The Kraken Shall Rise Again

What Dwells The Ocean Depths?

Since ancestral time sailors and seamen have spoken of a huge tentacled monster emerging, during violent thunderstorms, from the unfathomable depths of the ocean. They called that creature "The Kraken". They were familiar with octopuses and squids, which were marine animals with tentacles, but The Kraken was considered a different species due to its gigantic size, larger than any other animal. At times The Kraken was thought to be a giant octopus, other times a giant squid. But most of the times, The Kraken was simply as sea monster.

At the dawn of scientific discoveries the academic world dismissed the tales of The Kraken as ridiculous, not even considering the carcasses of these creatures when, in rare instances, came ashore under low tide. Then, at some point, things changed.

Scientists were forced to focus on the topic after the number of carcasses of the alleged Kraken were found within short periods of time, and obviously the public opinion demanded answers.
It was established that The Kraken was a real species, and labeled as Giant Squid. This creature is still today one of the most elusive among the large animals living on Earth.

Scholars and researchers have been trying to observe the Giant Squid for years in its habitat, but have always failed. Those who claim to have seen it were mostly fishermen and sailors, the same witnesses who are rarely believed when they speak of sea serpents living in the seas.
The scientists spent millions of dollars organizing expeditions, but could never record a Giant Squid alive on camera. All the information we possess today come from the carcasses found ashore.

On September, 2004 a team of Japanese scientists lured a Giant Squid to the surface using a bait, and took more than 500 photographs before the creature set free and disappeared. The scientists were left with nothing more than a five meters tentacle attached to the bait.
The questions still haunting the researchers is what size a Giant Squid can reach. According to the scars found on whales lead to the idea that the oceanic depths may host creature a lot bigger than the ones found on shores. And again, is there only one species of Giant Squid, or more?

The Giant Squids living under the Antarctic continent belong to a species called Mesonychoteuthis Hamiltoni, which is believed to be bigger than any other Giant Squid observed so far. It seems that we have just seen the “cubs” of this creature, but their size was enough to name the Antarctic Squid “Colossal Squid.”

The term “Kraken” comes from the Norwegian “Krake” which means an unhealthy or twisted thing. In the German language Krake (plural) and Kraken (singular) mean octopus.

In the Icelandic saga Orvar-Oddr (XIII Century) there is one episode about a journey toward Helluland (Baffin Island) that leads the protagonists across the Greenland sea. There, they observe two enormous sea monsters called Hafgufa (Sea Mist) and Lyngbakr (Heather’s Back). The first is believed to refer to The Kraken.

After coming back from Greenland, the anonymous author of the KonungsSjuggsja or Natural History of Ancient Norway (circa 1250) describes in details the physical features of these two creatures, included their diet. The author suggested that there existed only two specimen, based on the fact that their sightings were limited only to that portion of the North Sea.
Carl Linnaeus classified The Kraken as a cephalopod, giving it the scientific name of Microcosmus Marinus in his Systema Naturae (1735.) In his last work, Fauna Suecica (1746), however, he calls it “Singulare Monstrum” or unique monster, that allegedly inhabited the Norwegian seas.