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The Pensacola journal. (Pensacola, Fla.) 1898-1985, May 19, 1918, SECOND SECTION, Image 10

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Undertaking: Establishments Give Up Entire
Stocks of Formaldehyde to Preserve
Monster Fish -Nineteen
Barrels Are Used.
Captain Thompson's Efforts to Save His Great
Prize More Heroic and Thrilling
Than Its Capture.
T WAS an eventful day in Miami's history when Captain
Charles H. Thompson finally landed his strange and mysteri
ous deep sea monster and had it hauled up on the ways at the
local docks. It is safe to say that no less than ten thousand
people were eye-witnsses to the scene who rmember it as though
it happend yesterday.
As already explained in previous articles, the fish is the larg
est known in history and it is believed by many, including the lead
ing theologians of the country, that it was a fish of this species
that swallowed the prophet Jonah,, as no other fish known to
naturalists could have accomplished the feat.
The fish is of wonderful Interest, not
atone on account of its tremendous size,
but from a scientific and zoological
standpoint as well, as it is the only
one of its species ever captured.
Captain Thompson was quick to
r.-cognibe the great value of his stupen
dous prize and with characteristic en
ergy and foresight he at once began
the huge task of preserving it. To ac
complish this great task he displayed
Hi much courage and heroism as he
lil in ranturin the monster. As a
matter of fact it required, as much
n..Tve and fortitude to preserve this
monster mass of flesh as it did to cap
ture it in the terrific battle which last
ed thirty-nine hours.
Police Force Called Out.
The crowd that swarmed around tne
monster after it was gotten on the
wharf at Miami, was so great tliat in
ijuru sflf-defense Captain Thompson
t is forced to call out the police force
to nuiinttin order while he rigged up a
t-Mivas screen around the creature. Two
n:-n were kept busy for the entire day
I iising the people in and out so tnat
til I inbrht have a chance' to see the
In the meantime Captain Thompson
had wired the authorities of the Smith
sonian Institution at Washington ad
vising them of hl remarkable capture
and asking for advice and assistance in
preserving it. No response was forth
coming, the authorities evidently sus
pecting that they were called on to deal
with another one of the "big fish
stories" about which they were accus
tomed to hear such exaggerated state
ments at this season of the year.
Captain Thompson was beginning tc
feel apprehensive regarding tne situa
tion, whereupon Dr. Gudger, a gentle
man whose scientific attainments were
not unknown in Washington, wired a
confirmation of the captain's remark
able claim and sfrongly advised
that in the interest of science, the
Smithsonian Institution should lend all
possible aid in preserving such a rare
specimen for the benefit of posterity.
The result was an immediate answer
with instructions as to the proper
course to be pursued, and also recom
mending that Professor J. S. Warm-
heath, an eminent naturalist and expert
taxidermist, who had accompanied one
.f Peary's polar expeditions, be en
gaged to prepare and mount the big
'But before Professor Warmbeth
could arrive." said Captain Thompson,
in relating the story of his great un
dertaking. "I soon realized that drastic
steps had to be taken if I would save
my prize.
"The monstrous piece of flesh, lying
there in the hot sun, was showing un
mistakable signs vof decomposition. Of
course no kind of fish smells exactly
like attar of roses, no matter how
freh it may be, so when people be
gan, complaining of the odor and were
edging away from Us vicinity and when
the board of health took action and de
clared the carcass a menace to the
health of the community, I got busy
right away.
IVIre I'ndertakera for Helpi,
"I had already wired to all the under
taking establishments on the East Coast
from Jacksonville to Kiy West, asking
for assistance and also buying every
tllon of formaldehyde I could get.
"The great, lubberly carcass was got
ten into the water and towed across
cass immense flocks of gulls, carrion.
crows and other sinister birds of prey, i
drawn there by the all-penetrating
odor of the animal, sw irled around
overhead in clouds that almost darken
ed the sky.
"At first we paid little attention to
their presence, as they did not bother
us, but as their numbers increased by
new and more voracious arrivals from
every point of the compass the eager
birds became bolder, swooping down
by hundreds and, alighting on. the car
cass, proceeded to dispute with us for
its possesion. . ,
Men Work Like Trojans.
"The avidity to' get at the feast was
so great we actually had to beat them
off with sticks in order to go on with
our work unimpeded by their activities.
They did not in the least mind the
strong disinfectants we used, but tried
to tear pieces of flesh from the mass
by beak and claw.
