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The Strange Story of the Lake Leelanau Monster

At the end of May, I was in Michigan for about a week, and while there, I got a change to stop at Lake Leelanau. For those who don't know, the lake is (possibly) home to one of the weirdest lake monsters ever reported!

The Cryptid Wiki says of this especially-strange creature:

"This strange and brilliantly camouflaged creature is allegedly responsible for scaring one teenage angler nearly to death and has got to be one of the weirdest lake cryptids ever chronicled."

Indeed, it is.
Dr. John G. Seulzer East Leeland Memorial Park,
where I stopped at

Lake Leelanau is formed by two adjacent lakes in Leeland County, Michigan. The North lake has a max reported depth of about 120 feet, and the south lake has one of 62 feet. And the Cryptid Wiki is right when they say that "while the lakes themselves may be relatively nondescript, the creature that supposedly dwells beneath their muddy depths is anything but."

So, what does this Lake Leelanau monster look like?

In the late 1800s, a dam was built on the lake that rose the water level 10-12 feet. That is supposedly when the monster was first seen. A marsh-like area was created around the lake because of this and that is where the monster is supposed to dwell.

While the Cryptid Wiki says that there are "purportedly scores of reports of this nefarious beast," I have only heard of one, which occurred in 1910.

A young man, William Gauthier, was fishing on Lake Leelanau and had rowed to an area in the lake where there were several dead cedar trees. He got close enough to one to tie his rope around one of the branches, but when he tried to do so, he realized that the "tree" was alive!

When he put his rope not he branch, it opened its eyes! He and the mystery thing stared at each other at eye level for a few seconds before the creature dove beneath his boat.

Gauthier claimed that the beast was so long that when its head appeared on the other side of the boat, its tail was still on the side that it was one when he first noticed it!

Supposedly, Gauthier said, others had seen the thing as well, but refused to speak publicly about it.

Gauthier's great-grandson believes he saw what he said he saw, and says he did not fish on the lake for many years after the experience.
Artists drawing of the creature.
(Cryptid Wiki)

That is the only sighting of this monster with any reported detail, so there obviously haven't been any since then. And, not surprisingly, probably, I saw nothing out of the ordinary while I was there.

Does that mean the Lake Leelanau monster is gone, if it was even there in the first place? If it was just something that got trapped when the dam was built, it is most definitely dead by now. But was it the only one? What if there are still strange creatures living in Lake Leelanau, but they only look like tree trunks, like this one? Could people be going right by them and not even knowing it?

The mystery to what the Lake Leelanau monster is remains unsolved, and probably will forever.
The lake


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