Central Newfoundland’s Crescent Lake harbors a quaint fishing town – known as Robert’s Arm – along its shore, and a big secret in its depths. Known to the locals as “Cressie”, this animal has been reported as being eel-like in appearance and averaging between 5 and 15-feet in length [sometimes up to 25 feet-DD].
Chessie mock-ups, the last is a mock-up of Chessie's head representing it as an eel-like creature.
The first reports of this mysterious lake dweller can be traced back to pre-colonial Native American legends, which warned of the Woodum Haoot (Pond Devil) or Haoot Tuwedyee (Swimming Demon), both of which purportedly dwelled in the lake. Since the early 1900′s there have been numerous reports of encounters with this creature (or creatures) and not all of them have been pleasant.
One of the more recent accounts concerns the underwater search for the corpse of a downed pilot, who had crashed his plane into the depths of Crescent Lake in the mid-1980′s. The scuba divers, who braved the black depths of the lake in the hopes of finding the pilot’s corpse, found themselves surrounded by a vicious school of gigantic eels (described as being as thick as a man’s thigh) who proceeded to attack the them with voracious intensity. The divers retreated to the surface posthaste, neither of the divers was severely wounded, but both were visibly shaken by the event.
Another bizarre phenomenon which has been associated with creatures in Crescent Lake, involves mysterious holes which have been known to appear in the ice sheet which covers the water during the brutal, Newfoundland winters. Often mistaken (due to their size) as the results of tragic snowmobile accidents, divers who have mounted exploratory expeditions beneath the ice in order to ascertain the cause of the holes, rarely find any man-made objects to account for the ice rifts. This has, of course, led some to speculate that these tremendous breaks in the ice are not caused by something falling in, but, rather, by something bursting out.
On the afternoon of July 9, 1991, at approximately 12:00 PM a gigantic, eel-like entity was seen on the lake by retired school teacher and local newspaper correspondent, Fred Parsons. Parsons claimed to have seen a shadowy, 20-foot long, serpentine creature undulating across the surface of the lake.
Just two months later on September 5th, 1991, at about 4:30pm, Robert’s Arm native Pierce Rideout, was driving his pickup truck when he noticed a commotion on the surface of Crescent Lake. He watched a black, slow moving object (approximately 15-feet in length) drop below the surface and rise again: a black, some 500-feet beyond the shore.
Ironically, Rideout admitted that just a few days before his sighting he had openly ridiculed the idea of a “monster” in Crescent Lake, but that his attitude had changed since his not-so close encounter.
In July of 2000, Richard Goudie and Robbie Watkins were two of a group of people who saw Cressie while landscaping on the Hazelnut Hiking and Adventure Trail and as recently as August 14, 2003, the CBC published a report about a woman named Vivian Short who claimed to have seen a serpentine animal with a fish like head, which she believed could easily have been capable of devouring 4 or 5 swimmers.
On September 17, 2008 History Channel’s Monster Quest broadcast an episode entitled “Lake Monsters of the North,” which focused on the legends of the monster eels and in 2010, Robert’s Arm intends to revolve their 10-day (July 22 to 31) “Come home, spot Cressie, visit family and friends” celebration around the beast. According to Aubrey Golding, chair of the come home year committee:
“We have a unique theme for our come home year; one that centers around our Cressie. A lot of our events will also center around the lake and its monster, like a trail day at Hazelnut Hiking and Adventure Trail.”
Whatever it is that lurks beneath the waves in Crescent Lake — be it giant carnivorous eels or creatures as yet unknown — there can be no doubt that it is large, it is and vicious, and it remains one of the most credible North American lake cryptids.
F reshwater Monster of Newfoundland,
Etymology: After the lake.
Variant names: Cressiteras anguilloida (quasiscientific
name), Haoot tuwedyee (possibly
Beothuk/Algonquian, “swimming demon”),
Woodum haoot (“pond devil”).
Physical description: Serpentine. Length, 15
feet. Black. Rounded hump. No fins or flukes.
Behavior: Swims with a rolling motion.
Distribution: Crescent Lake, Newfoundland.
Significant sightings: Around June 7, 1960,
Bruce Anthony and three other loggers watched
an object that looked like an overturned boat
swim and cross a nearby sandbar.
On September 5, 1991, Pierce Rideout saw
an unusual wave and then a black, 15-foot animal
swimming with a rolling motion about 150
Possible explanation: An oversized American
eel (Anguilla rostrata), which normally grows to
less than 5 feet. Eels usually spawn in the ocean,
but they have never been seen in Tommy’s Arm
Brook, Crescent Lake’s only outlet to the sea.
However, the lake’s deeper water is saline,
which might allow the eels to stay in the lake to