Lake Monsters in the British Press

Lake Monsters in the British Press

1821 USA Lake Ontario

There is on account now circulating in the papers, of a large monster of the serpent race having lately been seen in Lake Ontario.Two men, John, Mappin and James Sigler of Jefferson county in this State, and eight others, were on their way to Mackinhaw and were within about one hundred miles of Niagara. They state in their affidavit they discovered at a distance of five or six hundred yards, a body, in appearance like a burnt log of twenty or twenty-five feet in length; approaching within three or four hundred yards it proved to be an animal apparently asleep. When within fifty yards it raised its head about ten feet, looked around in an awfully ferocious manner then darted forward with great velocity making the water fly in every direction and throwing column's at a vertical height of seven or eight feet with its tail. Their deposition continues-After going in a westward direction about one or two miles he appeared to resume his former state we resolved to attack him and accordingly loaded our guns for this purpose (undecipherable). But we consider the existence of large water serpents as well established as any other fact - in natural history; and if they do exist, what would prevent them passing up the Gulf River to Lake Ontario?

British Press - Thursday 25 October 1821

1835 USA Lake Ontario

Captain Kellogg tells us that, yesterday evening (June 15th), about seven o’clock he was making for Kingston Harbour, bearing N. by W. At a distant of two miles he saw something lying still on the weather-bow that looked like the mast of a vessel. Observing it more attentively, he was surprised and alarmed to see it in motion, and steering toward, the schooner. Singing out to his hands to take care of themselves, he put the schooner into the wind, lashed the helm a-lee, and ran up the main rigging, waiting for the monster to approach. The serpent tor it was no other than an immense snake, neared the vessel and passed immediately under the stern, taking no notice whatever of the schooner or those on board but affording to everybody ample opportunity to observe and note his monstrous dimension. In length he was about 78 feet of a dark blue colour, spotted with brown towards either end he tapered off but about the middle his body was the circumference of a flour-barrel. His head was peculiarly small, and could not well be distinguished but from the direction in which he moved. He swam with an undulating movement, keeping part of his body underwater, but occasionally showing his entire length. He was in in sight a full fifteen minutes and when last seen was making the best of his way down the St. Lawrence.


Sea Serpent in Lake Ontario-Morning Post, Saturday 25 July 1835

1838 USA Devils Lake

The Devil’s Lake. A public meeting held the citizens of Logansport on the 11th of August, for the purpose of examining the Devil’s Lake about twenty six miles from that place. The well-known tradition says the Logansport Telegraph respecting the monster in the Devil’s Lake, and the many confirmatory statements of credible citizens, have placed the existence of a monstrous creature in the waters of the lake almost beyond doubt. The length of the nondescript has been variously estimated from forty to seventy feet. The lake is situated in Fulton county, about twenty-six miles in a north eastern direction from Logansport, and it appears that every attempt to ascertain its depth has hitherto failed. A snake story, truly. 


The Pilot - Friday 05 October 1838

1847 Ireland

I spent a few days during the past month (August) with a very pleasant party, at the fishing lodge of a friend, in the wilds of Connemara. In the vicinity of this lodge, there are several lakes of considerable extent. Many of these lakes are connected with each other, and all of them have a communication of some kind with the sea: they abound during the season with salmon and sea trout, and afford much sport to the angler. Our conversation in the evening naturally turned on the sports of the day, and the different objects of curiosity in the wild scenery around us. On one occasion our host stated that he had heard from his head keeper, or water bailiff, a story of so extraordinary a nature that, had he not known the narrator, and been satisfied that he was incapable of inventing a falsehood, he would have treated it with ridicule; that, however, he was convinced that Conneely (such was his name) had told him nothing but what he (Conneely) believed to be strictly true. It was immediately proposed that the man should be called in, and that we should hear the story from his own mouth. He accordingly entered, and stated that ten years ago (1837) he was fishing on a lake about a mile distant from the lodge in which we were sitting: he was in a boat, and was accompanied by two men. After fishing for some time he had occasion to row towards the shore in order to repair some part of his tackle which was out of order, when he and his companions perceived that they were followed, or rather accompanied, by some enormous body, which was moving through the water close to their boat, and in a direction parallel to their course. This body, whatever it was, seemed to be endowed with life, and to possess the power of voluntary motion, and presented the appearance of a huge balk of timber moving through the water. Neither he nor his companions were enabled to perceive anything resembling a head, or to ascertain what means of locomotion it possessed, but the part of this strange creature which was visible to their eyes was at least ten yards, or 30 feet in length. He proceeded then to state that he and his companions were greatly alarmed at their proximity to this extraordinary monster; that they pulled rapidly to shore, and as they neared the land their huge follower, which had surprised and terrified them so much, sunk down and disappeared. He and his comrades told their story at the time, and, as might be expected, found very few persons willing to believe in its reality, and the whole matter would probably have been forgotten had it not been for the extraordinary occurrence of which he declared himself, and at least twelve other men, to have been eye-witnesses in the month of June in this present year (1847). He stated that he was sometime in the month of June on the shore, in the vicinity of the same lake; that he was in company with eleven or twelve men, who were employed in some kind of labour; that he happened to look in the direction of the lake, when he perceived an enormous body rise to the surface, which remained in view for a considerable time, so that he was enabled to call the attention of his companions to the sight. This large body, whatever it might be, remained stationary for some time, and then, slowly moving round in a semicircle, disappeared. He stated that it presented the appearance of three boats turned upside down, with intervals between them; that nothing like a head could be distinguished, but that part which was visible was at least 30 yards, or 90 feet in length. I afterwards, while out fishing mentioned the subject to my boatmen, and asked them if they believed in the existence of the extraordinary creature described by Conneely. One of them at once declared that he had been in the boat with Conneely in the year 1837. He corroborated his story in every particular, mentioning, among other things, that he was rowing, and that he lost four or five strokes of his oar, as the monster, whatever it might be, was so close to the boat that he was unable to put his oar into the water. He concluded, by stating, that he and his companions were greatly alarmed, and he was sure, if they had not been so near the land, ' they would never eat another bit.' I may as well mention here, that so convinced are the keepers of the existence of this monster, that they are unwilling to fish in that part of the lake which they suppose him to inhabit. The next day, when walking through the mountains with several men whom we employed to carry our baggage, I mentioned the subject, in the hope of getting some more information, when I found that the boy who was at that moment carrying my carpet bag was one of those who had witnessed this strange appearance two months before (June, 1847). This lad, who seemed about 19 or 20 years of age, could speak no English; and, as I could speak very little Irish, I put some questions to him through an interpreter. His answers fully corroborated Conneely. He stated that the creature, whatever it might be, was black; that the circumference of the body was far greater than that of a horse; and, on my inquiring its apparent length, his answer was, ` Far as from this to that rock,' a space which appeared to me, measuring by the eye, to amount to some five-and-thirty yards. I have reason to believe that there are nine or ten other persons who will all depose to the same story. The place where this monster is said to exist is within twenty hours journey of the metropolis; the narrative is recent, and the witnesses are all forthcoming, and they are, at all events, persuaded that some monstrous creature, answering very closely to the description of the great American sea-serpent, exists at this moment in the lakes of Connemara. 


