This image is drawn from an early engraving depicting the monster with the caption, “Taken from life as appeared in Gloucester Harbour, August 23, 1817”.
First mentioned in 1638, and last seen in 1962, it was about seventy feet long, with big eyes, sharp teeth, and a scaly body. The serpentine beast was said to lurk in the waters off the harbor of Gloucester,located just north of Boston on the lower portion of Cape Ann.
During the summer of 1817, the serpent made its temporary home in the harbor. For almost an entire month, sightings were reported. This is particularly significant as Gloucester has always been a fishing community populated by individuals who were well familiar with the fauna of the sea.
General David Humphreys, a former member of George Washington’s staff, travelled down to Gloucester to interview witnesses. According to the testimony he gathered, the creature’s head, which it held above the water, was “much like the head of a turtle… and larger than the head on any dog.” Its color was like “dark chocolate”, although as the years went on its skin seemed to turn darker, to almost black. In a compilation of sightings printed in the Boston Weekly Messenger it was further reported that the creature was sixty to seventy feet in length, that it was about as wide as a barrel, that it moved rapidly in a serpentine fashion, that it was able to double back upon itself instantaneously. Countless people tried to kill it with muskets and harpoons but failed. Between 1817 and 1819, hundreds of people reported seeing the monster.