I photographed the Devil’s Lake “Sea” Monster…Twice! Well, the first time in 2010, I’d swear it was a floating log, but when the photo showed up (Without credit!) on a paranormal website & later a Youtube Video, I obviously stood corrected! Thing is, every time this photo gets shared around the web as a “Devil’s Lake Monster” it gets blurrier. 🙂
Here’s the original shot. I was out kayaking on the lake and thought, “Hey, that log looks like a sea serpent”… Whoops, I shouldn’t have started that one!
Now, Devil’s Lake has had a long history of lake monster lore going back to old stories supposedly passed on by Native Americans in the area. The story, depending who tells it, says that an early missionary to the area heard a story from a Native American chief who was recounting a long drought in the area. His people came to the lake because it was drying up, and as it did, it became easy to collect fish from the lake. As the summer progressed, the lake dried out so much that it actually split into two smaller lakes with a sandspit or island in the middle. One morning, the people woke up to see a strange, apparently amphibious creature thrashing around in an effort to free itself from the dry land. They were so afraid of the creature that none would go near it and in time, it eventually worked it’s way back into the water.
Devil’s Lake also seemed to harbor some form of Kraken or octopus type monster. The Nakota Sioux also had a variety of stories of warriors being pulled down into the lake by a tentacled beast.
These days, millions of visitors come to the lake each year. Occasionally you’ll hear a report from someone who was up hiking on the bluff trails who will swear that they saw something strange in the waters below. Which, brings me to the last time I photographed the monster…
Can you see it? I took this shot while hiking on the park’s south bluff just this year. I didn’t even realize what was there until I enlarged the shot while editing. You can read more about that and see more photos by clicking right here.
Stories of lake monsters in Devil’s Lake were big news in the 1920s and 1930s but over time they mostly faded away. That’s the thing about science and education. The more we know, the less easily we accept myths and fairy tales at face value. My wife and I spent time at the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition in Scotland just last year. There we learned about all the real scientific problems that the legend of Nessie was up against, from a lack of food sources, sustainable populations, and even continental drift. While investigations at Loch Ness still go on today, it’s pretty clear Nessie, Ogopogo, Champ and the rest are only real in the deep waters of our imagination. Still though, if one day the long neck and tiny head of a modern-day plesiosaur rose from Devil’s Lake…Well,
That would be AWESOME!