In July I wrote about the giant fish under Central Bridge in Carleton Place.
It was the third week of June in 1898, and every single day for a week the townsfolk gathered on the Carleton Place bridge overlooking the Mississippi, to catch a glimpse of something big in the water. Some said a shark had migrated into the Mississippi, but no one could say how a shark could possibly do that. Each day the crowds assembled on the bridge to watch the movements of an extremely large fish that seemed to taunt all those that tried to capture it. Even though the gossipers said it was as a big as cow, in reality, the fish was over three feet long and some said it could weigh close to 30 pounds or more. What was it that had the townsfolk enthralled so much it made the newspapers? In the end it was reported by several fisherman that had been summoned to the bridge that it was nothing more than a large pike. There was no word after that in the newspapers if the fish had been captured.
Would that fish have turned into a Mississippi Monster? Decide for yourself after you read this tale that I grew up with in my childhood and it still lives on.
The Lake Memphremagog Monster
Joe and Carole Dupont lived on the border that separates the province of Quebec from the state of Vermont. They and their 10 children made home on the hilly shore on the edge of Lake Memphremagog. The lake was like no other and held the local townspeople in fear as a rumored 30-foot- long monster called Manaloo was said to swim the cold waters.
The story was nothing to scoff at, said Dupont, who told anyone that would listen. His wife Carole had found a curious viking petroglyph with a serpent design at the top of the mountain one day when she was gathering blueberries. Carole’s mother had also lived with the local natives after being abandoned as child and always warned not to swim in the lake or you might never return. Dupont himself had seen the big beast and had held him at bay when the monster tried to grab one of the 10 children one day.
The aquatic reptile was seen coming from the American border and had a head that looked like a horse. As it edged its way through the mist Dupont told the children to get away from the waters edge, but in one fell swoop Manaloo tried to grab sweet Odette. With the strength of 10 men Joe grabbed Odette out of the great beast’s mouth to safety and hit it with his cane. It wasn’t the cane or Joe’s anger that made the big beast flee for its life that day. No, it was the sound that came out of young Odette that drove it quite mad, as it was a scream that rocked the mountains all the way to Owl’s Head and then on to Jay Peak.
All eleven of them ran home with Odette leading the way.
As Carole served the hot pea soup to warm them; Joe’s hysterical words prevailed all through lunch. She asked Joe if he had been drinking and then talked to her girls. Of course she knew of the monster, but early in the morning the vapor rises off the lake and visibility can be low. Not one of her girls wanted to go near the lake again except Odette – and she noticed the child’s interest had peaked. Odette had always been the different child and Carole knew she was not her forever child, but she must be watched none the less.
The next morning Carole rose and needed wood for her cold wood stove. Joe had drunk himself into such a stupor that the children must be asked to help. As not one, but all ten marched down the stairs; she asked them to get dressed and fetch her the much needed wood. The woodpile was next to the shore and the children were leery of having to perform such a task. But they could not disappoint cher mama and off they went all looking much the same in their matching snowsuits. As Joe snored on; Carole watched through the window and then saw them all march back. There was Manon, Celine, Adele and Agathe. The youngest Chantal was holding hands with Corrine and Danielle. Helene and Jacqueline pulled up the rear, but where was Odette?
Their faces were solemn as they came through the door and Carole asked them nervously what happened to Odette. As they sat on the floor with tears in their eyes they said that Manaloo had finally captured Odette and they spoke how a thing called Quantum Physics had come into play.
As their mother sat there with wide open eyes; they explained that natural waterways like Lake Memphremagog were gateways to the parallel world where monsters like Manaloo came from, with the intention of recruiting others of course. After that fateful day Carole and Joe never questioned the story for the rest of their lives as everyone, including Manaloo needs world peace.
To this day the story has been told and re-told every single day, as we all need a few unsolved mysteries, because it adds spice to life. Some say the story began to attract tourism to the town, but really monster gawkers aren’t the spending type. Really, what good is a lake if it doesn’t have a monster, and isn’t the perfect man like the monster of Lake Memphremagog?
Has anyone ever seen one?
Yes, there is a monster in Lake Memphremagog– or so they say. I changed the name of the monster as there is a certain gentleman who does not hold kindly to anyone using a name he holds the rights too.
Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage