Thursday 15 March 2018

The Monster of Crescent Lake, Oregon

     "Cressie" is the monster of Crescent Lake - in Labrador.  But North America alone possesses nine other lakes with that name. (There are also sixteen Round Lakes and five Square Lakes. Do you get the impression that some name-givers are not terribly imaginative?) Do any of the other nine possess a Cressie? Here is a story which apparently went around the world, because I found it in a newspaper in Adelaide, South Australia: the Express and Telegraph of Saturday 5 November 1910, at page 4.
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Seen in Summer Residence in Crescent Lake

     The remarkable fact of the non-appearance of the sea serpent this season has not hitherto been accounted for, but his absence from observation is now explained by a dispatch from Eugene, Oregon, quoted by the New York correspondent of the "Liverpool Courier."
     "The creature," he says, "has left the ocean for the time being and taken up its residence in Crescent Lake, a huge lake in the Cascade Mountains, 100 miles east of Eugene.
     "This is according to the statement of a Dr. Wood and Mr. E. L. Lampson, prominent residents of Portland, Oregon, who have just returned from a hunting and fishing trip. They declare that, while fishing in the lake they saw a huge creature with a head as big as an ox and a long body and tail. The monster rose from the centre of the lake and surveyed them with large saucer eyes, but did not attempt at [sic] attack them.
     "Naturally such sportsmen did not let the opportunity pass without trying to 'bag' the creature, and they fired 25 shots at it from their rifles. Either the bullets missed - be it noted that the hunters are honest enough to admit the possibility - or else the creature possesses an armor-plate hide, for it just glanced at them again and leisurely glided below the surface.
     "Indians confirm the hunters' story and say that they have seen the creature before, although it only appears at very rare intervals. They have a tradition that it has been there for all time, but if this is so the poor old sea serpent has been able to establish an alibi.
    "The American newspapers scout such an idea, and declare that Crescent Lake is obviously a summer residence visited at intervals by our old friend the scaly monster of the deep. For most conclusive proof of all, Oregon is practically a prohibition state."
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    So there you have it.  If Crescent Lake, Oregon has a "Cressie", I have not heard any further mention of it. As you can see, the account lacks a few relevant details - like distance, size, colour, general shape etc, even whether they were on shore or in boat at the time. (If they were in a boat, why were they carrying rifles?) In a previous article, I explained that the rarity of lake monster sightings indicates that, whatever they are, they don't breathe air, and the Indians' tradition that it appears only at very rare intervals would appear to support it. Despite the reference to "large saucer eyes", I wonder if the animal were not a sturgeon which had somehow found its way into the lake, and had grown to a great age and a great size. The white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus is mature at 160 cm or 5 ft 4 inches, but has been recorded as reaching 610 cm, or 20 feet.


  1. Great as always Malcolm. Sounds like an unclassified turtle what with all these bullets bouncing off of it. Fully aquatic turtles like Mata Matas and snake neck turtles can get air without anyone noticing, so the animals wouldn't have to be water breathers, and some turtles can breath underwater to a degree with cloacal gills. Steve Irwin called one species that he and his father discovered "bum breathers." That might account for the rarity of surface sightings.

    1. An interesting suggestion, but wouldn't they have to come up on land to lay their eggs? And even if there were only one individual in the lake, the question would still arise as to where it came from?