Elsie where are you

Monster in the lake

You would imagine that almost any large body of water would have some type of monster in it. Of course the sightings for the most part are perhaps in the imagination of the person. But no one will ever be sure till we have some type of visual proof.

Well it seems that Lake Elsinore has not escaped this folklore or whatever you want to call it. You would suppose that lakes that are in highly populated areas that seem to have monsters every bit as odd and baffling as those purported to lurk in the more isolated areas of the world, and indeed even more so in smaller lakes.

Well just east of the majestic Santa Ana Mountains and at the finishing point of the San Jacinto River is the sprawling deep blue Lake Elsinore. It happens to be the largest natural lake in the state of California. Originally known as Laguna Grande by early Spanish explorers, Lake Elsinore has a rich history in the region. Once used as a rest stop to camp and water animals for trappers, prospectors going to the Gold Rush, and for the great explorer of the Wild West, John Charles Frémont. Also used by the Air Force for some time, but also loved for the fishing.

But with all of the use of this lake, could it have some kind of a monster or serpent hiding in the depts of its cold blue water? Stories of strange creatures in the lake were first circulated by the Native Americans of the region, who long spoke of monstrous serpent-like beasts which were seen occasionally. Some of the early settlers of the area occasionally reported seeing a weird reptilian/dinosaur looking creature in the lake also.

As far back as 1884 we can find reports of a large creature with a long neck. Brent Swancer tells of a sensational sighting made in 1934 by a rancher named C.B. Greenstreet, who claimed that he had been out on the lake with his wife and daughter when they saw a huge water monster measuring 100 feet long and with a 30-foot tail, which was swimming lazily near the surface. They observed it for a time before whatever it was suddenly took off with a burst of speed, leaving “Waves as high as light posts” in its wake. The encounter was apparently so upsetting that Greenstreet’s wife and daughter refused to go back to the lake from that day on.

Of course that bit of news was reported and printed in several news publications at the time. The , the Modesto Bee and News-Herald. Soon after that it became known as “Elsie.” Also the name “Elsinore” is also a name in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Then again In 1967, a family who was boating on the lake reported sighting “Elsie” that they described as being a huge dark, slender shape which rolled as it swam and had humps that poked above the surface.

Then just a few more years later few years later, in 1970, one witness by the name of Bonne Play allegedly saw the creature not once, but twice. Play described the lake monster as being around 12 feet in length, with humps and a saurian appearance. Not long after this, 3 state park officials reported seeing the creature cruising along not 50 feet from their boat, and it was said to be around 12 feet long, with 3 or 4 humps and some sort of spines protruding from its back.

At one time there was even a 122 foot-long, 15 foot- tall sculpture of Elsie constructed out of 5 pieces made of chicken wire, wood, black plastic sheeting and foam packing material in 1988 by a Brian Moucka and Jeanne Tanase. It was in parades and also towed around the lake till it was snagged on the lake bottom and ripped apart. The now battered sculpture, at last reports sits on private property.

So for now we will never know if the lake is hiding this monster or whatever it is. When I have talked about it to some of the locals they have a smile on their face and do mention it. Now it may have been just a way for some of the more colorful people in the area to call some attention to the area. Perhaps it might generate some tourist attraction, but in these modern time its far better for the city to spend funds on two signs on a freeway overpass that say “City of Lake Elsinore: Dream Extreme “ as you are going 70 miles per hour.

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