Cryptid Profile: USS Stein Monster
In 1978, the USS Stein (a United States Navy Knox-class destroyer escort) was running special operations in the Pacific Ocean when it encountered something large and unseen in the water. Completely out of nowhere, the ship began to experience technical issues and eventual failure of its SONAR system (a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate and detect objects under the surface of the water), a problem which required the ship to return to port in San Diego, California.
Upon arrival, the ship was dry-docked and maintenance teams went to work to repair the damage of the system. As the teams approached the SONAR dome, they took notice of extreme visible damage to the rubber coating that wrapped around the dome. Over 8% of the surface of the dome was covered in deep cuts, gashes, and scrapes. Within the deepest of these cuts, the repair team discovered large, curved hooks that were reminiscent of the kind of hooks found within the suction cups of large squid. The only problem though was that the hooks were almost five times larger than any known squid.
The hooks were removed from the rubber surrounding the dome, the SONAR was repaired, and the ship was sent back out to continue its mission. The recovered hooks were then sent out for analysis and study. The results of the study confirmed that the hooks were indeed from a large, yet unknown type of squid. Measurements of the hooks, as well as the gashes created by the suction cups, revealed that the size of creature they came from and once belonged to had to be upwards of 150ft (45.72m) long. This is startling to imagine because the largest squid known to man, the Colossal Squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni), only grows to upwards of 46ft (14m). The second largest squid known to man, the Giant Squid (Architeuthis), have been estimated to reach the maximum size of 43ft (13m) for females and 33ft (10m) for males.
So what attacked the USS Stein in 1978? Could it be a new species of giant squid not yet known to science? Throughout the years, the proposed number of different giant squid species have been greatly debated, with some believing multiple species exist and others believing relatively few exist. But it appears that science may be close to settling that debate. Through genetic testing on the washed up corpses of giant squid, the evidence suggests that only one species of giant squid actually exists.
Until this gigantic monster is once again encountered, it shall remain nameless and hidden within the black depths of the vast ocean. But just in case it ever does make an appearance again, we think the name Monumental Squid would fit nicely.
-The Pine Barrens Institute