Monster Mondays: The Flathead Lake Monster

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monster4, originally uploaded by Boju.

As part of the Dapper Cadaver Blog’s Monster Monday’s project, today i bring you a sea creature from land locked Montana, The Flathead Lake Monster.

The fat and skinny of this beast is a 20-40 foot long creature variously described as a serpent, a fish, a whale, a dragon, and a pleisiosaur (aka Nessie).

It was first seen in 1889 and inhabits Flathead Lake in Montana, the largest lake west of the Mississippi. Since then it has been seen well over 80 reported times. The people of the area keep diligent records on it. It’s been three years to this very day since the last sighting, July 28th, 2005.

A moment on the pleisiosaur phenomenon – the fossil record has yielded no evidence of any fresh water pleisiosaurs ever. However, nearly all lake monster are described as pleisiosaurs. What makes the pleisiosaur so special, so iconic, that it has burned itself into our collective unconscious as “The Sea Monster” is, I believe, a matter of timing. The pleisiosaur is the first “dinosaur” (technically marine reptile) ever discovered. It’s unveiling marked the first time post enlightenment man was confronted with undeniable evidence that here there be dragons. We’re so used to the idea of dinoasurs and giants in the distant past that we cannot begin to understand the impact the first one had on our consciousness, especially in 1824, at a time when science and rationalism explicitly made it a mission of dispelling myth and superstition. Since then, all sea monsters look like pleisiosaurs some of the time.

Aside from the normal lake monster stuff- sightings by fishermen, campers, and motorists; no attacks, no photos, and no evidence- The Flathead Lake Monster has a remarkable talent for branding. It’s the only Lake Monster I’m aware of that’s both Registered and incorporated It also has it’s own brand of soda, which is very sweet, quite a bargain, and not very good monster bait.