"Xobody could -keep at such " an un
pleasant job for long at a time, and we
were obliged to work in relays. One
would endure it as long as possible,!
then you would see him drop his tools!
and run off as far to windward as it
wa9 possible to go and there drown
down on the sand to rest and breathe a
little fresh, Invigorating air.
"We had to construct a big wooden t
tank, capable of holding hundreds of
gallons of chemicals," in which, the car
cass was placed and where it remained
for several days. Accurate, measure
ments of the carcass were Tfiade and a
framework of wood and steel construct
ed which was covered with a coating of
plaster, so as to make an exact replica
of the inside of the huge monster as
it lay on the beach. Twelve hun
dred feet of lumber, 1,700 pounds of
stell bars, rods and bolts, and barrel
after barrel of plaster were used to
fHl the enormous cavity after the inter
nal organs were removed.
"The huge mass of flesh was how dis
sected so that the material organs and
the anatomy of the creature might be
studied. On cutting open the stomach
we were astonished to find it contain
ing the perfect body of a huge octo
pus that weighed 1,500 pounds. "From
its condition It was evident that the
octopus had been taken alive at one
gulp and had remained alive, for sev
eral days after it had been swallowed.
Figures Arc Astounding.
"After the carcass had been thor
oughly' Impregnated with the chemical
preservatives it was taken out of the
immense vat and preparations were
made to mount it in its natural life
like form and color. Th9 carcass was
so heavy and cumbersome that we
found it extremely difficult to manipu
late and a large force of men were re
quired to handle it.
"When spread out on the ground the
carcass measured forty-five feet long
by nearly twenty-five feet in circum
ference and the hide was found to be
three Inches thick. If it enormous
hide could have been tanned into- pli
able leather and split up into quarter
inch thicknesses it would have furnish
ed enough material to make 1,200
leather suitcases, or 2,700 pairs of
shoes. Cut into inch strips and laid
end to end it would have extended
twenty-four miles, and these strips
could have been made up into 43,20u
men's leather belts, each thirty-six
inches long. - j
"If all the material in this immense
Not in recent years, perhaps has any
thing aroused such widespread Interest
and discussion among all classes of
people In Pensacola as has this unique
exhibit. Undoubtedly it has attracted
more attention than anything of tfie
kind which ever came here before.
Many thousands of visitors have
crowded the " yacht since It has
been here and many have been so
profoundly Impressed and have become
so Intensely Interested with what they
have seen that they have gone away
and have urged their friends not to
miss the opportunity to see the great
est zoological wonder of all times.
On account of the wonderful amount
of interest shown it is .now conserv
atively estimated that the exhibition
will be seen by at least ten ,tn"busand
people during the next few days. It
is now believed, In fact, that Pensacola
will almost equal Tampa's record,
where the fish was seen by many thou
sands of people.
Among the thousands who have al
ready seen the exhibit were a number
from nearly towns, some of whom
came from a distance of fifty and sixty
miles away. Already the people of
other cities are beginning to make in
quiries and have urgently requested
Captain Thompson to include thosa
towns in his itineray. The Captain now
has the matter under advisement and
will announce his decision later in the
Although there are several lecturers
aboard Captain hompson's yacht who
explain the many facts of interest re
garding the fish. Captain Thompson
himself seems to be the center of at
traction, and he is called upon to an
swer a great many curious questions
"It Is surprising," said the captain.
"how many people seem to be interest
ed in the story of Jonah and the pos
sibility of there being a fish big
enough to have swallowed him. Every
where I go people ask me about that
the very first thing.
"There are two or three species of
whale to be found in the Mediterra
nean," he continued "but the great fish
that swallowed the prophet cannot
properly be identified with any of
them. Only the sperm whale has a
throat large enough to admit the body
of a man, yet the natural food of the
whale species consists of small animals
such as medusae and crustacae. that
abound in all semi-tropical waters.
"Before I caught this monster off the
Florida Keys, the only fish known to
naturalists capable of swallowing a
man would be a large specimen of the
white shark, which sometimes attains
the length of thirty feet. It is said
that the whole body of a man clad in
armor has been found in the stomach of
a white shark. Captain King in his
survey of Australia says he caught one
that could have swallowed a man vrith
the greatest ease. - There is also the
well authenticated case of a shark of
this species having swallowed a horse."
'T reckon the captain's big fish here
could have swallowed a horse, too, if
he had wanted to,' remarked a young
man, pointing to the huge creature.
