The Official Collection of Fantastical Creature Information--Updated Randomly

For all your fantastical creature needs! This is the beginning of my encyclopedia, and I'm collecting as much information as I can on various fantasy creatures. Most of my stuff can be found on wikipedia. However, no source is perfect, so the stuff that is my input is often italicized. Help me by sending me more information at Questkid13@gmail.com

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Kraken

Kraken are legendary sea creatures of gargantuan size, said to have dwelt off the coasts of Norway and Iceland. These creatures normally live at great depths, but have been sighted at the surface and reportedly have "attacked" ships.

Physical Characteristics
Its body resembles a massive, cuttlefish-like cephalopod, with a ring of tentacles at the base of its head and a long, sharp tail similiar to a squid (which can be used to keep it at level with the ship underwater). The Kraken is said to be as long as ten time of a regular ship. It has large round eyes with orange irises and black pupils. Its mouth is lined with about six sets of spiked, razor-sharp teeth and its breath emits a reeking odor of, "a thousand rotting corpses."


Its massive, sucker-lined tentacles are said by Mr. Gibbs to, "suction your face clean off."The suction disks are powerful enough to pull down a ship from its underside and have even suctioned a human's face to the point of leaving it with skin folds, layer-over-layer.The Kraken also uses these powerful suckers to silently pull itself along the rocks lying on the oceans' bottom.

It's also notable that the Kraken has two forearms significantly larger than the others, like the hunting tentacles possessed by squids and cuttlefish. The beast employs these to crush ships. The weight of the two tentacles can split a ship along its width; its force being so great.


Summoning the Kraken
Davy Jones, ruler of the seas, summons the Kraken to destroy vessels. On-board his ghostly ship, the Flying Dutchman is a massive hammer-like wheel with a carved Kraken on the top, the so-called Kraken's Hammer. To call the Kraken, the crew rotate the hammer clockwise, lifting it to its highest point. It then slams down, blasting shockwaves through the ocean, thus summoning the Kraken. One shockwave usually does the job unless the kraken further away.


The Kraken stalks anyone marked with the Black SpotThe Black Spot is delivered to its victims by Flying Dutchman crewmen and can only be removed by its captain, Davy Jones. Those marked with the Black Spot are taken by the Kraken to Davy Jones' Locker, where they must experience their worst fear for eternity.

Methods of attack
The Kraken attacks by stealthily approaching a ship, slithering its tentacles up the hull's sides, and gripping tightly, yanks it underwater. If the crew can fight back, the Kraken smashes the hull and masts with its tentacles, probing the decks and holds with its sensitive suckers seeking out its prey. The desruction is catastrophic, and its two forearms are so powerful it can easily rip a ship apart in mere seconds. Davy Jones uses some, but not all, these attacks to acquire new crewmen for the Flying Dutchman. As he surveys one wrecked ship's survivors, he offers them an opportunity to delay their final judgment by joining his crew for 100 years. Those who refuse are killed and dumped over-board.Kraken attacks often leave the survivors, if any, psychologically damaged: traumatized and deranged. In one case, a survivor is left without a face, it having been sucked off.


History
Early accounts, including Pontoppidan's, describe the kraken as an animal "the size of a floating island" whose real danger for sailors was not the creature itself, but the whirlpool it created after quickly descending back into the ocean. However, Pontoppidan also described the destructive potential of the giant beast: "It is said that if it grabbed the largest warship, it could manage to pull it down to the bottom of the ocean" (Sjögren, 1980). Kraken were always distinct from sea serpents, also common in Scandinavian lore (Jörmungandr for instance). A representative early description is given by the Swede Jacob Wallenberg in his book Min son på galejan ("My son on the galley") from 1781:
… Kraken, also called the Crab-fish ... He stays at the sea floor, constantly surrounded by innumerable small fishes, who serve as his food and are fed by him in return: for his meal, if I remember correctly what E. Pontoppidan writes, lasts no longer than three months, and another three are then needed to digest it. His excrements nurture in the following an army of lesser fish, and for this reason, fishermen plumb after his resting place ... Gradually, Kraken ascends to the surface, and when he is at ten to twelve fathoms, the boats had better move out of his vicinity, as he will shortly thereafter burst up, like a floating island, spurting water from his dreadful nostrils and making ring waves around him, which can reach many miles."

According to Pontoppidan, Norwegian fishermen often took the risk of trying to fish over kraken, since the catch was so good. If a fisherman had an unusually good catch, they used to say to each other, "You must have fished on Kraken." Pontoppidan also claimed that the monster was sometimes mistaken for an island, and that some maps that included islands that were only sometimes visible were actually indicating kraken.


A special thanks to wikipedia and to...Scienceblogs for this slightly stolen image

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