We’ve all heard of the great Loch Ness Monster and his (or her) stateside cousin, Chessie; but did you know that Maine is home to a few mysterious water creatures of its own? If you’re brave enough to investigate the legends, here’s everything you need to know about these majestic beasts. Just watch out for the Maine Sasquatch while you’re out in the wilderness!
Cassie – The Sea Serpent of Casco Bay
Named for the bay where she has been most frequently spotted, Cassie has been making appearances in the Penobscot and Portland Bays as well since the 18th century. The sailing vessel, Protector first encountered her in 1779 and described her as a serpent-like creature of about 45-feet long with a neck that stretched 10 feet out of the water. Cassie was described to hang around and float on the surface of the water and even show curiosity towards passing ships.
The last reported sighting occurred in 1958 near Portland Bay. Ole Mikkelson described Cassie as being more than 100-feet long with a powerful tail like that of a mackerel. He also described her signature giraffe-like neck and large head. The animal boldly lingered near Mikkelson’s boat, taking her time in investigating his fishing nets before finally ducking beneath the water.
Has Cassie simply moved on to deeper, quieter waters like many of Maine’s sea creatures? Has she finally passed away after three centuries? Or could it be that she has always been a mere myth?
Ponik, Lake Pohenagamook
Calling all photographers! There is a $500,000 reward available for anyone who can manage to capture the elusive Ponik on film. Sightings began in Lake Pohenagamook in 1873 and mostly occur on the Canadian side. Early reports include terrifying accounts of a massive dragon-like beast walking along the shore and breathing flames.
Later sightings claim that Ponik has a huge head resembling a horse, flippers instead of limbs, and a serpentine body that creates humps in the water much like Nessie. As recently as 1990, Ponik was spotted near Quebec by the Mayor of the city of Pohenagamook, Guy LeBlanc. While his boating companions believe they saw a giant sturgeon, LeBlanc was not so sure…
Pocomoonshine Lake Monster
The legend of the serpentine creature of Washington County began with an Algonquin legend. An epic lake fight between a powerful shaman named John Neptune – in the form of a giant snail – and a Micmac chieftain – posing as a 40-foot-long snake – resulted in the death of the chieftain. Neptune is said to have tied the dead serpent to a tree near the lake.
European settlers began to describe a creature in the Pocomoonshine Lake in 1882. Based on their descriptions of it undulating through the water and the trail marks it has left in the sand, the monster could be between 30 and 60 feet.
Saco River Curse – York
The oldest of the Maine water monster legends dates back to 1547. It is said that the Native Americans in the area worshipped an amphibious river creature. The wife and child of the tribe shaman were kidnapped and thrown from the Saco Falls that year by three drunken white sailors. The shaman used his magic to curse the water, requesting that the beast that lived within it kill three white men per year as revenge for the murder of his family.
The Saco River Monster has a very different appearance than your average water beast. He is sometimes referred to as the White Monkey due to his frighteningly human appearance. He is said to lurk beneath the surface, snatching prey with his webbed hands. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church claimed to have witnessed the creature in 1820 at the age of 12. The White Monkey’s was last documented appearance was in 1970.