For centuries, large bodies of water such as oceans lakes and even rivers have been seen as mysterious and foreboding in some cases. During the Age of Exploration, for instance, many of the maritime maps included illustrations of creatures that sailors might encounter along the way which were typically labeled as sea monsters. In actuality, though, they were things like whales and dolphins which were seen as monstrous fish back then due to the lack of understanding what they were until the Victorian era advances in science corrected those misconceptions (for the most part). Then in the 1930s, the world was stunned by supposedly photographic evidence of the legendary Loch Ness Monster in Scotland which has since then been considered to be nothing more than a hoax.
Nevertheless, our fascination and repulsion of water clearly comes from some deep-seated fear of the unknown when it comes to understanding our world. While much of it has been explored in the past several decades, scientists are still discovering new places and things. Though in particular, our world’s oceans since we’ve invented the technology that allows mini-subs and underwater cameras to dive deeper than ever before. For this reason, all kinds of underwater discoveries have been made. While some are fascinating and groundbreaking in their significance, others are downright creepy and here are some examples that’ll make anyone not want to go near the water again.
Also known as MUSA which stands for Museo Subacuático de Arte (Underwater Museum of Art in English), this place was created in 2009 along the coast of Cancún, Mexico, according to MUSA’s official website. As the above picture indicates, it’s an area full of statues that were sculpted and deliberately placed underwater which have clearly been taken over by the natural elements of the sea such as algae and coral. The purpose of this strange museum, MUSA claims, is to “Demonstrate the interaction between art and environmental science” showing that both are forms of expression that can be easily intertwined.
Found in a shipwreck off the coast of Greece, this strange piece of technology baffled scientists for years until X-Ray Imaging was invented. This in turn allowed scientists to properly date the object and get a better sense of its purpose. What they discovered, though, was that it was used to “Track the paths of the Sun, Moon and planets” according to Smithsonian magazine roughly 2,000 years before it was discovered in 1901. Now that’s quite impressive, since that means the device predates Ancient Greece. Thus, the mechanism is considered to be the earliest form of computer ever invented.
As haunting as the above picture is on its own, it’s even creepier when the story behind it is revealed. On top of that, this is just one of the many wreckages of planes and ships that are present in the Chuuk Lagoon alone according to Listverse. Located in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, though in particular the Caroline Islands which lie between Micronesia and Palau, it’s an underwater graveyard for those that perished during World War II who were members of the Japanese Imperial Army. But according to Atlas Obscura, there are a few remains still present.
One of the most impressive ships ever built, apart from the Titanic, the Vasa stands in her own museum, which has become a popular tourist attraction due to its historical and national significance. After all, it was “The world’s most high-tech warship when it set sail” as stated by Smithsonian which happened to be 1628. Commissioned by the King of Sweden at the time, the ship was well-ornamented and outfitted with multiple cannons. 64, to be exact, Smithsonian says. Yet the reason it sank wasn’t due to enemy fire or the like. Many speculate it was bad design.
While the cold northern waters around Sweden were able to preserve the Vasa for centuries before it was recovered and placed in a museum, the same fate did not befall this vessel. Brazilian in origin, it was owned by a man named João Lara Mesquita who took the yacht down to Antarctica for the purposes of “Filming a documentary” Amusing Planet says. But due to bad weather, the ship wound up capsizing and sank several feet below the surface of the water creating the scene shown above. In 2013, the ship was recovered but beyond repair according to Amusing Planet.
While it has been proven that there was a land bridge that existed between the continents of Asia and North America, which was how the indigenous peoples of the Americas came to occupy it millions of years ago, there is another in Europe. In particular, between the mainland of Europe and the British Isles there’s a sunken landmass known as Doggerland which was recently discovered. Believed to have been occupied by both mammoths and hunter-gatherers, according to Listverse, it sank into the Atlantic approximately “8,500 years ago”. Since then, lots of underwater research has been done to study it.
As if one underwater art museum wasn’t enough, one of the main contributing artists for MUSA known as Jason deCaires Taylor created another off the coast of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea (not to be confused with the city of Granada in Spain). However, this museum predates MUSA by three years and according to Ancient Code the statues down here are “Derived from life casts of the local community” meaning they’re based on real people. So that adds a whole new layer of creepiness to this already strange concept, which makes it fascinating to look at but from a distance.
