Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 15th, 2009
If you don’t know that Random House has delivered five million (yes, 5,000,000) copies of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol to bookstores and book dealers, you may be unaware of the news that’s already leaked out about the contents. Oh yeah, it’s been the #1 bestseller on Amazon.com since April.
Well, we all figured out it would be about Freemasonry, obelisks, and Masonic symbolism, but who could have guessed that one of the “characters” would be a giant squid?
According to the New York Times book reviewer Janet Maslin, writing in the Sunday editions, there’s a “Katherine Solomon” who has a lab in “the Smithsonian Museum Support Center in Maryland” which is “located within an immense, highly guarded building that also houses Mars meteorite ALH-84001 and an architeuthis (a k a giant squid).”
Well, technically, the name for the giant squid is capitalized and in italics because it is a genus name in Latin. But it is cool to see the fact that an Architeuthis is located in the Smithsonian didn’t escape Dan Brown and may be of some significance.
Actually, this is the giant squid that washed ashore in Massachusetts, which I wrote about for Boston Magazine in 1980. Found on Plum Island, Massachusetts, earlier in that year, it is only the third giant squid found stranded on U.S. shores. The total length of this specimen is 2.7 m (9 ft). The Plum Island squid was the first and the best preserved specimen that has been passed along to Clyde Roper at the Smithsonian.
Architeuthis is a darling of cryptozoology, a formerly ethnoknown “legendary” animal, the Kraken, proven to be real.
But what is a giant squid doing in this book?
Let me know if you find out.
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