A huge shaggy mess of unidentified sea creature has washed up in the Philippines, frightening onlookers who don't know what to make of the giant, bedraggled carcass the ocean has deposited on their doorstep.
The unspecified 'sea monster' has yet to be identified by authorities, so locals have taken to simply calling it the 'globster' – a term reserved for unrecognisable blobs of marine life that the sea surrenders to the shore, provoking both horror and wonder in surface dwellers.
In this case, the globster was discovered about 7pm on Friday night along a beach in Oriental Mindoro, a province in the Philippines' Mimaropa region.
Nobody knows what this giant sea creature is https://t.co/vPQGJmh55M— The Sun (@TheSun) May 12, 2018
''I couldn't believe what it was, I've never seen anything like it," local woman Imelda Mariz, who took her children to see the creature, told The Sun.
"In God's name, I was shocked. The children were scared it was a dead monster. Nobody knows what it is yet.''
While it would have been hard to miss the giant 6-metre-long (20 ft) greyish-white carcass resting on their shoreline, something else made the dead creature impossible to avoid: its pungent, rotting smell.
For marine authorities who had to get up close to investigate the unidentified mass, which is covered in a shaggy, dishevelled mop of hair-like strands, the experience wasn't pleasant.
"Damn it smells awful. It smells like something from another planet," said fishery law enforcement officer Vox Krusada.
"I really experienced the full power of its smell because I'm the one who took the tissue samples. I almost puked. I felt better after taking a bath but the stench still lingers in my nose.''
Krusada told The Sun the local government would now bury the carcass, with the tissue samples to be sent to a lab for DNA analysis.
While it's unclear exactly what kind of ocean creature we're dealing with here, the authorities suspect the globster is probably some kind of decaying whale, although the particular species remains undetermined.
One of the reasons they're leaning that way is past experience with ambiguous bulky sea masses, including some strange creatures that washed up on coastlines in other parts of the Philippines a little over a year ago.
Dugong was found in cagdianao, dinagat islands ?? pic.twitter.com/wXNTAjiqHf— Ruffa Luci (@ruffaluci08) February 24, 2017
While one such similarly proportioned, shaggy creature at the time was speculated to be a dugong (aka sea cow), subsequent analysis revealed it to be a whale, although the exact species was never determined.
We'll have to wait to see what the DNA analysis turns up this time, but for the fearful devout along this stretch of shore, the significance of their strange visitor is already apparent.
''An earthquake is heading for Oriental Mindoro," resident Tam Maling told The Sun.
"The big globster is a sign of something bad coming. Please pray for us.''