical and profound, the culmination of nearly two decades of immersion by Ernesto, personally and professionally, into the Akashic Records for individual healing, growth, and self-realization.

Between Now and When :How My Death Made My Life Worth Living
By Richard House
May 15 Release
Between Now and When relates a transcendent journey from earthly suffering and addiction into the rarely glimpsed supra-reality of higher dimensions. As a teen, the author heard a mystical voice that foretold his death at age 33, a prophecy that left him on death’s doorstep at exactly that age. His surrender complete, he was propelled into the fourth dimension, where his body was miraculously healed. Thus began a redemptive and transformational journey of discovery.

The Energy of Abundance :Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom to Achieve Anything You Want in Life
By Phyllis King
July 15 Release
The Energy of Abundance clearly details how to bring a sense of calm to you chaos, a spirit of laughter (and even fun!) to you missteps, and an energy of renewal to you self and your life by reconnecting to your innate power source. 

New Thought/Afterlife
The Afterlife Healing Circle :How Anyone Can Contact the Other Side
By Candace L. Talmadge and Jana L. Simons
June 15 Release
The afterlife healing circle is a way we can safely communicate with those on the other side, whether they are loved ones who have passed or future offspring who have not yet been born.
    
Toward The Light :Rescuing Spirits, Trapped Souls, and Earthbound Ghosts
By Amy Major
May 15 Release
Toward the Light is the first guide dedicated solely to spirit rescue and its role in saving earthbound spirits from their self-imposed exile on earth. It is a guide to rescue mediumship, a form of spirit communication used to counsel and aid the deceased in crossing over. It is the first book that will help you understand things from a ghost’s perspective.

Health
Everyday Healing :Stand Up, Take Charge, and Get Your Health Back…One Day at a Time
By Janette Hillis-Jaffe
July 15 Release
Everyday Healing provides daily action steps to help you eliminate old habits and establish new paths to health. It offers practical guidance on overcoming healing challenges—from organizing your kitchen in order to cook healthier meals and boosting your confidence that you can heal, to having a tough conversation with an unsupportive spouse.

Nutrition
Your Nutrition Solution to a Healthy Gut :A Meal-Based Plan to Help Prevent and Treat Constipation, Diverticulitis, Ulcers, and Other Common Digestive Problems
By Kimberly A. Tessmer
June 15 Release
Your Nutrition Solution to a Healthy Gut provides both a treatment and preventative nutritional plan you can live with for a lifetime.  Get the help you need to make the nutritional and lifestyle changes that will free you from a lifetime of medications, discomfort, and pain.

Your Nutrition Solution to Inflammation :A Meal-Based Plan to Help Reduce or Manage the Symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases, Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and More, as Well as Decrease Risk for Other Serious Illnesses
By Kimberly A. Tessmer
March 15 Release
Your Nutrition Solution to Inflammation provides a nutritional treatment option you can live with, arming you with the tools you need to free yourself from a lifetime of medication, pain, and long-term health problems.

Self-Help
Unsinkable :How to Bounce Back Quickly When Life Knocks You Down
By Sonia Ricotti
July 15 Release
Author Sonia Ricotti draws upon her own experiences, as well as those of other high-profile self-help leaders, to help you overcome these difficult situations with ease, and bounce back quicker and higher than you thought possible. Unsinkable offers clearly written, step-by-step tools, strategies, stories, and exercises that will teach you how to transform your way of thinking—and feel better now.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Creature of the Month: Cthulhu and the Kraken by Oberon Zell and Tom Williams


0.      Kraken Attack by Oberon Zell

The Kraken
Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.
      —Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1830

      The sea has influenced the cultures and psyches of countless societies throughout history. It has provided food and sustenance, served as a route for trade and exploration, borne military fleets on voyages of conquest, served as a barrier against marauders, evoked mystery and poetry from bards and singers—and represented some of humanity’s deepest fears. The sea represents to this very day a frontier of the unknown—a place of darkness and discovery, harboring strange and beautiful creatures as well as devouring monsters that haunt our dreams and the deepest recesses of our imaginations.
      It is from the realm of the sea and its darkest depths that the engrossing legend of the Kraken rises—the Kraken (also known as the Krabben and Skykraken), universally depicted as an immense all-devouring monster with multiple arms that draw its victims inexorably to an implacable maw that shreds and consumes their very being. The Kraken—a terrifying beast that lurks in the abyssal depths, rising to the surface to wrap its suckered tentacles around a hapless vessel and drag it beneath the waves—creating a whirlpool that would suck down anything escaping the initial attack. The Kraken turned the sea dark with an inky discharge, and amber that washed up on North Sea beaches was said to be its excrement.
      Of all the frightening beasts of legend, it is seldom that there has been such a direct correspondence between the mythical image and the actual animal. For the Kraken is real, as real as a whale or a turtle or a gull skimming the waves. The real animal, as plainly a part of the grand march of evolution as any other creature, embodies most of the horrific attributes associated with the Kraken in the most fanciful legends and seamen’s tales. In its largest and most incredible manifestation, the real monster could very well convince us of the reality behind the most fantastic metaphysical horrors and tortured fantasies of crazed authors of fiction.


