Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Flathead Monster

I’ll be telling spooky stories at the Belgrade Public Library tomorrow (Thursday, October 18)  at 6:30. The program is a Humanities Montana sponsored event and is free and open to the public. Hope to see you there!

Captain James Kerr, piloting the U.S. Grant on Flathead Lake in 1889, made the first recorded sighting of a mysterious creature in Flathead Lake. He and his passengers saw a 20-foot object swimming in the steamboat’s path. Passengers panicked. One man fired at it and missed. The boat nearly capsized and the creature disappeared. Since then, there have been nearly 100 sightings.

Documented sightings of "something" in Flathead Lake
Compiled by Laney Hanzel, from Montana Outdoors

One of the most credible was that of retired army major George Cote and his son Neal in 1985. Trolling in Yellow Bay, they saw an object "…as long as a telephone pole and twice as large in diameter." As it slowly undulated, they counted four to six humps above the water. It then sped away, stopped, looked back, and disappeared underwater. They knew that no one would believe them and kept quiet. Then in 1987, Major Cote again saw the creature as he drove along old Highway 93 near Lakeside. This time the entire head, body and tail were visible. Cote wrote of his encounters to Fish Wildlife and Parks in 1990. As a veteran fisherman, he knew what he saw. He had no doubt that it was a huge creature. FWP biologist Laney Hanzel has never seen the monster but has observed huge holes in nets officials have pulled from the lake. Even renowned Whitefish author Dorothy Johnson believed there was something in the lake. In a letter to the editor of the Flathead Courier, Johnson wrote: "I don't think the monster should be done with tongue in cheek. You have eyewitness accounts by people who were scared and didn't think it was funny. I remember hearing about something in Flathead Lake more than forty years ago, so don't give the Polson Chamber of Commerce credit for dreaming it up…."  And back in the dim past, the Kootenai Indians had a name for the lake they passed down through generations. They called it “Monster Lake.”

No comments:

Post a Comment