Mishepishu (Great Water Panther) Coin

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 22nd, 2011

The third in the Canadian quarter series is of a creature few know of south of the border. You have heard about the Memphre coin. And the Sasquatch quarter. Now comes the Mishepishu addition to the triad.

Mishepishu (pronounced Mee-shee-PEE-shoe, and also spelt Mishipeshu), whose name comes from the Algonquin Ojibwe word meaning “Great Water Lynx” or “Underwater Panther,” is described as a huge felid with horns on his head, a scaly, dragon-like body with spikes on its back and the tail of a fish.

As a shape-shifting Native American spirit, this water-dwelling feline lives in the bottom of Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, and possibly other Great Lakes as well. Mishepishu’s job is to protect the copper and other metals found in the rocks throughout the region. This is why legend says that its horns are made of copper. Mishipeshu is reputed to be the source for the sudden, and extremely dangerous storms that erupt on the Great Lakes – warnings from this Water Spirit that one has gotten too close to his treasures!

According to the legends of the Anishnaabe, Cree and other Aboriginal people living around the Great Lakes, this water cryptid has the power to sink boats. Mishepishu are said to live at the bottom of lakes and rivers, often in caves.

Here is the Canadian Mint’s description of the new coin:

Children will be captivated by this Great Lakes mystery. Comes with a pull-out map identifying the locations of Mishepishu sightings.
Rediscover the magic of story telling.
For centuries, Ojibwe legends have described a mysterious creature lurking in the depths of Lake Superior. They call it Mishepishu, which means “Great Lynx”, to describe its wildcat shape. This clever shape-shifter is also believed to swim the waters of Lake Ontario and other Great Lakes in order to protect the precious copper found in the rocks throughout the region. Chances are, you’ll never be quick enough to spot it among the waves.

To learn more about how to order the Mishepishu quarter, please click here.

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.

7 Responses to “Mishepishu (Great Water Panther) Coin”

  1. brobear responds:

    This creature or motiff was very prevalent with the tribes of the southeastern US. These people such as the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, seminole all have stories of the underwater panther. This creature is also found on pottery as well.

  2. flame821 responds:

    Now that would be an interesting coin to add to my collection. I’ll have to check out the Canadian Mint, I normally only order Maple Leaves but this is pretty neat.

  3. D2K4 responds:

    You know, some of the features of this creature are very similar to those reported to belong to Caddy and Ogopogo if you think about it…

  4. wormy responds:

    This creatue is called lenipinšia by the Miami and Illinois peoples, and is also associated with meteors.
    From the Miami Project Earth and Sky Curriculum is this description:
    lenipinšia – the two-horned serpent that comes from the sky and lives in the rivers and lakes of Myaamionki; it is said that when a meteor is seen in the night sky, the serpent is moving and is accompanied by fires

    [Note: Myaamionki – the place of the miami people]

    In the Miami-Illinois language, this word is also used to mean sea monster, and used to refer to Whales, Dolphins, and other cetaceans ( see here for reference and pronounciation).

    The Piasa appears to be a example of this same type of monster.

  5. Viergacht responds:

    The second image is mine (viergacht.deviantart.com) and it’s both surprising and embarrassing to see it here since it’s just a REALLY rough color sketch and not a finished painting.

  6. SkunkMuffin responds:

    Never been into coins but the trio that’s been presented could change my mind.

    Viergacht, your rough sketch looks great. I have seen your work at Deviant and would suggest people here go take a look at what I consider the best picture of a Sasquatch I have ever seen.

  7. Viergacht responds:

    Thanks, Skunkmuffin. It’s for an American cryptid theme calendar I’m working on . . . still kind of ashamed to see it here. It’s REALLY rough.

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