Now that we have the zombie subject squared away, lets move onto sea monsters:
Some are just little fishies that no one had ever seen before:
Friday morning......March 22, 1861.
--A strange specimen of the fish kind, known as the "Sea Horse," was caught in the Rappahannock River, Va., a few weeks since. The creature is about five inches in length, has the body and tail of a water dragon, and the well-formed neck and head of a horse. Fins are in the place of ears upon the head, also along the back, and underneath the belly. It is said to be the first of its kind ever caught in the waters of Virginia. It was kept alive for three weeks, during which time it showed a fierce disposition, raising itself, when angered, and making a short, snorting noise, somewhat similar to a horse. It has been placed in the Smithsonian Institution, at Washington, for exhibition.
Some seem to have been brought upon by over consumption:
[Fayetteville Observer, September 6, 1826.]
Perhaps the favorite of the tall stories was that of the sea monster. Sometimes it was a monstrous snake with great tusks, sometimes breathing fire, sometimes spitting poison; occasionally it had the head and shoulders of a man and the tail of a fish. The sea monster which the Hillsborough Recorder of July 17, 1845, described was an ordinary creature in comparison to most. It was "fifteen feet long and covered with a spotted coat of hair. . . . The head and neck appeared like a lion's or bull's without horns. . . . His tail appeared like that of a large fish, but here all likeness to the finny tribe ended."
Then there are the literary ones:
The investigated ones:
I won't even get into the mechanical ones.
Piney Flats, TN