I live in the Mid-Atlantic region where we are just shoveling out after a massive snowstorm. Where I live, three feet was dumped over a two-day period. While sitting indoors between shovelings, I began to think of a creature—a giant eel—that has been said to poke holes through the winter ice covering Lake Crescent in Newfoundland. I devoted a section to this creature, called Cressie, in my book. The following is an excerpt:
….Crescent Lake is lightly populated, with only 49 residents per square mile. The nearest settlement with over 50,000 people, is nearly an eight hour drive away. The winters in the region are cold, as one might expect, with the average nighttime temperature dipping to eight degrees Fahrenheit. The cold winters lead to extended periods of ice cover over the lake.
The mention of ice brings us to one of the oddities of Crescent Lake. Strange holes are often reported in the thick ice covering the lake during the winter months. It has been suggested that the holes are caused by tragic accidents such as snowmobilers falling through the ice. Investigations by divers trying to solve the riddle of the holes have found very few man-made objects on the lake floor, suggesting something other than accidents are creating the strange holes. Speculation abounds that perhaps the holes are caused by Cressie busting through the ice rather than people accidentally falling in. Adding to the mystery of the holes are tales and legends of a creature able to snatch its victims through thick sheets of ice.
A History of Sightings
There are sightings of a mysterious creature in Crescent Lake that date back for centuries. Tales of massive eels; eels the size of canoes with the strength to capsize boats are plentiful. The Native Americans in the region have legends and stories of swimming demons and water devils have been handed down for generations. In the Algonquin tongue, Cressie was called both Haoot tuwedyee and Woodun haoot, meaning swimming demon and pond devil respectively.
Cressie is said to swim with a rolling motion. It is black, with rounded humps, and has no fins. The creature is described by witnesses as being 20-30 feet long, with a featureless body, and a long pointy head.
Cressie looks like an eel according to eyewitness Fred Parsons, who saw the beast in 1991. He spoke of the creature saying, “…some kind of giant eel, that’s the way I would describe it.” Parsons first noticed the monster “laying on the water” and he observed it for an estimated 30-40 seconds. The animal seemed to vibrate according to Parsons, and ripples emanated from the creature’s body, spreading out in all directions. Parsons recalled being dumbfounded by the encounter.
Shortly after the Parsons sighting, Pierce Rideout had an encounter of his own. On September 5, 1991, an unusual wave caught Rideout’s attention. He saw a black creature 15 feet in length swimming about 150 yards from shore. The animal was swimming with a rolling motion. Rideout saw the creature dip below the water and rise again. In perhaps a case of poetic justice, Rideout claims that only days earlier he had mocked the thought of a lake monster inhabiting Crescent Lake.
On June 6, 1995, Effie Colbourne had a Cressie sighting that lasted an extraordinary amount of time. In fact, her encounter is the longest of any documented sighting. The chance encounter lasted approximately 15 minutes as Colbourne…