9. Washed Up Sea Monster
Nessie, The Giant Squid, The Kraken - we're not exactly short of marine monster myths. Given that 97% of the sea floor remains completely unexplored, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that it is populated by enormous monsters of the deep.
Every couple of years or so, the semi-decomposed carcass of some mysterious creature will wash up on our shores that will defy identification and inspire the search for sea monsters with renewed vigour. Is it a creature previously unknown to science? Could it even be an alien life form?
Decomposition is a funny thing. After a couple of weeks floating around in the ocean, even the family dog would begin to look like a beast from outer space. The fact that most normal people don't have the foggiest idea what the excarnated remains of even the most familiar animals would look like, it's not surprising that the "monster" label is thrown around so liberally.
Couple this with the fact that whales, dolphins and pretty much anything else looks freaky as balls once the flesh starts sloughing off and, voila, you have your sea monsters.
The case of the Montauk Monster is a classic. When the carcass of a mysterious creature washed up on the beach on Long Island, New York, it was thought to be the remains of a bizarre hybrid creature. It appeared to have the body of a mammal but the sharp hooked beak of a bird or reptile. Could this be a missing link between dinosaurs and mammals? Perhaps it was even the result of a sick genetic experiment (dumped into the sea by the government probably).
Nope. It was a raccoon. Just a raccoon. So you can put your pitchfork down for now.