I am currently exploring the idea of writing an SF / alternate history series that inserts kaijus into historical events. Specifically, I'm looking for unexplained or strange historical events that have remained mysterious in nature. Ideally, I'd also like answers to avoid the 20th-21st centuries: the older, the better.

Answers should provide events that are disastrous in nature. For example: the vanishings of ancient ships and fleets; or the destruction of cities or settlements that have no clear scientific explanation.

A kaiju is a large monster such as those commonly found in Japanese SF, e.g. Godzilla.

  • $\begingroup$ While that's fair (and honestly, not something I accounted for), I would gratefully take either. I'm not picky. $\endgroup$ Oct 12, 2018 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ Krakatoa... not a volcano. The 2004 tsunami. Hiroshima wasn't an A-bomb, but a kaiju captured and used by the American military. Jonestown wasn't poisoned koolade, but a strange godlike beast that Jim Jones had them worshipping until it grew tired of it. The Japanese subway nerve gas attacks. The Titanic (even the survivors didn't see much). $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Oct 12, 2018 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, we need you to be picky. This question is easily reopened if you provide criteria for how you will judge the best answer. Please remember that SE's Q&A model is one-specific-question/one-best-answer. Consequently, undirected idea generation is a poor fit for this site. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 12, 2018 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Fair enough. $\endgroup$ Oct 12, 2018 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ Honestly, any event poorly documented could be a starting point. The Easter Islands giant statues? People worshipping Kaijus. The Bermuda Triangle? Probably Kaijus. Strange lights in the sky? Flying Kaijus. The Chtulhu mythos? Novelisation of Kaijus. Mount Saint-Helens? A catastrophic Kaiju battle which ended in the two being vaporized. The problem with your Kaiju-filled history would not be where to put them in the past, but why haven't we found any proof of their existence. Do their bones turn to dust when they die? $\endgroup$
    – kikirex
    Oct 14, 2018 at 16:31

10 Answers 10


In 1290 Margaret the Maid of Norway, sailed from Norway to Scotland to be crowned Queen, and to eventually marry Prince Edward, the future King of England, thus uniting the two realms. But they stopped in the Orkney Islands after rough weather, and Margaret died, allegedly of sea sickness, and there were 300 more years of on and off wars between England and Scotland, and thousands of people died.

It is true that it is possible to die from sea sickness, and Margaret was only 7 years old, but it still seems a bit strange and maybe Margaret had other conditions. Or maybe a Kaiju rose from the sea by the ship, and terrified Margaret half to death, and then breathed poisonous vapors on the ship, weakening everyone and contributing to Margaret's death.

Mansa Musa (reigned 1312-37) of the Malian Empire made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324-26. In Cairo Musa is said to have told of the fate of his predecessor Abu Bekr II:

The ruler who preceded me did not believe that it was impossible to reach the extremity of the ocean that encircles the earth (meaning Atlantic), and wanted to reach that (end) and obstinately persisted in the design. So he equipped two hundred boats full of men, as many others full of gold, water and victuals sufficient enough for several years. He ordered the chief (admiral) not to return until they had reached the extremity of the ocean, or if they had exhausted the provisions and the water. They set out. Their absence extended over a long period, and, at last, only one boat returned. On our questioning, the captain said: 'Prince, we have navigated for a long time, until we saw in the midst of the ocean as if a big river was flowing violently. My boat was the last one; others were ahead of me. As soon as any of them reached this place, it drowned in the whirlpool and never came out. I sailed backwards to escape this current.' But the Sultan would not believe him. He ordered two thousand boats to be equipped for him and for his men, and one thousand more for water and victuals. Then he conferred on me the regency during his absence, and departed with his men on the ocean trip, never to return nor to give a sign of life.1


And maybe a kaiju was responsible for the non return of the Malian fleet.

In Greek mythology Cassiopea, Queen of Aethiopia, boasted that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids, angering Poseidon, God of the Sea, who sent a sea monster, Cetus, to ravage the coasts. King Cepheus chained Andromeda to a rock to placate Cetus, but Perseus killed Cetus and saved Andromeda.

And possibly Cetus was a kaiju.

