Lake Michigan monster by Bob Hamilton

IMG_20170922_162628 I have a unique nose where I can sniff out monsters. And when I saw this monster from a helicopter I knew it was time to swing into action
Initially I got the hell out of there! Did you see the size of that thing? But my nose began twitching just like that lady on Bewitched. I knew there was a monster ready to capture. But I wasn’t sure what to do. Even though my bravery is beyond compare I almost wet my pants. I have one word of advice for anyone that sees this creature. Get the hell out of there! This is Monster Hunter Bob Hamilton signing off.

You will need a big worm for this one!

IMG_20170922_162715 you might need a record size warm to catch this baby. A friend sent me this picture of something interesting on Big Bass Lake. Instead of saying this is the one that got away you might want to say you got away! I think creature eats speed boats for lunch. And I don’t want to ask what eats for dinner!

The Legend of Redeye at Camp Martin Johnson

The Legend of Redeye is true for who could re-“herse” it? Throughout the decades at Camp Martin Johnson there have been many monsters but none like Redeye. Yes, Baby Bender might have had his appeal with he ability to rattle some kids or Stumpy might scare a few as well but none had the legend of Redeye behind them.

Redeye could only be found at Lakeview Cemetery and, yes, some locals did not like the undue attention that the staff and campers paid to that area.  Also his particular Redeye did not come out of a bottle but after observing it some counselors might have abided in a few rounds. 

Redeye was not from some institution like either the Baldwin or Sauble Mental Hospital’s but after seeing Redeye for the first time, some might have opted to find those two places and check themselves in!  And, Redeye was no mere tail light either.  So, what was it?

Redeye was an Indian brave who had lost his life on the original land before Martin Johnson purchased it.  He was killed in ambush and with his dying breath warned that his eye would not perish from that land.  And, from time to time, out of nowhere, this red-eye appears in the darkness.  Some believe it searches for its grave at Lakeview albeit an unmarked one. 

But here it is before your eyes at Lakeview as one former camper emailed it to me.  It is said to appear throughout that area yet today including the land once owned by the camp.  It is said to guard the boulder that lies over the grave of Martin Johnson yet today.  Beware of Redeye!

Legend of The White Loon

The boys of the Hoffman Estates Boys Club witnessed a marvelous wonder on a night where the Northern Lights shimmered over Big Bass Lake for they saw the image of The White Loon. This mystical bird makes its appearance only every decade or so over his ancestral home. I remember an old man by the name of Mose who told me about this loon and how the legend of it began way back in the 1800’s. Some say it is the reincarnated spirit of an old Indian who frequented the area at that time. Think about it. Manistee means “spirit of the woods” so is it so inconceivable to think of The White Loon as a disembodied Indian?

So on the night after the 4th of July the boys were feasted to a light display of the Northern Lights and all sorts of images appeared in that night sky. However that White Loon appeared at least three times which caught the boy’s attention. And at campfire that night they wanted to know more about that White Loon and so I gave them the legend. Of course the boys knew of the Indian burial grounds on Haunted Island so that is where the story began.

Long ago there was an Indian by the name of Salinetro. Many in his tribe thought he was a little over the edge as he always did strange things. While others hunted for game, he searched for his squaw who was always walking out on him. After a time his tribe sent Salinetro away on a spirit quest to determine just who he might be. He spent his time deep in the Manistee National Forest and had visions but all of them were of rather silly things.

Upon returning from his spirit quest and speaking of all his unusual visions, his tribe banished him to the wilderness. There he continued a relentless search for his squaw who all the time was safely back at the Indian village. Salinetro could not seen to distinguish fantasy from reality and went half crazy. He was dubbed The White Loon by his tribe and never again saw his people.

Legend has that he stumbled upon Big Bass Lake in the late 1800’s. He found out that Lake Natahki (the original name of BBL) was not named after him. Why it should have been is another mystery but since all this was in his crazed head, Salinetro could have named that lake anything. With his dying breath he swore that he would never abandon that lake and appear from time to time in the night sky.

Our kids witnessed one of those appearances as the White Loon distinctly was found in those Northern Lights. Some of the boys even imagined a cry from that loon as if in agony. In truth Salinetro’s whole life was one devoted to agony and disgrace. Yet there he was in the heavens as clear as a bell. What the boys couldn’t figure out is why Salinetro was so bent on presiding over Big Bass Lake when Loon Lake was just down the hill? Then again, perhaps he never had searched for his squaw at Loon Lake?

Bonepickers Evidence Revealed!

Some said that Greg had a fertile imagination but on one trip to the Haunted Island with the Hoffman Estates Boys Club, we were about to find out just how fertile that imagination was. After a brief story around the Haunted House we moved to the burial mounds for a tale about the Bonepicker’s. Greg sat off to himself a bit farther away from the other boys. He glanced over his shoulder and here is what he says he saw.

