Giant Squid Hoax: Giant ‘Radioactive Gigantism’ Sea Creature in Santa Monica Report is Satire; Tricks Many

January 13, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015    

A satire article with the title “Second Giant Sea Creature Washes Ashore Along Santa Monica Coastline – Alarms Sound Over Radioactive Gigantism” has convinced many that a 160-foot-long giant squid has washed up in Southern California.

“For the second time in recent months, a giant sea creature has washed ashore in California. First it was a rare oarfish that had grown to a freakish 100-foot length. This time it was a giant squid measuring a whopping 160 feet from head to tentacle tip,” the satire from the Lightly Braised Turnip reads.

Even though the Turnip website includes no disclaimer saying it’s a hoax, the photo used as the main image is Photoshopped.

The squid in the photo was taken from reports earlier this year, which at the time said a 30-foot-long giant squid washed up in Spain. For the Turnip article, the image of the squid was then taken and Photoshopped onto a shoreline with dozens of people gathered around.

The article, which had more than 1 million “likes” and shares on Facebook, quotes several officials from local universities and government institutions who don’t exist.

An update down below includes a statement from California Gov. Jerry Brown, saying that it’s “business as usual.” However, Brown never made that statement.

About.com writer David Emery, who specializes in debunking hoaxes, also noted that it’s a satire.

The giant squid was not reported on by any local or national media outlets.

But numerous people shared it on Facebook and retweeted it.

“48 METERS GIANT SQUID FOUND IN CALIFORNIA? JANUARY 10, 2014 (EXPLAINED),” reads a tweet on Monday. 

“Giant squid found in California. Scientists suspect #Fukushima caused,” another wrote

Added one: “Radioactive Gigantism? Giant Squid Discovered On California Coast – January 2014.”  

Some who believed the article said that the giant squid pointed to a government and media cover up, while conspiracy-oriented websites reported on the incident as fact or simply republished the article in its entirety.