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Cryptozoology

Lake Pepin’s rumored creature may be folklore come to life

Lake Pepin's rumored creature may be folklore come to life 86

Article by: KIM ODE , Star Tribune

The centuries-old legend of a lake creature is alive today thanks to a handful of folks who are driven by scholarship, obsession and the irresistible mystery.

There it … there it is! Over by that fishing boat. No, there! Omigosh, they don’t see it! They must think it’s a log.

Unless it is a log.

Or a catfish. Or an otter. Or a boat wake.

But it also could be a sea serpent. (It could be.)

For hundreds of years, people have glanced across the glistening waters of Lake Pepin, where the Mississippi River widens to a basin as long and wide as Scotland’s famous Loch Ness (the same size!), and seen … something.

Most often, the sight turns out to be a dead tree hung up on a sandbar, or a huge sturgeon breaking the surface, or the wake of a boat unfurling toward shore.

But not always. (Maybe.)

“I firmly believe there was something at one time,” said Jil Garry, who owns Treats and Treasures in Lake City, Minn., a town of 5,000 on Lake Pepin.

Garry sells T-shirts, bibs, mugs and candy depicting a friendly Pepie, which is what everyone calls the (possible) creature. “There were those accounts of French explorers and the newspaper stories,” she said, then shrugged. “But now?”

Larry Nielson, who plies the lake daily offering tourists excursions on his sparkling paddlewheeler, Pearl of the Lake, doesn’t know, either. A few years ago, he offered a $50,000 reward to anyone providing “undisputable evidence that proves the existence of the real live creature living in Lake Pepin,” according to www.pepie.net.

So far, there hasn’t been a single claim, although he added, half-laughing, that “my wife’s always worried.” No question, the reward is a publicity stunt (and has reeled in some national press) but Nielson also would like some proof because, well, he’s seen “things I can’t explain.”

Such as 11 years ago, on a calm lake, midweek with few boats out, he saw “this wake 200-some feet long and 2 feet high going upstream.” (Upstream!)

Then in 2009, he saw a log in the water — he knew it was a log; it looked just like a log — but then it began moving against the current (against the current!) before slipping out of sight.

Is Pepie real?

“I don’t know,” Nielson said, hands on the spokes of the Pearl’s big wheel. “That’s for you to make up your mind.”

 – ?!”

When Father Louis Hennepin explored this region for France in the late 1600s, he reported seeing “a huge serpent as big as a man’s leg and seven or eight feet long” where the Minnesota River flows into the Mississippi. In those days, the river ran unimpeded from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico — and, in turn, was open from the ocean to Minnesota.

Indians used only strong dugout canoes on the lake, given legends of something large enough to swamp a birchbark boat. Ancient effigy mounds in the region appear to depict huge serpents. Still, we can’t know if they reflect sightings, creation myths or something else entirely, said Chad Lewis, a Minneapolis man who’s written “Pepie, the Lake Monster of the Mississippi River” and maintains www.chadlewisresearch.com.

The first known newspaper account in August 1867 was from river rafters from St. Louis, Mo., who reported seeing a large, unknown creature in the water. A more vivid account appeared four years later in the Wabasha County Sentinel, describing “a marine monster between the size of an elephant and rhinoceros,” moving “with great rapidity.”

Four years later, another newspaper described a “dark, strange-looking object” that rose 6 feet out of the water. Another newspaper noted that a huge eel later was caught.

Sightings have continued over the years, with Nielson, the Pearl’s captain, considering 15 to have some degree of credibility, in that they can’t easily be explained away.

Local lore even claims that one moonlit night in 1922, a young man named Ralph Samuelson saw a creature gliding across Lake Pepin and thought, “If a large aquatic creature can skim across the water’s surface, why can’t I?” A few months later, he invented the sport of water skiing.

Except for the fact that Samuelson did invent water skiing, and Lake City is known as “the birthplace of water skiing,” this is almost certainly not true.

Plans are being made for the first Pepie Festival in September, which promises to be the most family-friendly of events.

“When Larry Nielson brought Pepie back to life, some were afraid that people would think we’re dumb, or they’d be scared to go in the water,” said Garry, the shopkeeper. “But we see Pepie as a shy creature. Like we say, if you haven’t seen it, it’s not going to bite you.”

Wait a … wait a minute. Over there, by the far shore, do you think it … um, never mind.

Twenty years ago, Chad Lewis was pursuing a master’s degree in psychology, driven by two questions: What makes people believe in the weird and unusual? And what makes people not believe?

