Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lake Monster in Maine

According to Charles M. Skinner's old folklore compendium, Myths and Legends of Our Own Land (1896), Sysladobsis Lake (known affectionately to some vacationers as "Dobsey") is home to a lake monster:
Sysladobosis (sic) Lake, in Maine, has a snake with a head like a dog's, but it is hardly worth mentioning because it is only eight feet long -- hardly longer than the name of the lake. More enterprise is shown across the border, for Skiff Lake, New Brunswick, has a similar snake thirty feet long. summarizes the neighborhood thusly, with no mention of monsters: "The loop comprised of Pocumcus, Junior, and Sysladobsis lakes in the heart of eastern Maine’s lake country offers one of the best extended quiet-water loop trips in the state, especially when one detours for a few days into Scraggly Lake. These lakes flow into the St. Croix River, which forms the southeastern border between Maine and New Brunswick. Because you can end up where you started, the trip requires just one car. But be aware that these are large lakes; under breezy conditions, large waves can build up quickly, making paddling difficult and, at times, quite dangerous."

The lake (consisting of an Upper and Lower lake) straddles the Washington and Penobscot counties. Personally, I find the name "Scraggly Lake" very alluring in a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree kind of way.


Chris said...

Here's weird coincidence: Just yesterday I ran across a marriage record for a woman who lived at "Dobsis Lake." According to the database of Maine marriages between 1892 and 1996, she was the only person from there ever to get married. I guess the lake monster must have scared off the rest of the wedding parties.

I'm wondering about the origin of the name "Sysladobsis." It's as if someone tried to turn an Abenaki word into Latin.

Michelle said...

Chris said:
I guess the lake monster must have scared off the rest of the wedding parties.

... and then I laughed.

But look! There are some very nice photos of it that someone took, here.

Chris said...

When you said "it" I of course thought you meant the monster. Nice lake, but I'm a little disappointed.

Michelle said...

Ohhh.... sorry Chris! Wow, I had no idea what a tantalizing sentence I had typed. How insensitive of me.

Charlie K said...

I can't help but wonder if the so-called "monster" with 8' body and head of a dog might have actually been an Atlantic sturgeon? They grow quite big, 8' wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility and their head might resemble a dog to some. The dam at the outlet of Sysladobsis wasn't buuilt until 1862, so it's not out of the question that a sturgeon might have found it's way upstream from the sea. Meanwhile, I'll keep watch over the lake and report any new sightings! I did see a moose swim by my camp 3 years ago.