Posted by: codsow | October 14, 2010

Lake Monsters…

Of all the creatures of the world of Cryptozoology, none has a longer existence than the lake monster. These creatures, like many others, have been passed down from generation to generation with oral history and folklore. Arguably, the very first lake monster known to the world was in 565AD, when Saint Columba chased away an unknown creature from a man by using the sign of the cross, and saying “Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once.” And the creature fled. This was in a little lake known as Loch Ness.

The Loch Ness monster, Nessie, is probably the most popular lake monster known to man. With all of the time and effort spent into looking for this creature, I think we will dive into some of the lesser known lake monsters.

When you think of lake monsters, the last place that you would probably think of would be Utah. According to legend though, Utah is the home to five different lake monsters. The more popular of the five, would be from Utah and Bear lakes, respectively. Both of these lakes are the home of twin water dragons. In 1864, a local man at Utah lake encountered one of these serpents, which looked like a giant snake with the head of a greyhound. Many sightings came afterwards, all of which had the same descriptions: A snakes body, with a larger head, fearsome black eyes, and in later reports, short, stocky legs. At Bear Lake, two local citizens, one of which was Brigham Young, tried to capture the lake monster. Their plan involved a three hundred foot, one inch rope, with meat attached to the end. No monster was ever caught, but the meat was always missing when the hook was checked.

Another lake monster that is rarely talked about is located in Lake Okanegan in British Columbia, Canada. The local Native American tribe, the Salish, called the animal the “N’ha-a-tik,” or Lake Demon. They believed that the creature lived in an underwater cave near the middle of the lake. They were so afraid of the monster that they would make sacrifices to the creature. In the mid 1800s, the stories started to accumulate about the Lake Demon, now called, Ogopogo. One of the more famous stories is of a settler crossing the lake on a small boat with his two horses swimming behind, tied to the boat. Around the center of the lake, the horses were pulled underwater, and the man only saved himself by cutting the ropes of the horses. Many of the recent sightings all describe a serpent like creature, around 50ft in length, with a larger, horse like head. If anyone is up to the task, around the year 2000AD, a few companies in the area offered a reward of two million dollars for definitive proof of the Ogopogo.

Staying on the western side of the North America, we move to Lake Tahoe. Tahoe Tessie, as it is called now, has been sighted by many, including the Native American tribes in the area, the Washoe and Paiute. They believed that the creature lives in an underwater tunnel underneath cave rock, which is very similar to the Ogopogo. This creature has a few more sightings than other lake monsters, most are from recent history. In the 1950s, two police officers noticed a large black hump, rise out of the water, then follow a nearby boat around speeds described by the officers at sixty miles per hour. In the 1990s, a kayak instructor noticed what looked like a green, two person kayak flip over, to immediately sink. Thinking it was one of his students, or a rental, he got into the company boat to investigate, only to find nothing. None of his students for that class were involved in flipping. In 2004, a bartender for the Tahoe Queen snapped a photo of a black hump in the water, which they described as the head of the creature. The most interesting footage that is out there though, is just in the rumor mill as of now. Supposedly, there is some really decent Tessie footage that is being analyzed by professionals and experts before being released to the public. Hopefully, something will come out of that.

Lastly, we come back to the state of Ohio, and the shores of the Great Lake Erie. South Bay Bessie, or Bessie for short, has been in the news since the early 1800s. The first recorded sighting of Bessie came from 1793AD, when the crew of the ship “Felicity” landed at Middle Bass Island. The captain went down to the shore and noticed a few ducks, fired at them so he could eat a good meal, and spooked a large, 16ft snake out of the nearby grasses on the shore. The serpent then chased the captain around 100ft, then retreated into the water. In July of 1817AD, a crew from another boat noticed a larger serpent, around 30-40ft, between three to five miles from the shore of Ohio. An interesting report came from the Canadian side in May of 1887AD, when two brothers came upon a “lake monster writhing in agony.” They originally thought it was a phosphorous mass on shore, once investigated they described it as a large sturgeon, only with large arms, flailing around, looking like it was dying. They went to get ropes to tow it back, only to return to scrape marks on the shore, and silver scales the size of silver dollars. South Bay Bessie is very popular in Northern Ohio, with a minor league hockey team, and a very tasty beer named after it.

So there you have it, just a few of the lake monsters that are out there. Keep in mind, almost every large body of water has a lake monster story. Next time you are out in open water, try to keep that in mind. And also bring a camera. You never know what might pop up beside your boat.

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