It goes as common knowledge that bodies of water, specifically the sea and the ocean, are places full of mystery and horrors. No one has fully discovered or delved into the watery depths, yet. Those who work out at sea or have attempted to uncover the secrets of the sea have been met with truly horrifying encounters. We took to Reddit to collect some of the creepiest experiences experienced out at sea.
“RAN 2000ish, Indian Ocean on watch maybe 0200. Pitch black except for stars and quiet apart from the diesels. I notice a humming sound, sorta halfway between hearing it and feeling it. This goes on for a while, but all of a sudden it got a lot more intense and suddenly I notice a glow way under the water. I thought it was bioluminescence on a shark or whale or something but it kept floating up and suddenly just SHOT off maybe half a naut mile taking the hum with it in about 1 or 2 seconds.
“Nothing can move that quick underwater. I reported it and it was logged but nothing came off it.
“Heard stories from shipmates about the same thing happening but the glow goes into the air, dunno about that but what I saw I have no explanation for.”
Possessions Following a Tsunami
“I was en route to northern Japan after the terrible tsunami happened for disaster relief (Marines). Anyway, I had stepped outside to a catwalk for a smoke after not seeing the sun for a few days. Turns out that it was extremely foggy and snowing, which I had never thought about. The ship was basically reduced to a crawl, it was all very silent and quite peaceful. After chain smoking for 10-15 minutes I started to hear things hitting the ship. Had trouble seeing at first but once I saw the roof of a house and a crib float by, I realized where we were. Ran back to my living area to grab some friends. We all get back out there and silently observed people’s lives floating by us. Not super crazy or bizarre, but it’s something I’ll never forget. Spent the next week and a half dealing with crazy weather shifts doing my part in the clean up effort.”
Stories from Mum’s Partner
“Mum’s partner is fisherman.
“A couple of things that came to mind:
“The incredible amount of Great White shark encounters they have out at sea – obviously attracted by the bait or something. Stories of being circled and harassed by sharks for sometimes up to days, in at least one or two occasions resulting in them having to go back in.
“Freak waves. Sadly, the amounts of fisherman killed by freak waves is too high. Imagine Mother Nature just unleashing a huge wave out of nowhere that obliterates a fishing boat, killing those on board. He’s participated in many searches for bodies and those of lost fisherman at sea – including hauling numerous bodies on board and liaising with police in the searches.
“My favourite though, was something he actually saw on land while out at sea. On an incredibly remote and rugged part of Tasmania’s West Coast the crew noticed what appeared to be a dog on the beach. As they got closer they noticed it was sniffing around in some seaweed and walking a bit differently to a dog. As they continued to get closer they also noticed something else – it had what appeared to be the outline of stripes along its back half. Yes, still to this day they believe they saw an “extinct” Tasmanian Tiger (or Thylacine). Regular sightings are still reported in Tasmania and many local fisherman have also reported seeing them in that particular area.”
Monster After the Storm
“On a 41 foot sailboat in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, with about 7 other men, doing a shake-down/test cruise, planned to be out for about 12 hours. Mid 1980’s, not as reliable weather prediction resources. We get caught in a tropical storm, winds gusting into the 50 mph range, just this short of a weak hurricane. We had just barely rigged storm hawsers and storm sails because the one fellow onboard who was the best sailor sensed the storm was almost on us, otherwise we would have died. During the storm itself, I expected to die at any time. In fact we made a “Securite, securite….” call on the radio (if you have time at sea you know what I’m talking about, if not, it’s not that important). For what seemed like 15 minutes, we were in a maelstrom, no visibility, but then it passed. We would live!
“This was at about 3pm, and although there was cloud cover of course, the ambient light was such that you could see 2 miles or so in any direction.
“If you’re familiar with the sea, you know that such storms, particularly in shallower depths near land masses, dredge a lot of things of the sea floor.
“We’re all on deck, working lines, checking damage, etc. and the bay around us is choppy and churning and foaming. Old timey sailors often used the saying ‘the sea is confused.’ I look about 15 feet of the starboard side and something swims to the surface, breaks the surface, looks at us, then submerges again.
“It was like a thin man, with humanoid shape, arms articulated like a man, a human head, but its skin was covered in scales like a snake. It looked at us, blinked its weird, heavy-lidded eyes, then dove back under.
“So maybe you need to know a few things about me at that moment. No drugs, no alcohol, no injuries. I was elated because I was glad to be alive, but my senses in that situation were sharpened, not dulled. I had, at that time, about 6 years experience on ships and fishing boats, and had seen squid, octopi, flying fish, sharks, skates, etc. all around the world. I was not the type of guy to see a patch of seaweed and call it a sea monster.
“I made an instant decision that I was not going to say anything. What could I say? ‘I just saw a strange creature, take my word for it!’ The men on this boat were all mechanics and engineers and professionals. Why get a reputation as a flake? At the time it was important for each of us to get ‘D’ skipper or OOD qualifications, and saying something like that would be frowned upon.
