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Sightings of Lake Erie's (South Bay) Bessie

Dirk Vander Ploeg's picture


  Bessie Caught On Video

George Repicz believes he has captured some sort of animal swimming in Lake Erie. The footage is barely recognizable, but does show something in the water. Please pay attention to the first few seconds of the clip.

  Exclusive interview with Bessie witness

It was, I don't know what it was, but for lack of a better name, I call it a monster fish. I could see its head and the neck went under the water, could see the top of the body and could actually see the flotilla action of the tail. I took two pictures of it and handed the camera to my wife so she could see close up.

  First reported Bessie sighting July 7, 1817

The French settlers along the lake shore, in Erie township, Ottawa county, a few miles east of here, were surprised and amazed last night over the appearance of an unknown fish of mammal size. Two brothers named Dusseau, both fishermen, were returning from these fishing grounds, when they discovered a phosphorescent mass upon the beach.

  Other Sightings

  1960: Ken Golic was fishing off a pier in Sandusky when he heard two rats. He decided to throw a couple of rocks at them when he saw the creature. He stated that it was cigar-shaped and came out of the water about 1-1½ feet. It was about 11:00 PM on a clear, calm night.

  1969: Jim Schindler stated that a serpent came within six feet of him near South Bass Island. Although he did not see the length, the width was about two feet. The animal appeared to be about one foot under the water.

  September 1981: Theresa Kovach of Akron saw a snake-like reptile that "was so large that could easily capsized a boat. It seemed to be playing." She watched it from a house on the Cedar Point Causeway.

  1983 (year approximate): Mary M. Landoll told John Schaffner about her encounter with Bessie off Rye Beach in Huron. Mary went out to the front porch just before dawn when the lake was quite placid. From the left end, she heard a rowing sound and saw what looked like a capsized boat. It was a greenish-brown color about 40-50 feet in length. Landoll realized that it wasn't a boat, but an animal of some sort. It had a long neck and an eye was visible on the side of the head with a grin going up one side The creature appeared to be playing in the water, but still put a scare into the witness.

  Summer 1985: Tony Schill of Avon, Ohio was boating with friends north of Vermilion when they reported the serpent. It was dark brown and had a flat tail. Tony stated that "five humps came out of the water. No way it was a sturgeon."

Dale Munro of Lorain was also boating when he came face-to-face with it. He stated that it had three humps and was black. He also reported that it was twice the size of his 16-foot boat. The location was in calm waters just off the Lorain Coast Guard Station and his sighting lasted three to four minutes.

  May or June, 1989: Gail Kasner obtained a graph from a boat owned by Ken Smith of Streetsboro. The fishfinder appeared to show a sonar reading of a cigar-shape apparition about 35 feet in length at a depth of about 30 feet.

  July 8, 1990: Susan Seeson, of Salem witnessed the creature two miles from Cedar Point. Her description basically matched other reports.

  September 3, 1990: Bob Soracco was jet skiing off Port Clinton when he thought he spotted a porpoise. (Porpoise in fresh water? Oh well, Bob had just moved from Florida.) He told reporters that he saw humps with gray spots. "It was very long as I moved closer and it was going down."

  September 4, 1990: Harold Bricker and his family were fishing north of Cedar Point Amusement Park when a serpent-type creature swam by their boat about 1000 feet away Their description - 35 feet long with a snake-like head. It moved as fast as their boat. Later, the Brickers reported their sighting to the ODNR rangers at East Harbor State Park.

  September 11, 1990: Fire inspectors, Jim Johnson and Steve Dircks of Huron, saw the creature from a third story window facing Lake Erie. They described it as dark blue or black at about 30-45 feet long. He further stated that he saw three parts of the creature above water. "It laid there motionless for three to six minutes and was flat on top."

  Week of September 16, 1991: Dennis Szececinski, of Toledo saw Bessie near Toledo's water intake structure three miles offshore in Maumee Bay. He was fishing in the bay when something long and black slithered in front of him.

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