Call of the Cryptid’s lake monster trifecta: Part 1 – Bessie of Lake Erie


A mid-west lake monster, South Bay Bessie is said to inhabit Lake Erie. Does it exist? If it does, will it ever escape Ohio?

Welcome to the first of a 3-part series on the lake monsters called Bessie, Nessie and Pressie. Two of these monsters are conveniently (for me) located in the United States. Also, incredibly, one of them (Pressie) is actually (supposedly) located where I live, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!

The most famous creature, Nessie, is said to dwell in the waters of Loch Ness, in the Scottish Highlands. I’m looking at these creatures in alphabetical order by name, so as to not demonstrate personal preference. They all have similar names, but are they the same type of mythological creature?

Could one of them be real while the others are fake? Could they all be real? Well, let’s have ourselves a look.

What Does Bessie Look Like?

Many lake/sea monsters are described as serpentine. Of course, sometimes they seem dinosaur-like. Also, because no one would be impressed by a tiny snake creature, they tend to be described as pretty large.

Bessie, considered primarily an Ohio native, has been described as being between 16-35 feet in length. While these variations could raise red flags instantly, it’s possible there are simply more than one of three hypothetical creatures.

Or, of course, maybe it’s just based on people’s individual perceptions of length. After all, from varying distances and perceptions, 16 ft. may look bigger or smaller than it actually is.  This is especially if their perceptions are altered — which, let’s face it, happens.

I mean, if you take enough “special” substances, you might start seeing some snakes, man (and some of them might even talk).  Then again, if we’re being fair,  the whole thing could be made up.

So far, no Bessie hunter (or trapper) has been successful in capturing the alleged creature. However, it seems there has been more than one sighting per decade. There are reasons to be skeptical, though. It’s hard to work around the fact that no live specimens have been caught, or witnessed by more “official” sources.

In this day and age, would animal scientists really want to keep such a creature concealed? It seems it would be considered a breakthrough to find such unique creatures, right? Granted, this isn’t the type of creature you can “land” with a standard fishing rod, but still. Human ingenuity is a thing.

Also, not that I like such people, but wouldn’t poachers be interested in acquiring this creature, even if it doesn’t contain ivory, or anything like that? I could imagine some wealthy scumbag trophy hunter in his private cabin bragging to his colleagues, “Best rug I’ve ever owned!,” as he steps over the hideous, stretched out skin of a mid-western lake monster. Then, after they get done with their leisurely breakfast, he and his pals can return to hunting a homeless man for sport.

Open Your Eyes, Man! Bessie Sightings

Look up “lake erie bessie 1991.mpg” on Youtube and you’ll find some blurry footage of some vague shapes in the waters of Lake Erie. These are supposed to be Bessie, but I’m not so sure.  Being that I live near Lake Superior (one of the largest bodies of water on earth), I can say I’ve seen objects floating in the water, and naturally assume they’re logs or something.

If you get heavy enough rain, waterways get random debris  sometimes.  Still, Bessie sightings go back way further than that. In July of 1892, it’s said the entire crew of a ship heading from Buffalo, New York to Toledo, Ohio encountered the serpent. It had a brownish color and its eyes were
“viciously sparkling” (honestly, I love that description!).

A July 8, 1898, edition of the Daily Register of Sandusky, Ohio offers the following statement:

"“For a number of years, vague stories about huge serpents have come with each recurring season from Dominion [Canadian] shores, and now, at last, the existence of these fierce monsters is verified and the fact so well established that it can no longer be questioned.”"

It was described as a “fierce, ugly, coiling thing,” and you could “call it a snake or what you will.” If that’ not enough, they claim it can live on water or land.

Want an account from the 1980s? Okay:

"“The creature gripped the hull of the Cool Breeze with its long arms and began rocking the boat back and forth.”"

Also: “I just saw a creature that looked like a really long alligator.”

In 1981, Theresa Kovach of Akron saw a snake-like reptile that “was so large that [it] could [have]  easily capsized a boat. It seemed to be playing.”  Bessie was also supposedly seen by Harold Bricker, his wife Cora, and their son Robert, as reported to the Los Angeles Times in 1990. It was described as being “black and about 35 feet long with a snakelike head.”

Like a Sturgeon, Caught for the Very First Time

11th April 1947: A 400 pound sturgeon being carried into a fish store in Oxford Street. (Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Bessie detractors have a certain line of defense. Ready for this? Apparently, there could potentially be 20 foot-long sturgeons! They are known to exist in Lake Erie, and have even been called “Dinosaurs of the Great Lakes.”

Apparently, the largest one caught is only a 12-footer. Still, it doesn’t mean there aren’t bigger ones out there!  In fact, it’s almost certain that there are.

Could this be what people are discussing when they mention “Bessie?” Could it be a somewhat aggressive sturgeon?

Sturgeon are said to be non-aggressive, but even an accidental boat collision could be dangerous, as large sturgeons can weigh 1,000 pounds! And let’s just say it: Whether you believe in Bessie or not, this is both a plausible explanation and an interesting creature in its own right.

Next. Gremlins animated series in development at WarnerMedia’s streaming service. dark

Okay? One final note: There’s a pretty good pop punk band called “South Bay Bessie.” Granted, I haven’t listened to everything by them, but they’re a decent discovery too.

That’s it for part 1 of Call of the Cryptid‘s lake monster trilogy. Coming soon: Nessie, the infamous Loch Ness Monster!

Do you believe Bessie exists? Let us know what you think in the comments.