An artist's depiction
|Theories|| · Cryptid|
· Misidentified seal
The Sea Monk, also known as the Sea Bishop or the Bishop-fish, was the name given to a sea animal found off the eastern coast of the Danish island of Zealand in 1546.
It was mentioned and pictured in the fourth volume of Conrad Gesner's famous Historia Animalium. Gesner also referenced a similar monster found in the Firth of Forth, according to Boethius, and a sighting off the coast of Poland in 1531.
It was described as a human-sized "fish" that looked superficially like a monk.
There are several explanations as to what the creature could be. Theories include:
- An undiscovered species (a Cryptid)
- Misidentified seal (monk seal or hooded seal)
- A hoax
- The sea monk was subsequently popularized in Guillaume du Bartas's epic poem La Sepmaine; ou, Creation du monde, where the poet speaks of correspondences between land and sea:
- "Seas have (as well as skies) Sun, Moon, and Stars; (As well as ayre) Swallows, and Rooks, and Stares; (As well as earth) Vines, Roses, Nettles, Millions, Pinks, Gilliflowers, Mushrooms, and many millions of other Plants lants (more rare and strange than these) As very fishes living in the Seas. And also Rams, Calfs, Horses, Hares, and Hogs, Wolves, Lions, Urchins, Elephants and Dogs, Yea, Men and Mayds; and (which I more admire) The mytred Bishopand the cowled Fryer; Whereof, examples, (but a few years since) Were shew'n the Norways, and Polonian Prince."