Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 26th, 2007
The Lake Champlain Sea Serpent in “Feathery Form” Visits Elizabethtown
Clinton County papers report that the Lake Champlain Sea Serpent was seen off Cumberland Head early last week. Reputable men who were returning from Plattsburgh to their home on Cumberland Head discovered the huge monster performing in the water and but a short distance from the shore.
We quote the following lines from the Plattsburgh Sentinel of Sept. 21, 1894:
“That it was a living monster of some kind, there is no room to doubt. Indeed, we have never seriously questioned the substantial accuracy of the numerous accounts of this creature in former years, and the fact that for some two or three years no one professes to have seen it, serves to strengthen our belief. That it is a species of serpent does not follow. It may be more of the nature of a seal or a sea-lion.”
We are sorry for one thing and that is that the Sentinel does not tell which way the “what-is-it” was going when last seen off Cumberland Head. However, in view of what was seen by one of our townsmen on the Wednesday and Thursday [September 19 and 20] following the sight afforded at Cumberland Head we conclude that the Lake Champlain Sea Serpent must have taken a southerly course and that somewhere between Plattsburgh and “Pleasant Valley” a wonderful transformation must have occurred. It was on Wednesday afternoon of last week — two days after the appearance at Cumberland Head — that a resident of this village, Joseph Denton, and several companions were hunting squirrels on the bank of the Bouquet River just beyond the base ball field. Suddenly, as if by magic, “a huge monster in feathery form” appeared over the river and only a few rods distant from Joseph and his companions. Joseph was first to sight the wonderful creature and gave his companions immediate knowledge of what he had discovered, saying: “Get your guns ready, the Devil is coming.”
The “bird,” for such it was according to Joseph’s account, “was as big as a cow and had wings like barn-doors,” was evidently startled at the sight of man as it “tried to hurry but couldn’t `twas so big.” Joseph says the bird made as much noise going through the air as a train of cars would in coming up to Westport Station and that its wings when spread reached from shore to shore of the beautiful Bouquet River. He estimates that the eating capacity of the bird must be immense and says that it would be positively impossible to estimate its strength, resting firm in the belief that a man would be in its talons as a chicken in the grasp of a hawk. Some one suggested to Joseph that the bird might be a crane. He replied in the most sarcastic manner it is possible to conceive of that “a crane would be a mere chickadee beside that bird.”
The strange bird and its still stranger performance were witnessed by Joseph on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. On both of these days he saw the bird only a few rods distant from him, had a loaded gun in his hand but didn’t dare to shoot for fear that the bird might resent the petty attack of a frail man like himself enough to swoop down, fasten on to him and carry him away to unknown parts and there pick his bones according to the custom of ancestors which must have been constructed on a truly heroic plan!Elizabethtown [New York] Post, September 27, 1894
Thanks to Jerome Clark.