According to Procopius History of the Wars VIII, xxix

It was at that time also that the whale, which the Byzantines called Porphyrius, was caught. This whale had been annoying Byzantium and the

towns about it for fifty years, not continuously, how- ever, but disappearing sometimes for a rather long interval. And it sank many boats and terrified the passengers of many others, driving them from their course and carrying them off to great distances. It had consequently become a matter of concern to the Emperor Justinian to capture this creature, but he was unable by any device to accomplish his purpose. But I shall explain how it came to be captured in the present instance. It happened that while a deep calm prevailed over the sea, a very large number of dolphins gathered close to the mouth of the Euxine Sea. And suddenly they saw the whale and fled wherever each one could, but the most of them came in near the mouth oi the Sangarius. Mean- while the whale succeeded in capturing some of them, which he swallowed forthwith. And then, either still impelled by hunger or by a contentious spirit, it continued the pursuit no less than before, until, without noticing it, it had itself come very close to the land. There it ran upon some very deep mud, and, though it struggled and exerted itself to the utmost to get out of it as quickly as possible, it still was utterly unable to escape from this shoal, but sank still deeper in the mud. Now when this was reported among all the people who dwelt round about, they straightway rushed upon the whale, and though they hacked at it most persistently with axes on all sides, even so they did not kill it, but they dragged it up with some heavy ropes. And they placed it on waggons and found its length to be about thirty cubits, and its breadth ten.^ Then^ after forming several groups and dividing it accord-

^ About 45 feet by 15 feet.

ingly, some ate the flesh immediately, while others decided to cure the portion which fell to them.

Now the Byzantines, observing the earthquakes and learning the circumstances of the Nile's rise and the capture of this whale, began straightway to prophesy that such and such things would take place, according to the taste of each. For men are wont, when present events baffle them, to utter awe- some prophecies of the future, and, distracted by occurrences which trouble them, to infer, with no good reason, what the future will bring forth.

But as for me, I shall leave to others prophecies and explanations of marvels ; still, I know well that the lingering of the Nile on the fields did prove a cause of great calamities at that time at any rate, while the disappearance of the whale, on the other hand, unquestionably provided an escape from many troubles. However, some say that it was not the same whale that I mentioned, but another one that was captured. But I shall return to the point where I made the digression from my narrative.


So the ship-sinking Porphyrius (or possibly another creature mistaken for him) was killed about the time of earthquakes and severe Nile Floods and famines. This seems to be fairly shortly before Empress Theodora died in 548 AD. And perhaps the ship-sinking Porphyrius was a Kaiju.

And maybe the giant "serpent" that fought the army of Regulus in 256/255 BC was a some kind of Kaiju.

https://www.ancientworldmagazine.com/articles/regulus-bagradas-dragon/ 4

Anyway, these are a few ideas I thought of.

Added 10-13-2018.

The army of Regulus mentioned above was later defeated by the Cartharginians and thousands of Roman soldiers were killed or captured. This Roman defeat was thus a significant event for thousands of Romans and their families. And I am not familiar with what the ancient sources said about the defeat of the Roman army.

But maybe some Roman sources claim the carthaginians didn't defeat the Romans easily. If defeat or victory balanced on a knife's edge, possibly the earlier battle with the giant serpent was enough to tip the scales against the Romans. If no ancient sources claimed that, one could always invent a newly discovered account which does claim that Regulus's army would have defeated the Carthaginians if not for the earlier fight with the giant serpent.

I have thought that kaiju could be responsible for the disappearance of some exploring expedition. For example, there was the Franklin expedition to the Arctic to find the northwest Passage in 1845-1848. Of course you can't just say that a giant kaiju smashed the ships to splinters. Both have been found well preserved in ice cold waters in recent years, and a note explaining they had been trapped in the ice and abandoned was found 150 years ago.

But three sailors were buried on the island where the expedition spend the first winter, and the note specified how many more had died before abandoning the ships trapped in the ice. And of the specified remaining crew who left on a death march toward safety hundreds of miles away in Canada, the skeletons of many have been found, but many other skeletons and graves remain undiscovered.

It certainly would be possible to write a story in which some unaccounted for crew members could have been the victims of a kaiju.

But there was a recent TV series The Terror (2018-?) whose first season involved some sort of terror stalking the crews of the icebound HMS Erebus and HMS terror.

In 1848 Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt and six companions set out on his third exploring expedition, an attempt to cross Australia from east to west, and the expedition was never heard of again except for possible relics, aboriginal rumors, and various scattered clues. So it would be possible to write a story in which some Australian bunyip, really a form of kaiju, was responsible for the disappearance.

