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 .