Recently inherited 1929 edition of “The Wonder Book of Knowledge” with an article reprinted from “The American Magazine” about a huge fish (gills) that looks like a cross between a shark and a whale, although clearly not a whale-shark. Cartilage instead of bone indicates it was a baby and the small eyes and lack of dilation suggests it lived at very deep levels. Took several days to land the creature by a Captain Charles H. Thompson of the yacht “Samoa” off Miami, Florida. Searching the internet for more info on the validity of the stories and pictures (or the lack thereof) and I cannot find anything one way or the other. Found this website in my search and cannot find anything here either. Anyone out there have any kind of info on this creature or event or know where else I can turn? Don’t know why I have an obsessed curiosity with this, but I would like to satisfy it and get it off my brain….
You 2 folks have found what little I have…there has to be an answer somewhere…yes, there is a picture, but no author listed…wish I had a scanner…will take the book to Kinko’s and see if I can’t scan it there somehow and post later (considering the holiday, maybe Tuesday?) so check back, especially if you DO find info…someone on Yahoo Answers suggested finding nautical records for the “Samoa” but I am apparently searching wrong or something….
I can’t find much about the ship online, but I have to agree with the answer that you received from someons on Yahoo. Ships records were generally meticulously kept, and finding records of the Samoa might be the only way to find out more about this.
If you can post the name of the author of the article, maybe we can get a bit more background on them, and shed some light on it. Particularly if the author was prone to “embellishing” stories.
All I keep turning up are stories of the St. Augustine Sea Monster, which washed ashore in 1896 and clearly isn’t related to this one.
Just quoting the article about the cartilage (I am not a zoologist so I don’t know if that’s a fact or not)....read the above link on the history of the magazine itself and maybe it was a predecessor of “Weekly World News” and everything is fake? That would be funny that such a publication as the “The Wonder Book of Knowledge” wouldn’t check out facts before publishing….
Not too easy to find records for that long ago, especially online. If you could find the home port of the ship, or where the captain is from, it might help, but still would be a chore and might require physically looking through period records that have not been recorded digitally yet. It also depends on the size and nature of the ship.
Do you think you could scan and provide the whole article? If not scanned, at least type it in word-for-word? The more information, the easier it will be to track down. Right now it seems that The American Magazine was the only place this event was really reported, that makes the story a tad suspicious in itself since other stories of sea monsters from the time and earlier can be found all over the place.
The description in general seems pretty suspect, so I think we may have more luck tracking down the author rather than trying to find the ship, captain, or more articles about the “fish”.
There is no author mentioned in the book anywhere, contents or index. The only acknowledgements to the article is “Courtesy of The American Magazine” and the picture is credited to “Capt. Chas. H. Thompson” so I am assuming it’s the same Charles H. Thompson who owns the yacht “Samoa”. There is 2 other men mentioned in the article—a crew member and a “winter visitor to Florida” but no actual names of those 2 men. It took 39 hours to wear the creature out and “hundreds of spectators gathered on the trestle of the East Coast sea-extension railway on Knight’s Key” which (according to the article) is 110 miles from Miami. Looks like a whale shark but has 5 gills. “Probable” it was a baby of its species as the backbone was of a cartilaginous nature. Silver dollar size eyes. Pupil did not dilate or contract. According to the description with the picture, 45 feet in length; 30,000 pounds in weight; circumfrence 23 feet 9 inches; diameter 8 feet 3 inches; mouth (open) 31 inches; mouth 38 inches wide; mouth 43 inches deep; tongue 40 inches long; several thousand teeth; hide 3 inches thick; no scales; had swallowed an animal weighing 1500 pounds; tail measures 10 feet from tip to tip; pectoral fin 5 feet long, 3 feet wide; dorsal fin 3 feet long, 2 feet 9 inches wide; gills 4 feet; the liver weighed 1700 pounds. I am only a grandmother, not a mathmetician to prove or disprove the picture—looks like a whale shark with gills, a funny mouth, and tiny eueballs. Does any of this help without reprinting the entire article until I can scan the picture?