Wednesday 24 June 2020

Kettle Creek Monster ?

The Susquehanna River Legend

The Susquehanna River is a major river located in the north eastern mid-Atlantic United States. It is  444 miles (715 km) long and  drains into the Chesapeake Bay. Kettle Creek is a tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna River running through Tioga, Potter, and Clinton counties, in Pennsylvania. It is 43 miles (69 km) long.
There is a legend of a monster or unknown creature in the river around Kettle Creek.From the 1800’s it was variously called the Kettle Creek Monster, the West Branch Dugong, or the Susquehanna Seal.It swam in the waters of Kettle Creek and the Susquehanna River, overturning lumber rafts and howling at night. Some thought  it was a creature from the  sea that swam in during a flood and got trapped.
An article in the Daily Democrat on February 27 1897 said the creature had got trapped in the river and now inhabited the area around Kettle Creek.The article said that it was big having the bulk of an ox or hippopotamus.  Some people  thought it was a shark or whale. Others that it was it was a marine creature  left over from prehistoric times such as an ichthyosaurus or prehistoric whale. The article described it as terrible  and as not  having the form or image of anything else on earth.There  was  speculation that it could be  travelling  back and forth to the ocean through a series of underground caverns. It was active at night . The Democrat reported ”Those who have crossed the animal’s path heard its terrible roar, his disturbing the waters and lashing them into a foam.”
As the reports of this creature dwindled as the years progressed the article presumed this meant it had died, or perhaps escaped back to the ocean during the 1889 flood.
Locals said it may just have returned to the caves or tunnels through which it had travelled and  may return.
Others, believed it was still about and lumber rafts that overturned were blamed on the creature, which was said to still be swimming around and looking for prey. The article ended  by saying no one seemed willing to investigate because  the water is said to be of great depth and there was great danger, as the creature was said to be a man eater.

Most would say this was just a tall tale and I was inclined to agree until I saw this  reported below.
Posted May 28, 2020
A likely new Pennsylvania record for flathead catfish – a monster weighing 56.3 pounds – was pulled from the Schuylkill River in the Philadelphia area on Sunday night. When certified by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pierce’s flathead will top the existing record by almost 6 pounds. That 50-pound 7-ounce fish was caught in the Susquehanna River, near the Muddy Creek public access in York County, on April 6, 2019, by Jeff Bonawitz, of East Lampeter Township.
Could the Susquehanna Seal have been a large catfish? Large catfish have been known to drag people under water .They are often mistaken for river monsters .

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Does a man eater lurk in Lake Labynkyr and Lake Varoto?

