It's Been Sighted Again...

Lake Erie

The latest reported sighting was in 2021, when visitors from Johnson City, Tennessee were lounging on the patio of the Collision Bend Brewing Company. As they sat watching fisherman cast their rods into the Cuyahoga River near Lake Erie, they noticed just to the right of them a mysteriously shadow slowly moving just below the surface of the water. They claim the shadow was the length of a long Kayak, and it made them very unsettled.

Believe it or not, some Ohioans still have never heard of the “Lake Erie Monster”, aka “Bessie”. Over the years, there have been alcohol beverages, sports teams, businesses and even a comic book dedicated to the elusive beast. The fame of the monster has even reached international news, such as Japan’s “Daily Yomiuri” and was reported on in Belfast, Ireland. In the 1980’s, the weekly newspaper in Port Clinton “The Beacon”, even held a contest to name the monster. The name chosen was “Bessie”, which was named after the Davis Bessie Nuclear Power Plant in Ottawa County. This summer, the “Arts Center” in Conneaut, Ohio will have it’s 4th annual “Lake Erie Monster Show”. The event is to inspire local artist to create their version of the Lake Erie Monster through their art.

Stories of the lake serpent originated long ago with the Seneca Indians, who claimed the creature also had the capability to crawl up on land with it’s appendages in search for food. It was 230 years ago when the first written account of the monster reached the papers. A French Captain of the ship “Felicity” was docked at Middle Bass Island in 1793, when he reported being chased by a long serpentine monster for more than 100 yards before it disappeared into the lake. Since then, sightings seem to continuously stream in. An artist, in the 1800’s, was commissioned to paint a composite of the creature by descriptions taken from eye witness accounts. It was on display at a wax museum located somewhere in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, and it was supposedly reported to be a big attraction at that time.

Then in 1918, a captain of a schooner reported that he sighted a serpentine monster in Lake Erie. In the year 1985, the creature was spotted by several people within a couple of weeks from each other, from Lorain to Vermilion, Ohio. Around this period, a Huron, Ohio business man offered a reward of over $100,000, for the live capture of the lake monster.

Over the years, scientists have weighed in on what the creature could possibly be. Experts have speculated that it could be anything from an over-sized sturgeon to a large crazed carp. In August of 2001, three people were bitten by an unknown fish while swimming in Lake Erie. The doctor, who treated the victims wounds, could not determine what lake fish could have caused the bites, but it was concluded that it was “a big honking fish”.

What ever the Lake Erie Monster could possibly be, maybe you will have a chance to spot Ohio's oldest legend for yourself this summer. To learn more about this Lake Erie legend, a documentary on the subject can be seen Friday Nights at 8:30 PM on Cox Cable, Channel 45. The show will run through this month under the TV guide listing “Shocker Enterprises”. For more information, you can email;

Kevin Kelly

I am a Parma resident who has lived in the city for over 24 Years. I'm also a non-profit video producer who produces national, and international documentaries for public access, private and goverment networks .

Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 12:13 PM, 04.01.2023