Unknown in its origins, this series of massive structures that lie in the waters off the coast of Japan have been the subject of much debate and controversy. This all began when Masaaki Kimura, a professor at the University of the Ryukyus, claimed these underwater structures were man made according to Ancient Code. Yet some didn’t agree with Kimura’s assessment, opting that the structures might actually be formed through natural processes such as erosion. Then there are even a few who think this might be evidence of Mu, the lost continent which supposedly sank in the Pacific Ocean, Ancient Code claims.
Also known by its scientific name Vampyroteuthis infernalis, which translates to “The vampire squid from hell” according to Smithsonian Ocean, it’s another deep sea-dwelling creature that is rarely seen due to its dark red coloring. But unlike the Big Red Jellyfish, this one does have tentacles which are connected by a thin membrane that folds like a cape. Then beneath the membrane lies rows of spikes along the tentacles which it defends itself with. However, the squid typically feeds on small “Marine snow” particles using the membrane as a net of sorts making it less scary than it looks.
Though the above image seems hard to believe, it is very much real. Located in Mexico, this structure is what’s known as a cenote which is a cave that has been filled with water either from underground or the ocean. But what makes this particular cenote extraordinary is that if one dives down far enough there is a river that flows beneath the water. How this is made possible, according to My Modern Met, is through a heavy concentration of saltwater near the bottom which is separated from the freshwater above through “A cloud of hydrogen sulphide” creating a river-like density.
Located in the Bahamas, this path of rounded square stones lies beneath the water. According to Listverse, it was “Discovered in the 1930s” despite only being six meters below. Since then, multiple theories have been posed about what its purpose was. While some think the stones are naturally formed and just so happen to form a path, there are those who have wilder theories about the Bimini Road. These include being created by “Ancient Egyptian divine protectors,” Listverse says, and even being a path that leads to the mythical city of Atlantis. For reasons such as this, it’s become popular.
In Lake Huron off the coast of Michigan, there is possible evidence of a structure beneath the water that resembles Stonehenge in Britain. While this claim is mainly inspired by a sonar scan done in 2013, the story behind it is more complicated than that. For a long time, it’s been theorized that there’s a submerged land bridge where ancient hunters would trap the caribou they hunted using large stones that is supposedly “Twice as old as Stonehenge” according to The Globe and Mail newspaper. Despite much skepticism, recent discoveries along the bottom of Lake Huron seem to suggest otherwise.
After its initial discovery, this sunken seaside town that resides south of Greece was believed to have been around during the Bronze Age which was when civilizations like Mesopotamia existed. Yet after careful examination of Pavlopetri's pottery, which was remarkably well-preserved along with the rest of the town due to “Its remote location” according to Listverse, it was revealed that Pavlopetri was much older than that. Instead of the Bronze Age, the town actually dates back to the Neolithic period. Thus, this is an amazing find from an archeological standpoint all thanks to the lack of human interference beforehand.
Thought to be a city of myth, it was found by accident near the city of Alexandria, Egypt, sunk beneath the waves. Also known as “Heraklion” in Greek and “Thonis” in Egyptian, this city was said to be very prosperous during the Seventh and Eighth centuries according to Ancient Code before disappearing. The cause of it was believed to be natural disasters, much like Atlantis as well as many other cities both legendary and not. Then in the 90s, an archeologist who was looking for ships from Napoleon's Battle of the Nile found Heracleion remains which included lots of statues.
Speaking of Atlantis, China has its own equivalent in the form of Lion City. Known as “Shi Cheng” locally, it’s located not in the middle of the ocean but within a manmade lake called Qiandao. Before the lake was created, though, the city existed in a valley near Wu Shi Mountain (or Five Lion Mountain in English). Considered to be “The center of politics and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang” as stated by Ancient Code, it was flooded in the 1950s when the Chinese government decided to build a dam. Despite this unfortunate act, many divers visit it.
When we were in grade school, we all had a hard time spelling out this word in class despite its simple meaning. At its core, this describes a living creature’s ability to produce its own light through a reaction of certain chemicals in its body. While a majority of these creatures live in the ocean, there are a few that can be found on land according to National Geographic Society. With that said, this phenomena can also happen in certain types of toxic bacteria in the ocean creating what are called Milky Seas that glow at night which are avoided.
