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Crabzilla was reported to be lurking beneath Whitstable waters five years ago today

Pictures of a "giant crustacean" looming in the water near Whitstable Harbour caused shockwaves across the world five years ago today.

Aerial images apparently captured the 50ft monster - dubbed Crabzilla - lurking in the sea and dwarfing nearby boats.

Crabzilla lurking beneath the murky water. Picture: Quinton Winter/Weird Whitstable
Crabzilla lurking beneath the murky water. Picture: Quinton Winter/Weird Whitstable

It was claimed two young boys made the discovery in a popular crabbing spot.

The post on Weird Whitstable read: "This shocking image of a giant crab under a popular crabbing spot in Whitstable was taken last weekend.

"The boys were unaware of the danger, but as several passers-by shouted to them, the crab slipped silently away under the water, into the dark, sideways."

But shellshocked residents were relieved to learn the sea monster was in fact the work of local artist Quinton Winter.

He previously described the furore caused by the colossal crustacean as “a bit of fun”.

The Whitstable Gazette made a splash with this front page five years ago (19115795)
The Whitstable Gazette made a splash with this front page five years ago (19115795)

He told KentOnline he was stunned by the amount of coverage Crabzilla clawed after it appeared at his exhibition at the Horsebridge Centre.

Pictures of the shadowy figure emerged on the artist’s bizarre blog Weird Whitstable - which documents supernatural sightings across the town.

It was splashed on the Daily Star front page with the story also featuring in worldwide news outlets including Australia, Malaysia and France - and subject to global debate.

KentOnline first published the story on October 13, 2014, which led to a tidal wave of coverage.

Mr Winter said at the time: “When I saw the picture I thought I could use it in my exhibition.

The man behind the world famous 50ft Crabzilla spotted lurking beneath the waters previously described the furore caused by the colossal crustacean as “a bit of fun”. Picture: Quinton Winter/Weird Whitstable
The man behind the world famous 50ft Crabzilla spotted lurking beneath the waters previously described the furore caused by the colossal crustacean as “a bit of fun”. Picture: Quinton Winter/Weird Whitstable

“I thought it may have been a sand formation but it looked like a crab to me.

“I’m not trying to lie about anything, it’s just a bit of fun.”

But Mr Winter said at the time he did not think the image would be taken too seriously.

He said: “Sometimes you put stuff out there and no one takes any notice and then sometimes unexpectedly it goes everywhere. It has been a strange reaction.

“I don’t think anyone seriously believes there actually is a 50ft crab in Whitstable. What would it feast on? Fat, juicy Londoners?”

The Daily Star front page. Picture: Daily Star (19116217)
The Daily Star front page. Picture: Daily Star (19116217)

Former editor of the Kentish Gazette series, Leo Whitlock, said: "It is fair to say covering Crabzilla's discovery and having a bit of fun with it was one of the highlights of my time at the Gazette.

"It was a story everyone was talking about and it inspired our page designers to come up with a fantastic front page which parodied the Jaws movie poster.

"I decided if I put that image onto a T-shirt, everyone would want one so I placed my £137 order with the printers and we set up a text-message based competition costing a pound an entry. The proceeds would go to our charity of the year.

"Unfortunately, in an example of business acumen that would have seen me fired by Lord Sugar, only seven people picked up their mobiles leaving me with a £130 loss and a black sack of T-shirts nobody wanted which, I suspect, are hiding in a wardrobe somewhere."

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