Killer Creature in Lake Labynkyr and Lake Varoto?
Lake Labynkyr is a deep lake situated on the territory of Oimyakon uluss. Legends speak about the monster that lives deep in the water of the legendary lake and attacks dogs, reindeers and even people. Stories say how one day the monster wiped out a caravan of Eleven ( one of the native peoples in the area)people. There are several documented encounters. The public first learned about the monster in the 1950's from the diaries of soviet geologist named Tverdohlebov. Since then several expeditions have set out to prove or disprove the existence of a monster. It is said that it could be a huge pike, a water mammoth, a reptile or a plesiosaurus, or even something from the parallel world. The expeditions don’t seem to have reported any findings.
I came across a story from the nineteenth century that in a remote region of Russia known as Sakha, or "the Devil" there lived a monster in the lake there called Labinkir It was said to be a large, aggressive creature. Further research found the following : Two geologists in 1953, doing prospecting work reported to the USSR academy of Science to have seen the creature who according to their testimony appeared from the water and approached them menacingly before disappearing. Then in the early 1960’s several people said they saw a monster with a long neck come up out of the lake making an eerie sound. Another person who saw it reported it as being lizard-like. Some reindeer owners claimed they saw the monster’s long neck bolt out of the water, trying to catch a nearby fowl. In 1964 a group of hunters claimed they saw a deer swimming in the water with a dog in pursuit. Suddenly out of mist a giant dinosaur-like monster appeared and the deer and dog disappeared into the waters.
A group of biologists from the university of Moscow on a research trip into the extreme eastern part of Russia declared they could not rule out the creature's existence.” We have scanned the bottom of the lake with an echo meter and have run into long living objects in movement" was the quote in "Itoqi" ("The Balance",a Russian weekly founded in 1996.)
Head of the expedition, Liudmila Emilianova, concedes that the 5 to 6 meter objects are not irrefutable proof of the creature's existence but believes their findings to be "a first step of a sensational discovery." Professor Emilianova believes the eye witness testimony of the local people. One of these reports given by a fisherman whilst out in his boat ,was that he saw the creature rise out of the water and then submerge. Others claimed they have seen the creature in Lake Verona about 20 kilometers away and it is suspected by some that the creature goes back and forth via an underground tunnel. Professor Emilianova said she will return to the Lake with more sophisticated equipment to further research the area.
 The lack of a lot of documented sightings may be because the lake is some 150 kilometres from the nearest civilization,a village called Tontor, and is ,without doubt, one of the most isolated areas of the world, and very cold, temperatures often dipping to -70 degrees below freezing.(,however like Loch Ness, the lake never freezes). There are no paved roads and one could only arrive by horse, airplane, helicopter, or land rover.
I then found the following report, I presume from the expedition:
The expedition to lake Labinkir was in end of august 2000.
The lake Labinkir is located in a remote part of East-Siberian mountains, at height about thousand meters above a sea level.. The unique natural conditions (in particular probability of presence of underwater caves system) and inaccessibility for the man, allow to assume that from very old times, in its dark waters could live ancient animals.During expedition, the measurements of lake with the sonar were made. The bottom in places of measurements was equal, with light evaluations. Average depths about 35 meters. The vegetation at the bottom lakes completely absent, bottom structures is small rocks, and there is rather low fish. During one of gaugings, the abnormal signals, from a large body (about eight - ten meters) were received, which has passed on depth of eleven meters (general depth of twenty two meters) under a boat, make several circles nearby and disappeared... But the questions have remained.
Dmitry Shiller said: 'We did several dives at different depths - from open air and from a tent (on the ice). We did one night deep dive. At each lake we cut several ice holes for diving. We gathered water samples at different depths. 
'In total, we did about about 200 different measurements and took about 20 samples. The maximum depth we have managed was 59.6 metres.
'Vorota lake is 30 km from Labynkyr. The scientists suspect that the lakes are connected, that there is something like underground tunnels. 
'Trying to understand the unique hydro system of these places, we needed to take some samples from Vorota too. The scientists never had such a chance previously and they asked us if we could make it and reach the second lake.'
He stressed that intriguing evidence was found that the claim of the lakes being linked maybe true. Though apart by 30km, their water levels are the same.
'What we found in support of this idea is that the water level of both lakes is identical which made us think about connecting vessels concept'.
He added: The Yakutian scientists are very grateful for our samples. They promise to tell us about the results in three months. I know that they are keen to study the living organisms which can survive in such conditions, and to check what the fish is eating in those lakes because at first glance food supply is very poor there.
'We were keen to find the crack that is supposed to be at the bottom of Lake Labynkyr: In this case we could have tried to dive deeper, but unfortunately we did not find it. Maybe this is the task for our next expedition to Labynkyr.
Viktor Tverdokhlebov, of the East Siberian branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. reported  a 1953 sighting of a 'monster' in neighbouring Lake Vorota  which was initially covered up by the Soviet authorities.
30 July: This is what happened today. It was sunny friendly morning, Boris Bashkatov and I went on a walking trip around Lake Vorota.  We had to climb rocks on the way - about 11 am the way became dangerous and we decided to go down a bit, closer to the water. Looking at the water from the rock, I clearly saw a terrace under the water with a huge white spot on it. But when I looked at the terrace again a minute later there was no white spot there. 'Maybe sunshine is joking with me', I thought. But suddenly Boris shouted 'Look! What is there, in the middle?'  We stopped. Some 300-400 meters away on the water there was clearly seen some white object, shining under the sunlight. 'A barrel', said Boris, 'made of tin.' 'Maybe a horse got into the lake,' I said. 'The object was swimming, and fast enough. It was something alive, some animal. It was making an arch - first along the lake, then right towards us. As it was getting closer, a strange coldness like a stupor was growing inside me. Above the water there was big dark grey body, the white colour has gone. On this dark grey background there were clearly visible two symmetrical light spots looking like eyes and there was just stick in the body - maybe a fin? Or a harpoon of an unlucky fisherman?'We saw just a part of the animal but we could guess its much bigger, massive body was under the water. We could guess this looking how the monster was moving - raising from the water, it threw its body forward then fully went under the water. At this time the waves were going away from its head, waves originating under the water. 'Flapping its mouth, catching fish', I guessed.'The animal was obviously swimming towards us and the waves made by the animal reached our legs. We looked at each other and immediately began to climb up the rock. What if 'it' goes out of the water? We witnessed a predator, no doubt, one of the strongest predators in this world: such indomitable, merciless and some sensible fierceness was in every his movement, in all its looks.'The animal stopped some 100 meters away from the shore. Suddenly it began to beat against the water, waves went all ways, we could not understand what was going on. Maybe it lasted just a minute and then the animal was gone, dived. It was only then when I thought about a camera. We stood for another 10-20 minutes, it was quiet. We went further. 'There was no doubt, we saw the 'devil' - the legendary monster of this area. The Yakut fisherman was right, the animal had dark grey skin and the distance between its eyes was surely not less than a raft of 10 logs. But he saw it in Labynkyr and we saw it in Vorota lake. They are 20 km away from each other - and they are not connected. I recalled that white spot under the water. Obviously, the animal was hunting at that underwater terrace and we scared it when shouted going down the rocks'.
There is a possibility that the waters of the two lakes are connected by a subterranean channel. Dr Emeliyanova wants to investigate a theory that the two lakes are linked by underground tunnels.

