Wednesday 4 November 2020

Lake Sidney Lanier and Strange Stories.

 Lake Sidney Lanier and the Legend of Fish Head

Lake Sidney Lanier (or  Lake  Lanier) is a reservoir in the U.S. state of Georgia. It was created by the completion of Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River in 1956. Named after  American poet Sidney Lanier, it was built and is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and water supplies.The flooding covered a former town and has lead to many stories about hauntings and strange experiences in the area.

I was sent a story, an urban legend ,if you like by a former inhabitant of the area.

A pregnant  woman, was walking the shore of Six Mile Creek where it empties into the Lake, when a giant Catfish, reared  up near the shore and frightened the woman to such an extent  that when her baby was born, he resembled the Catfish. His eyes were small and beady, his mouth was nothing but a lipless slit in his face and he never grew hair. His skin was pale gray and his feet and hands had webs between the toes and fingers.This child was to become known in the local Community as “Fishhead”.He was ridiculed and made fun of so much that he shrank from society. He played by himself, retreating into the woods along the back of Six Mile Creek, fishing and playing with the animals that lived there. He didn’t attend school because of the ridicule and fear.His  Mother died when he was in his teens and he continued to live in the woods and established a home in the rocks by the Lake .Some people caught sight  of Fishhead every now and then and rumours started that a monster was living by the  side of  the lake . Two men decided to capture the boy and put him on display in a side show to make money.They set out in a boat and approached where the boy was said to live.A splash was heard and a few minutes later, they were gone. Nothing was ever found except their boat with claw marks on the side as if some animal had grabbed the side and turned the boat over.He finished by saying “All I know is that I’ve heard some strange sounds and seen some movements in the water and woods on the shore that I cannot explain.I wouldn’t go up there alone at night”

Its not the only story about the lake.There are  stories of large  catfish lurking at the bottom of the lake, big enough to swallow a dog whole. There have been an unusual number of accidents and deaths on Lake Lanier – in 2011, there were 17 deaths alone. People have reported feeling arms and legs in the water, but have not been able to find them.This has lead to tales of spirits and ghosts.

Local fishermen say that there are huge catfish in the lake up to 7 feet long and are said to attack swimmers and divers. ( Could the cat fish's whiskers be what people feel when they think it is arms and legs in the water?).It is not unknown for Wels Catfish to reach huge sizes.

These catfish are said to live in the deep waters below Buford Dam. There are reports  from divers working on the dam who have seen the huge fish for themselves. Some were said to have  refused to return to the water. One of the local tales concerning the catfish is about a truck carrying live chickens, which dove  off  the Thompson Bridge in the 1980s and sank to the bottom along with its cargo. Divers were sent down to look for wreckage who said they saw catfish “the size of 12-year-old boys” gathered about the sunken truck that were  swallowing the chickens whole. Fishermen have claimed to hook one and it then towed their boat across the lake until the line snapped.

Huge catfish have been found in other places and even found to have dragged children into the water .They are carnivorous and can develop a taste for human flesh. The cat fish story is quite likely to be true.As for Fish Head ,it is possible some poor deformed human is living in isolation by the lake ,but it may just be another story.

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