He saw a Bonepicker above the earth in a somewhat praying position. He turned away sharply and a few minutes later looked again and saw nothing. He interrupted my story to tell what he saw. The rest of us moved over to where he had said he saw the Bonepicker. But the only thing we saw was freshly unearthed dirt as if something had recently burrowed itself into the ground.

At that point the boys suggested we return to our camping site immediately but as we began to move out one boy stepped on a branch which cracked it loudly and everybody hit the ground. Back at the campsite the boys found out more in detail what Greg said he saw.

Did Greg witness an actual Bonepicker or was it all in his imagination? One thing is certain and that is where he saw his vision the earth had been recently burrowed. Was it a mole or something much larger? Had Greg really seen a bonifide Bonepicker?

Tracking Red Eye to It’s Lair by Bob Hamilton

This picture is what I observed in an earthen cave about five miles west of Beartrack. I had tracked Red Eye to its lair and what I saw left me speechless but more on that later. I was determined to find the hiding place of this creature that so many at Camp Martin Johnson had made mention about. Was it truly mythical or was it real? I found large and bizarre looking tracks about a mile west of Beartrack one morning as I had been searching that same area for over three hours. I began following them and they led me back to the same place I had started from. It was then that I realized I had been following my own footprints!

I began my search anew and then landed upon some tracks that I had never seen before. I had begun in this area after hearing rumors of some having seen some probing red eyes in the darkness earlier that year. The ones that saw those eyes had no desire to go after it but that was their loss. Just imagine how famous one could become if they found proof of the legendary Red Eye.

I had sought out the help of my friend Nick Horner but he was too busy in Farmersville to help me out. Nick goes in more for computer games than real life adventures. So without his help I was still determined to find Red Eye.

This time I slowly followed its trail to an earthen cave. To say that I was nervous was an understatement as beads of perspiration nearly blinded my eyes. I pulled out my bowie knife and entered the darkness. About thirty yards in I noticed what you can observe for yourself above. But then I saw it. Those flashing red eyes almost caused me to run out of that darkness as fast as I could. Yet the reality that I had cornered this creature made me change my mind. I thought of how best to kill it. But then I saw even more red. Beads of red tears poured from its eyes. I had compassion on this beast and backed out of the earthen cave slowly.

Red Eye apparently had some degree of feeling and how could I kill such a creature even for fame and glory. No, the legend of Red Eye must continue into perpetuity. At least I had seen it for myself. Besides there was an equal if not better chance of it killing me. From now the only Red Eye I want to see is the liquid kind. Nevertheless Red Eye does exist and that is a certainty.

Does Swamp Man Still Surface at ULBC Camp?

“Out of the depths when the full moon is bright, Comes the creature known as Swamp Man!”

As darkness covers Union League Camp, all the campers are seated on the natural hillside overlooking the lagoon.  A special Indian ceremony is being performed as two canoes glide up the lagoon quite peaceably.  All of a sudden the calm waters turn into a frenzy and Swamp Man, covered with seaweed, emerges from the depths tipping over each canoe.  Indian’s swim for their life as the kids make a mass exodus to their cabins.  No one has to tell them about bedtime tonight!

All that was part of the ritual of Swamp Man in the summer of 1970 at the camp.  Swamp Man made his grisly appearance at least four times that summer.  I’m at a loss as to why those same Indian’s made that journey up that swamp each time? 

Yet during that summer, very few kids ventured out into those woods at night as visions of Swamp Man danced through their heads.  Even Tent Counselor Gordie was apprehensive about that beast.  I wonder if Swamp Man is still around yet today?

Is Ward Hills Ski Area Cursed and Haunted by Montgomery Otis?

My grandfather, bearing the same name as my own, was said to have been killed at Ward Hills in the early 1960’s when he hit a tree while skiing. Soon thereafter the resort was sold to Camp Martin Johnson to be used as an alterative camp especially in the winter season. In my conversations with several ex-campers, on thing is crystal clear.  Several had heard a crunching sound behind them while they were on the crest of several ski hills but when they turned around, they saw no one.

Could my grandfather still be stalking that area year round?  Think about it.  No matter who has owned that land, no one owns it for long.  Since the camp owned it many believe even Ted Nugent once held the property under his name.  Then there were the recent owners who tried to fix up the Lodge and the area to be used for sledding and summer events. 

Some of those people also owned up to the place being haunted, especially at night.  When sledding they heard that mysterious crunching noise while observing no one behind them.  Could it be true that my grandfather Montgomery Otis is behind all this?  Has he cursed Ward Hills to the point where no one owns it for long? 

Again, the location is under private ownership but for how long?  Will they also hear those crunching sounds in the winter solace?  I have never comprehended the circumstances of my grandfather’s death so maybe it was not accidental after all?  Does Montgomery Otis still walk the lands of Ward Hills seeking the true cause of his death?

