The “St. Augustine Monster”, a carcass that washed ashore near St. Augustine, Florida, in 1896.
A globster, or blob, is an unidentified organic mass that washes up on the shoreline of an ocean or other body of water.
The term was coined by Ivan T. Sanderson in 1962 to describe the Tasmanian carcass of 1960, which was said to have “no visible eyes, no defined head, and no apparent bone structure.”
A globster is distinguished from a normal beached carcass by being hard to identify, at least by initial untrained observers, and by creating controversy as to its identity.
Globsters may present such a puzzling appearance that their nature remains controversial even after being officially identified by scientists. Some globsters lack bones or other recognisable structures, while others may have bones, tentacles, flippers, eyes or other features that can help narrow down the possible species.
In the past these were often described as sea monsters, and myths and legends about such monsters may often have started with the appearance of a globster.
Globsters are most frequently studied in the field of cryptozoology.
Many globsters have initially been described as gigantic octopuses, though they later turned out to be decayed carcasses of whales or large sharks. As with the “Chilean Blob” of 2003, many are masses of whale blubber released from decaying whale corpses.
Others initially thought to be dead plesiosaurs later turned out to be the decayed carcases of basking sharks. Others remain unexplained.
Giant and colossal squid may also explain some globsters, particularly those tentatively identified as monster octopuses.
Some globsters were examined only after they had decomposed too much represent evidence of a new species, or were destroyed—as happened with the “Cadborosaurus willsi” carcass, found in 1937.
However, Canadian scientists did analyse the DNA of the Newfoundland Blob—which revealed that the tissue was from a sperm whale. In their resulting paper, the authors point out a number of superficial similarities between the Newfoundland Blob and other globsters, concluding a similar origin for those globsters is likely.
Analyses of other globsters have yielded similar results.
The following is a chronological list of carcasses that have been described as globsters or blobs in literature.
- Unidentified carcass from Santa Maria del Mar, Oaxaca, Mexico (1648)
- Stronsay Beast (1808)
- New River Inlet Carcass (1885)
- St. Augustine Monster (1896)
- Trunko (1924)
- Dunk Island Carcass (1948)
- Gulf of Alaska Carcass (1956)
- Melbourne-Hobart Carcass (1958)
- Tasmanian Globster (1960)
- Hamai Beast (1963)
- New Zealand Globster (1968)
- Tecoluta Carcass (1969)
- Tasmanian Globster 2 (1970)
- Mann Hill Beach Globster (1970)
- Gambo (1983)
- Bermuda Blob (1988)
- Godthaab Globster (1989)
- Hebrides Blob (1990)
- North Carolina Globster (1996)
- Nantucket Blob (1996)
- Bermuda Blob 2 (1997)
- Four Mile Globster (1997)
- Newfoundland Blob (2001)
- Chilean Blob (2003)