Trunko | The Margate Monster Of Old

The glorious, roaring twenties. The age of the flappers, moon shine and jazz. However, the decade wasn’t the only thing roaring during this period. On October 25th, 1924, the lives of the people of Margate would be changed forever when they witnessed one of the most epic nautical battles of all time.

Margate is a pleasant, seaside town on the Southern boarders of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Usually flooded with tourists come the summer months, things were a little slower back in the 20’s. Thus, it comes as no surprise that only a handful of locals and tourists alike got to witness the three hour long maritime match of a lifetime.

The waters of the Indian ocean thrashed violently as three ginormous aquatic creatures battled against one another to the inevitable death. However, the odds weren’t necessarily fair. You see two of the creatures, identified by the bystanders as killer whales or orcas, seemed to be attacking one indescribable beast.

The likes of the beast had never been seen by anyone before. But that day, the locals of Margate beach marvelled at the scrimmage between this mysterious cryptid, and its attackers.

Trunko Description

Trunko had a bizarre body, being documented to have a trunk like appendage, a large body, and the tail of a lobster. It also had no definable head/ neck area. Stranger yet, the beast was never reported to have any fins. Stranger stranger yet,  was the absence of any facial features. Yup, in all reports, there were no mentions of the creature’s facial features, leaving the beast’s appearance open to speculation.  But, stranger stranger stranger yet, was the fact that all witnesses describe red the creature to be covered in a thick, shaggy, brilliantly white coat. Upon inspection, Hugh Balance proclaimed the beast to be “47 feet long, 10 feet in breadth and five feet high. At one end it had a trunk about 14 inches in diameter and five feet long.” He also reported the beast to be covered in thick white hair, roughly 8 inches in length. Furthermore, it was reported that the end of the trunk ended in a snout similar to a pig.

The Battle

As previously stated, the fierce battle ensued for an overwhelming three hours. However, the duration of the battle shadows in comparison to the actual fight itself. Killer whales are known to hunt in packs, therefore it comes as no surprise that two of these whales were teaming up against Trunko. With speed, agility and razor sharp teeth on their side, one would assume a single orca would’ve been an easy attacker against something that resembled a fluffy woollen sock. However, this was definitely not the case.

The locals reported the creature used its tail to propel itself out of the waters, launching some twenty feet into the air. But, this wasn’t all it did with that magnificent lobster like appendage. When it was air born, Trunko then used its tail to quickly lash the orcas, kind of like an aquatic round house kick if you will.

The locals oohed and aahed as the beach front became a bloody battle field, but sadly, at the end of the day, exhaustion and two worthy opponents got the better of Trunko.

But this is just the beginning of one trippy ass tale.

Trunko’s Demise

After the battle had ended, it appeared the killer whales had been victorious. The lifeless body of the gigantic woolly beast washed up on the shores where the locals had observed the fight of their lives only hours earlier.

Limp and insensible, the creature’s remains lay there for a further ten days. It infuriates me to report that during this time, not one bloody local or foreigner had the inclination to take the beast and study it. No doctors, scientists or even curious bystanders took their shot at examining the creature.

However, moving on from the ignorant behaviour of the humans in Margate, as one can imagine, ten days of being beached does no wonders to a marine animal corpse. That’s ten days of just baking in the summer sun. as such, Trunko soon began to stink up the joint.

This the locals acted upon.

So, in an attempt to move the animal’s body, a team of thirty two oxen were assembled on the beach. The beasts of burden were harnessed to one another, and then in turn harnessed around Trunko. On command, they began to pull in an attempt to drag the creature back into the ocean. But this seemed to be done in vain.

Although powerful, the oxen could not seem to get the corpse of Trunko to even budge, let alone be moved into the water.

Look, there are factors involved which could’ve played a part in making this move near impossible. Trunko was massive – the exact weight of the creature was unknown but anything that’s 47 feet long has got to weigh some. So, unless Trunko was made out of popcorn I don’t see the beast being particularly light.

Secondly, the creature was covered in 20 cm long, thick hair. The damped hair must have added another mass to the body of the beast.

