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The Pensacola journal. (Pensacola, Fla.) 1898-1985, May 15, 1918, Image 2

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THE PENSACOLA JOURNAU, WEDNESDAY MORNING, MAY 15, 1918.
His tie teat fish
Swifcwel Prophet
iVntists Are Baffled by
Ulr lonaa iveys.
-k. ma
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION SAYS
IT IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST FISH
Capt. Chas. H. Thompson,
Gives Weight at 30,000 Pounds,
Length 45 Feet.
WHAT is declared by scientists to be the largest fish known
in history or ever captured in the history of the world,
will be on exhibition in Pensacola. It is so big, in fact, it
could have swallowed twenty Jonahs without suffering the slight
est pangs of indigestion.
Of course it is harmless now, but before it succumbed to the
effects of five harpoon thrusts and 151 good sized bullets in a bat
tle which tested thirty-nine hours its animal instincts were so
fierce that an octopus weighing 1,500 pounds and a half-ton of
coral only served it as an appetizer of the mildest sort.
This is a big fish story, but it is a true one, and the Smith
sonian Institution at Washington vouches for it in every detail.
This strange and mysterious mon
ster -which, as above stated, will be on
exhibition In Pensacola, is 45 feet in
length and measures 23 feet 9 Inches
In circumference. It weighed when
captured 15 tons or 30,000 pounds,
anl its liver alone weighed. 1,700
pounds.
Think of harpooning such a mon
ster as this and being dragged
through the water at express train
speed for hundreds of miles over the
t-ran for two days and a night be
fore the game was up and the capture
safely landed, y
Think of catching a fish with"' a
mouth big enough to hold three men
of ordinary size ahd of such strange
and peculiar . aspect that men of sci
ence stood astounded. Sounds like a
Jonah story, doesn't it? And for all
one Knows to ine contrary n may oe
and unquestionably is the sequel to
that story In the Bible that for ages
has proved the stumbling block to
men of science and made ministers of
every creed use their wit and ingen
uity to logically, explain the story of
the big fish that swallowed the He
brew prophet some thousands of years
ago.
Capt. Thompson Proves Story.
It remains for Capt. Charles H.
Thompson of Miami. Fla, to end the
controversy, ap to him belongs the
credit of capturing the monster that
could have swallowed Jonah with the
greatest ease had it been in the
neighborhood when the prophet was
cast overboard by the crew of the ship
he was traveling on.
Nobody is better known in tha
world of sports than Captain Thomp
son. For years he has been, and still
Is. the favored patron of the Vander
bilts, the Whitneys and other million
aire sportsmen who frequent the low
er east coast and who Invariably en
gage mm to accompany them on tneir
trips ; through the Everglades and
through the magic waters of the Flor
ida Key after big game for which
this section is noted.
Captain Thompson encountered this
strange fish while cruising off the
lower Florida Y.vyu In that stretch of
water that for more than a century
was the scene of countless thrilling
adventures and romantic exploits
alike of, Spanish explorers and blood
thirsty pirates.
L.ong the home of romance and
mystery it seems only natural that
this stranger and most mysterious of
monsters should have been discovered
lurking in these magical waters. Cap
tain Thompson had captured many a
wonderful inhabitant of these teem
ing waters, ranging all the way from
predatory sharks to terrible devil fish,
but nothing so strange, so wlerd, so
unaccountable as this extraordinary
creature, this puzzle to the scientific
world, which has become known as
the Deep Pea Mystery, ever came out
of the sea before.
"With the first announcement In the
papers of the remarkable achieve
ment Captain Thompson was flooded
with letters and telegrams from all
over the country asking for descrip
tions and ) articulars of the wonder,
and -the interest became so wide
spread and insistent that after having
had the unique specimen preserpd at
rreat expense with the . assistance of
the Smithsonian Institution at Wash
ington, he decided to exhibit the won
der throughout the country.
Yacht Now in Pensacola.
To that end he had a large sea-going
yacht constructed, the entire low
er deck of which was especially de
signed to accommodate the monster
fish and was made sufficiently large
to allow for ample srace for as many
s 1,500 spectators to view it from
every side.
The yacht also carries one of the
finest and most, valuable private ma
rine exhibits ever brought together,
Strange Monster Here
-a Try
of Miami, Its Captor,
consisting of numerous rare and
strange specimens of marine life, all
of which were personally collected by
Captain Thompson while on his many,
cruises in the Florida Straits and ad
jacent waters.
Captain Thompson's palatial yacht,
for such it is, as it was-built at a
cost in excess of $30,000 will tie up
Wednesday at Captain Bennie Ed
mund son's wharf where the huge mon
ster will be on exhibition.
