by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Reports of 'monsters' living in deep bodies of water occur regularly around the world from every continent. Sightings of the Lochness Monster have been recorded at least since the 7th Century, the first of these found in the Life of St. Columbia by Adamnan. The sighting was dated at 565 AD.
Over the centuries descriptions of these watery denizens have been extremely consistent. The creature is described as being up to 50 feet in length, the part viewed above the water as serpentine.
The same description has been recorded on multiple occasions by people observing what communities bordering on Lake Erie fondly refer to as South Bay Bessie.
The first recorded sighting of Bessie occurred in 1793, before the area began to be widely populated. This first report was made by the captain of the sloop, Felicity while those on board were shooting ducks north of what is today Sandusky, Ohio.
This report describes the creature as “snake-like, 9 to 12 m (30 to 40 ft) long, at least a foot in diameter, with a grayish color.”
Later that same year another boat reported experienced a similar sighting, this time, “copper-coloured and 60 feet (18 m) in length.” The crew discharged muskets at the creature, which they reported had no visible effect.
The length of the creature varies, some reports stating the length of the creature being less than 20 feet. Individual sightings, reflecting similar appearance and difference sizes, would be natural if the area held a population comprising animals of different ages.
In 1817 the Dusseau brothers reported seeing a creature writhing on the beach which they described it as between 20 and 30 feet and shaped like a large sturgeon - except that it had arms. Panicking, they fled. When they returned they found marks on the beach and silver scales they described as being the size of silver dollars.
The brothers assumed the animal was dying. What if it was spawning? This is not unknown in the animal kingdom. Grunion do it. Why not Bessie?
Sightings have continued intermittently throughout the 20th Century with huge serpentlike creatures in Lake Erie reported in 1985 and 1987, in 1990 and 1993 and, the latest at 11 a.m. Thursday August 12th. The creature was reported to be 30 – 40 feet in length.
Is Bessie real – or an illusion shared by people around the world? You decide.