According to the Bible, Sodom and Gemorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone from the sky, obviously the wrath of God. Or maybe a volcanic eruption? Or perhaps the flaming breath of some dragon-like kaiju?

Similarly the Historia Brittonum claimed that the fifth century British monarch Vortigern was burned down in a a wooden fort with his people by fire from heaven. Or maybe it was fire from a dragon-like Kaiju.

Another British monarch, Maelgwn Gwynedd, died about a century later, allegedly about 547, 548, or 549. According to one story he died during the "yellow plague". But maybe not of the "yellow plague", because one story has him fleeing to the church at Rhos and locking himself in for safety. But he looked out the keyhole and saw the "yellow plague" and died, possibly from fright. And possibly he saw some horrifying kaiju.

Then there was the story of the sinking of the schooner Pearl by some giant squid or octopus in 1874.


A ship-sinking chepalopod that sinks a ship is definately kaiju-like.

In the 1490 Ch'ing-yang events, many stones allegedly fell from the sky on the city. Some sources say that 10,000 people were killed. Was this the deadliest meteor shower in history, or the deadliest hailstorm, or something caused by a a Kaiju?


In the 1760s the Beast of Gevauden killed a number of people in France. It is usually said to have been one or two man-eating wolves, but more exotic explanations have been made, so maybe it was some baby kaiju.

Then there was the legendary Great White Whale, Mocha Dick, a partial inspiration for you-know-who. Mocha Dick smashed a number of whale boats, but I don't know if Mocha Dick ever sank any whale ships like some other whales did. But a number of sources on the internet claim that Mocha Dick sank a varying number of whaling ships.

This article claims that Mocha Dick sank over 20 whaling ships.


And I have read a claim that remains of a number of whaling ships were found in the waters near Mocha Island. So possibly there could be a story in which Mocha Dick was not a Physeter macrocephalus but some sort of kaiju.

Added 10-14-2018 There is the story that Cambyses II (r.530-522 BC) "The great king, the king of kings, the king of lands and people, the king of the world" conquered Egypt and then sent an army of 50,000 men to conquer the Oasis of Ammon or Siwa and they were wiped out by a giant sandstorm in the desert. Or maybe by a kaiju.

Here are mentions of several shipwrecks where important people died.


And possibly some of those deaths could have been caused by Kaiju.

The Great Dam of Ma'rib in Yemen was built, repaired, and rebuilt over centuries and possibly millennia, the first inscription there is dated to 760 to 740 BC. It was used to provide irrigation for crops to support many thousands of people. There were breeches in the dam in 145 BC, and in AD 449, 450, 542, and 548. After the final breech and flood in 570-575 the dam was not repaired and tens of thousands of people left to seek other homes. And possibly the dam was busted by a Kaiju.

The Kyshtym disaster in 1857 is considered the third worst nuclear disaster. Inadequate storage of nuclear waste led to an explosion and the release of radioactive waste of the a wide area and the evacuation of about 10,000 people from from an area of hundreds of square miles and an unknown number of cases of cancer. And even though the causes are well known, to most people the disaster is just a vague rumor and so the idea of it being caused by a Kaiju may seem fairly plausible.


  • $\begingroup$ That is a stellar recommendation, and exactly the kind I'm looking for. If you could think of any more, by all means, let me know. Those are fantastic. $\endgroup$ Oct 12, 2018 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ I feel impelled by a contentious spirit. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Oct 13, 2018 at 2:19
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    $\begingroup$ @bsidewiped I added some more possible disasters. $\endgroup$ Oct 14, 2018 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much. You've given me so much to think about. If you ever have any others, by all means, throw them my way. And thank you again. $\endgroup$ Oct 17, 2018 at 21:39

The Trojan Horse

A cunning ploy by the Greeks involving smuggling soldiers into Troy inside a giant statue of a wooden horse? Or was it an even more insane plan involving capturing/luring a giant Kaiju and directing it today their enemies, and following in its wake?

Historical record could have been deliberately altered to suppress the truth, or perhaps generations of storytellers merely adapted it into something more believable.

  • $\begingroup$ I would add that Laocoön tried to warn the Trojans against letting the horse in, but was strangled, together with his sons, by two giant serpents that emerged from the sea... Two giant serpents? Or maybe the tentacles of a Kaiju? $\endgroup$
    – McTroopers
    Aug 6, 2019 at 16:43

Tunguska had no effect on RL history, it happened in the middle of nowhere.

