There’s a lot of strange stuff floating around the Hudson River, but this just might be the best thing ever spotted in its murky waters. On September 30, 1895, the headline “THINKS HE SAW A SEA SERPENT” made its way into the pages of the New York Times. The article (h/t Gothamist), spoke of a Newark, New Jersey man named Philip N. Jackson who confirmed to reporters that he had indeed seen the same sea monster spotted just a week earlier by a Manhattan resident by the name of Willard P. Shaw. Jackson told the Times that with “his naked eye,” he saw the serpent zipping through the water, at times whipping its 100-foot-long body into the air.
As printed, the article read:
“Phillip N. Jackson, Vice President of the Newark Electric Light and Power Company, confirms the story told by Willard P. Shaw of 41 Wall Street, New York, last week, of the appearance of a sea serpent last Sunday off the shore at Spring Lake [New Jersey]. Mr. Jackson says he saw the monster with his naked eye a half mile from shore, and also had a view of it when two miles away, through Mr. Shaw’s marine glasses.
“He says it was traveling through the water at a great rate of speed, and was about 100 feet long. A number of folds in his body were plainly seen as they rose and fell. At times the monster raised his body ten feet in the air, and it then presented a terrible sight. Mr. Jackson says that, so far as he is concerned, he has no doubt that the object he saw was a genuine sea serpent.”
Apparently, the story went viral—or viral for the late 19th century, that is—and as Gothamist points out, the Scientific American ran a similar story. “The testimony concerning the monster is well corroborated,” they wrote. More on that here.
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