Stories tagged Lake Pepin

May
07
2008

Pepie comes out on days like this: Anything to get away from that clam, you know?
Pepie comes out on days like this: Anything to get away from that clam, you know?Courtesy _kristin_
Or die trying, kiddos.

No, seriously, don’t die trying. We need you, Buzzketeers. I need you!

But get a load of this: There’s a fifty thousand dollar reward out for undisputable evidence of “Pepie,” Lake Pepin’s very own aquatic monster. Think of all the stuff you could do with fifty thousand dollars! Like, you could give twenty five thousand to me, JGordon, and then spend the rest on penny candy! If penny candy existed anymore. Or, you could give twenty five thousand to me, and spend the rest on a twenty thousand dollar car and a five thousand dollar suit. Or, you could give twenty five thousand dollars to me, and then invest the rest in a low-risk mutual fund, and pay for your kids to go to college!

Those are about all the ideas I’ve got.

Anyway, find a spot on the cryptocouch, and prepare yourself for the legend of “Pepie.” Supposedly Lake Pepin locals have been reporting sightings of a large, mysterious aquatic creature for over a hundred years—ever since 1871. An early artist’s impression of the creature depicts it with a “hypnotic red eye, and a demon-like head,” with more recent sightings generally describing your classic series of humps and head sea serpent thing. Boaters claim to have been received the attention of the beast as well, telling stories of loud knocks on the hull, followed by “violent back and forth swings of the boat.”

According to Larry Nielson, Lake Pepin’s tourism bureau spokesman, the Dakota people who once lived on the shores of Lake Pepin refused to paddle across the lake in fragile birch bark canoes, preferring more solid dugouts as protection from the creature.

Lake Pepin, lying between Minnesota and Wisconsin, is both fed and drained by the Mississippi River, and just happens to be nearly identical in size to Scotland’s Loch Ness (~22 miles long by 2 miles wide), leading some to wonder if the creatures might be related, sort of like how I might be related to any other person who lives in a tiny room heaped with dirty laundry. Considering how Lake Pepin is less than a tenth of the depth of the loch (63 feet compared to 750 feet), it could be that Pepie is Nessie’s (relatively) hydrophobic cousin.

To claim your (our) fifty grand, you’ll need a biological sample, or a clear photograph of the creature with a Lake Pepin landmark in the frame for verification. It has been stressed, however, that Pepie must not be harmed by your evidence gathering, or else the deal’s off.

You can submit evidence, stories, or comments to the Find Pepie website at [email protected]. Or you can send them to me, here at Science Buzz—just think of me as your monster hunting agent.

A couple of side notes:

You’ll recall a certain Buzz story in which we learned of another reward for monster evidence, a reward which boosted both sightings and interest in the area. At least Lake Pepin is a little closer.

Also, Lake Pepin is actually said to have a two creatures, the second being…wait for it…a giant clam. Eh… Supposedly “Clara the Clam” is the mother of all Lake Pepin’s freshwater mussels. Not the most, um, exciting creature, but it could be that she wants revenge for all the clam children she lost to the mother of pearl industry. That’s the direction I’d take it, anyway; I think Clara was invented before people realized that marketing should be, you know, interesting.