The people of Pensacola now have
the great privilege for the first time
of seeing this truly wonderful marine
exhibit, including the huge monster
known as the Deep Sea Mystery,
which possibly has been the subject
of 'more speculation and-controversy
than any other creature that" ever
came out of the. ocean.
What, then, is the great Deep Sea
Mystery?
No one knows. Tou must seet it
for yourself and your guess will be
as good as, anybody's.
You may think it is some kind of a
whale. But It is not a whale. Whales
are not classed as. fish, but are warm
blooded mammals that suckle their
young like a cow.
Except for its huge size the Deep
Sea Mystery has not a single feature
in common with the whale. The crea
ture Is a true 'fish with all the well
known characteristics of a fish in
cluding the gills, whictt are four feet
long and by means of which it
breathes. Tet it dos not resemble
any species of fish known to scien
tific authorities.
Tou may th!nk it Is a shark, but It
Is . not a shark. No shark ever grew
to be such a size as this, besides the
tell-tale characteristic of all sharks,
the slit-like mouth underneath the
head, making the animal turn over on
its side or back In order to seize its
prey, its absent.
Hugh Fish Only a Baby.
On the contrary, the mouth of the
Deep Sea Mystery is an enormous
cavity, 30 inches wide and 43 Inches
deep situated right at the end of the
snout and resembles that of a mon
strous cat fish more than anything
else. Inside the mouth is a tongue
forty inches long and a gullet large
enough to swallow a giant octopus
weighing l.BOfr pounds which was
found alive In the creature's stomach
when it was dissected.
The Deep Sea Mystery captured by
Captain Thompson exhibits other
characteristics of a true fish that are
as A. B. C. to the scientific investi
gator. There are no ribs and In place
of a backbone Its spinal column con
sisted of cartilagneous vertebrae,
some of which were 13 1-2 inches
wide and showing signs of ossifica
tion. This was proof beyond doubt
that the creature was still unde
veloped It was a baby, in fact.
Naturalists say that a full grown
specimen of the kind would be not
less than two and a half times as
large as the baby captured by Cap
tain Thompson. Had this creature
lived out its allotted span then it
must have attained the stupendous
proportions of 115 feet in length and
20 or 25 feet broad.
Baby though it was, it had assured
ly cut its teeth, for the jaws were
lined with innumerable tiny teeth
that nobody has taken the trouble to
count. They are set with an inward
slant so as to Frevent the escape of
any prey seized by the creature In
looking for food and Jonah would
have had Miiall chance of escape had
he fallen in its way.
The huge mouth of such a mon
ster as the Deep Sea Mystery would
not appear to invite repose, but as a
matter of fact two men did actually
sit side by side in the creature's
mouth without crowding each other.
The tall of the Deep Sea Mystery
measures ten feet from tip to tip; .he
pectoral V.n is five feet long and three
feet wi.je, while the dorsal fin is three
feet long and two feet nine inches
wide. With this huge muscular tail
as motive power the creature was
Facts of Interest About
the Deep Sea Monster
Measures 45 feet in length.
Weighs 15 tons or thirty thousand pounds.
Its liver alone weighed 1,700 pounds or more than ten full grown
men put together. - !
It is twenty-three feet around the body and its tail measures ten
feet from tip to tip. ,
It had swallowed an octopus weighing one thousand five hundred
pounds which was ?ill alive in its stomach when caught.
It could have swallowed twenty Jonahs without Suffering the slight
est pangs of indigestion.
It smashed a boat into thousands of pieces and crushed the rud
der and propeller of a thirty-one ton yacht with a single swish of its
mighty tail.
Five harpoon thrusts and one hundred and fifty large calibre rifle
bullets only served to increase its fury and it took five days to finally
kill it. ' .,-
The battle lasted thirty-nine h
sea with monster dragging small b
dreds of miles.
Smithsonian authorities believ
tant of r'pth more than fifteen h
it was blown up by some subterr
jured its .diving apparatus, so it wa
Its hide is three inches thick
enormous water pressure, a press
eyes, which are very small, have
eating that it lived at a depth whe
The creature is not classified in natural history, the genus or spe
cies is unknown and it is not only the most remarkable zoological spec
imen of the fish tribe known in history.
Although the largest fish ever captured, scientists claim it was only
a baby of its tribe and if it had lived to attain full growth it would have
been two and one-half times as large.
Every undertaking establishment on the Florida East Coast from
Jacksonville to Key West gave up their entire supply of formalde
hyde to preserve the monster and over nineteen barrels were used.
It was mounted by J. S. Warmbeth, the celebrated taxidermist of
the Smithsonian Institution, who was also chosen to accompany Admiral
Peary or. his famous trip to the Pole.
