Lake Utopia Monster

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 8th, 2009

The well-known illustration of the Lake Utopia Monster used in contemporary publications was done for the Canadian Illustrated News of November 30, 1872.

Accounts of the Lake Utopia sightings were published earlier.

Summerside Progress
Prince Edward Island, Canada
August 19, 1867

The Monster of Lake Utopia.

A correspondent of the St. John, N.B., Globe, writing from “St. George, Aug. 6,” gives the following account of a monster in Utopia Lake, in addition to that which he contributed some time ago to the same paper, and which we then transferred to our columns:

Agreeably to my promise that should any thing further be developed respecting the strange monster in Lake Utopia, I would write you, I now beg to say that it has been seen by a number of persons since, in different parts of the lake, and on Wednesday, July 24th, by thirteen persons, some of whom are of the most reliable character. I would have written you sooner, but being rather septical [sic] about it myself, I waited to get the correct accounts from the lips of the individuals themselves; and I now have no hesitation in saying that some huge animal of fearful aspect exists in the waters of Utopia. To the north and east of Lake Utopia, there is a small lake well known to the sporting fraternity, which connects with the larger waters by a stream, perhaps 400 yards in length. About midway on this stream, between the two lakes, Messrs. H. & J. Ludgate have a saw mill in
operation. The deals when sawn are floated down the stream to the deep water in Utopia, where they are made into rafts to float down to St. George. On the day before alluded to, a number of men engaged in rafting, had their attention drawn to a violent agitation of the water, about 100 yards distant out in the lake, which continued for a time, and then, there appeared distinctly above the water a huge bulky object, variously estimated from 20 to 40 feet in length, and from 4 to 10 feet across the widest part. The men describe the skin as presenting a shaggy appearance, not unlike a buffalo robe, and of a reddish brown color. It created a great quantity of foam which drifted up to the shore in huge flakes. At no time could they see the head of it; but at a distance of 20 or 25 feet in rear of the large mass, could be seen what they supposed to be a tail from the movements. The men called H. Ludgate, Esq., who was at the mill, and he and his son, together with others, ran down and witnessed the evolutions of this strange creature. Mr. Ludgate told me himself that it agitated the water to a perfect boiling, seething state, and threw up in its course edgings and mud from the bottom, occasionally rising itself to the top; a dark cumbrous body – not unlike a large stick of timber – disappearing again almost instantly. It finally moved off, and they could trace its course long after it went below the surface. Later in the day Mr. Thomas White, his two sons, and a hired man haying in the field, saw it seven different times, and Mr. White says it came up at the outer end of the raft, quite close to it; the men at work at the inner end being turned away did not observe their acquaintance of the morning.

Mr. White’s description of it is about the same. He being farther off could not describe the skin of the animal, but says that when most exposed it resembled a large rock left bare of the tide, 10 feet across; and he further states that he can safely swear he saw 30 feet in length of it. His statement is corroborated by his sons, and by all of the thirteen persons who saw it the same day. Now, Mr. Editor, heretofore I could scarcely believe in the existence of such an animal and unprecedent [sic] inhabitant of our lake; but when I hear men of the character and standing of H. Ludgate, Esq., Charles Ludgate, Charles Mealy, Thomas White, Robert White and many others say positively that they saw it as described, and when I take into consideration the destruction of fish which must take place in Utopia every year – otherwise it would teem with splendid trout, perch, cusk and smelt, and together with these the tradition of forty years, — I must say that in common with the majority of our citizens, I firmly believe that a monster of vast dimensions and formidable appearance is located in the lake. Two of our most enterprising citizens, Mr. H. A. Smith and W. W. Shaw, have had hooks made and attached to lines buoyed in the lake for some time, but so far without any satisfactory result. It is the opinion of many that a large net will be required to capture the creature, and I understand that a movement is on foot quietly, to make the attempt, which I hope will succeed. The people living in the vicinity of the lake are really afraid to cross it in boats; and if you could only hear some of the oldest settlers who saw this “thing” tell the story with fear and trembling, you would be fully impressed with the truth of their assertions, and consider them justified in their fears.

END of article.

Reports of the Lake Utopia Monster, also called “Old Ned,” return in cycles, including a series of sightings in 1996.

For further discussion of the Lake Utopia cryptids, see The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (NY: Tarcher/Penguin, 2003), now available at the International Cryptozoology Museum gift shop (661 Congress St., Portland, Maine, W-S 11 am – 6 pm, Sundays Noon – 5 pm, Closed Mondays/Tuesdays, $5 admission for all ages).

The above 1867 article was courtesy of W. Ritchie Benedict and Jerome Clark.

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.

One Response to “Lake Utopia Monster”

  1. dogu4 responds:

    Since there’s a saw mill on the lake, could the lake itself be a product of the mill’s activity where logs were floated, as was commonly done. It suggests to me, playing the skeptic for the time being, that LWD (large woody debris) such as treetrunks with abraded bark still affixed, root wads and intertwined cables, long burried, and then submerged, could periodically come to the surface dragging with it entrained mud, gravel and rocks, releasing pockets of decompositional gasses, and prompting a case of mass-hysteria on the local population.

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