Fig. 1. Attack of the Giant Squid in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

      The Kraken is the giant squid (Architeuthis)—and its more recently-discovered cousin, the colossal squid (Mesonychiteuthis). Yet having said that, how do we approach this realization? Simply being handed the solution to what started as some sort of cryptozoological investigation does not do justice to the reality or to the legend that preceded it. For a good long time, the question of the giant squid really was a cryptozoological issue. There were reports dating from the earliest days of seafaring. There were the legends of the Hydra, and of Scylla and Charybdis; there were the tales of Jules Verne; there were questions such as, “Did such a thing really exist, and, if so, how big could it really be?” As we shall see, we have now answered most of those questions. Still, the mind-boggling question remains: “If this thing really does exist as a living creature, how to we deal with that fact?”
      We are proposing that the reality of the Kraken highlights one of those rare instances in which the metaphysical world of our legends, fears, and archetypal fantasies overlaps with the real, biological, physical world on a continuing basis. But the Kraken has several characteristics that arise from and feed our deepest fears—and which can be identified as well in the living animal. Among these characteristics is that of implacability; despite all attempts to slay or stop the beast, it just keeps coming. It seems that wounding it simply makes it attack all the more. Consider the most ancient legend that can be identified with the multi-armed monster we know as the giant squid—namely, that of the Hydra.

The Hydra


Fig. 2. The Lernaean Hydra by OZ

      The Hydra was a monster living in the swamps near the city of Lerna in Argolis in ancient Greece. It was the offspring of Echidna (half maiden, half serpent), and Typhon, who had 100 heads. The Hydra had the body of a serpent and nine heads. The multiple heads probably referred to semi-independent attacking arms belonging to the same creature. The middle heads was impervious to any weapon, and the others, if cut off, simply regrew. In some versions, two regrow for every one cut off. Its breath had a deadly stench as well. The Hydra was notorious for attacking herds of cattle, which it devoured with its many heads.
      As his second Labor, the hero Heracles came to Lerna to slay the Hydra, bringing his nephew and charioteer, Iolaus. Heracles instructed Iolaus to cauterize each wound from a severed head with his torch to keep them from growing back. As for the final head, which was said to be immune from every weapon, Heracles simply tore it off with his bare hands, and buried it under a huge rock (which can still be seen today).


Fig. 3. Heracles and Iolaus killing the Lernaean Hydra. Antique Greek vase painting

      But let’s look at some of the relevant details. The thing lives in a marsh, which, while not the ocean, is still a place of the dark watery unknown which may swallow the unwary wanderer. Lake Lerna was one of the entrances to the Underworld, and the ancient Lernaean Mysteries, sacred to Demeter, were celebrated there. Pausanias writes:
There is no limit to the depth of the Alcyonian Lake, and I know of nobody who by any contrivance has been able to reach the bottom of it since not even Nero, who had ropes made several stades long and fastened them together, tying lead to them, and omitting nothing that might help his experiment, was able to discover any limit to its depth. This, too, I heard. The water of the lake is, to all appearance, calm and quiet but, although it is such to look at, every swimmer who ventures to cross it is dragged down, sucked into the depths, and swept away.1
The Keeper of the Gate to the Underworld that lay in the waters of Lerna was the Hydra—like the “Watcher in the Water” in Tolkein’s The Fellowship of the Ring that guarded the Gates of Moria. The Hydra’s many heads are described as being on long, flexible necks, which enables them to come at its opponents from different directions. There is what appears to be a central head, the invincible one that all the others serve and protect. Attempts to slay the beast only result in making matters worse. It just keeps coming.

