Monsters and Devil Names

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 7th, 2009

In the 1960s and 1970s, initially in correspondence, and then later in magazine and journal columns, I first wrote about the connections I often found between names and unexplained encounters.

An updated version of one of these early writings is Devil Names and Fortean Places, originally in Fortean Times, 29, Summer 1979, reprinted in my 1983 book, and now enhanced and expanded in Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation’s Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures (2006).

I pointed to names such as Devil, Diablo, Manitou, and Hockomock for locations, and people names like Hobbs and Wetzel to watch. I wrote of the somewhat forgotten knowledge that people, Native folks and early colonists, frequently labeled locations with these names based on their cryptozoological sightings. Mine were early explorations on the edges of what today is a vast and complex journey in onomatology (the study of names) and toponomy (the study of places).

Today’s news brings us a vivid current historical example and word of a new book on the subject.

There is body of water people call Elizabeth Lake (pictured above). The property, located 19.5 miles northeast of Santa Clarita, California, off Elizabeth Lake Road, has 175 acres, two miles of shoreline, 16 acres of commercial land and 158 acres of wetlands and open water and is for sale.

This lake was once called La Laguna de Diablo because, according to local history, early settlers thought a monster lurked inside its watery depths.

Los Angeles County’s largest natural lake, Elizabeth Lake in the Antelope Valley, is now considered heaven by nature lovers, who are attracted by its inherent beauty and its scores of animal and bird species, according to the local media.

If you wish to own a cryptozoologically-linked wonder, well, this all can be yours, as the lake and its surrounding acreage is for sale for a mere $19.5 million.

The lake’s modern history dates back to the early days of California’s founding.

In 1780, Father Junipero Serra named it La Laguna de Diablo because those who lived near the lake formed by the San Andreas Fault believed it contained the devil’s pet.

In the late 1800s, Tiburcio Vasquez and other Banditos used the lake as a hideout for their stolen cattle and horses.

It was later named Elizabeth Lake for a young girl who lived nearby and slipped in to the water. She wasn’t hurt, but friends dubbed it in her honor as a joke and the name stuck.

And just in case the legend of the Elizabeth Lake monster might scare away any potential buyers, Walker said the last reports of the monster’s appearance were in the late 1800s, when several men claimed they witnessed the ascension of a huge monster with bat-like wings from the lake.

“Of course, this is all legend and folklore,” Walker said. “Here, we don’t think about it. Most people don’t even know about it. It’s just an old story.”Daily News

Now comes word, and I’ve now seen a copy of Henry Franzoni’s groundbreaking book on this subject, In the Spirit of Seatco. I plan to do a more comprehensive review of the book later, but it seems appropriate to mention it in conjunction with the news of this sale of La Laguna de Diablo.

Franzoni, a drummer by passion and electrician by profession, likes to say that he has spent over 5 million dollars of other people’s money looking for Sasquatch while serving on the Board of Advisors for the Bigfoot Research Project and the Research Board of the North American Science Institute (two groups that don’t exist any longer).

His book cleverly mixes his homespun style with his discoveries linking 4000 Indian place names to Sasquatch-related hominoids, and he lays out 60 maps, charts, and an intellectual discussion deeper than you may be able to understand on this material. But there is not a minute of it that isn’t fascinating.

Here, in Franzoni’s own words, is a little about the book:

Seatco is a nineteenth century term from the Chinook Jargon, the one-time trade language of the Pacific Northwest. Indians described the Seatco as a mysterious tribe of Indians that possessed puzzling powers, among which was their ability to kill game with hypnotic power and their ability to turn invisible. Since the 1920s, modern society has disregarded Indian wisdom about the Seatco as superstition and myth, coinciding with the rise of mechanism and reductionism and the defeat of vitalism in institutional science. Institutional science has found no place for the Seatco (known today as the Sasquatch). After 50 years of cursory interest, institutional science has acquired no hard evidence that they exist. However, the places the Indians said they lived still exist. Explore the location of over 4000 early place names and embark on a quest to find out if the Seatco are still there. Accompany the author as he seeks to understand the puzzling powers of the Seatco, exploring the possible connections between science and spirituality, between Indian wisdom and the discarded 19th century idea of “field lines,” as well as the long abandoned scientific school of thought named “vitalism.” Learn about a possible explanation for the puzzling powers of the Seatco using the 19th century theories of Faraday, Maxwell, Tesla, and the vitalists. Journey across North America and learn how extrordinary proof of their theories awaits discovery in the high and lonely realm of the Seatco.

For more, see here.

I’m not looking to buy a monster lake but keep the devil from the door. Your help, on this Tuesday, April 7th, is urgently needed. Even $15 would do a lot, for from ten people, that adds up quickly. Thank you.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

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