He had ample reason to ponder those questions, growing up near Elmwood, one of three Wisconsin towns (along with Campbellsport and Belleville) that claim to be the UFO capital of the world. But he also had ample reason to earn a living and so became a grant writer, pursuing folklore on the side, writing books and giving lectures.

Those books and lectures proved so popular, though, that he became a full-time folklorist, traveling the world collecting legends and accounts of curious experiences. (It may not hurt that he looks just like actor Sean Penn. Just. Like.)

So, what makes someone believe in the weird and unusual? “Personal experience,” he said, or knowing someone who had a personal experience.

But what intrigues Lewis even more is research suggesting that “the more educated people are, even while they may not believe in something, the more likely they are to believe in the possibility of these things,” he said. In other words, the more we know, the more aware we are of what we don’t know.

He’s always taken a 50-50 stance about the existence of legends, a position he calls “simple, safe and accurate.”

So he was a little stunned a few years ago when, to the usual question about Pepie, he blurted that he was tipping toward 75 percent that something unidentified is in Lake Pepin. What, he doesn’t know.

“But there’s something that’s big, and real.”

It’s a sturgeon. (It’s always a sturgeon.) Until it isn’t.

So what exactly is in the lake, apart from the large- and smallmouth bass, walleye, sauger, black crappie, sturgeon, northern pike, bluegill and yellow perch?

Does it migrate? What does it eat? Does it need to pop up and breathe, or is it a bottom-dweller?

Is it some form of ancient pleiosaur? A large eel?

Is it an alligator gar, which can be 8 to 10 feet long and weigh 300 pounds? Did we mention a gar’s broad snout and double row of sharp teeth? (Did we mention that whether or not such a fish accounts for Pepie, alligator gars really do live in the lake?)

Finally, sightings over centuries speak to reproduction, which means there has to be more than one.

Right?

“I love that we haven’t explained this,” Lewis said. “But it’s funny how we need to believe something is out there.” Today, Lewis said he has more questions than answers, which is OK with him.

“The legends, for me, provide the opportunity to have an adventure,” he said, a motivation that he urges others to adopt. While looking for Pepie, or Bigfoot, or a UFO or a ghost — or just an unfamiliar horizon — you may find yourself in a new place, learning new things and moving just far enough out of your comfort zone to discover a fresh context for your life.

Or, as Nielson said, at the very least, you can have a lovely day on a beautiful lake.

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Cryptozoology

Scientist finds polar bear DNA in Bigfoot

Scientist finds polar bear DNA in Bigfoot 99

British scientists examined yeti DNA and found a strong similarity to polar bear DNA. For analysis, they took the wool of a creature that was killed by a hunter in the Himalayas 30 years ago.

Brian Sykes, a geneticist at the University of Oxford, examined the DNA of the Bigfoot Yeti and found similarities to the DNA of a polar bear, according to Daily Star.

For analysis, Sykes took the wool of a creature killed by a hunter in the Himalayas 30 years ago, from which they made a stuffed animal. The result showed a match with the DNA of an ancient polar bear that became extinct at least 40,000 years ago. The geneticist suggests that the Yeti is a hybrid of a brown bear and a polar bear that arrived in the mountain range from the Arctic north many years ago. For this reason, it behaves differently from an animal of this species.

Now the professor wants to obtain samples of Bigfoot hair from all over the world in order to subject them to the most difficult DNA tests and continue research in this direction.

In 2019, the FBI released documents revealing the results of analysis of hair and biologic tissue allegedly belonging to Bigfoot. The samples were sent in 1976 by yeti hunter Peter Byrne. Research results showed that they belonged to a deer.

Bigfoot is a large humanoid creature from modern folklore, which is believed to live in forest or mountain areas that are inaccessible to humans. It is believed that it is an ancient hominid that has survived to our time, but scientists are skeptical about the likelihood of its existence. In particular, all cases of its observation or possible traces are explained by hoax or mistaken recognition of animal tracks.

When was the last time a Bigfoot was seen?

In 2020, the appearance of Bigfoot was noted in Australia, the relic forests of Canada, in the west of the USA, in the north of Scandinavia.

In the spurs of the Himalayas, wild hairy people of small stature were seen, resembling a Flores man (fossil dwarf species of people. Also known as the “hobbit” by analogy with the creatures invented by J. Tolkien. – Ed.).

In October, locals informed that in the jungle of Africa, in the Congo region, there is an upright creature similar to a Yeti.

