By Dirk Vander Ploeg
During the summer of 2010, I was contacted by a gentleman, who used the first name Rob, who stated he lived in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. This person claims to have spotted and subsequently videotaped the seldom seen, very elusive, monster of Lake Erie, affectionately known as South Bay Bessie.
I corresponded several times with Rob by e-mail and by telephone and was assured the video was authentic and was invited to his Hamilton address to view the alleged video of the monster. Several attempts to setup this viewing were unsuccessful. Eventually my e-mails remained unanswered.
The following are excerpts from Rob's initial e-mail:
"Although I would expect me to more sceptical about what my 2 sons and I seen today - I will say I have a Sony HID video recorder that captured something extremely strange on video. I am not sure what to do with this video and really do not want to even mention what I seen and have recorded. At approximately 11 a.m. Thursday August 12th, 2010 I recorded something I can not explain."
"My son was about to jump in off the boat in the middle of the inner bay of Long Point, Ontario Canada and I seen something of the back off the boat - it was a wave that was white capping but the lake was calm. I said to not go in as there is something in the water - he is 11 years old. We watched this wave going across the water - my first thought was wind or something of a rogue wave. "
"I knew shortly after a few minutes something big was creating this wave. I grabbed the HD Handycam and proceeded to film it. I have to view through the LCD display and it was bright and hard to follow but I have captured something on video I can not explain and do want to show to determine what it is. It was about 30 to 40 feet in length and made a large swell in the water as well as a wavelike that of a small boat. "
"It was serpent like and notch or bumps on its back the video speaks for itself. I do not think that my two boys or myself will ever swim in that bay again. I have been going there since I was a boy and never had any fear of the water or what is in it, that changed today. I would hope someone could clearly tell me this was a school of fish or a sturgeon or something - I know that is not likely actually I know what I seen and it was nothing I have ever seen before and not likely to see again."1
Rob emphasised: "I will again let you know I do not want my name used or published as I am a single Dad and really want my life to remain quiet and not some spectacle about what I have on video."
Several telephone calls were made and Rob expanded on his sighting. The tone of the conversations were beginning to change from one of initial excitement and enthusiasm about learning what the object was and sharing this discovery with the world to one of how much money is this video worth and how can I be sure the video won't be stolen or misappropriated from me?
I suggested Rob make several screen captures from the video available to the press to gauge what kind of response his video might make in the media.
It was at this point that discussions seem to break down and invitations to me were withdrawn.
Rob included in his e-mail:
Who should I take this video too to show?
I advised contacting a major television network.
I do not plan to e-mail it to anyone or send over on a disc until I really know what I have.
I do not want my name publicized or to made out to be some prankster but do want to share what I seen.
I assured him that I would keep his last name and e-mail address private.
Should I take it to the ministry of fisheries? Science centre or some studies place?
I advised not taking the video to the Ministry of Fisheries or any science centre because I believe the video would be lost or ridiculed.
I can only speculate as to what happened to Rob and his video, but despite my obvious concerns I believe he believed that he and his sons truly witnessed an unusual phenomenon...possibly South Bay Bessie!
I e-mailed Rob as a follow-up to his sighting last summer earlier this month. Below are the two e-mails I received in response to my enquires.
E-mail received March 10, 2011 from Rob
Just received the contract for not disclosing the video without my approval. I will leave it to this group to study it. As for full scale hunt - really don't think that is about to happen. Does not have the same coverage as Lochness. Although I have found out that one other person has seen the same thing as me and apparently has a picture as well - have not seen it nor has he seen my video. As for any more details on who is studying the video, will wait to see what they say and do not plan to share the video with anyone else as it would only compromise it and it being studied.
E-mail received March 9, 2011 from Rob
No update but will be sending a copy to someone to view and research. They have a binding contract that I received last week to not disclose the video to anyone other then those looking into it.
The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) met with me and said it is not a fish or school of fish but then stated they will not officially comment on the video which is what I expected. One of the 3 who viewed it was upset but her boss put her in her place quickly as to not commenting on what they seen.
I have since been in contact with another person who had a similar sighting outside of Port Stanley and has a picture but never went forward to anyone as he like myself did not want to be put off as a hoaxer or fraud.
I know what I seen but the video only shows so much still quite the creature that we seen and have no doubt as to what I seen.
As for it being sold or giving it away for someone else to profit - not my intention at all just not giving it to anyone so they get a lot of action on their website and then profit by advertising space etc.
I suppose My boys and I know what we seen and have video to support the story. Not likely to see it again but my doubts about the story or legend are gone and still shocked that I seen this thing.
Will keep you updated!