The term “globster” was coined by biologist and writer Ivan T. Sanderson to describe unidentified masses of organic matter that wash up on land from oceans or lakes.
Although a significant proportion of globsters are eventually identified as basking sharks or other parts of decaying animal carcasses, a number remain unidentified. These globsters are the source of much contention amongst experts.
In fact, even if a carcass is identified as being part of an animal it can still cause arguments.
Some globsters have very unusual features that seem incompatible known creatures, leading some experts to believe there is an as-yet-undiscovered species out there.
Some researchers also suggest that globsters could be prehistoric creatures that have been preserved in ice.
Then, when the ice melts, their bodies float to shore — by which time they have somewhat decomposed. This decomposition, of course, means it is harder to identify the species.
Many globsters are proven to be blubber from whales (the blubber floats to the surface after detaching from the skull or another major bone) — and this is, in fact, the most frequent explanation. Some, however, simply remain a mystery.
Globster sightings are many and varied, but here are some of the most noteworthy.
The St. Augustine Monster
Back in 1896 a globster was washed up on St. Augustine Beach in Florida. “The St. Augustine Monster” measured 5.4 meters in length and five tons in weight.
No one could confirm its identity at the time but tests were carried out a century later. Using preserved samples from the site, these tests concluded that the mass was actually whale blubber.
Another intriguing globster is South Africa’s “Trunko”, a creature described as being half-polar bear, half-fish.
In 1924 it was seen fighting two whales in the ocean, hitting them repeatedly with its tail. It would seem that the whales won the fight, because, after a time, Trunko was washed ashore and remained there for 10 days before being dragged back into the sea.
Witnesses described Trunko as being 14 meters long, 3 meters wide and 1.5 meters high. Sensationally, they also described it as having white fur, a tail like a lobster, an elephantine trunk, and no blood.
Another version of events suggests that Trunko won the fight with the whales, swam ashore, fell unconscious due to exhaustion from the fight, then awoke ten days later and returned to the ocean.
New Zealand made the news in 1968 when a globster was reported at Muriwai, near Auckland. This beast measured over 9 meters long and 2.4 meters high, and was covered in gray hair growing out of a tough hide.
J. E. Morton, who was at the time the chairman of the University of Auckland’s Zoology Department, was totally baffled by the creature. He said it could not be a whale because of the hair, and could not be a sea cow or sea elephant because of the size.
He could not, at the time, think of anything it resembled, but later decided it was the incomplete carcass of a decomposed whale.
The Four Mile Globster
“The Four Mile Globster”, found in 1997, was not named for its size but after the Tasmanian beach on which it was found. This globster was 4.6 meters long and weighed four tons. It had paddle-shaped flippers, six fleshy lobes on each of its flanks, and strands of white hair.
Monster of Sakhalin
The so-called “Monster of Sakhalin”, which was washed up on a beach on Russia’s Sakhalin Island in 2006. Officials removed the unidentified carcass and it was never seen again — adding fuel to the debate about what it was.
Another unidentified creature was washed ashore in Montauk, New York, in 2008. As with many globsters, its carcass was washed away before any samples could be taken, so there is no definitive explanation of what it is.
Some speculate that the Montauk Monster, as it became known, may have been the product of experimentation at the nearby Plum Island Animal Disease Center – a controversial facility in its own right.
Where to find
newanimal.org, “The Cryptid Zoo: Globsters”, accessed August 23 2017,
news.com.au, “12 unidentified creatures that washed up on beaches around the world”, accessed August 23 2017,
crberryauthor.wordpress.com, “Half-fish, half-polar bear – the mysterious ‘Trunko’”, accessed August 23 2017,
hayleyelavik.com, “Globsters – A tale of sea monsters, tides, and blubber”, accessed August 23 2017.