' " -
- Will be on exhibition' Wednesday at Captain Bennie Edmundson's
wharf on board Captain Thompson's large, sea-going yacht which he
built at a cost of $30,000. , i
MINISTERS OF GOSPEL
GIVE OUT STATEMENT
Great Discovery Produces Sensation in Scientific
World Theologians, Scientists and Other
Learned Men Eagerly Write for Facts.
Theologians and other learned men
who have viewed the giant fish say it
unquestionably must have been a
creature of this species that swallowed
the Prophet Jonah as related in the
Scriptures and no discovery within
the past century has created such a
profound sensation in the scientific
and zoological world.
As a matter ot fact, no other spe
cies of fish ever known to science
could possibly have accomplished the
feat. Doubting Thomases and skep
tics have always proclaimed that no
fish big enough to swallow Jonah ever
existed, but Captain Thompson's cap
ture throws an entirely different light
on the matter.
Within only a few days after the
news of the capture was flashed over
the wires of the country and the de
tails of the capture appeared In the
newspapers. Captain Thompson began
to receive letters and requests for sci
entific data from all parts of the
country- Letters by the score were
received from newspapers and maga
zine publishers, ministers of the Gos
pel, scientists, writers on natural his
tory, to say nothing of an offer of
$50,000 from a well known capitalist
who wanted to buy the fish for exhi
bition purposes.
In this connection Captain Thomp
son said:
"The news of my exploit spread
rapidly abroad over the country
through the newspaper accounts that
had been printed about it and I was
daily receiving letters from people
everywhere asking for the facts and
details of Its capture.
Bryan Sees Monster.
"Many persons who had seen the
giant fish while it was being exhibited
at Miami." continued the captain,
"wrote to me afterwards aetut it.
Among the most valued letters I re
ceived is one from the Hon. William
Jennings Bryan, formerly secretary of
state in President Wilson's cabinet,
who commended it as a ronderful zoo
logolic study. As is well- known. Mr.
Bryan has a winter home at Miami
able to hurl Itself through the water
for hours with almost the speed of
an express train and dragging Capt.
Thompson's boat behind it, and not
even the swiftest motor boat could
have kept pace with it.
Came From Great Depth.
Capt. Thompson drove as many as
five harpoons in the creature and
how ' he and his companions were
towed in a small lifeboat for two days
ours two days, and a night in open
oat at express train speed for hun-
e that the creature was an inhabi
undred feet below the surface and that
anean or volcanic upheaval which in-
s unable to return to its native depths,
and enabled it to withstand the most
ure almost inconceivable to man. Its
no lids and were never closed, indi
re eyes were of no avail.
and spends much of his time "there
during the season.
"Newspaper and magazine editors
were constantly applying to me for
information and photographs for the
stories they wanted to print about the
Deep Sea Mystery. Among the first
was A. W. Stoddard, of the New York
Sun, who printed a splendid account
in the Sunday Sun. Scott Sinclair ap?
plied for material for a story for
Field and Stream. Afong others who
wrote up the big fish were II. E. Ehl
ers, of the Newark Sunday Call;
Francis Arthur Jones, .New York rep
resentative of the well known Eng
lish publications, The Tatler. The
Sphere and The Wide World Maga
zine, the latter publishing a six or
eight-page article. The Chicago Record-Herald,
the. Louisville Courier
Journal, and other well known publi
cs ti6ns too numerous to mention, also
published Interesting articles.
"Among the large numbers of let
ters received from ministers was one
from the Rev. Scott Phillips, a prom
inent Presbyterian minister, of Ox
ford, N. C who said:
"The giant fish which you captured
has made a tremendous impression on
me and I believe that God enabled
you to capture this fish that Its evi
dence might be used to convince skep
tics that no longer is there any ground
to doubt the account found in the
book of Jonah that he was swallowed
by a great fish.
"The Bible does not state that
Jonah was" swallowed by a whale
necessarily, for it says God had pre
pared the fish. He certainly must,
have prepared the one you caught.
My purpose in writing you this letter
is to get some reply which I might
quote In a series of sermons I desire
to preach from the Book of Jonah-' "
Captain Thompson has in his pos
session numerous other interesting
letters from, well known ministers
which cannot be published for lack
of space.
Will be on exhibition Wednesday t
Captain Bennie Edmundson's wharf.
and a night over the trackless main
is another story aftd will be related
in a subsequent article In the .cap
tain's own words.
It was undoubtedly the most thrill
ing adventure that ever befell mariner
or sportsman outside the pages of
fiction, and one must read Victor
Hugo's great story. "'The Toilers of
the Sea," which is a purely imaginary
romance, to find anything approxi
WHITE SLAVE CASE
WAS THRQWrJ OUT
In Ihe United States District Court
Monday the case against George R
Kummans charged with white slavery
was nol pressed.
