Bessie: The Lake Monster

Facts emerge as myths when they are twisted and lack solid ground. These facts are the mysteries that intrigue the world. Through the years people who claim to encounter the unknown add snippets of information the original myth. Among such myths, a Michigan folklore holds an account of a monster that resides in lake Erie, named Bessie also known as South Bay Bessie. As a monster of the lake, there have been various sightings by the ship crews and locals. The first sighting of Bessie ensued in 1793 by Captain of Felicity. He claimed to have seen a serpent-like creature in the waters which was lengthier than a rod.

Bessie has been regarded as a snake-like creature with an approximate length of 50 feet and a circumference of 4 feet. Those who have professed to see it animatedly talk about its ferocious sparkly eyes, stringy tentacles that erupt from its back, and black color. Two fishermen in the 1980s who had a chance encounter with Bessie testified its resemblance to an alligator which was very long. They even went to the lengths of accusing the creature of trying to sabotage their boat by tripping it over. Thomas Solberg, a local marina owner, once announced a reward of $5000 to anyone who accomplished to catch the Lake monster breathing.

With no concrete account of the Bessie monster, various stories talk about its beginning as a 10 feet long sturgeon. One fateful day she happened to inspire a spoonful of iron sulfite which came from a steel mill upstream. That iron sulfite caused an alteration in her anatomy. She grew tentacles with untamed snout and tail. The chemical switched her diet preference from worms and insects to hazardous and poisonous wastes.  The more she ate the bigger she grew to the point her fellow sturgeons started scurrying away from her in fear of a predator.  The stories also narrate its hatred for humans who caused her to change and her pledges of revenge against them. The irony of the tales isn’t lost on the ones who read them.

In the last thirty years, the sightings have increased in frequency with still no valid testimony of its existence. Even so, Bessie to this day remains a famous monster of the Ohio waters with people of Ohio somehow taking pride in the monster which has chosen their lake to reside.

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