Scylla


Fig. 4. Scylla by OZ

      Scylla was the name of a monster that lived under a huge rock in the Straight of Messina. She was originally a sea nymph who was transformed by the wrath of Circe into a monster with twelve feet and six heads. When the ships of Odysseus came within range, each one of her heads plucked a hapless sailor from the deck and devoured him. Sound familiar?


Fig. 5. Scylla, from Greek vase

      Scylla’s companion horror, Charybdis, was the daughter of Poseidon and Gaia, whom Zeus turned into a monster for stealing Hercules’ cattle. Depicted as a whirlpool, sucking in and spewing out large amounts of water, and sucking under whole ships with their crews, Charybdis also embodied a consuming horror of the deep. Ulysses steered clear of Charybdis, opting to have six of his shipmates grabbed and eaten by Scylla rather than lose the whole ship to Charybdis. Still, the association with cephalopods is hard to deny. Part of the Odyssey’s description of Scylla reads, “Her legs, and there are twelve, are like great tentacles, unjointed, and upon her serpent necks are joined six heads….”


Fig. 6. Scylla & Charybdis

Mariners’ Tales

      In the post-Classical era, however, the picture is quite different. Here we have not simply stories set in some mythical past, but reports of actual sightings and incidents, told by sailors who claimed to base them on real experience, however much they may have embellished the retelling. We also have drawings either taken from the descriptions or done by actual witnesses. It is here that the connection to real cephalopods becomes unmistakable.
      When Europeans first ventured beyond the Gates of Hercules they hugged the coasts of Europe and Africa. The vastness of the Atlantic must have appeared as a huge unknown, and quite naturally would have harbored monsters both real and imagined. Tales, of course, abounded, as the appearance of the great whales, such as the blue whale or the sperm whale, would certainly have qualified as the sighting of a monster.
      The literature contains a fairly large number of reports that could quite easily be identified as sightings of giant squid, but others are more of a stretch. These reports, which range roughly from about 1000 ce to the early 20th century, constitute an interesting mixture of tales. Some later authors and investigators have rightly concluded that there is a squid at the bottom of some of them, whereas others simply projected their own preconceived notions about the anatomy of squids into the descriptions of sightings, and asked themselves what part of a squid’s anatomy seen from which perspective could have given rise to those descriptions.


Fig. 7. Monstrous Fish by Olaus Magnus

      An exhaustive recounting of these tales is not appropriate in this essay, but a few examples certainly are. One of the more noteworthy is a description of “monstrous fish” (Fig. 8) by Olaus Magnus, the Catholic archbishop of Sweden. Part of that description (circa 1555) reads, “Their forms are horrible, their heads square, all set about with prickles and they have a sharp horn round about like a tree rooted up by the roots….”
      What is interesting in the Magnus account is the description of it resembling an uprooted tree, which brings us to the topic of the word Kraken. Around 1000 ce, King Severre of Norway first used Kraken to describe a sea-monster, and the word occurs again in another work by a Norwegian, Bishop Erik Ludvigsen Pontoppidian, in his The Natural History of Norway (1755).2 Apparently, the association of the word Kraken with an uprooted tree is a tenuous connection at best. Kraken is actually the plural of the word krake, which simply means “sea-monster.”


Fig. 8. St. Malmo engraving

      There are a few remarkable illustrations of sightings that are unmistakably giant squid. Even the one that looks more octopus-like most likely has a squid at the bottom of it (Fig. 9).
      Another depicts a horrific attack by an enormous squid upon a hapless vessel, which was certainly doomed (Fig. 10).


Fig. 9. Squid attack on a sailing ship

      Sorting out exactly how factual the accounts behind these engravings are is not so much the point as is the anatomical similarity between the drawings and the actual animal. Everything we know today about large squid—be they giant or colossal—tells us that none of them is large enough to actually drag a ship down to Davy Jones’s Locker. That doesn’t mean they are not big and dangerous, mind you—just not that big.
      A more reasonable account came in 1861 from the French corvette Alecton, whose crew reported the capture of a giant squid. The crew was able to bring only a portion of the body aboard because it broke apart while being hoisted out of the water. The Alecton report and the accompanying illustrations appear in the light of today’s knowledge to be quite realistic, yet the captain and crew were denounced as liars.