Commonly known as the Big Red Jellyfish (for obvious reasons), this creature is unique compared to other members of its kind. First of all, those tendrils sticking out of its body aren’t actually tentacles. Instead, they are “Feeding arms” according to Smithsonian Ocean which it uses for catching prey which no other jellyfish species has. Second, it lives pretty far down in the ocean’s depths making it almost impossible to see due to its deep red color which isn’t very visible when there’s no light coming from above. Plus, its minimum size is “1 meter long” The Zoo Zoom says.
Residing on the bottoms of lakes and oceans, these nightmarish creatures were once mistaken for eels due to the shapes of their bodies. But in actuality, they’re a type of parasitic fish that has a sucker-like mouth with rows of teeth around the edges. With this, the lamprey feeds on the fluids of other fish that it attaches itself onto. In fact, NOAA's National Ocean Service states that they’ve become an invasive species for North America. Particularly, in the Great Lakes which they occupied starting in the 1800s wiping out trout fisheries and now their numbers are being constantly regulated.
One of the rarest shark species in the world, this beast was thought to be part of an extinct group that was related to the kinds of early sharks that thrived when the dinosaurs walked on land. Some telltale signs include its teeth which are three-pronged in shape and arranged in multiple inward rows. Thus, it falls under a group of animals that have been labeled as living fossils. Said to roam in “Unknown parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans” according to The Zoo Zoom, it’s believed to be able to “Swallow its prey whole” like a snake.
Like the Frilled Shark, this one has been considered to be yet another living fossil and it typically roams the deeper parts of the ocean. Its primary features include a long snout on the top of its head which according to Smithsonian Ocean contains sensory organs which “Help it to sense electric fields” all fish emanate that sharks are able to sense in general. Then there’s its jaw, with the upper-half being capable of stretching to various lengths to catch its prey more easily. In fact, Goblin Sharks with varying jaw lengths were mistakenly thought to be different species.
Below the Earth’s crust, the entire planet contains a thick layer of magma which is melted metal that’s constantly shifting around the core. Yet there are certain geological formations where the heat from beneath the crust can escape, with the biggest being volcanoes where the magma becomes more solidified in the form of lava. Another formation, though, is the hypothermal vents dubbed “Black smokers” because of the dark clouds of stuff escaping from them. Resting along the bottoms of many oceans, the heat these things produce can reach up to “370 degrees Celsius (700 °F) and higher” according to Listverse.
When considering the notion that the ocean itself has a bottom to it, it’s hard to fathom given how deep an ocean is. Yet thanks to advancements in technology, we’ve not only taken pictures of it in various parts of the world including the nefarious Mariana Trench but even filmed it on camera. Though the idea of a sea floor, let alone the notion that it spreads due to the shifting of tectonic plates was largely proven by a female cartographer named Marie Tharp. According to Smithsonian Ocean, she was able to prove it without “Stepping foot on a boat”.
Off the coast of Israel, there lie the remains of an ancient village that dates all the way back to the Neolithic period which was practically the age of early man who were just starting to cultivate the land through early forms of farming at that point. As a result, the village itself isn’t physically impressive like Stonehenge but there are a few noteworthy structures such as rectangular houses and stone wells. Now what happened to the people living here? According to The Zoo Zoom, the village inhabitants abandoned it before a tsunami triggered by a volcano engulfed the village.
Within the Pacific Ocean, there is an area called the Bering Sea which lies between Alaska’s peninsula and the northwestern coast of Russia. Here, there is a deep underwater canyon called Zhemchug that is believed to be even deeper than the land-based Grand Canyon. Proof of this claim can be found in two different areas. For starters, it is said that whole submarines are capable of and have passed through this area easily. Second, this canyon “Can only be seen in its entirety from space” according to Listverse. So with that in mind, the Mariana Trench seems pretty tame.
Near the small country of Belize in Central America, this daunting formation resides. As one might guess at a glance, it’s extremely deep as indicated by the color of the water which is much darker than the surrounding waters. In fact, it is “The largest ever recorded” as stated by Listverse. Yet despite how scary it looks, the Great Blue Hole has become pretty popular among tourists particularly among those who want to dive into it. However, because it’s so deep “Guided tours will only take you a fraction of the way down” Listverse says which makes it more unnerving.
Resources: thezoozoom.com, listverse.com, ancient-code.com, www.amusingplanet.com, smithsonianmag.com, atlasobscura.com, musamexico.org, theglobeandmail.com, nationalgeographic.org, ocean.si.edu, oceanservice.noaa.gov, mymodernmet.com