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W-File: lm_1800s.html

Type: Lake Monsters
Date: 1800's
Location: Madison, Red Cedar Lake, Pewaukee Lake and Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Source: Milwaukee, WI Journal, October 7, 1980

Sea monsters or myths?

"Strange beasts" have been seen in many lakes in Wisconsin

For centuries, legends concerning the existence of huge monsters living beneath some of the world's larger lakes have tantalized men's minds. Reports abound from all parts of the world.

Until recently, science has treated these stories with great skepticism. However, recent sonar readings, combined with photos taken at Scotland's Loch Ness by expeditions sponsored by the Academy of Applied Science, have established the existence of one or more large water creatures.

Numerous sightings of similar beasts have occurred throughout the United States including Lake Champlain, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario, Payette Lake in Idaho, Bear Lake in Utah, Hollow Block Lake in Oregon and Lake Folsom in California. Monsters have also been reported in several Wisconsin lakes. Does more than just legend really lurk beneath these waters?

Wisconsin waters seem to teem with lake monsters, according to Peter Costello's book, "In Search of Lake Monsters". Sightings have been recorded in the Madison Four Lakes, Red Cedar Lake, Pewaukee Lake and Elkhart Lake.

The Lake Mills Spike of August 31, 1882, advises that the lake monster was first witnessed by a Mr. Hassan in 1867. Many other lakeside residents said the paper, had seen it frequently since.

During August 1882, men rowing on the lake saw what appeared to be a floating log until it reared its huge head out of the water.

The Red Cedar Lake monster made its first recorded appearance in 1891. It is generally described as having an undulating form like a large snake or fish, with a huge head and a row of protruberances on its back resembling a saw-tooth.

An account of the creature(s) reportedly dwelling in Lake Monona appears in The (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal of June 12, 1897.

The article describes the monster (beast), witnessed by several people, "as at least 20 feet long".

It traveled east on the lake's surface, the paper said, until Eugene Heath, an agent of Garr-Scott Company, fired several shots into it - after which it turned and disappeared.

The article continues: "Mr. Schott and others who saw the 'thing', whatever it may be, insist that it is a reality and not a joke or a creature of their combined imaginations. Its appearance is not that of a serpent. Mr. Schott says, however, that he saw it plainly in the bright moonlight, and its shape was like the bottom of a boat, but it was twice as long (That is, 30 feet or so). Mr. Schott's two sons saw it and were so firmly convinced that it was a dangerous animal that neither of the Schotts, who had spent a large part of their lives on the lake, would venture out on it."

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