Long treated as myth and folklore, this is just one of many such rerorts that seem to confirm at least some mariner's reports of freak waves. From what I can tell, the jury is in: Freak waves are real. There is no question that they exist. http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMOKQL26WD_index_0.html So, here we have an example of something long dismissed as lies and myth in spite of centuries of stories from sailors. I think this is a shining example of how human testimony must be considered. No matter how unlikely something may be, certain elements of long term patterns in human testimony can often be trusted; not as scientific evidence of course, but I think for guidance as to what may and may not be real. Often, these sorts of things are based in fact and not just fanciful tales like those of drunken sailors. The problem I think is not whether there is a grain of truth in any myth, since I think most are rooted in fact, the question is, what is the proper context and interpretation for a given myth? In this case the proper interpretation was a literal one. I suspect this is an unusual outcome. Normally I would expect that we need to interpret the myth to a much greater degree.