"Well, I guess rather," declared me
captain with a grin. - "How easily he
could have done it you may judge from
the fact that we found an octopus j
weighing nearly a ton in its stomach." ,
: Captain Thompson is now meeting
the public daily on board, his yacht at
Captain Bennie Edmundson s wharf.
fish by which they are able to perceive;
Collection Contains Many Rare Specimens and Is Considered One
of the Finest and Most Complete in America.
Second only in Interest to the Deep
Sea Mystery itself, which is attracting
thousands of visitors to Captain
Thompson's yacht at Captain Bennie
Edmundson's wharf, is the captain's
marvelous marine exhibit, which Is
considered by many. wh? have seen it
to be one of the finest and most com
plete private collections in America,
Among the rare speclmeus are an
octopus, one of the most repulsive
creatures Imaginable; a devil-fish; ham'j
merhead shark: angel fish: a giant sail
fish, with, a sail two and half feet long
and one and- a half feet wide: a
giant baracouta over seven feet long
and that weighed 150 pounds and wita
a mouth and teeth large enough to bie
a man's arm off, to say nothing of
hundreds of other marvels of the great
deep, all of which are shown in their
natural forms and coiors.
One of the most interesting and sin
gular specimens of the entire collec
tion is the baby hammerhead shark
with the singular elongated head irom
which it derives its name. The eyes
are situated on the extreme outer edge
of the "hammer," so that it can cover
an unusually wide range of vision.
The hammerheads grow to jk length of
fifteen fc?t and bring forth their young
The tiger shark is the terror of the
seas. Growing to a length of .thirty
feet, they inhabit the warm waters or
the tropics and often ascend the gnif
stream to more northerly latitudes,
where they are a menace to bathers In
summer. ..'
The angel fish la a curious creature
whose place In nature is midway be
tween th"e shark and the ray. Their
targe pectoral fins projecting far out
on each side have a fancied resem
blance to wings which is their only
angelic feature.
Tew creatures of the sea have a
more horrible appearance than the
octopus, about which some of the most
gruesome stories ever written have
been told. Another interesting speci
men of marine life Is the giant sail
fish. Captain Thompson's specimen is
one of the largest ever captured on tne
East Coast,' measuring seven feet in
Other specimens are a giant sword
fish, giant Jewf ish, leather fish, dol
phin, amber jack, parrot fish, porcu
pine fish and others too numerous to
mention, all of which are the fnest
specimens obtainable and In a perfect
state of preservation.
Now on exhibition in Pensacola at
Captain Benhle Edmundson's wharf.
Captain Bennie Edmundson's wharf.
Hours: 100 a. m. to 10:30 p. m. Adv.
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 still alive In its stomach when caught.
If 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 xail.
Five harpoon thrusts and one nundred and fifty large calibre rifle
bullets only served to increase its fury and it took five days to finally
kill it. V c
The battle tasted thirty nine hours two days and a night in open
sea with monster dragging small boat at express train speed for hun
dreds of miles. " 1 .
Smithsonian authorities believe that the creature was an inhabi
tant of pths more than fifteen hundred feet below the surface and that
it was blown up by some subterranean or volcanic upheaval which in
jured its diving apparatus so it was unable to return to its native depths.
Its hide is three inches thick and enabled it to withstand the most
enormous water pressure, a pressure almost inconceivable to man. Its
eyes, which are very small, have no lids and were sever closed, indi
cating that it lived at a depth where eyes were of no avail.
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 but the largest specimen 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 barrel, 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. :
Now on exhibition In Pensacola aet Captain Bennie Edfundson's
wharf on board Captain Thompson's large, sea-going yacht which he
buiiwt at a cost of $30,000. Hours 10:00 a. m. to 10:30 p. m. .-.
the presence of enemies, when danger
threatens, where food Is to be found
and so on. Some fishes are so sensi
tive as to be able to distinguish be
tween vibrations caused by a stone or
a piece of bread dropped in the water,
even at a distance of twenty-five feet
or more. .
"The bones of some fishes are ot a
cartillaginous nature and remain so all
their lives. In others the cartillage
hardens, or ossifies, as the fish attains
maturity. The vertebrae of. the Deep
Sea Mystery is composed of cartillagin
ous plates which show the beginning
of ossification. This fact is indubit
able proof that the creature wa9 far
from the adult age, was in fact a baby.
Such an animal would be of extremely
slow growth and It might take several
hundred, if nol a thousand,, years to
arrive at maturity.
"These and other details revealed by
tke internal anatomy of the creature,
leave no shadow of doubt that the
Deep Sea Mytery is a true fish, but of
a species hitherto tinheard of or seen"
in any part of the world since recorded
history began. It is therefore a unique
specimen and will doubtless remain so
for a long time to come."