Trying to find theories to explain the sightings, if it is not a leftover from the Jurassic Age that somehow survived  the Ice Age - some have suggested an abnormally huge and well-fed pike.Yury Gerasimov, head of the Ichthyology Department of the Institute of Biology of Freshwater of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is dubious. 'I have never come across such a big pike and I highly doubt they can exist. If we trust the stories about this 'Devil', there must be about 1.5 metres between its eyes. It means the length of its body must be about 7-8 metres.'Pike do not live so long in order to reach such a big size. There are two factors that help fish to grow - nutrition and comfortable water temperatures. Even if nutrition is perfect there, surely the temperatures are not that high. So in my opinion the view about a huge pike is a fantastic one'.
The creature is said to be a killer : 

In the book Trip to the Cold Pole by Gennady Borodulin* there is a tale from Labynkyr in the 1920s.

“An Evenk family of nomads followed their reindeer and reached the shore of Lake Labynkyr. They decided to stay overnight on the shore. A five-year old child went to the bank of a stream which led into the lake while adults were busy. Suddenly the adults heard the boy screaming.
The father and grandfather rushed to the bank. They stopped on the edge of water and saw the child being carried away by an unknown animal to the centre of the lake. It was a dark creature, with a mouth looking like bird's beak. It held the child and moved away with quick rushes, then it dived leaving huge waves and dragged the child under the water.
The granddad swore to revenge the 'devil. He took a sack made of animal skin, stuffed it with reindeer fur, rags, dry grass and pine trees needles, put a smouldering piece of wood inside. He attached the sack to a huge stone on shore with a rope and then threw the sack far into the waters of the lake.
At night there was noise and splashes and terrible screams of the 'devil'.  In the morning the waves brought the huge dead animal, about seven meters long with a huge jaw, almost one-third size of the body, and relatively small legs and fins.
The old man cut the animal's stomach, took out the body of his grandson, and buried him on the bank of the stream. Since then this stream is called 'The Stream of a Child'.

