I’ve made a point of retelling most of the anecdotal evidence in this blog without questioning its credibility. I’ve done so for the simple reason that I’m not out to debunk or criticise, and instead just want to have a laugh with some of the stories – however, even I have to hold my hands up every now and then and go “oh fuck off, this one’s got to be nonsense”.
I lean towards at least wanting to believe a cryptid encounter story when there are real, accountable people behind it. In order to tolerate the ridicule involved with cryptid sightings you have to be either a very committed hoaxer or genuinely believe that you saw something unusual. If you’re willing to put your head above the parapet and take the inevitable ensuing shitstorm of publicity right in the eyes and mouth, then I’ll give you the respect you deserve and listen to your story. Provided, of course, that you rinse your face and use a little mouthwash first.
The stories of the Ningen have no such accountability – reports are vague, with no specific names involved, and all the evidence comes from artists’ interpretations and clearly photoshopped pictures. However, the creature is still somewhat of an internet sensation, presumably because the Ningen has got to be one of the creepiest suggestions for a big unknown sea monster going:
Admittedly, that’s one of the most extreme and exaggerated examples of a Ningen picture out there, but that doesn’t stop it being it the utterly ridiculous brainchild of a mouthbreathing spoonbanger who presumably attempts to eat trifle with his forehead.
Although all are entirely vague, most accounts of the Ningen date from around 2007 at the earliest. The crews of Japanese whale research vessels (knowing Japan, these are presumably just researching which whales are the most delicious) have apparently had several encounters with the strangely humanoid Ningen in the Antarctic Ocean. Described as ghostly white and 20-30 metres in length, the most striking features are the human-like faces and ‘arms’, which in the most absurd accounts even end in five-fingered hands. Five-fingered hands, of course, being the most efficient form of locomotion to possess in the fucking sea, which is why all humans can outswim sharks and not one of us has ever been eaten by one.
Less extreme anecdotal evidence for the Ningen seems to suggest a giant ray or manta, which would at least explain the human-like face if seen from beneath. Others have explained them away as a combination of iceberg sightings and overexcited human stupidity, which seems to be a distinct possibility for this picture from Google Earth that a Japanese magazine apparently ran while discussing the creature in 2007:
There are lots of factors that count against the Ningen when weighing up its potential credibility. The fact that it’s such a comparatively modern sensation and the lack of specificity in the anecdotal evidence are just two of them, but it’s also not helped by the pictures people keep making of the damn thing:
There’s a possibility that there’s some truth in the stories, but if there is, the reality of the animal behind them is likely to be far less absurd than any of the accounts it’s inspired. In the meantime, the Ningen looks set to continue inspiring ridiculous phallic photoshop jobs and the occasional less absurd faked Youtube video:
Of course, if they do turn out to be real, I’ve no doubt that fairly soon the Japanese will put a harpoon through one in order to show it to the world. Y’know, for ‘research’.