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Tampa Bay Beach Sea Monster

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Circulating photographs are claimed to depict a strange sea creature found on Florida’s Tampa Bay Beach.

Brief Analysis

The creature is a sculpture by artist, Juan Cabana.

Example

Subject: FW: It was found on Tampa Bay beach – what the heck is it?

What to hey?????? How weird is this??????????????????

Tampa Sea Monster 1

Tampa Sea Monster 2

The email arrives with several other images of the same creature.

 

Detailed Analysis

Photographs of this strange and ferocious looking creature have been circulating via email and online since mid-2006.

The images have generated a lot of discussion. Given that our oceans do indeed harbour some strange and wonderful denizens, many have postulated that the creature might be a deep-sea fish hitherto unknown to science.

In fact, the “creature” is a sculpture by Tampa Bay artist Juan Cabana. Mr Cabana has created an entire menagerie of mermaids, sea monsters and aliens, some of which he offers for sale on eBay under the name “seamystery”.

This particular “Sea Monster” was the subject of an eBay auction in June 2006. The same photographs that are now circulating were included in the eBay description of the item.

Cabana does not specifically state that his creatures are sculptures in his eBay descriptions. Instead, he creates fictional cover stories to go with the sculptures that include such information as how and where the particular creature was supposedly washed ashore and subsequently discovered.

In a Small WORLD PodCast interview, the artist claims that he gives the items a cover story to create excitement about the sale and add an element of fun. He says that he at first made clear in his auction listings that he had actually made the objects but that approach “seemed like it was boring”.

Adding a story, he says, generates a lot more excitement. He assumes that most potential buyers will understand that the stories are tongue in cheek. Within the context of their original eBay listings, this assumption is not unreasonable. However, when the pictures and stories “escape” into cyberspace and get passed around out of their original context, they are apt to deceive many recipients.

It should be noted that the images are taken from the ebay listings and distributed via email without Mr Cabana’s permission or knowledge.

Although his works may not be to every body’s taste, Cabana really is a talented sculpture. His bizarre but very lifelike creations are outstanding. The artist uses a variety of materials including fish and animal skin, animal skulls, steel and plastic.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer