The Monster of Ragusa
The mysteries of the sea had always excited the imagination of man. There is something in the cold darkness down below that allures us and thrills us, but at the same time, we fear it, the great power of the unknown and unexplored. Countless stories about the cryptic creatures of the sea surfaced around the world. Krakens, hydras, serpents, giant octopi, leviathans, mermaids and other monstrosities inhabit the bizarre mythical world of oceans and seas.
Three hundred years have passed since Dubrovnik was rocked by a horrific occurrence. A terrifying human-like creature arose from the sea in front of the city, one day around noon, in the beginning of 1716. What strange force summoned it from the deep blue sea of Adriatic, we shall never know, but it terrorized the populace of Dubrovnik for the three long days.
The first day the monster surfaced, it stayed on the land for three hours wandering around the shore. The surviving witnesses testified that the creature was a giant, more than 11 feet high, a freak of nature with a grotesquely huge head on its shoulders, his scaly body covered in oysters like warts. This sea ogre would raise its clawed hands, with skin in between fingers, high in the air and growl so horribly that its screams could be heard up to ten kilometres away. People were utterly terrified by the abominable creature, some died of sheer fright, while others were so shocked by it that they lost their ability to speak. Supposedly, some young boys were eaten alive by the beast!
The monstrous merman returned for two more days, each time reappearing at another location on the coast. After a week, strange fire signs coloured the sky above the old Ragusa, followed by the dreadful land tremors, leaving a great sense of horror in the local population.
The monster never came back again, but the story of it quickly spread around Europe by the sailors. As it follows, the English chronicles Flying Post brought an article about it already in February 1716. It inspired English poet Alexander Pope who wrote the satirical ballad “The Monster of Ragusa”.