Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Andrew from AL. Andrew Wonders, “What was the kraken?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Andrew!

Ask any group of pirates and they’ll tell you bone-chilling tales of terror on the open seas. From hurricanes to tsunamis, sailing the oceans can be a perilous business. But weather isn’t the only danger to contend with. There’s always the fear of being attacked by gigantic sea creatures!

Or at least that’s what most pirates will tell you. But can you really believe them? After all, pirates can be a shifty bunch.

Pirates certainly have many legends to fuel their fear of giant sea monsters. One such legendary creature is called the Kraken. It supposedly lived in the depths of the sea off the coasts of Norway and Iceland.

“Kraken” comes from the German word for “octopus.” This has likely influenced the way artists have painted the Kraken. It often appears as a large creature with many arms. In many cases, the arms reach as high as the top of a ship’s main mast.

Legends hold that no ship could stand up to the Kraken. The creature could easily sink ships by wrapping its many arms around them. The ship’s crew would either drown or be eaten by the monster.

These are certainly mythical tales. But the Kraken legends may have been based on a real creature: the giant squid. Giant squid have long tentacles and can grow up to 40-50 feet in length. They usually live deep in the sea. But they’ve been known to surface and attack ships from time to time.

The Kraken gained literary fame in 1830 when Alfred Tennyson published his sonnet called “The Kraken.” In it, he described a huge sea creature that lived in the depths of the ocean and rose only to attack ships.

Today, the Kraken is alive and well in popular culture, including video games and theme park rides. Many modern movies also feature scenes in which the Kraken attacks from the depths of the sea!

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Phew! Better hold your nose. Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is a real stinker!