Appearing just as it did when It first!
came out of the water; In the natural
life-like form and color, this great zoo
logical wonder Is now on exhibition on
board of Captain Thompson's palatial
yacht at Captain Bennie Edmundson's
wharf.. Adv.
Subscribe for The Journal,
George W. Gilllngs. the lale of Man
citizen, who came to this country ami
Thursday had trouble talking: too loud
la a movlner picture theatre, at the
time a patriotic speaker had the stage
was yesterday afternoon ordered re
leased by Judge SheppanS of the Unit
ed States District Court. ;
Non-suit waa entered In the United
States District Court yesterday In th
case of Clarence Smith against th
Escambia Mill Company, claimlns
$5,000 damages for alleged personal
injuries. -
DUHANT, Okla., May 17. Dr. Jamei
I. Vance, of Nashville, Tenn., wat
elected moderator this afternon. by th
Southern Presbyterian general assem
ft'5 ( 0 ii
If It!s Meats
If It's Vegetables
If It's Chickens or
If It's Fish of Any
The Parlor Market
Discayne bay forty miles out to a desert1 hide had been. cut up into shoestrings
KtnJsptt where, with the assistance of! of one-eighth inch diameter they would
a numoer or nanus, t sri 10 wont to
av. my prize.
'You "may imagine what an arduous
i hdertaking this was when I tell you
t4iat the creature's hlcfe was all of three
Inches thick and sv tough we could
hardly 1 make an Incision In Its surface
with our sharpest knives. I. tell you
that we worked like Trojans night and
m a : ! n i v.
1 y . jor i"" ruiuuuuu ui tiio carcass
Has getting worse all the time. Al
though the monster was literaly de
lutrd with disinfectants, ninteen bar
being required to complete the job,
as the mopt horrible ordeal of the
tt I ever went through and one that
may be -sure renuirrd an immense
arn,Hint of nerve and fortitude to put
over. . v '
"Vhr,e we were working on the car-.
have reached, end to end, a distance of
30Z miles from one end of Florida to
the other. These are tail figures, but
just take your pencil and w;ork it out
yourself and see,
"Well, to resume, after a good deal
of pulling and hauling we finally got
the monster in shape to put on the
finishing touches. The holes made by
the harpoons and bullets were skill
fully patched, artificial eyes fixed in
place and other details carefully
dressed up. Then the skin which had
been somewhat bleached by the chemi
cals in which It had lain, was re
stored to its original color by a secret
process known only to the taxider
mist. After six months of uninter
rupted, paintaking work, the Job was
finally completed and av a total cost
of more' than $3,000 . I was proud of
the achievement, for I found myself
in possession of the greatest example
of the taxidermist's, art in America, if
not In the world. The Deep Sea Mys
tery now appears exactly as it did
when 16 was first taken out of the
water. ;
Fish Has Beautiful Lines.
"To say that I was delighted with
the results of my labors expresses it
mildly i'or one could not conceive of a
more beautiful or perfect specimen of
the true fish species. One would im
agine on hearing of the enormous size
of the creature that it would be more
or less of a monstrosity and would
have an awkward, ungainly, lubberly
appearance. Just the opposite is true,
however; as no fish ever possessed
finer or more graceful lines.
"Many doubting Thomases," contin
ued Captain Thompson, "ignorant of
natural history, on seeing the Dep Sea
Mystery. for the first time are reauy to
assert their belief that it is nothing but
a whale. It has been entirely settled
by scientific authority, however, that
the creature is not a whale but a true
"Whales are lung breathing, wa'rm-
niooded mammals that suckle tneir
young, Inhaling - and exhaling air
through a blow hole in the top of the
head. The mouth is situated under the
head and the tail is terminated by a
horizontal fluke. Only one species of
whale has a dorsal"fin. None of these
characteristics can , be found in the
Deep Sea Mystery except the dorsal fin.
Its tail is vertical , like that of other
fishes. , ;
j Hundreds of Years Old.
"Along each, side of the monster can
be seen three lateral lines, which are
found In nearly all fishes. These lines
are believed to be sensory organs
which enable the fish to perceive and
discriminate between different kinds of
vibrations in the water, just as human
ears perceive different sounds -by the
various kinds of air waves, or vibra
tions, that strike the ear. These lines
are thought to be the true ears of the
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You can get every mile of
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:'t ;
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rensacoia Laufl
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R L. BROWN, Manager PHONE 662-

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