Has A Whale Ever Swallowed A Person?

By Antonia Čirjak on June 16 2020 in Did You Know

Has a whale ever swallowed a whole human being?
Has a whale ever swallowed a whole human being?
  • The insides of a whale do not have conditions needed for a human being to survive.
  • Comprehensive archives are dealing with whales that date back to the 19th century; however, there is no mention of anyone being swallowed.
  • Rainer Schimpf, a photographer, was scooped up by a whale with his mouth but he was not swallowed.

The thought has surely crossed your mind many times, you swimming in the ocean, minding your business, while suddenly a gigantic whale appears from under you and swallows you whole. Well, maybe not like that exactly, but still, variants of this scenario have appeared throughout multiple stories. Naturally, the first that comes to mind is the story of Pinocchio and the enormous whale Monstro.

However, this is all fiction, but one can’t help but wonder if this has ever happened in reality? Has a whale ever swallowed a whole human being? And if so, did this person survive and continue living in the belly of the whale? Well, according to all available data, we must disappoint you by saying that no, no one has ever been swallowed by a whale, at least from what we know.

Can A Person Survive Inside Of A Whale?

For starters, the chances of anyone ever ending up inside of a whale are extremely small. Even if they did, they probably wouldn’t survive, so there is no way of us knowing if a whale ate them. Well, unless we saw the event, that is. The insides of a whale simply do not have conditions needed for a human being to survive in there. Reporters have extensively searched for proof that a whale has swallowed someone, but managed to find nothing.

the chances of anyone ever ending up inside of a whale are extremely small.
The chances of anyone ever ending up inside of a whale are extremely small.

Comprehensive archives are dealing with whales that date back to the 19th century; however, there is no mention of anyone being swallowed. Whales bit some people, others were injured, but that’s about it. Some deaths were the result of dealing with whales as well; however, none was the result of a person being swallowed.

The closest thing to a whale swallowing a human being happened recently, in 2019, when Rainer Schimpf, a photographer, was scooped up by a whale with his mouth. However, he was not swallowed, since only half of his body was inside of the mouth of the whale, and it quickly spat him out. He survived the encounter and was left with a unique story to tell, that is for sure.

The Legend Of James Bartley

This story is often mentioned when whales swallowing people is the topic of discussion. Apparently, in the 19th century, James Bartley was in a whaling crew that was exploring the Falkland Islands. During one of their trips, he was swallowed by a whale. The members of his crew eventually found and captured the whale several days later, and freed Bartley from its stomach. Naturally, they had to kill the animal.

Bartley was alive and well, only his complexion changed. He had become much paler than before, due to the stomach acids inside the whale’s belly. That is all we know of this story. Well, that and the fact that there is absolutely no proof of it ever happening. Not only is there no proof of that, but there is actually proof that the entire story was fabricated.

Through extensive research, it was discovered that Bartley never sailed on the ship in question. The ship that is mentioned as the one from this story was called the Star of the East, but there was no James Bartley on board, and the ship was not even a whaler. Multiple people even reported that the story was completely fake, so we will probably have to wait some more before a whale actually swallows a human being. But, judging from everything we’ve read, we do not think they are interested in doing that at all.

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