Anna Brown was found guilty of giv
ing liquor to soldiers. She will b$ sen
tenced later.
EX-POSTMASTER IS
SENTENCEDl YEAR
W. II. McSwain, postmaster at
Deerland, Okaloosa County, Fla., yes
terday pleaded guilty In the United
States District Court to the charge
of embezzling postal funds. He was
'sentenced to one year anl one day in
the federal penitentiary at Atlanta. .
AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP
ON THOUSANDS OF ALIENS
Washington, May 13. In co-operation
with the army general staff, the natu
ralization bureau of the department of
labor prepared today to confer "Amer
ican citizenship on one .hundred and
twenty-three thousand aliens In the
national army, besides many other
thousands in civil life. Notices of sign
ing the new law has been sent to all
army cantonment?, requesting assist
ance of men eligible to citizenship and
affording them an opportunity to com
plete naturalization and arrangements
made by the department of justice to
hold special terms of court adjacent to
camps and cantonments.
mating the captain's nerve-racking
experience.
The eyes of the Deep Sea Mystery
are unusually small for so huge aa
animal as this, with other character
istics displayed by the creature's vis
cera, indicate that it inhabited the'
abysmal depths of the ocean . where
little if any sunlight ever penetrates
and eyes are of little use. This must
be true, for were it a surface dweller
undoubtedly some mature specimens
must long since have been discovered
disporting themselves in these waters
by one of the thousands of mariners
who have constantly traversed these
seas during the past 400 years.
Since no one has ever made any
sxch momentous discovery the ques
tion naturally arises how came this
creature to be swimming in shallow
water where Capt. Thompson by the
merest chance discovered it.
Science answers that it must have
been thrown to the surface by some
unusual submarine disturbance, such
as a volcanic eruption might bring
about. Relieved of the enormous
pressure exerted by the water at the
great depth which it inhabited, its
body became distended with air and
.gases, its diving apparatus was rup
tured and the animal was unable to
dive. During the many hours of its
frantic struggle to escape its pursuers
it never once attempted to dive but
kept to the surface till it became ex
hausted and was finally slain.
Thousands View Monster.
The skin is three inches thick, scale
less and so tough that the many bul
lets fired at it hardly penetrated it
at all. The liver alone weighed 1,700
pounds and 19 barrels of formalde
hyde and other disinfectants were re
quired to preserve the skin while a
wood and steel framework was con
structed along the lines of the fish's
proportions by Prof. J. S. Warmbeth.
one of the most skilled taxidetmists
in the country, who had been recom
mended by the. Smithsonian Institu
tion at Washington no Capt. Thomp
son as being eminently fitted to d
the work in the most satisfactory
manner. A number of able assistants
were pressed into service and after
weeks of arduous labor the Deep Sea
Mystery was successfully mounted
and made ready for exhibition.
News of the strange fish traveled
far and wide, and although, yt was
midsummer and Miami practically .de
populated of tourists which form a
great part of its population, when the
monster was landed more than 5,000
people crowded the docks and lined
the river banks in order to see the
wonder prize. Everybody in Miami,
including the mayor, councilmen,
ministers, merchants, and, in fact,
practically everybody in the . county
saw the fish during the few days it
lay on the docks.
Many scientists learned in fish lore
went to Miami for the special purpose
of examining the strange creature,
and. if possible, to classify it. But
no one was able to tell what it was
or to what order of the finny tribe it
belongs. So far as Is known it is the
first and only specimen of the kind
ever seen by the eye of man unless
Indeed, some far off progenitor of this
creature of mystery appearing In the
nick of time, saved Jonah from a
watery grave and afterwards to spew
him out on dry land .when he l?ad
repented.
Considering that the Mediterranean
is a semi-tropic sea with a tempera
ture about like that of the Caribbean
sea, and with a fauna of a similar
type, such a surmise is by no means
impossible.
Capt. Thompson Is now preparing
to exhibit his prize throughout . the
entire, country and 'after exhibiting
the fish here for only a few days will
sail with his family for Mobile 'and
New Orleans.
His itinerary will include all the
leading cities and towns of the Mis
sissippi river and its tributaries on
the- completion of which he will go
via the Chicago canal Into the Great
Lakes, thence to Buffalo and the Erie
canal to the Hudson river on to New
York . City' and the Atlantic seaboard
and back to Miami.
Capt. Thompson, as may well be
Imagined, is of a most interesting per
sonality and although very quiet and
unassuming in his manner. Is always
glad to meet the public and relate in
person the many thrilling details ot
his wonderful exploit. Adv.
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