A sea is a place of myth, of legend, and of fear. It’s resting waters inspire beauty; it’s turbulent wrath sees death and destruction. Sailors grow to love it, and they grow to fear it – as a mother, as a beast, as a creature that lives and breathes of it’s own; gentle in it’s gifts and caresses as it is horrible in it’s rage.
Across the years, seafaring trips across the wide, blue strip of unknown have given birth to plentiful rumors – of stories told behind cupped hands, of words spoken in ragged whispers, of legends breathed life through paranoia and fear. Beautiful women who wait by the rocks, ghostly apparitions who drift over the waves, legendary monsters who churn the deep with their waking…there are limitless possibilities to what lives in the sea, of what horrors lurk and what temptations await.
As humans, we like to believe we’ve tamed the waters. That the sea is a beast to be domesticated, to be made mild, to be cowed by the hands of our fishermen and marines and those who harvest it’s bounties to sell; like with crab delivery in Malaysia. But the sea lives and breathes as we do – we hear it’s beating heart in the pulse of it’s waves, in the froth of it’s waters. And if we believe we’ve mastered it’s tricks, it will warn us of our hubris with thunderous waves and blackening waters; of the men we’d lost to it’s depths. Never attempt to cow a beast – only death comes for those arrogant enough to try.
Our ocean lurks it’s mysteries, it’s legends, the figures that roam like wraiths over the sandy shores and inky waters. So for those who wish to know it’s history and drink it’s myths, here are 3 unsettling and mythical sea figures who have roamed our oceans for decades.
1. The Kraken
The legendary beast of old, the Kraken is the name given to a mythical sea creature who waits at the bottom of the Nordic sea; terrorizing all who sail past. Commonly depicted as an enormous tentacled octopus, the Kraken has been rumored to sink even the largest of ships and pull it’s crewmates to a watery end; it’s large, insurmountable tentacles latching onto the vessel and tugging it down into it’s doom.
Over the years, the Kraken has become a bit of a poster child of sorts for marine legends and myths; being perhaps the largest, most well-known mythical sea creature not just to sailors but mainstream society. Sightings abound as to this giant tentacled creature churning the waves of many a sea – but it’s existence, much like many on this list, is to always be disputed.
2. The Sirens
Born of Greek myth and popularized by stories, the sirens are a breed of dangerous maritime creatures famous for luring unexpecting sailors to their own watery graves. Commonly built like beautiful human women despite their inhuman origins, the sirens are known to possess beautiful, deadly, and enchanting voices; with songs so alluring they capture sailors’ hearts and coax them towards their rocky beds.
The depiction of sirens differ based on certain media – for some, sirens are depicted simply as beautiful women; clad in flowing dresses (or maybe no clothes at all) and luring men in with their incredible voices. Others see sirens as a deadly branch of mermaids; with scaled hands and long fins and mouths crowded with teeth. Even more see their original depictions as half-birds, with taloned feet and large wings sprouting from their backs. But one thing remains constant among all portrayals – that the siren is a deadly, enchanting creature; hypnotizing sailors with their voices, luring them in, and then dragging them into the deep to either drown or be eaten.
3. The Flying Dutchman
A ghost that has haunted our waters for decades, the Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship that, as legends go, has been cursed to never dock; drifting aimlessly through the oceans forever and dreaming of the land it will never see. Depicted as either a normal ship with flying sails, or a decrepit, barnacled vessel who wears it’s death like a coat, the Flying Dutchman is often purportedly seen with a ghostly glowing aura; with either apparitions on board manning the ship or no visible crew at all.
Passed around from mouth to mouth as one of the greatest maritime legends, the Flying Dutchman has since been adapted into plenty of modern pop culture and media. But one thing’s for certain – they say that if you see the Dutchman drifting through the waves, it’s tattered sails flapping in a lonely breeze, you have just witnessed an omen of approaching doom.