Con Rit – The Great Sea Centipede
by Daniel Couzins
Posted: 15:00 October 12, 2007
Image created by Kryptid. Permission granted to use in any way desired.
The volume of the world’s oceans are beyond the stretch of most imaginations at 1.37 billion cubic kilometres. The average depth of these oceans is 4km (2.5 miles), with the deepest point lying in the Mariana Trench some 10.9 km (6.8 miles) down. The pressure here reaches a phenomenal 8 tonnes per square inch, this would be comparable to one person trying to support 50 jumbo jets!
To put the depths of the ocean into context, Mount Everest is 8.8 km (5.5 miles) high, a full 2.1 km short of the depth of the Mariana Trench.
As land dwelling mammals, we have only recently begun to explore the murky abyss. With most of it remaining unexplored, who knows what lurks at the bone crushing depths of the ocean’s floor.
One such possible creature would be the Con Rit, which is Vietnamese for centipede. Other names for this animal of the deep include the Many-Finned Sea Serpent, Cetacean Centipede and the Great Sea-Centipede. Throughout the ages there have been numerous sightings of Con Rit, and one such encounter was in 1899 when the crew of the HMS Narcissus spotted a giant creature near Cape Falcon in Algeria: The sailors reported sighting a sea monster that possessed an immense number of fins, and measured about 45 metres (150 feet) in length. The creature propelled itself forward with its fins with enough speed to keep pace with the ship. In all the sailors were able to observe it for about half an hour.
Some sixteen years before the Cape Falcon sighting, in 1883, it is alleged that the headless corpse of a Con Rit was washed ashore in Hongay, Vietnam. Eyewitness Tran Van Con claimed the carcass to be 18 metres (60 feet) long by one metre (3 feet) wide and covered in 60cm hexagonal armoured segments throughout its length. The creature was dark brown above and yellow on its underside, and when he touched it, it sounded metallic, much like the sound produced when tapping a horseshoe crab shell. From both sides of every segment protruded two filaments of 70 cm in length. The tail section was similar, but had two extra filaments coming from the bottom corners of the hexagon. It could be speculated that the filaments formed either end of a by then decomposed flap or fin – a theory given greater plausibility since the carcass was later towed out to sea and dumped because of the stench it gave off!
One of the earliest recorded accounts of Con Rit dates from the second centaury CE, when in his book, On The Nature Of Animals, Greek military writer Aelian reported that these serpents were known to beach themselves. He went on to say that witness of the time reported that the creatures had lobster like tails and large hairy nostrils.
For the time being the existence of the mighty Con Rit is still officially unconfirmed; however, with the further exploration of the far reaches of our planet’s oceans it’s only a matter of time before new weird and wonderful species are found. The Con Rit may live deep on the ocean floor, out of reach of mans’ watchful eye, only exposing itself when confused or ill (remember the whale in the Thames?). Until further oceanic exploration casts light on the mysteries of the deep the Con Rit will continue to remain a mystery that has captivated my heart as well as imagination.