Friday, June 19, 2009

A Tribute to the Lake Erie Monster

On Father's Day 2005 (June 19th), Dale and Gerard Schofield debuted their own personal tribute to their recently deceased father, Thomas. In 1994, Thomas decided to pay tribute to an area's local legend by building a full-scale replica. Sightings of the Lake Erie Monster, also known as South Bay Bessie or just Bessie, date back to 1793 and have continued sporadically in recent years (see Lake Erie). A flurry of sightings in the late-1980s/early-1990s inspired one bordering town to capitalize on the marketing potential. In 1990, the town of Huron, Ohio passed a proclamation that declared the town was the “National Live Capture and Control Center for the Lake Erie Monster.” To further their cause, the local businesses joined efforts to raise $102,700 for the live capture of the creature, as well as built a containment pen where Bessie would be relocated if captured.

Schofield joined in on the fun in 1994 and released his 35-foot replica of Bessie in a marshy area near the Huron River and in full-view of passing motorists on SR-2. The sculpture was firmly embraced by the local community and remained in place until 2004 when it mysteriously disappeared following Schofield's death. The marsh area would remain empty for one more year until Schofield's sons stepped up. On Father's Day, the two men payed tribute to their father by building their own sculpture and even gave it its own “baby monster” to keep it company. At last word, the sculpture had been damaged, but no word on if it has been repaired or whether it has managed to stay around this time. As for Huron, Ohio – No lake monster (alive or dead) has ever been turned in for the reward, but the reward is still out there.

Read more tales of Bessie and Huron.

-Casey H.

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