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Examining folkloric, paranormal & cryptozoological locations in the UK and beyond

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Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana of the Sea

Flapping Serpent

Location: Clevedon (Somerset) - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 28 April 1907
Further Comments: A man rowing towards Portishead claimed to have been attacked and pushed overboard by a long snake-like creature which jumped out of the water at him. He managed to climb back on board his boat and row onwards.

Sea Creature with Horses Ears

Location: Cliftonville (Kent) - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1950
Further Comments: This sea monster was seen briefly off the coast.

HMS Gladiator

Location: Colwell Bay (Isle of Wight) - Off the coast
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Every ten years since April 1908, last seen Spring 1958
Further Comments: An islander who spotted an old ship on misty morning claimed it was HMS Gladiator, which sank in 1908. Some say that the ship is appears every ten years, though it is over half a century since the last report.

Vanishing Ship

Location: Compton Bay (Isle of Wight) - Off coast
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: July 1959
Further Comments: An old three masted sailing ship was observed by a group of friends on the beach having a party. The ship headed towards the shore, only to vanish when only a few metres from the beach. Others who have seen it have named the ship as HMS Eurydice.

The North Sea off the Covehithe coast.

Long Neck with Series of Humps

Location: Covehithe (Suffolk) - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: July 1978
Further Comments: The witness described the creature as having a head like a seal, with a long neck and several humps. He also said that the event occurred very quickly...

The Criffle Diamond

Location: Criffel (Dumfries and Galloway) - Exact location not known
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Pre-1890
Further Comments: It was once said that ships coming up the Solway would be able to see the glint of a large diamond coming from Criffel. If the diamond were looked for, it could never be found.

Cromer Pier, Norfolk.

Dick Condon

Location: Cromer (Norfolk) - Pier
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Late twentieth century / 2000s
Further Comments: An Irish impresario, Condon's shade has been reported at the Pavilion Theatre, located on the pier, while ghostly members of a lifeboat crew have been reported on the wooden boards outside.


Location: Cromer (Norfolk) - Off coast
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: Prior to storm
Further Comments: The church of Saint Peter is reputed to exist off the coast of Cromer, where a town called Shipden once stood before being taken by the sea. The church bells could be heard ringing just prior to a storm.

Castle Dunanore (public domain).

Murdered Pirates

Location: Cummer (County Galway) - Castle Dunanore
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Sometimes one can see a ghostly pirate ship drop anchor just off the coast; the battle scarred sailors use smaller boats to row to the castle where they carry chests and sacks of gold and jewels into the ruined structure.

Old postcard showing Dawlish in Devon.

Couple out for a Walk

Location: Dawlish (Devon) - Sea front
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Mid twentieth century
Further Comments: Identified as Nelson and Lady Hamilton, this couple were seen walking hand in hand along the sea front in the early hours of the morning.

The Lady Lovibond

Location: Deal (Kent) - Goodwin Sands
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 13 February, every 50 years from 1748
Further Comments: A jealous sailor deliberately ran the Lady Lovibond onto the Goodwin Sands, a treacherous area off the coast of Deal, wreaking the ship and killing all on board. The craft is now said to re-enact the crash, though there are no reports of any witnesses in 1998. Two other ghostly craft are said to frequent the area - the liner Montrose, and a man of war named Shrewsbury.

An old woodcut of a mermaid swimming past a sailing ship.


Location: Deerness (Orkney) - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Late nineteenth century
Further Comments: These women of the water were seen dozens of times during the last twenty years of the nineteenth century. One was said to have been shot, but the body was not recovered.


Location: Derrynane (aka Darrynane) (County Kerry) - Off the coast
Type: Other
Date / Time: Likely 1870
Further Comments: A fishing vessel crewed by eleven men sank on shallow rocks, the accident killing two. Some of the survivors claimed they had heard a disembodied voice warning them not to embark, and then just before the accident, they heard laughter and other noises, but could not see anything in the darkness of night.

Playful Creature

Location: Dunbar (Lothian) - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: July 1939
Further Comments: A father and daughter watched a sea monster playing in the waters just off the coast for 30 minutes.

Treasure Guardians

Location: Duncansby Head (Highland) - Cave system off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A team of mermaids and mermen are reported to guard a hidden cave full of treasure.


Location: Dundee (Angus) - HMS Unicorn
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Even though the ship never witnessed battle, there are stories of phantom footsteps being on board. The Paranormal Discovery team also report small objects have been thrown at investigators by unseen hands.

Charles Bonner

Location: Dundee (Angus) - The Discovery
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Bonner fell to his death from the crow's nest when the ship was sailing on the other side of the world, though his presence is still felt on the deck where his body landed.

Captured Fisherman

Location: Dunnet Bay (Highland) - Underwater sea cave
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A good looking fisherman once caught the eye of a mermaid who fell in love with him - she kidnapped the fellow and held him in a secret cave under the sea, where he remains to this day...

HMS Eurydice

Location: Dunnose Point (Isle of Wight) - Off coast
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1998
Further Comments: The training ship HMS Eurydice went down on 24 March 1878 when she was caught unawares by a violent storm. The ship is still occasionally reported, and in 1998 a film crew with Prince Edward may have caught it on video.


Location: Dunraven (South Glamorgan) - Cliffs near the castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Once a year (exact date unknown)
Further Comments: Once a popular place for wreakers to work, one is said to haunt the area after he mistakenly killed his sister after drawing her ship onto the rocks below.

Illustration from An Essay Towards a Natural History of Serpents.

Long Serpent

Location: Dunrobin (Highland) - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1873
Further Comments: Observed several times around this period, this creature would remain visible for long periods of time.

Dunwich beach.

Elizabethan Sailor

Location: Dunwich (Suffolk) - Coastline
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This ghostly figure slowly walks down to the sea before hopping into his boat and taking sail.

Green Serpent

Location: Easington (Yorkshire) - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Late 1930s
Further Comments: This sea creature was snakelike, possessing a flat head. It appeared to gasp for air as it skimmed across the waves.

Excise Man

Location: East Dean (Sussex) - Cliff face
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1973
Further Comments: Two policemen and a coastguard spotted a man trapped at the base of the cliffs, so summoned a lifeboat to help him. When the rescue teams arrived, the figure was nowhere to be found. The area is where an excise man was lured to his death by smugglers; the figure was speculated to be that of him.

Red Eyed Sailor

Location: Faversham (Kent) - Shipwrights Arms public house
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: Cold winter nights
Further Comments: Having died in a shipping accident, the phantom sailor now appears on icy nights. His favourite trick is to open the front door and walk in, only to disappear moments later, leaving only a strange, disconcerting odour.

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