In August 1817, reports of a giant sea serpent that moved rapidly through the harbor were reported in Gloucester, and the serpent went known as Gloucester Sea Serpent. It was said to have a turtle-like head adorned with a spear or horn and the body as wide as a barrel. The reports gained so much momentum, the Linnaean Society of New England assembled a team to collect evidence and David Humphreys traveled to collect eyewitnesses reports.
The Linnaean Society of New England published a report that the sightings were evidence about a new animal, Scoliophis atlantica. The name was not appreciated, and received a lot of parodies. In April 1859, a creature fitting the description of the serpent attacked the British sailing vessel Banner.