Posted by: Ken Hulsey on June 1st, 2010
When people think of Seattle three things come to mind, the Space Needle, Starbucks Coffee and Grundge Rock.
Me, I think of that Bikini Coffee Shop that was on Food Network a while back….but that’s because …….um…….I love coffee.
Anyway, the city that made really good caffeinated beverages and garage bands house hold names is a bout to have another claim to fame, the “Willatuk Sea Serpent.”
Never heard of it? Not too surprising, for decades the monster has been living in the shadow of Seattle’s other, more famous, monstrosities, Sasquatch, the Seahawks, Mariners, and the ghost of Kurt Cobain.
For centuries, the Native Americans around Puget Sound have encountered what can only be described as a living dinosaur. As the legend goes, the first tribes to encounter the creature lived in fear of it, even tried to hunt it down, but as the decades past, the mysterious monster became regarded as ‘sacred’. There are even stories of the monster coming to the aide of the Indians to drive away packs of wild wolves.
Had ya going there for a second didn’t I?
Okay, there is no “Willatuk Sea Serpent”. The monster is actually the brain-child of Seattle film maker Oliver Tuthill Jr, who decided to create his own legend, combining his fascination with the “Loch Ness Monster”, Native American culture and history.
Though the Pacific Northwest has many legends of sea monsters, Tuthill wanted to do something different and mapped out a three-hundred year history as a back story for his film.
For three years the film maker, and producer Dan Schwert, threw their heart, soul, and bank accounts into “Willatuk”. Though their monster movie was a small-scale production, the two Seattle natives were able to land two big-name players for the production, Washington Congressman Jim McDermott and Academy Award-nominated actor Graham Greene (“Dances With Wolves”) as the film’s narrator.
Now, for the first time, an in-depth look at the mysterious creature living within Puget Sound and Lake Washington. Willatuk: The Legend of Seattle’s Sea Serpent explores the myth and saga of this massive aquatic animal and the impact it has had on people’s lives.
Learn how Native Americans first sighted the creature in 1736 swimming off present-day Puget Sound and how white trappers first encountered Willatuk in 1818 on the shores of Lake Washington.
Learn the secrets of huge underwater caverns, which Willatuk uses deep within the waters of Lake Washington.
Hear how Willatuk is being hunted as prize game in the Northwest waters it calls home.
No other sea serpent in the world has also been spotted in fresh lake water. This is why the Wonkatilla tribe view Willatuk as a metaphor for a more tranquil time when humans lived in harmony with the natural world. This film explores that philosophy and shows how Native Americans view pollution, over-population, and those who hunt this noble creature for thrills and fame as threats that will ultimately lead to the end of Willatuk.
The sea serpent Willatuk was first sighted in 1736 near present-day Seattle. Since then, hundreds of people have glimpsed this creature, some recording what they saw in simple drawings and hurried snapshots.
What is Willatuk?
Willatuk is a huge aquatic animal, similar to a plesiosaur, who is at home in both the fresh water of Lake Washington and the salt water of Puget Sound.
For the film, Tuthill and Schwert took a page out of the late Charles Pierce’s book for “The Legend of Boggy Creek”, and shot the whole thing as a straight-forward documentary with recreations (though fictitious) of encounters with the monster.
This past weekend, “Willatuk: The Legend of Seattle’s Sea Serpent”, won the STIFFY for ‘best movie monster’ at the Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival (STIFF).
If I had started this article out with, “Blue Wood Films (Tuthill and Schwert’s production company) wins a STIFFY”, you wouldn’t take this thing seriously………would you?
I thought not.
View the photographic evidence of the “Willatuk Sea Serpent”: