Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 13th, 2012
In celebration of mothers, moms, mums, or whatever you call yours, everywhere on Mother’s Day, on “Pink Out” day for breast cancer research, let’s revisit “Pinky.”
Ivan T. Sanderson, Mark A. Hall, Karl Shuker, George Eberhart, Patrick Huyghe, and I have all mentioned in books and articles the unique river monsters seen up and down the St. Johns River in Florida, now known by the name most popularized by Hall as “Pinky.”
The long, winding, northbound course of the St. Johns River starts in the appropriately named Lake Hell ‘n’ Blazes area (which Michael Newton points out is in Skunk Ape country).
Most reports of Pinky are dated to the 1950s. What if there are some earlier records, which may speak to a longer history of Florida river monsters? What if some are linked to the Pinky stories that popped in May 1976, from the Jacksonville area?
Could Pinky have been more widespread a hundred years ago?
The Caloosahatchee River is a river on the southwest Gulf Coast of Florida in the United States, that drains the rural area on the northern edge of the Everglades. If the St. Johns River is seen as the main way north for these cryptids, the Caloosahatchee River can be viewed as the major route east.
Did the Native peoples of Florida tell the newer residents of Florida about Pinky and other related sightings of river monsters as long ago as 1888?
A Lee County Monster.
A correspondent contributes to the Fort Myers Press a story of an immense serpent lately seen crossing the Caloosahatchee river near Chokoloskee, and the Press calls upon The Herald to match the story. As we have no big snakes in this locality, The Herald gives it up and begs to repeat what it said to Col. Tom Appleyard, that it is not an authority on snakes; and as no one in the office drinks liquor, none of us have had the pleasure of seeing snakes.
But here is the narrative of the Lee county serpent as it appeared in last week’s Press:
Col. Demere and Ervin Lowe came down from Needhelp last Sunday [presumably October 4], and report having seen an immense snake swim the river about two miles from here.
They say it appeared to be a great log on the water when they first saw it, but they learned it was a snake when they got to where it was, as the tail was just leaving the water on the south side of the river, and its head stood up four or five feet high, twenty yards from the river, and looked as large as a nail keg.
Of course the reptile must have been between fifty and sixty feet long, and its body looked about the size of a flour barrel. Now this looks fishy, but there is no one in this section that would doubt the veracity of either of these gentlemen.
We have since learned that the Indians have told of such a snake twenty years ago, having been seen by them in a certain swamp, and they always kept away from that swamp. This will give a good color to the snake story.
The serpent was heading to the south-east, and will possibly take up in the first thick swamp that suits his convenience.Punta Gorda [Florida] Herald, October 15, 1908
For more information on watery cryptids, see Chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10 in Mysterious America.
Thanks for this historical item from Jerome Clark (first published here on April 28, 2007).