“And as I stood there in my life vest, soaking wet, hooked onto the steel lifeline, glad to be alive, one of the other sailors, a USN Captain J_______ S________, with over 30 years experience in the surface navy, piped up and said,
“‘I just saw a brown thing pop up on the surface! It looked like a lizard man, with a scaley face. It blinked at us with these big eyes and then went back under!’
“‘Yeah, I saw it too,’ I said. No one else said that they had seen it.
“Then we sailed back to the pier later that day and didn’t speak of it again.”
“My mother told me that her father claimed he had spent a night in a swamp with a friend, hunting for frogs, and ended up seeing something that looked like a giant frog. When they shined their light on it, it stood up and started walking towards them on both it’s legs. They ran for their car and sped off.
“It was stranger still because it was the only weird story grandpa ever told. He was also a teetotaler, so unless he had some sort of hallucination, I have no idea what he thought he saw. The only other possibility is he decided he would bullshit everyone just because.”
Three Stories of Monstrous Catfish
“Live by a dam on the Mississippi river in Iowa… The divers that have to go down and check the concrete always only go down once, after that there done. Just nope the fuck out. One guy I know did 2 tours in Iraq he said it was nothing like that… Just freely be swimming along and all of a sudden 3 foot mouth of a cat fish just sitting there, waiting for something to swim by and into its hell hole. Water is always so murkey that you can’t see from end to end of it. I remember when I was a kid, you could snag for carp down there. My dad hit a 7 foot cat that weighed in at around 85 lbs, but we couldn’t keep them so we had to throw them back…
“Grandfather said similar things. He worked at a power plant right along the river and they had divers who would routinely need to go under and patch things up for the power plant under water. Said majority of them when down once and never again after seeing the size of some of the catfish below which they claimed could probably eat them.
“One of my art teachers in high school was also a diver and often did dives in one of the lakes in Arkansas. He regaled us with tales of catfish the size of small cars. He also had photos of the towns and settlements that got abandoned and flooded when they made the lake. Cool stuff.”
A Massive Surprise
“I almost hit a sea turtle the size of a mattress off the coast of Washington. It suddenly appeared and I threw the engine in reverse and swerved hard to port throwing passengers off their seats. I looked out the starboard window as I went by and seen two eyes staring at me on a head the size of a basketball.”
A South Atlantic Fisherman’s Tales
“I do a lot of offshore fishing in the South Atlantic. Some cool and crazy things I’ve seen while boating:
“I got caught once in the annual migration of spinner sharks. Went right through a school that I would guess would be at least 10,000 or more sharks that just happened to be working on a very large bait school. You could count no less than 10 sharks breaching the surface about ever second. It was one of the scariest experiences yet one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen and there I ended up right in the middle of the madness. I literally had one shark land in the bow of the boat and another break the cowling on the outboard while several others bounced off the sides. Heres a video of what a single spinner looks like when breaching.
“Once I almost hit a dead body when returning from a trip at the end of the day. It was just turning dusk and I was coming in from about 15 miles offshore after a day of fishing. I was crusing around 25 knots when out of the corner of my eye I spotted something bright yellow just off the port side of the boat and almost made impact with it. I slowed down and turned the boat around in an attempt to find whatever it was I almost hit but was unsuccessful and it was getting late and the sun was almost down so I decided it would be best to just head back in. The next day a body in yellow waders washed up onshore about 25 miles to the North. I can’t say for sure if it was the same yellow object I almost hit but I’d be willing to bet it was.
“Encountered a great white while surfacing from a dive in about 75′ of water which was extremely unusual because great whites shouldn’t be anywhere around the area of the Atlantic where I fish. This was confirmed a few days later by multiple other boats that spotted the same shark and eventually made the news.
“One time I saw an Otter dragging a leather back sea turtle to shore that it somehow managed to kill.”
A Plane Crashes Out of Nowhere
“Not amazing in a good way, but on the flight deck during flight ops, business as usual, launching planes and dodging jet blast. All the sudden the air boss calls out to get ready for emergency landing. In like 3.5 seconds the landing area was completely clear, before i could even realize what was said. Well, the jet didn’t make it to landing. I watched a 60 million dollar f-18 just go into the ocean. The pilots ejected, and needed to get pulled out of the water of course. It all happened so fast I would almost swear that the helicopter pilots literally appeared out of thin air, spun that bitch up and were hovering over the water with a rescue swimmer roping out in an instant. This all happened in what seemed like less than 5 minutes. I was in total shock and sick to my stomach because nobody immediately knew whether or not the pilots were okay. They were, both had quite a few broken bones. The same jet I watched take off minutes before was deep six’d.”
“I was fishing in 17 foot Mohawk canoe off the main bridge in Titusville, FL. About 2000, my kids were small. It’s teeming with fish in that area and I headed for a trough that NASA cut out to build the fuel railroad system out to the launch area. It holds black drum as well as other tasties.
“I have a trolling motor on the side of the canoe and I head for my spot down the south shore. Over to my left, just as I arrive at the south end of the trough, I see a pod of manatee in the water about 75 yards away. I have a little camera stowed away and I decide to get some up close pics for the kids.
“I turn west into the middle of the lagoon area and head over shallow water and grass beds with my trolling motor turned to 5, top speed. I notice it appears VERY shallow immediately ahead of me and I cut the motor quickly to 0.