The Sea Serpent in Ireland- London Standard, Tuesday 12th October, 1847

1855 USA Silver Lake

The Great American Snake Caught. Perry Village (N. Y.). This part of the country is wild with excitement. The immense snake is at length captured. You have undoubtedly heard all the particulars of his appearance, the many doubts and sneers as to the existence of lusus natura of this character in lake but four miles long and not three quarters of a mile in width. Daniel Smith, an old whale man, came here about two weeks since, after hearing of the appearance of the creature, and had the good fortune to see him. He immediately sent to New York for an old shipmate and his "irons," and on Friday last both arrived with everything necessary to catch monster. Many laughed at them for their pains; but they kept on with their preparations. Boats have been stationed all over the lake for upwards of eight days, and a sharp look-out kept. On Sunday he came to the surface, displaying about 30 feet of his long sinuous body. On Monday morning, about nine o'clock, the animal made his appearance between the whale men’s boat and the shore, revealing 20 or 30 feet of his length. He lay quiescent upon the surface, when the whale men’s boat moved towards him, Mr. Smith, of Covington, poising the air a patent harpoon. When about 10 feet from the animal, the iron whistled through the air and went deep into his body. In a moment the whole length of the monster was lashing in the air, at a bound revealing his whole length. Then he darted off towards the upper part of the lake, the suddenness of his movement almost dragging the boat under water. Line was gradually given him, and after half an hour it was plain that his strength was almost exhausted. The whale men then came on shore, and gradually hauled the line in. He was slowly dragged on shore, amidst the wildest excitement ever known. Although ashore be was lashing his body into tremendous folds, and then straightening himself out in his agony, with a power that made the very earth tremble. The snake is 59 feet 5 inches in length, and is most disgusting looking creature. A thick slime covers his hideous length, quarter of an inch thick, which after being removed is almost instantly replaced by exudation. The body is variable in size. The head is about the size of full-grown calf's; within eight feet of the head the neck gradually swells up to the thickness of a foot in diameter, which continues for 15 inches, and then tapers down the other way, constantly increasing in size, however, as it recedes from the head until the body has a diameter of over two feet in the centre, giving a girth of over six feet. It then tapers off toward the tail, which ends in a fin which can be expanded in the shape of a fan until it is three feet across, or closed in a sheath. Along the belly, from the head to the tail, are double rows of fins, a foot in length—not opposite to each other, but alternately placed. The head is a most singular affair. The eyes are very large, white, staring and terrific. He has no nostrils or gills, apparently. The mouth is underneath—almost a counterpart of the mouth of the fish called a sucker, possessing the same valvular power pursed up—but can be stretched so as to take in body of the diameter of foot or a foot and a half. No teeth can be discovered. His colour a dusky brown, but underneath the belly dirty white. It is sinuous like a snake, but has along its back on each side a row of hard substances, knob like shape, the largest raised four inches from the surface of the body, extending from head to tail. The animal still has the harpoon in him. He lies in the water, a contrivance of ropes having been placed on him while was on shore, keeping his body in a curve, preventing him from getting away or proving dangerous. He keeps his head under water, except when he rears it up as looking around, and presents a most fearful aspect. When rearing he expands his mouth, and exhibits cavity blood red, most terrible to look upon. As he does this, air rushes forth with a heavy, short puff. 


Daily Republic. Berkshire Chronicle - Saturday 15 September 1855