Glowing “Alien” Sea Creature In UK Harbor Sadly A Hoax
December 16, 2013

Glowing “Alien” Sea Creature In UK Harbor Sadly A Hoax

When an apparently alien sea creature appeared in the water of a harbor in Bristol, UK, it had onlookers, tweeters, newspapers and academics all excited and baffled. The creature glowed bright white, like an extremely healthy ghost, and was almost difficult to look at – if it wasn’t so fascinating.

As the video shows, the ‘creature’ looked like a very large jellyfish (large by British standards, anyway), about the size of a small boat. The incident attracted media attention, and the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph both speculated about what the thing might be, without concluding that it could only be a hoax. We all want these things to be real, don’t we? Sadly, though, it was indeed a hoax, as the Huffington Post later pointed out.

But before the hoax was revealed to be a promotional stunt by the Watch TV channel to promote an upcoming show, called The Happenings, there were various suggestions made. One of which was that highly celebrated local artist Banksy was involved. Banksy is a graffiti artist famous for huge satirical street art. Another suggestion, including from Dr Steve Simpson of the School of Biological Sciences at Bristol University, was that the beast might be a rare kind of marine salp. Salps of any kind must be pretty rare, because I have just discovered that they are not recognized by spell check! The Telegraph describes salps as “barrel-shaped marine animals which feed on algae and form into long chains with other salps. They look very primitive, like jellyfishes, but their biological make-up is actually closer to fish and vertebrates.”

People are very fond of pointing out that we know less about the ocean than we do about space. It is possible that any kind of weird and wonderful creature could still be found down there in the depths. It is probably ambitious to think that any of them would pop up in Bristol harbor, although a whale did float down the River Thames in central London a few years ago. The incident has websites devoted to it and there has been a long campaign to have a plaque devoted to the whale (you could be forgiven for thinking there is nothing to do in London, couldn’t you?).

The Happenings is a magic and stunt show from two Scottish magicians and comedians. The have previously done shows called The Magic of Jesus and Tricks From The Bible, in which they tried to successfully pull off wonders from the story of Jesus, such as getting a virgin pregnant, raising the dead and walking on water. In their new production, they wish to convince entire towns in the UK and the US that they are being invaded by aliens, using stunts and illusions. In other words, terrify people for money. If the reaction to their sea creature is anything to go by, their attempts could be quite successful. Unless the widespread discussion of their PR stunt backfires, and everyone looks out of their windows, thinks ‘oh, it’s those idiots from The Happenings’ and goes back to bed.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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John is a freelance writer from the UK, currently living in Japan and thoroughly enjoying their food and whiskey. His first novel, Three Little Boys, and his travel book, Following Football, are currently available on

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