Manistee Forest Creature by Bob Hamilton

Several months ago I was camping in the Manistee Forest just north of Grand Rapids. As I ate my supper of beans I became aware of a growing pain in my gut. Soon I was withering on the ground in agony. And instead of getting the usual reaction to beans, my body was being torn asunder. I must have lost consciousness for a moment.

When I came to myself, I seemed quite different in feeling.  As I got to my feet I sensed an inner strength in me that I had never known before.  I moved to my truck and glanced into the windshield which caught my reflection.  Somehow those beans had transformed me into a hideous creature.  I can’t explain how but I sure hope they don’t market those beans to anyone else.

I found myself being able to uproot trees.  I literally roared and could not believe the sound coming from my lungs.  It was fearful to say the least, even to me.  What had I become?  How could I ever return to my job?  And how would my girl friend react to me?  How would she react to this new animal nature of mine?   I roared again in complete agony over my situation.

Thoughts entered my mind about men hunting me down for a trophy for their wall.  Worse still they may take me alive and make me a part of a freak show.  Just then another man emerged from the darkness and beheld me.  He literally screamed and ran as fast as he could away from me and I knew then that this was the start of a manhunt for me.

Just then my body was again wracked with horrific pain and I fell to the ground.  Again I lost consciousness.  This time, when I recovered, I was my old self again.  I took my supply of those beans and buried them in the woods.  No one should have to go through what I had experienced that night. 

Then I thought of that man who  I scared.  Who would believe his story without proof.  It would be he that would be charged with being some sort of crackpot. I can’t say for sure that this all wasn’t some sort of hideous dream but then there were those two trees that I ripped from the ground and they were still torn from the earth before me.  So what did happen to me that night? 

By the way,  I managed to draw a map of where I had buried those beans just in case I might need them again.  You just never know about those things.

Bigfoot Spotted in Manistee National Forest- Part Two by Nick Horner

The first rays of sunshine hit me directly in the face as I continued to pursue Bigfoot further away from my campsite and into the heart of theManisteeNational Forest.  My right hand clutched my bowie-knife tightly not knowing when it might be put to use.  And the stench of that creature still permeated my nostrils making them near red hot with pain.  Just then, I thought I caught another glimpse of him among the trees.  It had a dark gray shaggy coat of fur and I could swear I saw patches of it littered throughout the forest.

I kept asking myself why I was pursuing such a large creature by myself.  It was almost as if I were possessed.  I had to confront that beast.  I knew now that it wasn’t my friend Bob for even he couldn’t smell that bad.  I was on the trail of the real Bigfoot and if I caught up to him, I’d either be famous or dead.  But who would ever find me this far from my campsite?  I’m glad I had the foresight to bring my compass with me so that I could find my way back. 

Just then something swung me around as I had been lost in my thoughts and was not thinking clearly at the time.  I came face to snout with Bigfoot.  My legs wanted to run but were frozen in place.  Yet his aroma nearly knocked me from my feet.  “Please don’t kill me”, I sobbed thinking for the first time how foolish I had been to pursue him by myself.  His eyes nearly burned into me and he swung his arm knocking my knife out of my hand.  This was the end I thought.  He then growled saying, “Ok!” and ambled off into the forest.

Just then I awoke in a cold sweat but not back at my campsite.  I was in my bedroom and my son, Luke, was towering over me.  “Dad, you were watching Harry and the Henderson’s again”.  That couldn’t be it as that stench was still all about me.  Just then my wife passed me shouting, “Nick!  Shower!  Now!”  I sheepishly grinned now knowing the origin of that aroma saying, “Ok!”

Bigfoot Spotted in Manistee National Forest- Part One by Nick Horner

I was taking a holiday in the Manistee National Forest last summer when I became aware of a presence watching me.  Armed only with a bowie-knife I held it tight at my side.  The stench permeated my nostrils to the near point of madness.  Then suddenly it seemingly vanished as if I were alone again. 

I rose and began stalking what was only moments ago sizing me up.  The aroma left behind reminded me of an acquaintance Bob Hamilton.  The tracks the creature left were about his size and weight.  As I glanced up I thought I saw something near a tree.  It also appeared like Bob but more hairy in nature.  Still that aroma was most familiar.

For a time I followed his trail more by his droppings than anything else.  I must have been on the right track because the droppings were smaller than Bob’s.   Much smaller!   Could this really be Bob in some sort of costume?  The companions were staggering to say the least.  Yet his gait was far more distance than Bob could adequately cover. 

When I spotted him among the trees fear gripped me like never before.  If it had been Bob, my food supply would last only a few hours.  I do recall how he could put food away.  However, if this really was Bigfoot what would I do?  And what sane person would be even trailing him by themselves armed only with a bowie-knife?

