Lake County History, Chapter 131: The Clear Lake Sea Serpent

I was ready to pass this story by. A Sea serpent? Come on now. If one had been seen, there would have been more eye-witnesses than you could count. Despite my misgivings, I decided to add it to this set of tales. See if you can tell why I was cynical. The News Headline read: SEA MONSTER SEEN AT BUCKINGHAM POINT MONDAY

The author of the tale was a local fisherman of unqualified veracity. He told this reporter, “I saw an unusual commotion in the lake. It was a couple of hundred yards from shore. I first attributed the sight to a large school of fish… Then a monstrous head, followed by a long, snaky neck attached to an enormous log-like body tapering to a pointed tail, came into view. It raced through and over the water for a distance of approximately 100 feet. This creature had large bulbous eyes, extended nostrils, a mouth similar in shape to a crocodile, and well-filled with teeth. The body seemed devoid of scales and fins. It was, apparently, propelled forward by an undulating motion of the muscular caudal appendage. I estimated this monster was between sixty and seventy feet in length…at least somewhat longer than the Scotch specimen. It would probably weigh about ten tons on the hoof.”

The fisherman tenaciously adhered to his fish tale.

“I had been fishing all day just above the narrows and preparing to call it a day when this submarine monster crossed my line of vision. I could not be mistaken as I saw it plainly.”

Dear Reader, have you discovered the telling word that gives the lie to this fish story? If not, forget the fact the fisherman had been out all day, probably drinking up his entire six-pack of spirits. Ignore that he refers to a ‘Scotch’ monster and sights a creature that had to be a kissing cousin to the Loch Ness Monster. Pay no attention that he describes, in infinite detail and with astounding exactitude, the monster’s finest features… and all from three hundred feet away. Close your mind to the obvious fact that any ten-ton behemoth would have hard pickings on the scanty algae growing on Clear Lake’s shallow sixty-foot bottom. No, the lie is given in the second sentence.

Note where the imaginative writer praises the veracity of the (unnamed) fisherman: ‘The author of the tale, a local fisherman of unqualified veracity told this reporter…’ Look hard at the phrase, ‘Unqualified veracity’.  The last time I looked in Webster’s dictionary the words, ‘unqualified’ and ‘veracity’, in combination, meant: ‘The teller of the tale did not own a nickel’s worth of sufficient qualifications for truthfulness’. You and I were had for a minute… but I’m sure that fish story didn’t fool anyone for long.

Wait, I’m not finished. There is more. Blue Lake had a monster too. Many different people from several different neighboring counties say there is a monster that lives in Blue Lakes. It is a cold lake. Ten or twelve feet below the surface, the water is nearly icy.

Blue Lakes has had more than its share of drownings. There is a superstition. If one is able to dive below the branches of a certain tree, whose branches hang into the water ten or so feet, he will be lucky in gambling. Those that fail the test are never seen again, probably either paralyzed from the freezing water or eaten by the Blue Lakes Monster. There may be some truth to the tale. Certainly, the survivors, whether or not they win at their gambling, may consider themselves to be lucky.

Next Week: The Helbush Murders

To enjoy and learn more about Author Gene Paleno’s books, visit Gene’s website; http://genepaleno.com/

Gene Paleno

Gene runs his life at a full sprint. In his ninety-three years he's dug ditches, painted signs, played semi-pro football, worked as a taxicab driver, an insurance agent, and a school teacher. He's been a technical artist, a marketing director, and a business owner. He served in World War II, raised four children, and was married to the love of his life for fifty years. He's an accomplished oil painter and skilled in ceramics. He's written fifteen books, including the definitive Lake County History, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

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