The Lusca: Sea Monster of the Blue Holes
The Bahamas are home to the blue holes, now known to house an extensive underwater cave system. It is here in these natural structures that it is said a sea monster called the Lusca lives.
The Lusca has been described in varying ways. Some cryptozoologists have suggested it is merely a giant octopus that has been misidentified. Many others have described the Lusca as a half-shark, half-octopus hybrid monster.
It has razor-sharp teeth and multi-suckered tentacles. It sometimes has many of the same characteristics as a colossal octopus, but has also been described at different times as having multiple heads, dragon-like features, or even appearing as a vaguely described evil spirit.
Some eyewitnesses have described the Lusca as appearing like a squid-eel hybrid, rather than the shark-octopus combination.
The Lusca is said to be over 75 feet long, possibly growing as large as 200 feet in some cases. It can change colors, much like some smaller species of octopus. Its habitat is rugged underwater terrain, large underwater caves, the edge of the continental, or other areas where large crustaceans are found, as this is assumed to be its food source.
Many sources describe how locals feel about the Lusca. Rob Morphy at Cryptopia claims that the Lusca has inspired terror amongst fishermen and scuba divers in and around the blue holes for decades.
Other sources say that local legends claim that the tidal currents of the inland blue holes are the result of the Lusca breathing in and out within its lair. It has also been said that there are eyewitness accounts of the Lusca killing people who get too close to its lair, even dragging people off land and down into the caves.
The disappearance of swimmers and cave divers in the area is sometimes attributed to the Lusca, and some sources claim locals have been witness to the Lusca snatching people off the decks of boats. In that same vein, the disappearances of entire boats have also been blamed on the Lusca. And finally, some sources claim that local fishermen will pass by the blue holes in silence, fearing the noise will attract the creature.
It is speculated that the famous St. Augustine Monster, one of the earliest recorded sightings of a globster, was possibly a Lusca. The St. Augustine Monster was found on November 30, 1896, on a coast near St. Augustine, Florida. Evidence from an analysis done in 1995 suggests it was simply decomposing adipose tissue from a sperm whale, like many globsters, though that hasn't stopped the speculation.
In 2005, it was reported by an underwater photographer that he was attacked by an octopus he described as being about 50 feet long. When the photographer put his camera out in front of him to protect himself, the octopus took the camera and disappeared into a cave.
Another account tells of a man who was swimming near a blue hole around sundown. He was violently grabbed and pulled underwater. The swimmer managed to get away and get to shore, and later noticed he had huge sucker marks on his thigh where he had been grabbed.
Once, a crew of divers actively attempted to catch the Lusca. At some point during their expedition, they realized something large and heavy was pulling on the traps they had set and was breaking the lines. One of these traps was pulled so hard that the boat was dragged along at a speed of one knot.
At the time, onboard sonar revealed what was later described by the crew as a large, pyramid-shaped creature. After the boat was dragged for some distance, the line went slack and the trap was pulled up. The crew saw that the trap was twisted and bent out of shape.
On January 18, 2011, the body of what appeared to be a giant octopus washed up on the Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas. It seemed to only be the head and mouth of the mysterious creature, leading local fishermen to speculate that the entire body might be 20 to 30 feet long. Naturally, given the location and size, some have theorized this creature might have been a Lusca.
Featured on TV
The Lusca has been featured on many TV shows, including MonsterQuest, River Monsters, and Destination Truth.
Jeremy Wade, host of River Monsters, investigated reports of the Lusca in the episode "Terror in Paradise," concluding that it was most likely a large octopus. In the trailer for the episode, Wade said, "My investigation now centers on whether a giant octopus could potentially catch and consume a person. I've seen this animal's amazing predatory behavior, so I know in principle this is a possibility."
On the TV show Destination Truth, a team was sent into the blue holes in order to find evidence of the Lusca. They discovered some quite unusual activity in the process.
The Destination Truth team dove to a depth of 150 feet in a blue hole and found an opening in a wall. They used sonar and made contact with something huge that was in the water with the divers. At the same time, Josh Gates, the team leader, saw movement from something giant, which he first assumed was just part of the wall. No one was able to get a clear view of whatever this thing was, but the team was worried enough that Gates was pulled out of the water.
Later at a different spot, Gates dove down 175 feet. The crew once again picked up sonar readings of something large, and once again Gates supposedly saw movement ahead of him. And yet again, he was unable to get a good look at it, due to the murkiness of the water and the surrounding ripples and bubbles.
Movement was picked up by FLIR cameras, indicating something large was nearby. The Destination Truth team became scared enough that they turned off the lights on their boat in order to avoid attracting the creature.
When the footage was analyzed by the team later, they noticed something that looked like a large tentacle, which caused them to speculate that it was possibly part of a large octopus or squid.
Possible Case For Existence
There are some factors that contribute to the idea of the Lusca's existence. The fact that the blue holes were eventually discovered to be a vast network of underwater cave systems lent credence to the idea of its existence.
There is also the fact that large animals, such as nurse sharks and sea turtles, have been seen around the blue holes, and many other animals have adapted to life there. This makes it feasible that another large, unknown predator might be able to live in that environment.
Scientists tend to dismiss the Lusca as merely being a giant squid. And of course, some oceanographers have also suggested an explanation for the witness sightings of fishing boats being dragged beneath the surface of the blue holes, with broken boat pieces later floating back to the surface.
It has been suggested that these sightings are actually a natural oceanic phenomenon caused by swift tidal changes. This causes water to be sucked back in through the blue holes, causing a whirlpool. When the currents are reversed, the water forces the wreckage back to the surface.
And while this theory makes sense, it doesn't account for the other part of the eyewitness accounts, the part which includes tentacles and shark-like mouths bursting through the water's surface.