Sunday 4 October 2009

The Rock Lake and Red Cedar Lake Monsters

Rock Lake is in south central Wisconsin approximately 20 miles (32 km) east of Madison. It is 87 feet (27 m) at its deepest point. The water is quite silty and murky in places according to divers.. In the late 1800’s a large serpent-like creature was seen along the shallows of Rock Lake. It was described as aggressive, frequently hissing at onlookers

In1867 there were a number of sightings. A man named Harbeck saw a "saurian" in the water several times and claimed to have once encountered it on shore, where the creature "hissed at him." Another time it grabbed his trolling hook and pulled his boat along.. A Mr. R. Hassam saw the creature in the rushes at lake's edge. At first he thought it was a tree limb. "On closer examination he saw it was a thing of life and stuck it with a spear, but could no more hold it than an ox," reported the local paper. Fred Seaver saw it twice, once after the creature seized his trolling hook and pulled his boat "at a rushing speed" more than half a mile, until Seaver cut the line. It soon had a name, "The Rock Lake Terror."

Then a sighting occurred in 1882. Ed McKenzie and D.W. Seybert were rowing boats on the lake, racing each other to a sandbar. Ahead of them they saw what appeared to be a floating log. It turned out to be an animate object with 3 feet of it showing above the surface. It suddenly came to life, raised it's "snake like head" out of the water and opened its jaws and then dove under the lake surface. It then reappeared almost immediately next to McKenzie's boat. McKenzie reported that it was as long as his boat and that it was the colour of a pickerel. According to the Aug. 31, 1882, issue of the Lake Mills Spike newspaper Seybert yelled to McKenzie to strike it with his oar to drive it away. McKenzie stood up in his boat and called to shore for help. "Bring a gun! Bring a gun! There's a big thing out here. Come quick!" he shouted to witnesses on a nearby boat landing. One of them, John Lund, said he clearly saw the creature, though at first he took it to be a man struggling in the water. Lund soon recognized the creature, however, as the one he had encountered while fishing just the week before. It had snapped his trolling line, but not before pulling on it so hard that it cut Lund's hand.Not all the witnesses agreed that the creature was dangerous or aggressive.. Ol Hurd, on the boat landing with Lund, thought it resembled a huge dog. Another witness named Wilson grabbed a shotgun and took a swift boat to McKenzie and Seybert. But when he arrived the creature had fled.

"The air all around was heavy with a most sickening odour," reported the Lake Mills Spike newspaper. McKenzie was pale. His teeth were chattering.

Then there was a reported sighting of the lake creature was in July 1943. Joseph Davis, was 15 years old at the time and he went out to fish on Rock Lake.. He saw a patch of water rolling like a wake, then from out of the water the torso of a brownish-black creature rose up. It was 6 or 7 feet long at the surface. For a minute Davis sat in his boat, spellbound, waiting for the head to rise up. But the creature dove down instead, and Davis fled to shore.

Indian legends tell of a time when the Ho Chunk were camped on the shores of the Rock River, not far from Rock Lake, Lake Ripley and Red Cedar Lake.

"In this stream lived a huge and terrible monster. The older people of the tribe say this

creature had a large head, awesome jaws, and body likened to a serpent. It is said to have

ranged the whole length of the stream, preying on both animals and men, as to which he

most preferred no one knows. Hapless creatures that went to the water to drink were

frequently seized and swallowed. At all of the fording places this demon found hunting

good. Indians crossing at these places were promptly dragged beneath the water and

never seen or heard of again. Some Indians believed that there were several of these

monsters living in the waters of the Rock River and made many offerings of tobacco and

other desirable things to appease the wrath of the monsters."

A few miles from Rock Lake is Red Cedar Lake The lake covers an area of 1,841 acres (7.45 km2) and reaches a maximum depth of 53 ft (16 m).. In the 1890’s, a “serpent” went on a rampage along its shores. It seized animals from surrounding farms, carrying them still alive into the water. Later, their partially devoured remains were found lying in the muddy shallows. In 1890, a farmer claimed to have seen a serpent 40 feet long carrying off one of his hogs. In 1891, a serpent was seen by a fisherman tying up his boat. He looked up and saw an undulating body, something like that of a snake. The head he could not see. Farmers and other fishermen claimed to have also observed the serpent; one stated that the creature had a very large head with "protuberances like saw teeth" on its 50-foot back. In 1892, the serpent was blamed for partially devouring five sheep belonging to William Ward. Anxiety about the monster was so severe that residents of nearby Lake Ripley, joined to Red Cedar Lake by an underground stream, closed their summer cottages and returned to their homes in the cities.

At the time, it was also thought that the two lakes Rock and Red Cedar were connected by an underground river.

There appear to have been no recent sightings. Could it have been an out of place crocodile that has now died out? Certainly a strange story .

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