Fig. 10. The Alecton encounter, from Buel3

      The eyes were described as the size of dinner plates, and the mouth as being 18 inches across. In addition, the crew mentions a horrible stench. In a freshly caught animal, this would not be the result of putrification but the normal characteristic of the giant squid—that is, the ability to secrete ammonia. We know now that both the giant and the colossal squid lack swim bladders like those of fish, but can adjust their buoyancy by secreting ammonia into their tissues, thus changing their specific gravity. This results in the ammonia smell, and renders the flesh completely inedible. The Alecton incident appears to be a reliable and factual account of an encounter with a giant squid.

Architeuthis

      The resistance in the biological community to accepting the existence of this species as well as its size remained intense until the late 20th century, when it could no longer be denied. One is tempted to attribute this to the normal skepticism of the scientific community, but one must factor in an additional element—the archetypal horror of the all-consuming Kraken of our deep, existential fears. This, then, leads us to the question of just how big and aggressive can these monsters be—for monsters they truly are.


Fig. 11. Kraken postage stamp from Canada

      When we talk about the Kraken, we are actually speaking of two distinct species that are now (albeit after much convincing) recognized by science: the Giant Squid, Architeuthis dux, and the Colossal Squid, Mesonychiteuthis hamiltoni. For some time, it was speculated that Architeuthis was a passive feeder, hanging inverted in a chosen temperature layer deep in the ocean, seizing passing prey with its long tentacles, and then drawing the prey to its beak with its eight shorter arms. We now know that Architeuthis is an aggressive predator. Like all squid, it has two long appendages called “tentacles” that are elastic and can be shot out to seize prey with the club-like pods on the end of each. Then it has eight shorter arms that grab and draw the prey to the savage beak, which shreds and devours it. In the case of giant squid, the suckers on both tentacles and arms are ringed with sharp tooth-like hooks.
      The first Architeuthis caught live (in December of 2006, by a team of Japanese researchers) actively attacked the bait and fought being hauled in, losing the pod of one tentacle, which writhed for some time with its toothed sucker cups on the deck of the ship. The squid itself did not survive the capture, but was the first example of Architeuthis to be photographed live.


Fig. 12. Giant squid washed up on Catalina beach

      As to the aggressive nature of large squid in general, we can look at a more familiar example, the Humboldt squid, Dosidicus gigas. Unlike the two giant species, the Humboldt squid is edible—but then it has the same attitude toward those who would try to capture it. Growing up to six feet long, including the arms (but not the tentacles), and weighing about 100 pounds, the Humboldt squid inhabits the Sea of Cortez and from the tip of Baja, California, to, most recently, the Central California coast. They move in schools of up to 1,200 individuals and can swim at up to 13 knots, often coming up at night from depths of around 2,000 feet to feed.


Fig. 13. Giant Humboldt squid

      Local fishermen fear them because a significant number of them have been attacked and badly bitten, and some have been dragged down to their doom by groups of squid that were trying to eat the victim and each other. Humboldt squid have toothed suckers like those of the giant varieties. Their reputation as aggressive hunters is indisputable, and, given the observed behavior of the one living Architeuthis, can probably be assumed to be the case with the two giant species. Both the giant and colossal squid have toothed suckers on their arms. The Architeuthis has toothed suckers on the clubs of its tentacles, whereas Mesonychoteuthis has swiveled hooks on the clubs.


Fig. 14. Architeuthis suckers (a) compared with Mesonychoteuthis hooks (b)

      The question of how big is a thornier one. Extrapolations of Architeuthis attaining 150 feet in length are just not credible. Also, statements about the length of giant squid tend to be confusing in general. Measurements—inflated to sound more sensational—include the arms, as well as the two elastic tentacles with wider clubs on the ends used to grab prey. At least in the case of Architeuthis, the length of these tentacles can vary widely, sometimes depending on how far they have been stretched by those doing the measurements. Then there are the eight arms, which typically have a length proportional to that of the particular specimen. The head, arms and tentacles extend from the front of the mantle, whose length is the standard used for comparing the relative sizes of giant and colossal squid.


Fig. 15. Squid measurements

      By now we have a fairly large sample of specimens of Architeuthis, and it is not known to attain a mantle length greater than 7.4 feet, which would result in a length with the arms (not the tentacles) of no more than about 16.5 feet. To those among us who may be disappointed with these sizes, that is a very large and dangerous animal. But it’s just not capable of pulling under a vessel or impeding the progress of a 19th-century submarine.

