I’m not talking about the rum, but I do think the bottles that brand come in look rather cool. I am talking about the legendary sea-monster that seems to be rumoured to well around the coasts of Norway and Greenland. It is a cephalopod which generally includes things like squid, octopus and nautilus. This particular type of marine life is characterized by large bodies, tentacles and many fishermen call them inkfish. Many of them do squirt ink so this does make sense.

There is a theory that many authors hold that the legend might be originated from sightings of giant squids. Giant squids can grow between 40-50 feet. It’s name is taken from Norwegian and an old Icelandic saga mentions a beast called hafgufa which swallows up men and ships. Some early accounts seem more crab-like than giant squid, but whatever the account it seems that the giant tentacled beast is now the modern accepted depiction.

A pretty famous poem by Alfred Tennyson was published in 1830 describing the massive creature at the depths of the ocean. In 1851 came Moby Dick by Herman Melville and it is described as a giant squid and similarly forms part of Jules Verne’s 1870 tales of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

The kraken is also referred to as a leviathan, this is from the Jewish belief and referenced in their texts in the Book of Job a large primeval monster is defeated by the god Hadad and various interpretations range from dragons and whales to sea monsters in general.

It is part of the Satanic Bible (1969) by Anton Szandor LaVey uses the Leviathan of the element of water, listing the leviathan of the Four Crown Princes of Hell. It is however not described as a kraken exactly but more as a large sea-serpent.

In modern culture the kraken has been imagined for various stories, 2010 saw the “release the kraken” line delivered by Liam Neeson as Zeus, and yes it is still used in our Dungeons and Dragons campaigns to this date, the film Clash of the Titans uses it as a servant of the Olympian Gods. In 2011 Wolverine and Hercules are attacked by the kraken, Marvel Comics. In 2016 King Nereus takes on a form of the kraken but is defeated by Aqua-Woman (Mera) in the DC comics universe of the Bombshells series.

The Disney series of Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest specifically, also brings the kraken to the big screen and TV’s as it devours Jack Sparrow under the servitude of Davy Jones. Used as servant it devours the souls of men marked by Davy Jones who are overdue on their payments. It appears at the end of At The World’s End as dead on the beach. I actually like its depiction in the second film as it felt like an all encompassing and fearsome creature.

It wouldn’t be my blog without mentioning H P Lovecraft and The Call of Cthulhu, the novel was written in 1926 and the Cthulhu Mythos scholar Robert M Price points to Tennyson’s influence when Lovecraft designed his description of Cthulhu. It is certainly a strong theory given his monstrous tentacles and that fact he is said to reside under the ocean in a large sunken city known as R’yleh. The location of this city was given by Lovecraft as being in the South Pacific. The position is known as ‘Nemo’ point which is a part of the ocean furthest away from any landmass. It is also known as a spacecraft cemetery, because a lot of our space rubbish is dumped there on re-entry as it is less likely to cause a collision with vessels and maritime traffic and is pretty lifeless due to a lack of nutrients in the area.

So I’m still a little off-topic from the kraken but I think it is loosely related so there is actually an old historical monument out there, the Antarctic Research Station, полюс недоступности (excuse any misspelling please), Pole of Inaccessibility Research Station at the Southern Pole and was founded and defined in 1958. It is also very cold there, -58.2c (-72.8f) and was initially reached on the 14th December, 1958 by an 18 man party.

26th December, 1958 the team left as it was too far from regular stations to be a safe venture. It has been visited since then and a bust of Vladimir Lenin was left at the site facing towards Moscow. In 2007 Team N2i ventured there and found the bust to still be visible and I am wondering if the kraken/Cthulhu would even notice knocking it over?

So do you think it is real? Asleep I some great depth or just an overly inflated tale about giant squid?

Sources: bbc.co.uk, traverse.npolar.no, wikipedia, gutenberg.org, victorianweb.org, lovecraftf.andom.org

Pirates of the Caribbean films

Old copy of the Satanic Bible – forgot I had this until I went digging around, old goth me would be impressed maybe.

H P Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu (from the compendium brought for me by friends!)

Denys de Montfort Poulpe Colossal.jpg
By Pierre Denys de Montfort († 1820) – Ellis, R. 1994. Monsters of the Sea. Robert Hale Ltd., Public Domain, Link

 

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