Wednesday, January 06, 2016

A Few Vintage 'River Monster' Accounts

Here are a few interesting 'river monster' newspaper accounts from the turn of the 20th century:


Owensboro, Ky October 1, 1904

Recently reports were published that a monster of huge dimensions had been seen several times in Green River. The following story dis now vouched for"

"There as a great deal of excitement about the river monster that has been seen several times below Rumsey. It recently devoured half a horse near Wrightsburg."

"The monster was seen crossing the river at Rumsey Monday night. Its size is estimated all the way from the size of a horse to the size of a house. Some declare it to be about two hundred feet long."

The correspondent fails to relate in what condition the horse was when it was devoured by the monster. The theory is being advanced by the residents of the Rumsey neighborhood that the monster is a sea horse, which has escaped from a circus. - The Paducah Evening Sun, October 01, 1904




Mr. J. W. Gilley of Port Inglis, reports that while coming up the river last Saturday in company with L. R. Brown, H. Swinney and W. H. O'Urian they sighted a huge fish about one mile from Crystal River, at Miller Creek, says the Crystal River News.

As they drew nearer, the monster gave a tremendous splash which threatened to drown the party as well as everything else on the river, and Mr. Gilley made the discovery that it was a grampus whale. Mr. Gilley has had much experience on the briney deep, and says he knows a whale when he sees one. He says that it was 50 or 45 feet in length and he hadn't had anything stronger than coffee that morning either. Several other people have reported seeing the whale within the last few days. There is some talk of getting up an expedition and making an effort to capture this fish with harpoons. - The Pensacola Journal, August 09, 1914

NOTE: a Grampus or Killer Whale, or possibly a Risso's Dolphin, are a rare sight in ocean waters (let alone a brackish river) in and around Florida...even in 1914 from the information I have found. Lon



The Winfield Free Press gives the account of the monster:

The sea serpent of the Atlantic coast resorts will have to take a back seat for a queer amphibious creature that is reported in the Walnut River here by W. H Kinney and H. G. Case, who were fishing near the mouth of Black Creek Wednesday. Kinney bears evidence of conflict of some kind, his wrist was gashed as with a saw. The wound, he says, was inflicted by the river monster when it made a desperate effort to get into a boat occupied by himself and his companion.

The two men were fishing for bass and channel catfish, when they saw the monster jump out of the water after a fish which Case had pulled up. The first sight of the creature led the men to believe that it was a huge eel, but its second appearance was more terrifying. The thing dashed close up to the boat after one or the captured fish. It had a long horn on its snout and measured about six feet in length. Its general facial appearance was like a catfish, except for the sharp horn. It was the horn which cut Kinney.

The strange visitor managed to crawl over the bow of the boat before the occupants could recover from their amazement. It impaled a bass which was lying on the bottom of the boat, and than went overboard again. As the creature slid back into the water it slapped its tall, which seemed to have sponge-like qualities, so fiercely that the air was filled with a fine spray that blinded and drenched the fishermen. - Norwich Bulletin, August 27, 1909

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