Mesonychoteuthis

      Mesonychoteuthis is a somewhat different matter. Colossal is quite the appropriate word for it. We know for a fact that it exists on the basis of at least two specimens, one of which was captured live in February of 2007 and brought, completely intact, aboard the fishing vessel that caught it, but died in the process of being hauled in. Unlike the Alecton, the fishing vessel was able to freeze the creature until it could be brought in for study. This creature, a mature male, weighed 992 pounds and was supposedly 39 feet long. Early reports neglected to specify which measurement this was. Mesonychoteuthis is considerably stockier and heavier than Architeuthis, in addition to being longer. The only other intact specimen was an immature female with a mantle length of 7.5 feet. Based on the estimates of female to male size, it is quite possible that a mature female could reach a mantle length of 13 feet or a little more. The weight, however, would approach a ton. Again, the beak is enormous, as can be seen in the photo of the captured male (Fig. 17).


Fig. 16. Captured male colossal squid (AP 2/22/07)4

      Estimates of squid size have been done by comparing beaks taken from the stomachs of sperm whales, which is the giant and colossal squids’ only natural predator. Some of the extrapolation has been done by examining fragments of tentacles and using their diameter to estimate the overall length. Because the Mesonychoteuthis is proportionally more heavy-set than Architeuthis, mistaking a colossal squid arm for that of a giant squid could lead to wildly different length estimates.


Fig. 17. Giant and colossal squids compared (after Steve O’Shea)5

The Kraken

      So now we know our monster. It is real. It is a biological presence on our planet. It is an implacable hunter, aggressive and deadly in its element—the deep ocean. Yet it has rarely been known to attack humans. There was one incident off the coast of Newfoundland in which two men and a young boy in a small boat beat back an attacking giant squid, but that is the only verified attack.6 Yet this image populates some of our deepest fears. It lurks in realms of mystery and nightmare. What has made it so compelling?


Fig. 18. Giant squid attack off Newfoundland, Oct. 26, 1873

      Written when he was only 21, “The Kraken” by Tennyson contains evocative elements that foreshadow the Cthulhu mythos, begun in the early 20th century by H.P. Lovecraft and continued by other authors including Robert Bloch, August Derleth, Robert E. Howard and others. Among these elements are a mysterious great being slumbering beneath the depths of the sea, images of vast age and murkiness, and the prospect that it will awaken and rise in the midst of some unnamed catastrophe. Just what moved Tennyson to write such a thing at such a tender age will never be known, except that he might have tapped into some archetypal imagery that would resonate and be reprised by others. Nor is it known whether Lovecraft or his circle were aware of this poem.
      As an author, H.P. Lovecraft was an admirer of such writers as Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Dunsany, and Arthur Machen. In terms of the literary craft, he never rose to the level of Poe, but his work influenced a good number of writers in the fantasy and horror genre. The Cthulhu mythos became a sort of shared world to which many contributed, but which was under no single author’s control.

Great Cthulhu

      The Cthulhu mythos revolves around a race (or races) of alien beings who came to this planet untold ages ago—the chief among these being the Great Cthulhu—but who are now mostly dormant. Cthulhu lies dead but undead in the sunken city of R’lyeh in the depths of the Pacific. He is described as a large, green creature with bat wings, huge talons, and the head of a squid—that is, with tentacles below the eyes. Every so often, R’lyeh rises from the depths and the Great Old Ones hold sway until it sinks again. The myth holds that someday, when the “stars are right,” the sunken city will rise again and the Old Ones led by Great Cthulhu will reign supreme over the Earth.


Fig. 19. Great Cthulhu in R’lyeh

      The slumbering beneath the sea seems to tie in with the fact that great squid dwell at incredible depths and thus are rarely seen on the surface—usually only when they are sick or dying. However, the sight of the emergence of a hungry, deadly Humboldt squid from the depths of the ocean—or, in the case of the Great Cthulhu, from a place beyond space—can give rise to an implacable horror of the sightless deep, as well as the hapless victim’s fear of being dragged into the creature’s alien world. Even a very bad 2006 HBO movie, Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep, depicted a giant squid recently woken from its long slumber and eating everybody (except, of course, the beautiful blonde marine biologist).
      It is a commonplace in Lovecraft stories that certain realities would better be left unknown. In The Call of Cthulhu, he writes,

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our own frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.7

      One of the elements of The Call of Cthulhu is the existence of a cult, depicted by Lovecraft in his ingrained, racist way as made up of squat, swarthy men influenced by the thoughts of dreaming Cthulhu to do his bidding. They celebrate unspeakable rites and do dastardly things in their efforts to waken Cthulhu from his slumbers. Interestingly, something analogous to these “swarthy men” may exist in the real world that involves the giant and colossal squid. Given that the only natural predator of both is the sperm whale, would not Great Cthulhu wish to free his “children” by doing away with this nasty menace?


