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Staten Island Octopus Attack Statue Pops Up and Fools People Into Thinking It Really Happened

In lower Manhattan’s Battery Park sits a bronze memorial for a tragic maritime event of which you’ve never heard. On November 22, 1963 (the same day, coincidentally, as JFK’s assassination) a giant octopus dragged a steam ferry named Cornelius G. Kolff and its nearly 400 passengers down to the bottom of the New York Harbor and were never heard from again. If you’re thinking that this story sounds fake…you’re right—it never actually happened.

This fictitious catastrophe, known as the Staten Island Ferry Disaster, is the handiwork of artist Joe Reginella. His elaborate hoax features a statue of a giant octopus devouring a powerless ship, like something out of a sci-fi novel. In addition to this sculpture—which successfully recreates the look and feel of real commemorative monuments—Reginella’s team distributed fliers that advertised a fake museum, accessible only by ferry.

This impressive dedication was enough to fool some passersby. As showcased on the memorial’s Facebook page, random people have stopped to pay their respects to the tragedy that never was. Some pose in front of it, others take pictures, wondering what happened to the passengers of that fateful voyage.

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Photo credit: @BlaireMoskowitz

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Reginella even made a “documentary” about the tragedy:

Staten Island Ferry Octopus Disaster Memorial Museum: Website | Facebook
via [Colossal, Mental Floss]

All images via Joe Reginella unless otherwise stated.

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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