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Friday, 4 March 2011

The Creatures That Came to Toledo, Part 2

Re: [frontiers-of-zoology] Re: Great Lakes Whales
Message 5204 at Fronters of Zoology Yahoo Group
Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:53 pm

Posted by Sam McConnich (rpgstarwizard)

well, it was a sunday, I know because I was playing hooky from church, it was in Toledo, between lagrange and stickney street
I was a clear day autumn early iirc sept, 1977, i think, I was still in high school,
I was walking alont the river where I could, and then going back into the fields , I have seen large turtle traces etc in the area, and a giant bird, but not at this time,
anyway there was an out flow that overlooked the river half way between the two streets the arae was overgrown at the time. There was what I thought was a telephone pole in the water,it was long as a telephone pole about as think [lying lengthwise in the water as Sam later clarified his statement-DD], and later I realized it was high out of the water, almost high way up[unusually high in the water if its diameter was actually that of a telephone pole-DD], it was all wet, looked like camo brown and greenish. i was pitching stones at it, thinkig just to hit it
I came close a couple times, and once it seemed to move, I thought I could get it to rotate, I then hit it with a larger rock, it twitched, then splashed and, submerged, moved like a snake or fish and moved quickly downriver , i watched as it slowed and there was a swampy area where I hoped it would move to, but it moved again in a spurt, toward stickney, I ran thinking I could catch it at the train trestle, but by the time I got out of the woods and to the area where I could overlook the river, it was gone the river is polluted and such, But I thought I saw either movement just past the ridge or disturbance in the sediment
hope it helps
Which came in at the same day as this posting went up on the CFZ blog:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
DALE DRINNON: Is This The Great Lakes Whale?
While mulling the matter over, I was casting around for a candidate that would best fit the odds-and-ends of the Great Lakes whale reports; something that could look like a dolphin sometimes, like a grey whale sometimes and even resemble a sperm whale to some witnesses.

I began to suspect that a North Atlantic bottlenose whale might meet the specifications. Bottlenose whale remains are found in the inland sea deposits when the Great lakes were proglacial, and
the bottlenose is a good medium lengeth at about 25 to 35 feet long, which could be mistakenly doubled to 50 to 75 feet long by the witnesses and fit the larger reports well enough. The whales could be considered the replacement for Mackal's [Eastern] Basilosaurian lake-monsters but they would not be Naiatakas: they would be Bessies. Lake Erie's 'South Bay Bessie' is often reported as a large spindle-shaped [or log-shaped]creature in the right size range, and sonar targets also fit the description. That does not mean to include ALL of the Lake Eerie reports, but the 'Whale' sightings are a remarkably good fit (and it does not matter if the reports are often string-of-buoy reports; those would be the waves in the wake. This time at least the creature would be big and powerful enough to leave a very noticeable wake).

Some of the fossil whales of Michigan have very recent C14 dates, up to possibly the Viking age or even colonial times. These unusually recent dates are thought to be due to contamination of the samples (link cited for Michigan fossil whales last time) However, it can also easily be turned around to say that there is evidence for recent survival of whales in the Great Lakes.

Sightings have been in decline for some time though and if the Great Lakes whales really are represented by 'Bessie' sightings, the population may very well be in peril.
Posted by Jon Downes at 3:46 AM
Labels: dale drinnon, lake monsters, whales

Retrieverman said...
Fossilized beluga whales have been found in Lake Champlain, which used to be an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is not typically counted as a Great Lake, but like the others, it is connected to the St. Lawrence, and at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, there are tons of beluga whales.

The Great Lakes' connection to the Great Lakes explains why the French were the first to colonize that part of the continent.

5:33 AM
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Thanks, there are also sonar records at lake Champlain which record something like a beluga whale's calls, but not exactly right for a beluga. Dale D.
The earlier postings in this string had included a longer piece on South Bay Bessie, the Lake Erie monster, and I had theorized that the bottlenosed whale looked like the witness' sketches and the photographs. Bottlenose whales are also known to go up small rivers and sometimes strand themselves: a famous recent example had one getting stuck up the Thames and needing to be airlifted out again. Furthermore they often look a sort of greenish brown or greenish grey. I subsequently told Sam that was what I thought he had seen and the description he gave matches many others for "South Bay Bessie"
Best Wishes, Dale D.


  1. I went online and found a photograph taken by a young hiker in 1977 that is alleged to show Lake Superior's elusive lake monster known as "pressie." The alleged monster in the photo (when I zoomed in) looked like a sperm whale, dolphin, or other cetacean to me.
    Google the search term "pressie lake monster photo" if you want to view it and decide for yourself what it shows.

  2. "Pressie" is almost a large seal-but ONLY a large seal. There is already a blog in the works on the subject. You seem to have a remarkable knowledge of the private correspondence between Jay Cooney and myself, this is at least the third or fourth time you've mentioned things we were discussing matters over the Facebook messenger that you've brought up the same exact matter at a slightly later date.


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