Fig. 20. Battle between sperm whale and squid (from National Geographic)

      Sperm whales and giant squid do tremendous battles in the depths, with the whale usually coming out ahead of the game and eating the squid. If there were fewer whales, there could be more and larger squid. Now, despite the international pressure to ban or at least limit whaling, there is one nation, Japan (whose inhabitants might be uncharitably described by some ignorant folks as “swarthy”), that defies the International Whaling Commission and continues to massacre whales all over the world. Could it be that the Japanese whalers are consciously or unconsciously doing the bidding of a dreaming Cthulhu by killing off the enemies of his minions?
      It has not escaped attention that there have been more Architeuthis brought out of the ocean depths in recent years than in all previous history. Even more recently, we have observed the recovery of at least two Mesonychoteuthis and can expect more. On the one hand, these developments have finally convinced a skeptical scientific community that these creatures do, indeed, exist. On the other hand, the increase in numbers could strike one as disturbing.
      Of course, such creatures as giant and colossal squid are just biological creatures that evolved in tune with their environment like all other forms of life, aren’t they? How then does humankind appear to have had a notion of their form before it became known in photos and specimens? How is it that there is a creature living today that appears to embody some of our most basic fears regarding our own existence and the integrity of our being? Are their numbers really increasing, or does the proof of their existence simply lend itself to the recognition of existing numbers?
      If there truly are more, what is behind that increase? Is it possibly another effect of climate change, or is some other agency at work—buried behind a wall of dreams and lost in a realm of strange angles and dark shades? If you found yourself confronted with such a creature in its own realm, would it matter what the answer is? The horror is far away from our daily “placid island of ignorance,” as Lovecraft puts it. But it is real. It lurks in the sightless depths, its beak shredding toothfish and marlin with an intractable indifference to the fate of either. And, just occasionally, but perhaps more frequently, it reaches up above the waves to remind us of some of our most deeply seated and repressed fears.



A Personal Addendum by Oberon

      I have always been fascinated with cephalopods in general, and giant squids in particular. I was enthralled by Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as a kid, and, in 1954, I eagerly awaited Disney’s terrific movie version, wherein my favorite scene was the battle with the giant squid. I grew up near Chicago, where I spent many happy weekends exploring the wonderful museums of the windy city. The indelible image that has remained in my mind these 60-some years later is the full-size model of a giant squid that hung from the ceiling of the Field Museum of Natural History. From Bernard Heuvelmans’ classic Le Kraken et le Poulpe Colossal (1958) to Richard Ellis’ The Search for the Giant Squid (1998), I have read every book and article on these creatures I could get my hands on, saved every news clipping on beached carcasses, and recorded every Discovery Channel special on current quests to film and obtain a live specimen.


Fig. 22. Giant squid, life-size model, Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago

      I consider cephalopods to be among the most fascinating creatures on Earth. They belong to the order of Mollusca, which first appeared in the mysterious “Cambrian Explosion” 544 million years ago, along with every other order of multicellular life forms (including a couple dozen that were never seen again).8 Cephalopods are undoubtedly the first animals to have developed intelligence. Laboratory studies of common reef octopuses indicate they are as smart as dogs. Unlike vertebrates, whose brains cannot outgrow their rigid skulls, the brains of cephalopods continue growing throughout their lives, just as the animal itself does. For an octopus, however, that isn’t a very long time. Even the giant Pacific Octopus lives no longer than six years, and the females of all octopi die after hatching their eggs. So whatever degree of intelligence they attain must be developed during a period of time corresponding to our own early childhoods. How smart were you at six, compared to now?
      Octopi are solitary hunters, and associate only briefly to mate. Therefore, other than territorial and mating signals, they have no need to develop any sophisticated form of communication with each other. It is pretty well considered axiomatic that the greatest intellectual development among all creatures occurs as a factor of intercommunication among the members of social species (for example, cetaceans, primates, wolves, elephants, parrots, and certainly velociraptors), so the solitary existence of octopi, along with their short life span, would also limit how intelligent they can become.