Some accounts even suggest the 'creature' makes a hideous primeval cry as it attacks its prey. “Personally, I do believe that when the information about something strange circulates among local people for so many years, it just can't be groundless, it means something is there’ said Dr Emeliyanova. “I know the local people very well - they are ingenuous but they do not lie”.
So sighting from eminent scientists and sonar tracings,are you inclined to believe and in what? There is another candidate which has been around from the Jurassic Era.
The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), also known as the gavial or the fish-eating crocodile.It has a long snout full of teeth which could be mistaken for a beak type appendage and is  among the longest of all living crocodilians. Mature females are 2.6–4.5 m (8 ft 6 in–14 ft 9 in) long, and males 3–6 m (9 ft 10 in–19 ft 8 in). They have a distinct boss at the end of the snout, which resembles an earthenware pot known as a ghara, hence the name "gharial". The gharial is well adapted to catching fish because of its long, thin snout and 110 sharp, interlocking teeth. Male gharials with an alleged length of 7.16–9.14 m (23 ft 6 in–30 ft 0 in) were sighted around the turn of the 20th century.The gharial probably evolved in the northern Indian subcontinent. Fossil gharial remains were excavated in Pliocene deposits in the Sivalik Hills and the Narmada River valley. It currently inhabits rivers in the plains of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. It is the most thoroughly aquatic crocodilian, and leaves the water only for basking and building nests on moist sandbanks. Male gharials with an alleged length of 7.16–9.14 m (23 ft 6 in–30 ft 0 in) were sighted around the turn of the 20th century.It would have to evolve greatly to adapt to the cold waters but its distinctive snout makes it a candidate for the creature that may reside in both lakes.
*please note I have been unable to locate a copy of the book to confirm this entry which I got from the Siberian Times.

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Washington State Lake Creatures

Washington State appears to be the home of many lake monsters over the years.

Omak Lake
Omak Lake is eight miles long, two-thirds of a mile wide and about 325 feet deep at its deepest point. The Okanagan people once believed that Omak Lake was inhabited by spirits, and avoided the area.On Aug. 27, 1944, M.L. Little, a Tonasket man, wrote a letter to the editor of the Spookane Newspaper relaying the tale of a sea serpent in Omak Lake.
Little said he was traveling to Omak with Fred Howard and saw “what appeared to be two large long logs lying close to shore. Seconds later, another look showed one of these to be swinging around and heading out into the lake.”They were 12 to 16 feet long, 2 feet in diameter and submerged just under the water’s surface.“The rough blotch of the body remained quite visible and the water in turmoil during its passage,” Little wrote. The head broke the surface a few times, and it was the size of 30-gallon drum. The men “easily followed its progress the entire distance to the cliffs at the far end of the lake where it splashed for a very few seconds, then disappeared from view.“I should be greatly pleased if any who may have seen this creature would write me,” he wrote, and included his mailing address.
There are no modern sightings however some believe caves and tunnels beneath Omak Lake lead to Okanagan Lake over the border in Canada.

Lake Okanagan in Canada is said to be the home of a water monster called Ogopogo The lake is approximately 120 kilometres long; 3.5 kilometres wide and is 235 metres at its deepest point. Indigenous people have legends about a monster in the lake. Sightings are reported of a creature 20 to 50 feet long, with a horse shaped head and an undulating serpent like body. The first recorded sighting was by John Allison in 1872.Sightings continuing to this day.

Rock Lake 
A decade later, on May 15, 1956, another letter to the editor, this one from C.F. Dement, brought up the storied monster of Rock Lake, a deep, cliff-lined lake in the Scablands, also in Washington State.
Dement’s grandfather purchased some land near the lake in 1890, and Dement spent several summers on the lake as a child.“It was during these visits that I heard stories of a huge prehistoric monster which lived in Rock lake, and it was said that the Indians shunned the location,” he wrote. “My sis owns property on one of the lake’s points,” a local landowner and hobby historian of the area anonymously told the paper. “One evening, she was rounding the point into a bay when she saw something huge on top of the water suddenly splash and go under. I asked her how big it was. ‘It was as big as a tree and stretched further across than my living room,’ she said. I think it was a sturgeon myself.” Monster or no, the article quoted a scientist, leaving a more harrowing note on the notoriously dangerous lake.“Once a body gets down 200 feet or so, it will just stay there,” said Bob Peck, a Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist, describing the potential fate of careless boaters on Rock Lake. “I hear they stay in a pretty good condition too, until someone pulls them up – then they just fall apart.”
In 1995, The Spokesman-Review profiled the lake, mentioning the “Indian and urban legend” that the lake is home to a monster.