Possible events that you can replace with Kaiju actions:

  • sinking of Santorini civilzation, destruction of Pompei, London fire

  • destruction of Spanish Armada, defeat of Napoleon in Russia, or Nazi in Kursk battle

  • destruction of some exploration expedition, or small colony. E.g. viking settlements in North America that vanished without a trace. Natives respected and worshipped Kaiju, vikings chose to fight it.

All these events were caused or aided by random forces of nature, which affects their role in history. Before the event, nobody expected them to happen. And after the event, nobody expected them to happen again, at least not in any predictable pattern.

Kaiju is not nearly as random. You can see where it is, and predict where it is heading. To achieve same randomness, you need it to appear and disappear suddenly. One way is to have it teleport to earth for a few days. Another is to have them hibernating and moving deep below ground for centuries at a time, and then emerging to feed on concentrated human suffering for a few days.

But even then, people will try to predict where will Kaiju appear next, how to avoid (or summon) it. Even if these efforts are pointless, humans still want to believe something, and act on their beliefs.

Perhaps you can blame religious or racist atrocities on beliefs about Kaiju.

  • $\begingroup$ To contribute a little to your post, there's also the ocean: that's kind of the go-to for a lot of kaiju fiction in general...can't find the kaiju? Can't track it reliably? It's probably in the ocean. But yes, I totally see what you're saying, and greatly appreciate your post. $\endgroup$ Oct 12, 2018 at 15:03

The chernobyl incident could be a result of a war between russians and a kaiju. In the end the kaiju emitted a huge radiation pulse or the russians had to use nuclear weapons to bring it down. They covered up the whole incident as a nuclear power plant accident.

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    $\begingroup$ On a related note, there's also the Three Mile Island meltdown, and any number of nuclear tests that could have actually be a repelled Kaiju attack. Heck - maybe North Korea has been waging a secret underground war against the Kaiju $\endgroup$
    – Chromane
    Oct 15, 2018 at 4:37

Two Mongol invasions of Japan were thwarted by typhoons that sunk their fleet. You could insert a kaiju in there somewhere, I'm sure. Bonus points for the events being related to Japanese history.


May 22 1520: Massacre in the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan

Maybe Pedro de Alvarado did not massacre the Aztecs in his ritual. Perhaps the god of the Aztecs Quetzalcoatl, a kaiju, came back since it was predicted. He became enraged on having seen his people adoring the false god Hernando Cortes. Thus he decided to massacre a portion of his people.


The Bronze Age Collapse remains one of history's most mysterious examples of societal collapse. Several cities were completely destroyed, whole empires and civilizations crumbled away into nothing, international trade disappeared completely, literacy nearly vanished for centuries. And the reason for it is still a mystery to this day. All the evidence that exists merely shows that there was in fact a widespread disaster, but there's scant proof for any of the many competing theories being the definitive answer.

Makes for a wide open space for speculative historical fantasy.

  • The disappearance of the 9th Legion (Hispana) sometime after 140 CE. No one knows what happened to them (aside from providing fodder for assorted fictional stories and some movies).

  • The disappearance of the Roanoke Colony.

There are hosts of missing ships: Wikipedia provides a list here.


  • In 1781 a tsunami hit Taiwan, however there was no earthquake reported to account for it. While in real life this may have been caused by a writing error about a large quake and tsunami in 1771, this hasn't been confirmed.

Other than that, things are thin on the ground unless you go to mythology (like Sodom and Gomorrah) because most places destroyed by disasters are now understood as to what likely caused the disaster.


The Great Boston Molasses Flood Disaster of 1919 was obviously caused by a peckish kaiju with a sweet tooth. It even occurred right on the waterfront.


Depending on how 'historical accurate' you want it, you could even say that greek and roman religion and mytholigy were based on Kaijus.

Atlantis, lost Island, may have been sunk by Poseidon, or was partially resided on sleeping Kaijus. Based in water, it would cause massive floods.

Zeus, mostly heared by his voice with roaring thunder, why not also a Kaiju shooting lightning like Godzilla.

All this would also fit into 'The Gigantomachy', Kaijus fighting other Kaijus. A normal human at that time that would see such battle would asume, that gods are fighting against giants.

There is more, even the norse mythologie had giant animals, like the giant snake Jörmungandr, also called the World Serpent, cause its tail could circle the earth. Even Fenrir was depicted as a wolf, that would swallow a human in in piece.


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