Thursday, June 6, 2013

Today Marks 194th Anniversary of Sea Serpent Sighting Near Race Point in 1819

Now 35 years old, this mural could use a touch-up, but still tells
a fascinating story of Provincetown's colorful seafaring history.

194 years ago today, on June 6th of 1819, Captain Hawkins Wheeler and his crew, sailing out of Fairfield, Connecticut on the sloop Concord, were off the shoreline of Race Point when they spotted something startling in Provincetown’s waters. Recounting the sighting later, the captain and crew described a sea serpent that had risen out of the water some 200 feet from the ship. The men claimed to have seen a large head rising about eight feet out of the water, resembling that of a horse, complete with something akin to a horse’s mane, atop a long, bumpy, snake-like neck. The sky was clear, the weather fair and the waters calm, so the men were convinced that the animal they had seen was not some sort of illusion. Their story would still be easy to write off as a mirage if it hadn’t been for nearly identical sightings described by hundreds of other New Englanders over a number of years, both on the land and the sea.
I wrote about this sighting and many others in my first post on this blog, nearly a year ago. Click to read Public Art Meets PTown Legend to learn about a sea serpent spotted from Provincetown to Gloucester, and even reported off the shores of Norway in newspapers and magazines of the day. Captain Wheeler’s sighting is depicted in the seventeen-foot mural adorning the outdoor seating area at Mojo’s restaurant, found at number 5 on the Ryder Street Extension, around the corner from Town Hall, near the bus plaza. Get something great for lunch or supper at Mojo's and eat it at a picnic table on their patio while you contemplate local artist Bill Evaul’s 1978 mural depicting this folk tale that, as it turns out, could well have been a true story.

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