Fig. 23. Life-size giant squid and whale, American Museum of Natural History in New York

      Neither of these limitations applies to giant squid. Although the largest remains found washed up on beaches have been in the very impressive neighborhood of up to 60 feet long from tail to tentacle tip, sucker scars on the skins of the adult male sperm whales that eat them, and undigested beaks found in the bellies of such whales, indicate the probable existence of truly colossal giants—possibly twice that size. Although no live specimen of Architeuthis has ever been obtained for study, experiments with other common species of squid—with brains the size of marbles—have indicated intelligence equivalent to that of octopi. There is no reason to assume less for their enormous cousins, whose donut-shaped brains surround their esophagi at the front of their heads.
      The confirmation of giant squids up to 60 feet long—and the probable existence of far larger specimens in the abyssal depths of the oceans—indicates that giant squids, like anacondas, great white sharks, and some dinosaurs, probably continue growing throughout their life. And, like all other cephalopods, their brains continue growing larger along with their bodies. What we don’t yet know, however, is their life span. Is it short, like that of other cephalopods, or long?
      Unlike octopi, squid are social hunters, often aggregating in vast schools. Indeed, early sonar developed during World War II often returned “false bottom” soundings, which were later thought to have been caused by extensive shoals of giant squids. The near-simultaneous coordinated movements of schools of small squid which have been filmed implies a sophisticated degree of communication—probably effected through subtle shifts in the coloration patterns made possible by the uniquely sensitive chromatophores possessed by all cephalopods. Squid have the greatest eye-to-body size ratio of any living creatures, and giant squid possess the largest eyes on Earth.
      Given large brains, coordinated social predation, and possible longevity, it is not much of a stretch to hypothesize a considerable intelligence for Architeuthis and Mesonychiteuthis. We are, of course, familiar with the nature of vertebrate intelligence (based largely on vocal/auditory communication), as it is our own. And we are somewhat aware of the nature (or at least the existence) of arthropod intelligence, in the form of “hive minds” among the social insects, which communicate primarily by scent. We are only lately beginning to study cephalopod intelligence; and as yet we have no idea how it may manifest in these monstrous squid.
      And thus, out of paleontology and marine biology, I offer my own contribution to the Cthulhu mythos:


Fig. 24. Creatures from the Burgess Shale

      544 million years ago, the Great Old Ones came to Earth, manifesting in many bizarre forms (see the Burgess Shale). Most of those original orders killed each other off during the early aeons, and others (such as coelenterates, sponges, echinoderms, and worms) retreated into mindlessness and even sessility. Successful active hunters included the arthropod eurypterids and giant trilobites, but they never developed intelligence. Cephalopods—the Spawn of Cthulhu—first appeared as organisms with shells in the form of ammonites and nautiloids, some of which grew to lengths of more than 15 feet. And they became intelligent.
      They ruled the oceans of this world unopposed for 200 million years, until a rival intelligence finally arose in the form of vertebrates—the first of which were armored like tanks to ward off beaks, claws, and suckers. From the 30-foot-long Dinicthys (now renamed Duncleosis) of the Upper Devonian, the 50-foot-long Icthyosaurs and Kronosaurs of the Cretaceous, and the Archaeocetae of the Eocene, to the 60-foot-long sperm whales of today, calamari has been a favorite food of many oceanic hunters specifically evolved to eat them (a real challenge for Architeuthis, whose body fluids are ammonia- rather than water-based!). And the bigger the squid, the bigger the hunters. We grew up together and in opposition to one another, each species stimulating the evolution—and intelligence—of the other.


Fig. 25. Giant Squid and Kronosaur from Australian Dinosaurs book, by Marilyn Pride9

      And for the past 350 million years, these three emerging orders of intelligence have been locked in ceaseless and savage warfare—in the seas and, eventually, on land. In the seas, cephalopods hunt and eat arthropod crustaceans and vertebrate fish; in turn, both are hunted and eaten by vertebrates: fish, marine reptiles, and marine mammals. And on land, where cephalopods have never emerged, the battle still rages between arthropod insects and all land vertebrates.
      Throughout human history, rare encounters with the Spawn of Cthulhu have given rise to horrific legends: the Hydra (from the Labors of Heracles); Scylla (from the Odyssey); the Centimani (“hundred-handed”) of the Titanomachia; the Norwegian Kraken; “Le Poulpe Colossal”; Bishop Olaus Magnus’s “monsterous fish”; Charles Douglas’s “Stoor worms”; and so on. Deep beneath the ocean waves, in the sunken land called R’lyeh, the collective soul of Great Cthulhu resides in a monstrous entity—like the termite queen in the foundation of the hive. He waits, hates, and dreams...


