200 Monsters Swimming in the Lake Linda Knight Seccaspina
One night in 1972 I was staying at the motel that faces Lake Memphremagog near Magog, Quebec as I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the sea serpent that lives in that lake.The lake is like no other, and a rumoured 30-foot- long monster called Gog, Manaloo, Memphre, the Anaconda, or the Lake Monster of Lake Memphremagog is said to swim the cold waters. As they say you can’t cross the sea by merely standing and staring at the waters. It was early in the morning and visibility was low–and not one lake dwelling sea creature was seen.
I personally have heard many a story from my mother’s side of some snake-like creature once seen with his head a foot or so out of the water bobbing slightly up and down. The story was nothing to scoff at they said and it had a scream that rocked the mountains all the way to Owl’s Head and then on to Jay Peak.
A report in Quebec’s weekly Stanstead Journal in late January, 1847, put it this way:
“I am not aware whether it is generally known that a strange something of a sea serpent exists in Lake Memphremagog”.
The part of the animal which my cousins actually saw measured about fifteen feet in length, so they said. Folks for years have blamed it on the state of Vermont which is supposedly full of leaky nuclear plants which can create horrible mutation things. One of the best descriptions of the creature was produced by Norman Bingham in his novel, The Sea Serpent Legend, in 1926.
Did you know scientists once met in Shelburne, Vermont to study the photographs, sonar readings and 144 sightings from over 400 years? Dr. George Zug chairman of the Smithsonian Institute’s Department of Vertebrate Zoology summed up the panel’s findings by saying:
“There is a population of large animals of some kind in that water!”
Serious scientists assume there are at least 200 of them, but there is no telling really how many species we have as lines have never reached the murky bottom of some parts of the lake.
In June of 1868 a report from the Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said that the sea serpent had once again turned up in Lake Memphremagog. They feared it was a repetition of the Nahant hoax. An animal of similar appearance had been seen in August, 1819, off Nahant, Boston, and remained in the neighbourhood waters for some weeks. Two hundred persons witnessed it, and the serpent-shaped head was elevated two feet above the surface. Its sole eye was remarkably brilliant and glistening. One often has to wonder if these were remarks were made sober.
The aquatic reptile in Lake Memphremagog is always seen coming from the American border. As it edges its way through the water they explained that natural waterways like Lake Memphremagog are gateways to the parallel world where monsters like the sea serpent came from, with the intention of recruiting others of course.
Some say the stories began to attract tourism to the town, but really monster gawkers aren’t the spending type and you can’t even sell Tshirts for one of of the names lest you get sued. Monsters that are not seen every day still seem to have copyright laws like the Pixar Monsters. Go figure.
The best year of a good monster-sighting season on Lake Memphremagog was in 1996. At least 27 boaters and cottagers — in nine separate reported visions — claim to have seen the lake dwelling creature once the ice came out in the Spring. The last sighting occurred on June 4, 2000 when 2 people observed a strange creature of a greyish colour resembling a multiple humped whale. They observed this phenomenon from the wharf of Knowlton’s Landing.
The natives believed that the serpent had found its way to the lake through a subterranean channel entering Lake Memphremagog at Owl’s Head, the deepest portion of the lake. It seems some also think that it had become trapped in the lake because it was far too stupid to find its way out. Heck, this creature might even be an American, but there has been no word if he is a Republican or Democrat.
Maybe this is one reason I don’t hang my feet off the edge of the bed at night because I don’t want the monster under the bed to grab them. I’ve always been curious about the creatures that live under there or those in our closets.
But, what happens if you stop believing in these tales about sea monsters and other things that go bump in the night?
What if someday you drop a piece of bread on the floor and kick it under something or throw it into Lake Memphremagog and walk away?
What happens if someone under that bed or in that lake whispers thank you in return for that piece of bread?
Words to ponder my friends, or have you just crossed over into . . . the Twilight Zone? It makes perfect sense, because if you are going to tell a story, tell a big one, or nothing at all.