The Lusca – Monsters of the Deep

Posted by blogger in Key West Ghost Tours

In Caribbean mythology, the lusca or luska is the term given to one of the most feared sea monsters in the region. A deadly creature that prowls the deep and feeds on the unsuspecting. A being or a pod of beings that scour the Gulf eating up all in its wake. 

The creature, lately, has had a resurgence. It’s appeared numerous times on Larry Correia’s best selling Monster Hunter International series, has been featured on a couple of high rated documentaries, and has even been hunted by the renowned angler and world explorer, Jeremy Wade.


The lusca is a chimera; a mismatch of animal parts. A conglomerate of some of the Caribbean’s most feared creatures. It is a cryptid that said to hunt and prowl the Gulf and areas near the Mexican shore. Luscas are one of the lesser known cryptids of the deep. They are also one of the most fascinating not only on account of its fearsome symmetry but of the mystery that surrounds them.

A lusca can grow to over 250ft, the smallest the bunch a clocking on at 75ft long. It is a massive predatory creature, lightning-fast and with a thirst for blood. The upper part of the monster is composed of a shark’s head and torso, right up to its dorsal fin. But not just any shark, but a great white. Huge elongated jaw, lined with razor-sharp teeth, eyes that can see in the blackest of waters, senses tweaked to perfection by millenniums of evolution.

The lower part is made up of an octopus’ body. A twisting medusa’s web of muscled tentacles.

The lusca can swim at and glide through the water at jet-ski speeds. It can drag a strong man to his death in the blink of an eye. And, like an octopus, the lusca can also travel through small patches of land or shallow water. 

The lusca, as if that wasn’t enough, like smaller octopi, can change color and blend with its environment. It also has the ability to worm its way into small crevices, underground caves, rugged seabed, and the edges of the continental shelf.

What is the lusca?

Speculation abounds as to what the lusca might truly be. Dozens of diverging tales about its origin and teh manner of boogeyman or fierce creature of teh deep they might be. The theories are as follow:

  • The ghost of a drowned woman, transformed into a beast. Hair, not tentacles gliding behind it, dragging men down to their grave. A creature that is similar to the dreaded Banshee or Llorona. A specter caught in an endless loop, spurred by either her grief or her anger.
  • A yet unidentified deep-sea creature. Like others of its kind, like the Kraken, or the Megalodon, luscas may very well be animals that have some who hide from the world of men. 
  • A mermaid. To many sailors, luscas are in reality mermaid or merman. Nymphs from ancient myths put on Earth to vex travelers and drown them.
  • A dragon-like being; perhaps the last of its kind. Others believe the lusca is a lost dragon, something from the orient. A remnant from an ancient civilization of massive beings now in exile and forced to hide in underwater caves.
  • An evil spirit that takes the form of its intended victim’s worse fears. A common troupe, think Pennywise. The lusca to some is a demon or satanic beast that feeds off souls.
  • A deep one. An idea robbed from Lovecraft’s writing. Luscas might be part of an underwater society. A society that somewhere along our time on earth forked right when they should have gone left. They evolved underwater, not above.
  • The conjoined spirit of human sacrifices. Some luscas are said to frequent Mexican Cenotes, places that have a dark past. A past cloaked in horrors, bloodshed, and widespread carnage.


One of the best examples of an actual lusca is the decomposed mass/body discovered on Anastasia Beach, Florida; the world-famous St. Augustine Monster. 

In a nutshell, the St.Augustine monster is the portmanteau given to a large carcass, originally thought to be the remains of a gigantic octopus, or a Luska, that washed ashore on the United States coast near St. Augustine, Florida in 1896. It is one of the earliest recorded examples of the Globster phenomenon and although scientists – those periodical table thumpers who rob life of its magic – have claimed to have identified the beast, “it ain’t a monster, don’t you know,” those savvy few of the cryptic community with hope in their hearts are certain of the corpse Kraken like quality.

This globster, to many, is nothing more than the rotted body of a lusca. Quite possibly the most famous lusca in history and one of St. Augustine’s many, many charms.

Where to find luscas

The lusca’s main stomping ground is the Caribbean, particularly Florida, the Bahamas, and Belize. They love the warm oceanic waters and the bevy of wildlife that seems to populate the area. It is said that luscas live in Blue holes that spot the Caribbean.

Blue holes are large marine cavern or sinkholes, which are open to the surface. They have developed over time in banks or islands mainly composed of carbonate bedrock – limestone or coral reef. Their existence was discovered in teh early part of the 20th century by fishermen and divers. Nonetheless, stories abound about creatures and spirits that live in them. Ancient cultures believed that most of them are gateways to the underworld.

Luscas call Blue Holes their home, particular, they are said to roam the blue holes of Andros island in the Bahamas. Amazing, beautiful and screensaver worthy places that might, or might not, hold one of the deadlines terrors of the deep.

Another place, inland, that luscas like to frequent is Mexicos’ Yucatan Peninsula. They seem to love going to all-inclusive hotspots and frequent the area’s many underground cenotes. Cenotes are inland sinkholes, with their one microclimate and environment that have a connection to the Aztec religion. They were a hotspot for practices and rituals of teh Aztec empire. In most cases, Cenotes, those close to temples were used as sacrificial altars; priests sacrificing humans, peasants, criminals, and prisoners to the gods in the horrible bloody fashion.

Tales of luscas and where they hunt for prey abound, fishermen in the area are keen to avoid such dangerous spots, warning divers, and tourists alike.

Jeremy Wade’s Investigation 

“My investigation now centers on whether a giant octopus could potentially catch and consume a person. I’ve seen this animal’s amazing predatory behavior, so I know in principle this is a possibility.”

Jeremy Wade.

The host of the television series  River Monsters, Jeremy Wade hunted luscas for his prime-time show. Jeremy Wade is a British television host, an author of books on fishing, and a marine biologist. He is best known for his television series River Monsters, Jungle Hooks, Mighty Rivers and Dark Waters. In season eight, episode four of his series, Wade became obsessed with uncovering what was dragging divers down to their deaths near blue holes and wrecked ship sites. Wade went into explorer overdrive and did one of his most compelling episodes to date. He braved the Caribbean and tackled all manner of deep sea monsters and scary critters.

The episode, titled “Terror in Paradise” pushed Jeremy past his breaking point and tested his capacity to believe in the unbelievable. It was a harrowing tale of man, a great explorer, and fisherman, working outside his field and having to, perhaps, belief in the unbelievable. 

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

  • Sherlock Holmes. Well, Sir. Author Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four, ch. 6 (1890).

He braved the seas, encountered all manner of nasty creatures – reef sharks, tiger sharks, and eels – and finally, exhausted, Wade had no other choice but to admit that the likely culprit of the luscas attack was a large/giant octopus… maybe a species yet undiscovered.


The Legend of the Lusca