Pickled Dragon Mystery

In Oxfordshire, England, a small dragon baby was found in what appears to be a pickle jar January 2004. Items found with it date it back to around the 1890s, and it is said to be of German origin. Scientists believe now that the dragon was created for a hoax on England by the Germans. Although it is fake, many people look at this dragon and ask, "Is it real?" Many comment and say that the dragon is perfect, for the detail is extreme. [1]

Update: Apparently, the entire dragon plot was a hoax planned by an author who wishes to publish his book. [2]

Basking Sharks

In 1808, a man by the name of John Peace saw a dead animal on a rocky shore. He reported it to be fifty-five feet in length, with five to six toes on each paw, with three pairs of legs, with a full backbone, and covered in hair. Many people believed this creature to be a sea dragon. [3]

Patrick Neill called it Halsydrus, or "sea water snake." [3] Samples of the dead creature were sent to London, where Edward Home, a naturalist, said it was a basking shark. [3] This obviously disappointed many people, and others wondered how such a mistake could be made.

Basking sharks have been mistaken for dragons and monsters more than once. The reason for the mistake is most probably due to how the creature decomposed. The "hair" was simply muscle fibers decaying, breaking up into small, hair-like strings. [4] The legs can be explained by the pectoral and pelvic fins, and, if the shark was male, it would also have "claspers," which are found in sharks alone. This explains the three legs. [4] There is still speculation as to whether the creature was a basking shark; however, as the largest basking shark recorded was only forty feet long. [4]

In 1868, Harper's Weekly, an American newspaper, reported about the "wonderful fish". There was a picture of a huge shark with a pair of legs, appearing to be much like a sea serpent. The legs were a product of a male shark's claspers. [3]

The basking shark has been the subject of many mistaken sea serpents probably due to its great size. It is the second largest shark yet known, and its claspers can be mistaken for legs. Hence, this creature has often been reported, wrongfully, as a sea serpent.

Hydrarchos Sillimani

In 1845, a man named Albert C. Koch revealed the skeleton of what he called Hydrarchos Sillimani, which he claimed to find Clarksville, Alabama. He said that he found the entire beast put together just as he found it. It was one hundred and fourteen feet long with paddle-like forelimbs. He called it the "blood thirsty monarch of the waters". [3]

However, further inspection of the gigantic, sea dragon-like creature revealed it to be a fake. It was actually made out of five while fossils. The whale was zeuglodon, a forty-five feet long ancestral whale. Jeffries Wyman uncovered the hoax. [3]


  1. Pickled Dragon Mystery
  2. Book Deal for Dragon Hoax Author
  3. Ellis - Monsters of the Sea
  4. Bring me the Head of the Sea Serpent

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.