Haunting Video Is The First Footage Ever Recorded of a Giant Squid in US Waters

In the pitch black waters 759 meters (2500 feet) below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a thin, undulating arm emerges from the gloom.

Suddenly, it splits, and what was a lone, curious appendage is a writhing bouquet of tentacles until, finally, an honest-to-God giant squid blooms from the darkness and attacks.

Then, the beast vanishes back into the deep as abruptly as it emerged.

For the first time, a living giant squid had been filmed in US waters. The video was captured by a team of researchers on an expedition funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who were studying the impacts of light deprivation on deep sea creatures living in the "midnight zone," 3,280 feet (1000 meters) below the surface.

To bring the historic image to the world, the 23-person crew had to use a specialized probe, get lucky enough to lure the elusive squid to a camera and find it among hours and hours of video footage.

Then, the downloaded video had to survive a sudden lightning strike to the metal research vessel that threatened scientists' computers. On top of everything else, a water spout formed suddenly off the port bow.

Edith Widder, one of the leaders of the expedition, described the ordeal as "one of the more amazing days at sea I've ever had."

Speaking on Sunday from the dock where the Point Sur research vessel had just docked after two weeks at sea, Widder, founder of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, recounted the dramatic events surrounding the discovery.