Finally, we all known how hard it is to go for a bloody jog on the beach. Now try dragging 47 feet of dead whale thing through that terrain and see how well you do.

So all things being equal, it seemed like the odds were against them from the beginning.

Trunko Disappears

However, the locals did not have to fret about the smell for long. For after ten days of being beached, the corpse of the creature mysteriously disappeared. Ok look it’s not so mysterious really. Logic would determine that the tide finally rose high enough to reclaim the creature and wash it back out to sea naturally. But this is not where the speculation ended.

Some say that Trunko was, in fact, not dead. The beast had merely been rendered unconscious from the struggle, exhaustion and damage of the battle it was forced to partake in.

These folks believed that Trunko, in his or her own right, made its way back into the sea, disappearing from Margate for good.

Trunko in The Media

Although the beast left the shores of Margate only ten days after its initial sighting, the tale was far from over. The international media caught wind of this brilliant creature and the battle which had ensured between it and the orcas and sunk their teeth into the story.

On the 27th of December, 1924, an article entitled “Fish Like A Polar Bear” was written and published in London’s Daily Mail. The next year, The Elwood Indiana Call-Leader Newspaper printed a story entitled “Whales are slain by hairy monster”. The piece was written by an inhouse journalist who kept the story short and to the point. Interestingly enough, in this article, the creature never dies, and actually killed the whales. It then made its way t shore where it proceeded to rest for ten days, until locals saw it gather itself, making its way back into the water, where it reportedly swan in a southerly direction.

In both articles, however, the only witness to be named was Hugh Balance.

Another thing which was baffling is that little photographic evidence was captured of the creature. Granted back in the 20’s cameras were a completely different story they are today, I still thought that more fuss would’ve been made over the creature.

It was only recently (I’m talking 2010 recent) that photographic evidence of the beast was rediscovered. A Johannesburg based correspondent for the Rand Daily mail had photographed Trunko upon its being beached. A.C. Jones released the photograph to the paper, but it was widely used, also being published in World Wide Magazine’s July 1925 edition.

Another fun little fact comes into play with Trunko’s name. Trunko was originally known as the Margate Monster. It wasn’t until 1996 that legendary cryptozoologist, Karl Shuker, named the beast Trunko in his book ‘The Unexplained’.

Other Trunko Like Cryptids:

  • Hoades Monster – Australia
  • Glacier Island Carcass
  • Chinese Typhoon Creature
  • Makara


There are a few ideas circulating as to what Trunko could’ve been.

For example, if you are Charles Forte, Trunko is an alien. But you are not Charles Forte, and therefore not so silly.

One of the most popular ideas making the rounds is that Trunko is a Globster. A globster is essentially an amorphous mass of whale decay. As the whale carcass decomposes, strands of stringy blubber begin to appear giving the blob its woollen like texture. These strands are generally also white in appearance, adding to the description of Trunko.

People have speculated that perhaps, the pair of killer whales thought to be battling Trunko, were in fact just playing with the decomposing remains of a fellow whale. Super gross and super gnarly if you ask me. But would it have been possible?

I’ll tell you why this is ridiculous. If thirty-two fully functional oxen couldn’t even get the thing to budge with ropes and pullies attached, how are two whales going to throw this beasts body twenty feet out of the water into the air?

I suppose relativity should come into play here. When I was little being shot out of the water while standing on my brother’s shoulders in the pool was one of the most thrilling things to do. But I was actively jumping, not a decomposing lump of dead weight being thrown around like a rag doll.

This is why the globster theory does not sit well with me.

Personally, I am more prone to think that Trunko is actually a legitimate cryptid. There are vast expanses of the ocean we have not yet discovered

5% of the ocean discovered

If something like the coelacanth can pop up again after a few millennia, who’s to say another prehistoric creature can’t.

Whales were once land mammals that made their way back to the ocean. The first reported group of whales evolved fifty million years ago. The creature bearing the title of “first whale” was known as a Pakicetus.

  • First whale pakicetus
  • Pakicetus skull
  • Pakicetus ear bone
  • Pakicetus ankle bone
  • Elephant whale

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