Fig. 26. Cthulhu plaque by Oberon Zell

      And Cthulhu’s malevolent dreams have seeped out into the nightmares of humanity. He is at war; he has always been at war, for 350 million years: at war with all vertebrate life, but particularly with his greatest adversary, the mighty sperm whale—the only creature alive that can defeat him in physical battle.
      And so Cthulhu has fostered a cult among humanity dedicated to destroying his ancient enemy: the worldwide whaling industry. In my fevered fantasies, I imagine secret temples hidden somewhere in the bowels of the whaling companies, with shrines to Great Cthulhu, where the whaling lords pay homage to their true master...

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
—Abdul Alhazred, Al Azif

Monster Movies: The Kraken and the Hydra


Fig. 27. “Release the Kraken!” From Clash of the Titans (1981)

      The earliest attempt to create an animated cephalopod on film was a 1916 silent adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A far more successful version was produced by Disney in 1954, and remains an all-time classic. Although Ray Harryhausen’s monstrous six-tentacled cephalopod that attacked San Francisco in It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) was depicted as a gigantic octopus, it was certainly meant to be a Kraken. And in that same year, Ulysses portrayed the multiheaded Scylla. A 1960 Italian film titled Hercules vs. the Hydra featured that beast. Harryhausen’s 1961 adaptation of Verne’s Mysterious Island had Captain Nemo’s divers attacked by a giant prehistoric nautilus. Harryhausen’s finest film, Jason and the Argonauts (1963) had a Hydra guarding the Golden Fleece. In the marvelous 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964), the Loch Ness Monster becomes a multiheaded Hydra. In 1981, Harryhausen included both the Kraken and the Hydra in Clash of the Titans. Cast a Deadly Spell (TV, 1991) featured Great Cthulhu. Peter Benchley’s The Beast (1996) was a quite realistic giant squid. Scylla appears in the excellent 1997 TV miniseries of The Odyssey, and that same year, Disney’s animated Hercules included the Hydra. Peter Jackson’s superb adaptation of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001) presented the “Watcher in the Water” as a kind of freshwater Kraken. Disney’s animated Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) again featured a Kraken. The Hydra was also portrayed in a very good TV miniseries simply called Hercules (2005). In 2006, the Sci Fi Channel premiered Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep. But the most spectacular Kraken ever created on screen has to be the one in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006).

Oberon Zell is a renowned Wizard and Elder in the worldwide magickal community. In 1962, he co-founded the Church of All Worlds, a Pagan church with a futuristic vision. First to apply the term “Pagan” to the newly emerging Nature Religions of the 1960s, and through his publication of Green Egg magazine (1968-present), Oberon was instrumental in the coalescence of the modern Pagan movement. He has had many adventures around the world, including raising Unicorns and diving with Mermaids. Oberon designs beautiful figurines and jewelry for The Mythic Images Collection , and is the author of A Wizard’s Bestiary and other books. He is also the Founder and Headmaster of the online Grey School of Wizardry: www.GreySchool.com 

References
1.      Pausanias, 2.37.4.
2.      Pontoppidian, Bishop Erik Ludvigsen, The Natural History of Norway, London, 1755.
3.      Buel, James William, Sea and Land, Historical Publishing Co.; St Louis, MO, 1887.
4.      Lilly, Ray, “New Zealand Fishermen Catch Rare Squid,” Associated Press, 2/22/07.
5.      O’Shea, Steve, “Giant Squid & Colossal Squid Fact Sheet,” www.Tonmo.com (2007)
6.      The Editors of Time-Life Books, Mysterious Creatures, Time-Life Books Inc., 1988.
7.      Lovecraft, Howard Phillip, “The Call of Cthulhu,” The Dunwich Horror and Others, Lancer Books, 1963.
8.      Ellis, Richard, The Search for the Giant Squid, The Lyons Press; New York, 1988.
9.      Gould, Steven Jay, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, WW. Norton & Co.; New York, 1989.
10.  Pride, Marilyn, Australian Dinosaurs and Their Relatives, Collins/Angus & Robertson; Australia, 1988.
11.  Heuvelmans, Bernard , Le Kraken et le Poulpe Colossal (1958)


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