George Winters is the famous Indiana artist who came to Logansport to paint the few remaining Native Americans. They were not paying artist so Mr. Winters found himself in need of additional employment. Winter became a reporter for the local paper The Logansport Telegraph. He was constantly looking for a good story and with the help of a local fisher man in 1847 he found a dozy.
A local fisher man had told Winters about a strange creature that lurked in the waters of Lake Manitou near the town of Rochester. The fisherman swore the creature was some sort of large fresh water serpent. Winters set out to investigate the claim and had his own encounter supposedly with the strange creature. He described the creature as follows in the paper “This beast was sixty feet in length, had a frontal bone three feet across, eyes as big as saucers and a forked tongue as red as blood.”
The good people of Logansport sent out parties to rid the lake of the horrifying monster. Winters had even provided a sketch so that hunting parties would know the creature when they saw it. It was unlikely to be confused with a large mouth bass. Unfortunately, none of the expeditions were successful in their hunt for the Serpent of the Manitou. We have no record in any beer or ale was used by the participants to drum up their courage. One can judge from the sightings that many may have partaken of liquid courage of some sort.
The source of the Serpent in Manitou might be explained by the following Chippewa Indian legend but it was not clear to me that it was the same lake Manitou as these Indians were native to Canada, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The story is taken from the following site: http://www.indigenouspeople.org/natlit/ipl_final.html.
The presence of lake monsters is not new. Kelpies were magical fresh water horses that lured women with their beauty into the lakes of Scotland and Ireland. They were said to have skin like seals. Later these fresh water horse monsters started to resemble the more common sea serpent or sea monster. Various lake monsters have been present in the lore of both Native Americans and Europeans throughout the world. Some believe that real lake monsters are simply cases where a water dwelling dinosaurs have continued to exist. Others believe they are some new species of fresh water eels.
Lake Monsters have and will always be a source of revenue for the areas that they haunt. Loch Ness, Lake Champlain and the Okanogan Valley all are areas whose monsters popularity has drawn in local tourism.
Modern technology has made Winter’s sketch method obsolete and now there are films and still photos in of various more famous lake dwelling Monsters. Having monitored the local Logansport newspaper I can say that the lake Manitou Indiana monster is hibernating or on holiday as there have been no recent sightings.
http://www.americanmonsters.com/monsters/lakemonsters/index.php : information on international Lake Monsters and American Lake Monsters.
http://casscountyin.tripod.com/legends.htm The account of George Winter and the lake monster.