I want to believe.
I really do.
I have heard of Shrimpy a few times over the years. I remember reading this story in the Kitsap Sun not very long before we moved here to beautiful (and strange) Bremerton, WA and feeling some mild excitement over the idea of a local cryptid.
Of course, I recognized immediately that this particular story is rather unlikely, but I want so much to believe.
There’s some issues, however.
First of all, Shrimpy isn’t even recognized on the wikipedia cryptid page.
It is, however, a few other places on the Internet:
They all cite the same “evidence” however.
Second of all, the only evidence of said creature is of a supposed recording that was trascribed in issue #6 of Strange Mag in 1990. The account is enshrined here.
And I do so now:
Hi. My name is Virginia Staples and in 1948 I lived in Bremerton, Washington. The apartment where I lived had a gigantically huge basement. There were huge holes in the walls and the apartment house manager used to tell me that it was rumored there was a passage to the water. The huge apartment houses were so close together and they all had basements and they were old buildings. There was a washer and a washtub and a clothesline. And on this particular day I had gotten my clothes all hung up but I kept feeling someone was staring at me or looking at me. And it was such a creepy feeling I finally turned around and looked towards the back of the basement and froze. I was so scared I can still feel it. I couldn’t move. In one of the huge holes in the basement there stood this thing.
[She breaks down here.] Oh, it was horrible! I stand five foot tall and this creature was as tall as I was. It had a bright orange colored body and little spidery thin legs and antennae on its head that kept moving back and in and out.
[Crying now.] That thing started towards me. I backed out of the basement and got up to my apartment and I packed all my things and moved. I was so scared. I moved over to Seattle to my cousin’s. I went to an aquarium to see if I could see anything that looked like what it was, and the only thing that I could find that looked anything like it was this little tiny shrimp. But it just doesn’t make sense. I had horrible nightmares for years. I finally got up enough nerve a couple of years ago to go back to revisit Bremerton. But the Navy has enlarged so much and the apartment house on Denny Street has been torn down. Really nobody would really believe this, but as God is my witness it really happened.
The recent Underground Tunnels episode of the ever wonderful Bremelore Podcast had me thinking about this account due to the supposed “gigantically huge basement” as that episode mentions that many of the buildings in downtown Bremerton have large shared basements due to having had shared furnaces. This had me looking back at this story but, that leads to another issue…
Third of all, Denny Street is nowhere near PSNS in Bremerton. As you can see from these map links, NE Denny Street is actually in East Bremerton on the other side of the Port Washington Narrows nearer to Illahee than the shipyard. The above Kitsap Sun article calls this out:
The story has its inconsistencies. County assessors’ records show Denny Street, a small side road between Perry Avenue and Trenton Avenue in East Bremerton, has several houses that date back to the early ’30s and ’40s and a few empty lots. But Staples’ said that her apartment house on Denny was torn down after the Navy expanded.
Unless a different Denny Street was consumed as the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard expanded, it doesn’t appear as if the Navy has a presence in that area. Any apartment on the road would be a significant distance away from the water, making it unlikely that a tunnel could run from the Puget Sound to a basement of a home there, as was rumored.
I suppose it’s possible, and worth researching, that there was another Denny St. back in 1948. It’s also possible that the caller had mixed up the name or they were referring instead to Dewey Street. To my understanding, though, the footprint of the shipyard has been relatively unchanged since Ms. Staples would have left, so I find this whole account highly dubious.
Still, it’s a lot of fun to imagine a 5 foot tall orange shrimp in Bremerton, right?
Fun, too, was wasting a few computing cycles by having DALL-E 3 generate some images of the story:
Photo of an old, expansive basement in 1948 Bremerton, Washington. The basement is dimly lit, showcasing its age with cracked walls and significant holes. Nearby, there's a traditional washer, washtub, and a clothesline with freshly hung clothes. The atmosphere is permeated with an eerie vibe, with the shadows of the basement hinting at its unseen corners.
Illustration capturing the moment Virginia, a five-foot-tall woman, discovers the gigantic shrimp-like creature in her apartment's basement. She stands frozen, her face reflecting sheer terror. From a large hole in the basement wall, the silhouette of an enormous shrimp emerges. It has a bright orange body, spindly thin legs, and moving antennae. The creature's size is emphasized in contrast to Virginia.
Photo portraying Virginia, looking visibly distressed, standing in front of a glass tank in an aquarium during the late 1940s. Inside the tank, small shrimps move around. The reflection in the glass shows Virginia's pensive and searching expression as she tries to correlate the creature she saw with the small shrimps in front of her.
Illustration of the modern-day landscape of Bremerton, showing the Navy's significant expansion. Old buildings have made way for new structures, and notably absent is the apartment building on Denny Street. The scene is imbued with a sense of melancholy, evoking the passage of time and the memories attached to the places now gone.
(Just to interject here, this is amazing, but I can assure you that this is not at all what modern day Bremerton looks like, espcially not the massive aircraft carrier with office buidling on its deck 🤣)
Photo in the style of a 1948 scene where Virginia, a five-foot-tall woman, is in the basement of her Bremerton apartment. The lighting is dim, and the atmosphere eerie. Suddenly, from a hole in the wall, a gigantic shrimp-like creature with a bright orange body, thin legs, and moving antennae appears. Virginia's face is filled with terror, and the overall tone matches the vintage and realistic style of the first image.
Illustration depicting Virginia in the basement, her face pale with fear. In the background, a massive shrimp-like creature looms, its bright orange body contrasting with the dark environment. The creature's spindly legs and moving antennae add to the unsettling atmosphere. The art style is slightly abstract, emphasizing the surreal nature of the encounter.
So, what do you think?
Do you believe there was a 5 foot tall orange shrimp wandering around Bremerton, WA basements post WWII?
Or is this just some silly bit of nonsense included in Strange Mag pre-Internet and they simply picked Bremerton and Denny Street somewhat at random to use as the backdrop of their first-person story?