When Lake Monsters Attack! The darker side of aquatic enigmas.
by Davy Russell
POSTED: 16 AUGUST 2001
The majority of lake monster and sea serpent reports describe large, serpentine creatures that may startle observers, but rarely do these reports describe violent behaviour. However, there are numerous legends and eyewitness accounts that suggest some of these cryptids may be "sometimes" predatory. You may want to be wary next time you’re enjoying your favourite lake, river, or swimming hole on a hot summer day...the pool may be safer!
Lake Erie Monster - USA
Bessie, the large, serpentine creature that haunts Lake Erie in the USA and Canada, has been sighted numerous times. There is an unconfirmed rumor which tells of a lethal encounter with a creature who’s head was the size of a car and killed 3 people in 1992. Although Bessie is generally benign, a more sinister creature has been attacking swimmers near Port Dover, Ontario, Canada in August 2001. News headlines last week covered three bizarre incidents where swimmers were bitten by an unknown fish - or something. Dr. Harold Hynscht, who treated one of the bite victims, has ruled out some of the theories attempting to put a face to the bite marks. Released pet Pirranhas, Lamprey eels, snapping turtles, walleye, goby, and muskellunge fish have been ruled out, prompting Dr. Hynscht to suggest the attacks were caused by a Bowfin fish protecting its territory. However, this has not yet been confirmed.
The Lau And The Lukwata - Africa
A giant, 100 foot-long lake serpent that lurks in the swamps, rivers, and lakes in Uganda, Africa has been feared by natives because of its predatory nature, often taking large mammals or fishermen. Explorers of the region heard these bizarre tales that became more credible as some of them observed the creature themselves.
Dobhar-Chu - Ireland
A strange creature of the Irish lakes is the Dobhar-Chu of Lough Mask. Also called the dobarcu or dhuragoo, this "water hound" has been reported to attack people. It is described as sort of looking similar to a large otter, white in colour with black ear tips and black across the back. It is said by some to look like "half wolfdog/half fish".
In Roderick O’Flaherty’s book, A Description of West Connaught written in 1684, he recalls a startling incident of the dobhar-chu.
"There is one rarity more, which we may term the Irish crocodile, whereof one, as yet living, about ten years ago had sad experience.
The man was passing the shore just by the waterside, and spyed far off the head of a beast swimming, which he took to be an otter, and took no more notice of it; but the beast it seems lifted up his head, to discern whereabouts the man was; then diving swam under the water till he struck ground: whereupon he run out of the water suddenly and took the man by the elbow whereby the man stooped down, and the beast fastened his teeth in his pate, and dragged him into the water; where the man took hold of a stone by chance in his way, and calling to mind he had a knife in his jacket, took it out and gave a thrust of it to the beast, which thereupon got away from him into the lake.
The water about him was all bloody, whether from the beast's blood, or his own, or from both he knows not. It was the pitch of an ordinary greyhound, of a black slimey skin, without hair as he imagines."
Underwater Mystery Attacker - USA
Mrs. Darwin Johnson had a terrifying encounter with a strange creature while swimming in the Ohio River in Evansville, Indiana on 21 August 1955. Something with a claw-like hand under the water grabbed her knee. She struggled in vain as the thing dragged her underwater twice. She eventually fought off the unseen attacker with a friend's inner tub. The only evidence of Mrs. Johnson's ordeal were some scratches and a green palm print on her knee.
Thetis Lake Monster - Canada
Thetis Lake, located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, is said to be home to a silvery-scaled humanoid with gills that lurks in its waters. Sporting webbed feet, hands, and ears, the Thetis Lake Monster adds to its fearsome appearance with a razor-sharp fin or crest on its head. Its large, fish-like eyes are said to penetrate the murkiest of water.
Two teenagers were allegedly attacked by the monster on 19 August, 1972. After seeing the scaly creature rise from the lake, the boys fled in terror, with the monster in pursuit. It caught up with one of the boys, cutting his hand with its barbed head-fin. The boys escaped, and told the Royal Canadian Mounted Police about the incident. The RCMP launched an investigation that yielded no evidence despite other residents coming forward with their sightings of the creature. The investigation was soon called off.
African Brain-Sucker (Mamlambo) - Africa
The "half horse, half fish" Mamlambo inhabits the Mzintlava River in the Mount Ayliff area of South Africa. Eyewitnesses describe this creature as being 20 meters (67 ft) long, with short stumpy legs, crocodillian body, and the head and neck of a snake. It is said to have a hypnotic gaze, and shine at night with a green light. It drags human and animal victims in the water, drowning them, and sucking their blood and brains out.
The Mamlambo is described in Xhosa tribal mythology, and is said to bring great wealth to those brave enough to capture it.
Government sources say that the creature has claimed 7 human victims in 1997 alone, along with several goats. But freelance journalist, Andite Nomabhunga, says that 9 human deaths have been blamed on the Mamlambo, including a school girl.
Mount Ayliff police claim that most of the alleged victims which have been found had simply drowned. Sometimes, crabs have eaten away at the soft tissues of the face and throat. Despite police explanations for the deaths, villagers claim that they are not just superstitious tribe people, but educated people who are being terrorized by the Mamlambo.
Bunyips - Australia
According to Aboriginal legend, Bunyips are creatures that lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. They emerge at night, making terrifying, blood-curdling cries, and devour any animal or human that dare venture near its abode. The Bunyip's favourite prey is said to be women.
Fearing to go near suspected Bunyip haunts, the Aborigines shared their fearsome legends with early white settlers. After hearing such tales, they became fearful of strange, loud noises at night, and seriously considered the existence of the Bunyip Monster.
Descriptions of Bunyips include a wide spectrum of appearances from animal to spirit. Some describe the Bunyip as a gorilla-type animal (kinda like bigfoot, or the Australian Yowie), while others say it is half animal, half human or spirit. Bunyips come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are described to have long tails or necks, wings, claws, horns, trunks (like an elephant), fur, scales, fins, feathers...any combination of these.
More to come...
Blackman, W. Haden, The Field Guide to North American Monsters
Bord, Janet and Colin, Unexplained Mysteries of The 20th Century
Clark, Jerome, Unexplained! Lake Erie Monster?