Traces of Bigfoot, his refuge are regularly found in Komi. Yeti visits have recently been reported from eyewitnesses from the Karelian Isthmus and the border zone near Vyborg, where there are dungeons and a huge bunker near an abandoned military airfield.

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Cryptozoology

Strange photo was taken by tourists near Loch Ness

Strange photo was taken by tourists near Loch Ness 100
Mary Evans Picture Library

Inverness, December 23. A new photograph of a mysterious creature “the size of a very large seal” in Loch Ness has been announced as another official sighting of the Loch Ness monster.

Tourist Karen Scott, returning from Aberdeen, noticed a strange creature in the Scottish Loch Ness. The woman managed to capture her observation in the photo. At first, Scott took what he saw for a big bird, she admitted to reporters. According to the traveler, while she took out the camera, the mysterious creature managed to submerge itself under the water.

Strange photo was taken by tourists near Loch Ness 101

“By the time I turned on the camera on my phone, it was slowly submerged under the water and then reappeared at a short distance,” she shared.

Scott and her friend compared the creature they saw to a large seal, but workers at the lake have denied this assumption. According to experts, seals rarely get that far into Loch Ness.

The tourist flow to these places in 2020 was much lower than in previous years due to the coronavirus pandemic, experts studying Nessie noted. Despite this circumstance, during this year, travelers recorded a large amount of evidence of the existence of the Loch Ness monster, scientists were surprised.

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Cryptozoology

In Africa, some tribes still believe in the existence of a dinosaur on the Congo River

In Africa, some tribes still believe in the existence of a dinosaur on the Congo River 102
pixabay.com

There are already a great many cryptids in our world. But at the same time, we do not have any evidence of their real existence, except for legends and eyewitness accounts. Of course the ocean is still a very unexplored sphere of the Earth. There may indeed be some prehistoric cryptids preserved there. For example, there is one horseshoe crab, which is almost 500 million years old. 

But in Africa there has long been a belief about a certain Mokele-Mbemba, who lives in the Congo basin. This legend confuses scientists. If the most ancient creatures can still be preserved in the ocean, then they could hardly remain on Earth, especially when it comes to dinosaurs.

Judging by African beliefs, dinosaurs on Earth are not yet extinct?

However, judging by the descriptions of local residents, either some sauropod from the Jurassic period or a real plesiosaur lives in the Congo. It is not known exactly who it is about. The appearance of this creature, described by eyewitnesses from Africa, often resembles the Loch Ness monster. 

Mokele-mbemba is credited with a long neck, a raptor’s head and aggressive predatory behavior. According to some tribes, a mysterious dinosaur can hunt hippos that are afraid of him and go away. According to other sources, he is a herbivore. No matter how many expeditions were organized to the Congo to search for this creature, not one of them was crowned with success. None of the naturalists have come across a mokele mbembe. This sometimes gives the impression that this creature is just a product of the mythology of local residents.

In 2001, the BBC and Discovery Channel filmed an entire movie dedicated to the search for the mysterious Mokele Mbembe. From conversations with representatives of tribes, experts found out that the mysterious creature could be …. A common rhino. 

The fact is that there are practically no rhinos in the Congo basin. Local peoples are usually not fond of distant travel. But rhinos could well have lived in these lands centuries ago. From all this, naturalists concluded that by mokele-mbembe they mean any of the African rhinos. 

Moreover, when one of the experts showed the local a photograph of a rhinoceros, they replied that it was the same mythical monster. Therefore, scientists thought that the legend was created by those who personally saw these giant pig-like animals in distant times. In addition, the mysterious traces of mokele-mbembe,

Judging by African beliefs, dinosaurs on Earth are not yet extinct?

True, it is worth considering the opinion of cryptozoologists who are looking for outlandish creatures on Earth. Over a century of this entire cryptozoological campaign, researchers talked to many locals in the Congo and received very mixed information. 

Some Africans said that the mokele-mbembe has a very long neck, more characteristic of a dinosaur, as well as the existing scales. Moreover, there was information about the carnivorousness of this beast. In this case, this animal can no longer be equated with a rhinoceros. Almost nowhere was it reported that the beast had a giant horn.

 A biologist named Roy McCull undertook two expeditions to find the mokele-mbembe and failed. But he is still sure that the mysterious creature is not a rhino at all, but a real sauropod that has survived to this day. 

McCull strongly disagrees that the mokele-mbembe could be a mammal or an amphibian. But the official science does not recognize the existence of surviving dinosaurs at all, and calls the legend of the African “dinosaur” an ordinary fantasy

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