Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Sea Serpent of the Sound: Spotted in Pelham Waters in 1877 (Part I)

An enormous beast, it was. Witnesses described it as "large around as a hogshead, with an enormous head which stood up straight 15 or 20 feet out of the water, and as making a queer hissing noise and a roaring sound". It was the Sea Serpent of the Sound and was spotted in waters off of Pelham during the summer and autumn of 1877.

In the latter part of July, 1877, the serpent reportedly was seen in the Sound. It was seen off Nahant, Norwalk, Watch Hill, Greenwich and Port Chester. In late August, however, the serpent reportedly prowled the waters off of City Island (then part of Pelham). At that time, the beast reportedly was struck by a steamer. One published account of the incident said:

"only a few days ago one of the Bridgeport steamers was said to have run down the beast while it lay asleep on the water after midnight just below Execution Light [a lighthouse built in 1867 east of City Island]. The collision, it was averred, caused the boat to tremble from stem to stern, a black object rose angrily to the height of the flagstaff with a hissing sound, and water was dashed upon the decak. The number of times it was encountered in this locality in the interval, if report is to be believed, is past remembering."

Source: The Sound Sea-Serpent, N.Y. Times, Sep. 2, 1877, p. 7.

Tomorrow's Blog posting: a plausible explanation for the sighting of the Sea Serpent of the Sound off the coast of Pelham in August 1877?

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