Maine’s lake monster you’ve never heard of

Courtesy of Melv_L - MACASR on Flickr.

Courtesy of Melv_L – MACASR on Flickr.

With all of the water and tree cover in Maine, it would be no surprise that an animal went undiscovered. Cryptids, animals that have not had their existence proven or disproven, have been sighted all over Maine. One such cryptid comes from a small lake in Washington County.

Pocomoonshine Lake is a four square mile lake in parts of Princeton and Alexander. It’s the alleged home of an alleged sea monster that is 4 feet wide and 30 to 60 feet long. The legend behind the monster stems from Native American conflict in the area. According to, a source reliable enough for myths:

The Algonquin Indians of Maine have seen a monster in Pocomoonshine Lake for centuries. Legend has it the monster is a result of a disagreement between an Algonquin shaman, and a chef of the Micmac. The Micmac chief turned into an enormous serpent, which the shaman vanquished and tied to a tree next to the lake.

The Alexander-Crawford Historical Society wrote about the monster at some point during the frenzy, comparing non-believers of the monster to “members of the Flat Earth Society.”

The only real sighting of the monster was based on a trail that came out of the lake. Sewell S. Quimby wrote to the Machias Union’s editor to refute the claims he heard, he said.

“Mr. Editor: As I was returning home Saturday night I heard a man say with great earnestness that he had seen the man that saw the great snake, and that they were going to lease the ground around Chain Lakes for a hunting ground; that they were already having great chains made, huge traps constructed, harpoons, lances, spears, gaffs and barbs in readiness when the spring opened, and were going to capture if possible the monster of the mighty deep, now landlocked in the small fresh water ponds of the Machias Chain Lakes.

“Just a little later I heard another person say, with the same vim, they had seen a man that saw the man that said he saw the great snake. … Hall and Libby were on the shore of Chain Lake … they heard a noise … and saw what they took to be a man and a skiff, but soon became convinced it was a serpent … its smallest part was as large as a pork barrel. He says when last seen in the outlet, it had left the water and passed a distant point of land covered with granite boulders.”

Quimby said the trail was because of freezing and thawing of the swamp, but he was probably just jealous he didn’t see a sea monster.

In Maine, there is only one species of water snake, the Northern water snake. At around 4 feet long, it doesn’t fit the size of sightings of the Pocomoonshine Lake Monster.

But, even during the time period of its sightings, a skeptic was already crushing dreams. Brewer businessman Manly Hardy said that the sightings could simply have been otters.

“Often four or five are seen in company. … When swimming, one is usually in the lead and the others follow in his wake with short intervals between each, and when their backs roll out of the water as they swim, three of four will often look like one body thirty or forty feet in length. The seeing of several swimming in this manner has undoubtedly given rise to the stories often repeated in our newspapers of large fresh-water snakes (serpents or monsters) being seen in our lakes.”

Let the people dream, Manly. Have you seen anything out of the ordinary in Maine’s lakes or woods?