Most people, however, remain reluctant to admit the possible existence of gigantic animals in the unfathomable depths. Creatures like the Ningen exist only in disjointed and confused accounts. Will it be true?
The “Ningen” – which translates in Japanese as “human” – was nicknamed by Japanese fishermen in the Pacific. There are numerous accounts of sightings of sea creatures in Eastern folklore dating back to the days when early sailors ventured out to sea. Japanese folklore is full of fantastic creatures that fall under the name of a Yokai. From the primitive shellless turtle known as Kappa to the massive elephant seal known as Baku, Yokai are a species of mythical creatures, many of which are absurd in various ways.
Unlike the old legends involving Yokai, stories about the Ningen emerged only recently, starting in the 1990s when a group of sailors claimed to have seen similar creatures swimming in deep water. These professional fishermen were amazed at the magnitude of the monster and even more surprised that this albino beast was strikingly humanoid in appearance.
Witnesses say it is between 60 and 90 feet long (18 and 27 meters, respectively) and weighs tens of tons. The Ningen is described as an immense marine creature similar to a whale, with almost white skin and a smooth texture with a morphology that vaguely resembles the head, trunk and appendages of the human being. Whoever spotted it claims that the Ningen has a mermaid’s tail instead of legs, while others insist that it has limb-like extremities that even allow it to walk on land like a biped. The creature would have ‘hands’, endowed with five fingers at the ends of long, slender arms.
These animals have reportedly been sighted in the Pacific and Antarctic, and have always been described as unusually large and having a whitish appearance that stands out in the water. Many observers have said that these animals have no distinct facial features, nothing more than two huge eyes and a slit for a mouth. According to most accounts, the creatures are nocturnal and prefer the cold currents of the ocean.
Like whales, they need to surface to breathe, and when they do, they release large amounts of water and foam. On some occasions they can be seen in pairs or even in large groups, although more often they are found alone. Females and males are almost identical and impossible to distinguish the sex, if there is such a separation.
The times it was sighted, the Ningen simply swam around ships keeping a distance of at least 10 meters. Ships that tried to follow the animal found that it could move quickly and disappear within seconds, sinking into the depths. Some theorists speculate that the Ningen inhabit deep waters and rarely have to rise to the surface, it is also speculated that they would live under the polar ice caps where they find nests and air deposits. The accelerated melting of these ice sheets could force the Ningen to move away from its natural habitat, which has led to more and more frequent sightings.
Witnesses were also struck by the strange song of the Ningen, which does not resemble any known marine animal sounds and is more like a long wail.
THE BIRTH OF THE LEGEND:
No one knows for sure when the first reports of this gigantic creature emerged, but it is assumed that the Ningen began to gain notoriety when information about sightings accompanied by reports appeared online in popular news forums in Japan. An anonymous individual claiming to work on a “government research vessel” gave a full account of the sighting of one of these creatures that accompanied the ship he was on.
According to the witness’s account – later corroborated by his fellow investigators – the crew on deck were drawn by the alert of one of the guards who had seen what he originally thought to be a “foreign submarine”. As the research vessel approached the object it became clear that it was not a submersible vehicle, but an unknown life form. The crew gazed in awe at the giant creature, initially treated as some kind of whale afflicted with an anomaly. The animal swam at a distance of up to 30 meters from the ship, circling and returning to the surface at least twice until she submerged and was no longer seen.
There are persistent rumors suggesting that members of this oceanographic team recorded the apparition by taking photographs and making extraordinary movies of the “thing” during their brief encounter. These images would have been suppressed and confiscated in order to save the institution that promotes the mission from the embarrassment – and financial ruin – associated with these types of tabloid headlines. Undoubtedly, the explanation refers to the alleged sighting of a “giant jellyfish” in 2002, which turned out to be a fiasco and undermined the credibility of the national oceanographic research body in Japan, which believed the false images.
It goes without saying that once this incident became public, thanks to the report of the alleged witnesses, the enigma gained the interest of the press and the public. In November 2007, rumors began to surround these mysterious monsters, and photographs began to appear, so intense that the editors of the Japanese magazine “Mu” published a lengthy article about this puzzling event.
«Mu» is a magazine dedicated to the dissemination of information on all kinds of paranormal phenomena, including cryptids, the sighting of unknown animals and creatures and not cataloged by science. In its article on the Ningen, the magazine cast doubt on the existence of a gigantic sea creature, interviewing authorities, scientists, biologists and sailors. The edition was a success and the Ningen became even more popular, gaining international fame.
Photographs and drawings of the creature graced the pages of the magazine. “Mu” displayed a Google Maps image of what looked like a Ningen-like creature swimming in the South Atlantic off the coast of Namibia.
Shortly after this article was published, a deluge of bombastic letters, exaggerated reports, blurry photos, and grainy videos flooded the web with people claiming to have once seen the same sea creature. Most of the reports and recorded material were of dubious provenance, and some were gross forgeries. However, others were simply strange and impossible to assess. But few caused as much doubt as the mysterious photo of a bipedal creature, a kind of cetacean “walking” on the ice sheets of Antarctica
This material fueled the theory that the Japanese government was aware of the existence of such a life form and took seriously any reports made by ships claiming to have seen the creature. In fact, there are numerous rumors about government investigators linked to the Japanese military, especially the navy, asking questions and interviewing witnesses.
One of the most extraordinary rumors involved the sighting of a Ningen by the crew of a fishing boat in Japanese waters in 2008. The crew of the fishing boat reportedly saw not just one, but two strange creatures swimming in the shallows. The animals would have circled the trawler several times, breaking the surface line and approaching only five meters. Sometimes the fishermen took several photos and even made a short video of the experience. They also came to record the singing of animals. The real evidence would have been negotiated with a Japanese television channel, which bought the material and wanted to present it on a television program. At the last minute, the material would have been confiscated by the authorities who demanded the delivery of all the photos and films under penalty of being prosecuted.
Proponents of the Ningen’s existence claim that most of the shoddy photos, montages, and simplistic narratives were brought to the public to cover up the truth and to dispel any idea that these things are real. According to these “conspiracy theorists,” the best way to debunk a true story is to tell it in a way that makes any mention of it seem unbelievable, ridiculous, and delusional.
Any ufology enthusiast argues that this is the same tactic used by the US and many other governments to debunk the UFO phenomenon. The greatest of all phenomena involving a UFO phenomenon, the famous Roswell Affair seems to follow this instruction manual, in which the alleged flying saucers were treated like weather balloons. Skeptics point out that this method was used to reduce the growing paranoia about “flying saucers” during the Cold War.
Could the Ningen be an example of a government cover-up? And if that is true, what for? Are these titans an intelligent life form or something that humanity is not prepared to contact and that the authorities need to discredit?
Anyway, if such a Ningen does not exist, what could the sighted creatures be?
The odds are overwhelming that a relatively new legend like the Ningen is nothing more than an outright fabrication, but let’s assume the witnesses actually saw something. Taking this into account, the most popular sighting theories include unclassified species of animals and marine phenomena.
Many speculate that the Ningen may be a hitherto unknown species of giant albino ray. This argument is not beyond the realm of possibility, since there is an unusual species of this huge fish. A species specifically adapted to cold climates that can naturally camouflage itself to blend in with floating icebergs and frozen debris. Still, it’s hard to believe that such a large animal could remain unknown, let alone invisible in our time.
But if it’s not some kind of giant fish, then maybe the Ningen is something clearly supernatural like: Water Demons (yokai), an O.S.N.I or Aliens.