“That’s the last thing I remember before the loudest noise, that came from all around me. Water exploded. Around and under my 75lb canoe with 150lb me in the back.
“The front of my canoe went up at over a 45% angle and the rear of my canoe, with me in it, came off the surface of the water some amount such that my battery came off the floor. In the front of my canoe, all my tackle and such was launched into the air. I remember seeing a single large pinfish (not mine but one belonging in the water) arcing over the whole mess as I gripped the gunnels.
“It’s not obvious what happened to me for a minute. I was so afraid and so vulnerable and unsure if it would happen again.
“I reattached things back at my trolling motor (wires had come loose, I think) and went to the shoreline (where the railroad passed) and got out and tried to piece my equipment back together and my experience.
“The pod of roughly 21 manatees (number from ranger) had come into the lagoon area recently and as it turns out, they have a similar danger signal to beavers–they slap the surface of the water. When that many do it, and it’s in 2 feet of water, and they are really frightened by my entry into the area, it can almost violate the laws of bowel physics.
“Trust me I know.”
“I worked on a cruise ship for 7 months as a youth staff taking care of kids while the parents party it up. At certain parts of the day we close the playroom to the older kids and just let parents with their children that are under 2 come in. This woman comes to the gate with a double stroller with two of the ugliest looking babies I have ever seen in my life. She asks if she can come in with her babies. Of course, I oblige but something seems a little off. She takes the babies out of the stroller and puts them on the blanket that we have toys placed upon in the middle of the room. It is then that I realize what was so strange about these babies: They were dolls. This woman was taking pictures of them with the toys and pretending they were alive, names and all. I just looked over at my co-worker and she’s giving me the same look of shock and horror that I had on my face. We had no clue what to do or say. News spread quickly to other crew member on the ship about her. Apparently she bought gold bracelets for them at the jewelery shop on board. That woman is by far the most amazing and strangest thing I have ever witnessed at sea.”
“Fata Morgana. I’m Reddit illiterate and can’t share the link that I want to, but it’s a mirage where you see a ship upside down. It’s creepy as fuck, you’ll see the ship sailing along, and then you see it upside down, floating above the ocean.”
“I remember reading an article in Harper’s magazine a while back, like 15 years ago, and the author said that he had worked on a fishing boat near Chesapeake Bay if I recall correctly. He said that fishermen pull up all kinds of weird creatures in their nets but no one ever talks about it because of the bad reputation they will get. The creatures just get thrown back in the ocean.”
Knowing Some Large Predators Exist Out There
“I do a lot of night fishing off of South Carolina and Florida. I get a lot of fish that are bitten in half by sharks. Some of them had to have been very, very large. When you reel in a large sportfish’s head like some kind of sequel to The Old Man and the Sea and realize the shark is close to half the size of your boat miles and while you’re miles offshore, essentially in the middle of nowhere, you get more than a little freaked out.”
The Mighty Sea
“For me the memory that sticks with me was when I first realised just how powerful the sea is.
“I was working on a boat in Japan, on my way back into port after a 4 week swing just sat in my cabin one evening watching a film on my laptop when every now and again I noticed a bright flash from behind me. I turned around just in time to glance out of my porthole as a bolt of lightning light up the sea and capture a snapshot of an enormous wave just about to break over the side of the boat, which started getting tossed around like a toy (the boat’s about 120m LOA). Certainly gave me the shivers anyway. …”
“My friend went un-designated (no official job) for the navy and had to clean and sweep an entire deck. They didn’t give him a dustpan and when he asked where the dirt should go they said to just make do. He picked it up and ate it. Not sure if that counts as what you’re asking for.”
A Living Log
“I was canoeing on the coast of Florida and my wife said ‘Let’s paddle up to that log.’ We did. Right before we reached it the log snorted heavily and swam away. Scared the sh*t out of me. My wife laughed because she knew it was a manatee and knew what would happen. She grew up in Florida.”
Something Pulled The Boat Along
“My dad and I are fishing off the Florida Keys. We have our anchor out and had been fishing for about an hour. 15 minutes later the boat gets bumped and we rock a little bit, my dad jokingly saying “Looks like jaws is after us better stay away from the edges.” 10 seconds after him saying that the boat begins moving backwards: we are being towed by our anchor line that’s in the water. Whatever has it is now dragging the boat backwards slowly getting faster and our boat is getting pulled under too. Next thing I hear is “No f*cking way” as my dad drops his pole runs from the front to the back grabs a knife and cuts the anchor line.
“After that we decided that fishing was not in the cards that day.”
The Non-Sound Of Wind
“Most amazing is the non-sound of wind.
“When you’re on shore, wind rustles through the trees, moves wind chimes, makes birds chirp, etc. Way off shore none of those sounds exist. It’s very eerie to feel the wind but have it make no noise. Just a force that moves across your skin and then gently leaves without a sound.”
Now that you have reached the end of this haunting list, you must be thinking over and over about your next sea voyage or venture. These 19 stories from divers, casual boaters, sailors, Navy officers, fishermen and swimmers are enough to freak you out for a lifetime from all bodies of water.