Trunko is the nickname for a globster reportedly sighted in Margate, South Africa, on October 25, 1924, according to an article entitled Fish Like A Polar Bear that was published in the December 27, 1924, edition of London’s Daily Mail. A globster or blob is an unidentified organic mass that washes up on the shoreline of an ocean or other body of water. A globster is distinguished from a normal beached carcass by being hard to identify, at least by initial untrained observers, and by creating controversy as to its identity. A globster is typically a huge sea creature, that is often smelly, because this mass of marine flesh is always found dead washed up on beaches throughout the world. Mystery has surrounded these creatures for decades, as the seas of our world are vast and strange creatures are still lurking there.
Over the centuries every once and awhile something truly bizarre comes along, a sighting which seems to push the boundaries of the weird and shows us that we may be even further from understanding the deep than we think. Surely one of the oddest such cases comes to us from the shores of South Africa, where there was a rather perplexing case of a sea monster that seems to defy classification, and which has gone on to become one of the more curious mysteries that haunted many people till the British cryptozoologist Karl Shuker explained it to be a globster in his 1996 book The Unexplained. Trunko got its named in jest by Shuker in his book, and the name stuck.
Knowing that information can become altered over time, either intentionally or accidentally, almost 95 years ago, this curious sequence of inexplicable events began to unfold that startled and frightened witnesses on the beach. Just off shore amidst a good amount of thrashing and splashing about there an enormous, white furred creature that looked like a long trunk and which one witness a South African farmer Mr. Hugh Ballance described as a giant polar bear, appeared to be engaged in vicious combat with a pair of killer whales, also known as orcas. The great battle with the whales took place some distance out to sea, not at the shore and Hugh Ballance watched with the aid of glasses. According to report, the strange, violent battle was truly epic, continuing for around three hours, as the sea frothed with red and the strange sea monster lashed out at the whales with its formidable looking tail, at one point it was purported to have leaped 20 feet out of the water during the melee.
In the churning depths of the Indian ocean the fierce battle drew to an end, the whales moved away and their furry attacker floated lifelessly at the surface. The odd sea creature reportedly washed up onto shore, apparently killed by the orcas, where it would prove to be even stranger than originally thought. Witnesses who claimed to have examined the carcass described it as being 47 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 5 feet high, without any limbs and the entirety of it covered with lush white fur around 8 inches long. The creature appeared to have no discernible head, and from its torso protruded what looked like a thick trunk very similar to that of an elephant, which measured 5 feet long and 14 inches in diameter, with a tip described as being sort of like the snout of a pig. The tail of the beast was said in later reports to be like that of a lobster, its bone structure was unclear and perhaps the strangest detail of all was that the corpse showed no signs of blood, despite the fact that the creature had presumably died of its wounds.
The descriptions given of Trunko created a vivid image of an extraordinary creature. Although Trunko appeared to be a sea creature, it allegedly had thick hair all over its body and possessed a long trunk. These features were combined with a powerful, lobster-like tail, and Trunko didn’t seem to have any sort of head or face. Although the creature was examined and measured by witnesses on the beach, it seems that strangely no trained scientist ever came to see it and no photos were provided at the time. However, a Johannesburg photographer named A. C. Jones did take three or four photos of Trunko, some of which were published in the August 1925 issue of Wide World Magazine, assuming, that this is not a newspaper hoax. Some of the onlookers brought in a team of 32 oxen to move it seaward, which they failed to do on account of its immense weight. After 10 days of rotting away on the beach, the fetid carcass then apparently was washed back out to sea where it would disappear forever and pass into one of the stranger cases in the history of the weird.
After the initial article in the Daily Mall, other news sources picked up the story and it was widely reported on in various outlets. Oddly, another article which was published in the March 27, 1925 edition of the Charleroi Mail, of Charleroi, Pennsylvania, in the United States and entitled “Whales Slain By Hairy Monster”, would give a slightly different version of the unusual events. According to this article, the bizarre trunked sea monster had won the battle with the whales, killing them and then had retreated to shore where it collapsed from exhaustion rather than washing up dead. Just as described in the original Daily Mail article, the creature then remained on the beach for 10 days, during which time it was not examined by scientists, yet in the Charleroi Mail article the beast groggily crawled back to the water and swam away rather than having its lifeless corpse carried away by the tides.
Others say that Trunko was not a globster, it was the dead, rotting remains of a white or whitish bull whale, or a basking shark, or a white shark that the Orca killed and the trunk was its exposed sexual organ. Was Trunko just a massive, tough skin-sac of blubber containing collagen that was left behind from a dead whale that had its skull and skeleton separated from the skin and lost in the ocean? Or perhaps Trunko was a living, white-furred, elephant-trunked cryptid that had never been found in existence before or after.