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James Bartley was the central character of a major urban legend in the late-1800s, (1891 is the usual given year), and early-1900s as a person who was swallowed whole by a sperm whale while whaling.

According to the myth, his boat capsized due to an attack from the whale and he landed inside the whale's mouth. He survived the ordeal and was carved out of the stomach by his peers when they began skinning the whale. It was reported that his skin had been eaten by the gastric juices. He was back to work within three weeks.[1]

The actual story is quite controversal as the throats of most whales are too small to swallow a human whole. The only whale with a big enough throat is the Sperm Whale. [2] It is also doubtful he would have enough oxygen to breathe, as a whale's mouth is usually underwater, and it is not connected to its respiratory system.

The ship usually metioned is The Star of the East, and while there was an actual ship of that name, they do not have any record of a James Bartley sailing on her. Also, it was not a whaling ship. The facts have been carefully sorted out by historian Edward Davis.

The French scientist, de Parville, published a report in the Paris Journal des Debate in 1914.

See also

References

  1. ^ David Gunston, The man who lived in a whale, Sunday Mail, May 12 1985 page 15
  2. ^ Probe Ministries - Jonah in the Whale

Edward Davis, "A Whale of a Tale: Fundamentalist Fish Stories." Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 43 (1991): 224-37.

External links


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