The Lake Superior Dragon and Other Great Lakes Monsters Mar 23, 2015 16:27:22 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Mar 23, 2015 16:27:22 GMT -5
The Lake Superior Dragon and Other Great Lakes Monsters
Scotland has its Loch Ness Monster, British Columbia has Ogopogo, but did you know Lake Superior has its own stories of a lake monster? There are many historical references to the Lake Superior Dragon. The references and stories below were provided by Ellen Van Laar, who resides on the shores of Lake Superior at Old Mamainse Harbour. Van Laar operates a small retreat center called Arts and Adventure and loves to guide and shuttle and tell stories about the area. As a painter, she displays many works at the Algoma University Conservatory of Music near Old Mill Square, under the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Lake Superior Dragon. Peter Unwin has a chapter about the dragon, “Misshepezhieu,” in his book The Wolf's Head published in 2003. Below are some references from his book with various descriptions of the creature:
• Jean Allouez wrote about sacrifices to the spirit Missibizi in 1667 to make Sturgeon rise in the water.
• Nicholaus Perrot called it Michipissy.
• Reverend T. S. H. Baxter was upset when immigrants and priests discussed the creature.
• Bishop Baraga (Mishibiji) and Raudot (Mishapoux) refer often to the creature, sometimes calling it a lion or snake. Some say the power of the entity resides in copper.
• James Evans in 1838 referred to the creature as the Manitou and that one should stare him in the face to stay alive during a storm.
• Father Paul LeJeune apparently saw a man catch a large fish-like creature resembling a lizard. The young man he was with made him throw it back, claiming keeping it could cause storms.
• Pierre Radisson told stories about a "snake with a head like a turtle."
• Vincent Germaine saw a dragon that apparently haunted him the remainder of his life.
• Francis Kellogg said the dragon had the shape of Lake Superior itself.
• There are stories in Unwin's book suggesting the dragon was involved in the Edmund Fitzgerald tragedy. There is a belief among many that the creature lives in caves below the surface of Lake Superior. There are also stories about the dragon snatching children from the shore and causing storms when angry. Many Indians references refer to the dragon as a shape shifter, capable of trickery.
• Edwin James wrote songs about the creature in 1830.
"As you can see, most of those above are referenced from missionaries and settlers as well as many First Nations [Indians],” Van Leer wrote. “ All of these dragon stories have become a part of Canadian History. They started 400 years ago and continue today. It is just recently that the dragon has entered common reference and usage. Before modern times, dragon talk was scary and often taboo.
"Keep in mind that Michibeichu (Mitch) is "medicine" to the Ojibway and that many see him as easily angered. Others see him as fiercely protective, in a positive sense,” she continues. “Often, local Natives offer tobacco, this being as part of a prayer, while asking for safety while on the Lake. He may be part of common folklore, but he's part of the Ojibway creation stories and very real."
I took Ellen's suggestion and Googled serpents and dragons on the Great Lakes and found many stories referencing the Lake Superior Dragon. There were references to “Pressie” the Lake Superior Sea Serpent, The Great Serpent and the Underwater Panther.
Great Lakes Serpents and Dragons. I decided to Google serpents and dragons for all the Great Lakes and following is what I found:
Lake Ontario: "Gaasyendietha," a Seneca legend, is a serpent-like creature that inhabited this lake's waters. On August 14, 1829, the Kingston Gazette and Religious Advocate reported children playing on the beach near Grantham (now St. Catharine's) spotted a hideous water snake.
Lake Erie: South Bay Bessie has been spotted on both the Canadian and Pennsylvania sides of the lake. The first recorded sighting of Bessie occurred in 1793 and the creature was described as a snake-like greyish creature.
Lake Huron: Ojibway legends tell of the water monster "Mishebeshu" (great lynx) that is said to have an underwater den near the mouth of the Serpent River that flows into Lake Huron.
Lake Michigan: I couldn't find any reference to a lake serpent on this particular great lake, but doesn't mean there aren’t any.
There are many stories told about Lake Superior – both fact and folklore – that enhance its mystique and beauty.
Source: Heather Bot, Northern Ontario Travel.