Among legends about monstrous yeti that saunter through alpine lands seeking their next meal and sea serpents said to resemble snakes that could take up five city blocks lies the legend of the Kraken. Its menacing tales span back centuries, as far as the year 1180 when a first-hand account was written by King Sverre. While these eyewitness accounts won't likely have the chance to be proven right or wrong with evidence, in modern times, the existence of giant squid has been confirmed - and there's reason to believe that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of these creatures we have yet to learn about.
Legends, which were taken as truth at the time, about the Kraken continued well into the 18th century. According to science, this is all hearsay but for those who genuinely believe in the existence of something larger than the average octopus, these words are taken seriously. The sea was once believed to be a menacing place that was filled with animals unknown and even today, the giant squid continues to be one of the most elusive and mysterious creatures in the ocean.
So if this creature were to be found, where would it turn up? Science might be able to point the way.
Earliest Accounts Of the Kraken And The First Modern Evidence
Not unlike the belief that Megaladon (giant shark) could still be swimming out there somewhere, lurking in the dark corners of the ocean, the Kraken, specifically, has been a subject of interest to scientists and folklorists. Much of the evidence for its potential existence comes from ancient accounts combined with evidence pointing to the actual existence of giant squid, which has since been confirmed. One of the most incredible findings happened in Norway which, interestingly enough, is also where King Sverre was from - and the coincidence has not been lost on those following the species.
In 1954, a giant squid was found washed ashore in Ranheim, Norway, and was measured by Professors Svein Haftorn and Erling Sivertsen. The entire thing measured 9.5 meters (just over 31 feet) in length, making it one of the biggest specimens ever recorded at that time. However, Norway is not the only location to have borne witness to the existence of enormous squid; Newfoundland has also had its fair share of oversized tentacle creatures. In 1873, a specimen in the form of a tentacle was brought back from a fishing trip by Theophilus Picot, who claimed the creature had actually attacked his boat. The tentacle in question measured an astounding 19 feet which meant the creature itself was even larger than that, and when the rest of the animal was found, it gave the first insight into a world of marine life that was previously unconfirmed.
In 1853, another squid specimen was found washed up on a beach and was discovered by Japetus Steenstrup, a Norwegian naturalist. Steenstrup was able to obtain the beak of the animal which led science even further to the idea of the existence of a giant squid. This began to blur the lines between the Kraken and squid - could it possibly be the same animal?
Why Haven't More Been Discovered?
The science behind the giant squid and, potentially, the creature responsible for the creation of the Kraken legend, is a bit murky - no pun intended. The largest specimen ever recorded measured 19 meters (almost 60 feet in length) and does, indeed, fit the bill according to early eyewitness accounts of what was believed to be a mythical beast. It's believed that there are millions of squid out there, although the determination as to whether it's one species or many has yet to be proven one way or the other.
With unbelievable strength and power behind both its tentacles and a beak that could, potentially, take down a small boat or do damage to an ancient ship, these creatures live at depths that are often unseen to the human eye. At almost 3,000 feet, giant squids are comfortable living, eating, and reproducing, three things that scientists have yet to witness or understand.
At that depth, it's almost as if the light doesn't exist and even if a human being could withstand the pressure of that depth, it's unclear where one would even begin to search. So far, the only recordings that show a giant squid in action have been somewhat accidental, among witness accounts from late-night fishermen. So, is it possible that the Kraken exists? The answer, undoubtedly, is 'yes'... but not in the way that many people would think.