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Devil’s Names and Lake Monsters

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 27th, 2007

Women See Sea Serpent [at] Devil’s Lake, N.D., Campers Are Thrown Into Panic Over Discovery of Monster.

Campers on the Chautauqua ground at Devil’s Lake, N.D., were thrown into consternation one night recently by the appearance of what is thought to be a sea serpent in Devil’s lake. Mrs. Edgar La Rue, wife of a prominent newspaper man; Mrs. F. Craig, wife of a banker of Leeds, N.D., and Mrs. Carr Cleveland, wife of a prominent business man of this city, were strolling along the beach when their attention was attracted by a great disturbance in the lake about a mile from the shore.

Securing opera glasses, they beheld the head and body of an enormous animal swimming toward the north shore, leaving a trail of foam in its wake. Its head was large and snake-like and apparently of enormous length. Its body appeared thickly covered with large black scales. The women were terrified and went in search of their husbands. Parties armed with rifles are patrolling the shores, but nothing more has been seen of the serpent.

A party of Indians later reached town and told of seeing the serpent earlier in the day, thus confirming the story of the women.Washington Bee, September 17, 1904

For more information on the notion that names given to certain areas hide the deeper history of cryptozoological encounters and other wonders at specific locations, please see Chapter 3, “Devil Names and Fortean Places,” in Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation’s Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures (2007).

Thanks for this historical item from Jerome Clark.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


3 Responses to “Devil’s Names and Lake Monsters”

  1. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Interesting piece, Loren! Don’t forget “Monster Island” near Ogopogo’s lair!

  2. MattBille responds:

    The question is, “Are monster reports truly more likley to be at places with names like devil and monster, or do we just notice them more – that is, could you find the same correspondence with any names you picked at random?”

  3. springheeledjack responds:

    I think it’s the chicken or the egg thing…mysterious things happen at a place and monsters are blamed…or are there critters causing commotions and people are frightened and give them monster names…personally, I think people always attempt to name the unknown, and when it comes to unknown critters, especially lake dwelling unknowns, people assume the worst and go for “monster”…helps you swim faster across the lake when your tired and need something to concentrate on besides your fatigued legs…



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