So are all these lake creatures related or the same  creatures or family of creatures roaming from lake to lake perhaps because of food sources or the weather? There are probably more lakes with sightings of strange creatures .An interesting question for someone who lives in Washington State to investigate. Do we have any volunteers?

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Bigfoot Friend or Enemy of Humans?

Bigfoot Friend or Foe?
When you think of Bigfoot do you think of the gentle friendly creature portrayed in the film Harry and the Hendersons or something from a horror film?

There are many reports of Bigfoot showing violence but only one story talks of Bigfoot killing a human.
President Teddy Roosevelt wrote a book  "The Wilderness Hunter" (1890) in which he described this death encounter:
Two trappers  were followed by a Bigfoot creature in a remote region  possibly Wyoming. One  of the trappers fired his rifle at the creature but missed and it continued to follow them . Their new camp was found ransacked when the trappers were away from it checking beaver traps. After it happened for a second time  the trappers decided to leave and move on.They split up to collect their traps and were away for a few hours. When one of them finally got back to camp he found the body of his fellow trapper. The head  showed teeth or claw marks and the neck was broken.

In modern times there are tales of Bigfoot throwing rocks ,sticks and pine cones .
ON  25 OCTOBER 2013 :
“But unlike previous sightings, Harry Cruikshank’s bigfoot actually may have tried to convey a message to him and his friends.The message was, “stay away!”The group of four men and one woman say they saw the creature Oct. 19. The weather was nice and everyone was hungry for country food so they decided to go seal hunting.The group traveled by motorized canoe to an area 45 minutes south of Akulivik on Nunavik’s Hudson Bay coast. After a short coffee break they continued to a remote bay known to be a good spot for seal.“We all saw the unexpected something on a small hill, it was dark and we started staring at it,” Cruikshank said. “We knew there was nobody up there because there were no other canoes and you can only reach that hunting area by canoe.”The group decided to go after the creature. They approached the area and climbed the small hill, but they found nothing. Then they spotted a caribou trail.“We heard a strange noise up in the land,” said Cruiskshank, “like the sound of something throwing rocks.”“Maybe the creature was trying to communicate with us,” added Cruikshank. “But I don’t know how to talk to the bigfoot.”

The most famous rock throwing story is set in the summer of 1924, a group of gold prospectors stumbled out of the woods,looking like they had seen a ghost. They said giant apes had attacked them.
Fred Beck, Gabe Lefever, John Peterson, Marion Smith and Smith’s son Roy described coming upon “gorilla men” near where they had built a small cabin for their gold-hunting forays.
They were about eight miles from Spirit Lake when they encountered four giant creatures walking like men.The newspaper report described them as  covered with long, black hair with  ears  about four inches long. They have four toes,not five like humans, and weighed about 400 pounds each.
Fred Beck fired his rifle at one of the creatures and the wounded animal fell..
That night they were awakened by the noise of huge stones hitting the cabin. Then giant bodies slammed against the walls and door. Eventually the creatures tore a hole in the roof and carried on tossing rocks.
So was it revenge or just territorial behaviour? Since the 1960s, researchers have recorded such behaviours from chimpanzees who throw rocks in displays of dominance.I would argue it was simple animal behaviour protecting their territory. There are occasional stories of campers saying a Bigfoot type creature urinated up their tents and wrecked their campsite. If true again it is simply territorial behaviour as can be seen in many animals who mark territory with their scent .If Bigfoot are indeed giant apes then it is normal behaviour for them. They may not be the cuddly creature in the film but are simply doing what their instinct tells them, marking and protecting their territory. Violence against humans isn’t  intended but would be the same with any creature that  they felt threatened their home.They may well do the same to bears or wild cats but we would not know about it.