Octopus attack


During World War I, a teenager named John Rau was walking on the coast near Cape Otway, Victoria, Australia, along with some other boys and a clergyman. Rau recounted his experience in Frank W. Lane's Kingdom of the Octopus:

"We were proceeding along the sea edge at the base of cliffs and bluffs, a jumble of rock, some stratified and shelving. I was about six or seven paces behind the parson, who was leading, when I heard him shout and looked toward him. He was standing on a shelf of rock about three feet above the water and about a foot from the edge. An octopus had left the water and attacked him. Its tentacles were in rapid motion, at least one around each leg and one at his waist and arm. I judged them to be about four feet long and as thick as a man's arm at the base. The body of the octopus was well out of the water and almost at the edge of the rock shelf.

"The parson was jabbing at the octopus with the butt of his fishing rod, and leaning back against the drag of the creature which seemed to be well anchored by other tentacles going down into the water. I did a very stupid thing. I was carrying a .22 rifle and took a pot shot at the octopus and fortunately missed both it and the parson. After jabbing at the creature for perhaps 20 seconds, during which it squirted its black discharge over the rock and the legs of the parson, he was free and it went back into the sea taking with it the bottom section of the parson's fishing rod. It released this almost immediately and it was recovered by means of the line."

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