I must have walked four miles before I engaged this creature again and that I shall detail in my next report on the morrow. 

Spirit of the Wood’s Ghost Cloud

The boys from the Salesian Boys Club spotted this cloud while on a hike just off of our property near Beartrack. Mike Myers dubbed it “The Ghost Cloud” because it seemed to have a life all its own. At first it appeared like a fog bank but then lifted itself skyward.  It then hovered over these few trees for nearly a half hour.  But the way it did all this was so mysterious and spooky that the boys couldn’t take their eyes off it.

Even I was dumbstruck over this event.  I had never seen a cloud operate like that.  Perhaps Mike was right in calling it a ghost cloud.  And seen we were within the boundaries of the Manistee National Forest, which means Spirit of the Woods, perhaps we actually witnessed that “spirit” in operation.  It sure didn’t function like any cloud I had ever seen.

Then after thirty minutes or so the cloud just seemed to evaporate into nothingness.  All the way back to our property that was the subject of conversation by all the boys combined.  Perhaps we had all been present for that spirit of the woods to manifest itself to us?  And, I have never seen its like again on any other trip to our property. 

Loon Lake’s Shoreline Recession Solved by Bob Hamilton

So interested was I as to why Loon Lake’s shoreline was receding that I commissioned the services of the Ed Hawk’s Oceanology Diving Bell to get to the literal bottom of the issue.  It was no easy task to be sure.  First off, I had a heck of a time fitting into that bell in the first place.  But five men, pushing and shoving, finally got me in,  I wondered,though, how I would get out since I was the only one going down into the depths of Loon Lake?

When I peered out the porthole of the diving bell, I first thought I had seen Nick Horner scuba diving.  Soon thereafter I discovered this creature and for something that size to exist he must drink a heck of a lot of water.  I was jut hoping he would not perceive my bell to be some sort of pill for him to swallow as well.

Then I discovered that it was only an old girl friend of mine covered with seaweed to give me the scare of my life. O’le Sharon was always so bug-eyed about me in those days. And she must have thought me to be a pill now. Anyway the mystery of Loon Lake’s shoreline recession is now solved.

Next I might tackle the Loch Ness Monster legend but ifyou want me to ferret out a monster write me at Bob Hamilton, Monster Hunter, 6201 Gregory Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46241..

Had a Bonepicker Invaded Our Camp?

Yesterday I spoke of the “haunting spirit” that draped itself over our camp site on our property on Big Bass Lake. Well it was heightened the night after our journey to the Haunted Island and House not to mention hearing of the Bonepicker’s. So after a short hike the following evening, we returned to camp for a campfire with the Hoffman Estates Boys Club kids.

As we were roasting some marshmallows, one of the boys glanced behind him and down the shoreline a bit and horror came to his eyes as he beheld what he thought was a Bonepicker coming ashore. He related that to the other kids and they thought he was crazy until another youngster said he saw the same thing. Then everyone else wasn’t too sure and they huddled closer to the fire.

I told the kids that I had never heard of Bonepickers leaving that island much less raiding a campsite. Yet Billy insisted that he saw one not twenty yards away. So by myself, I walked down the shoreline until I saw what Billy had thought he had seen. I beckoned the kids forward twice for the first time they were rather unwilling. But as they approached what Billy had seen they all broke into laughter. It was a series of branches that resembled a creature but it was nothing else whatsoever.

All of what Billy saw was a combination of the previous nights adventure added to a little imagination on his part. Yet for a moment all the boys felt that same haunting spirit that so envelops our campsite especially when night falls on the area. For some reason that same spirit never affected the kids in the daylight hours. I suppose there is something to be said for our journeys to the Haunted Island which stood before them each and every night of our trip in full view of their eyes.

Yet each trip, on the way home, you’d think that the Haunted Island was nothing what with all the bravado going on about it. You’d think that they never even knew the meaning of the word scared at that time. That is, until the next camping trip to our property and then that same haunting spirit seemed to return. Hmm?

The Creature of Shanty Falls

I once heard about some Civil War ghost that was said to haunt Shanty Falls but never put much store in that legend. But what about the Creature of Shanty Falls? Just to the east of Shanty Falls is nearly a mile solid of granite walls with many caves within them that could serve as dens for this creature.

I first heard of it when on a trip there with the Marion YMCA boys.  A local resident was back their fishing and told our boys about this beast.  He noted that it only came out at night to feast on what it could catch.  And, with all my trips to Shanty Falls never had one been at night.  Yet in searching that granite wall area our kids did observe several caves both on the ground level and even higher up in the cliffs. 

We never ventured into the caves for safety reasons.  The majority of them would have had to be crawled into however the higher caves looked like one could walk upright into those.  Some of the caves had a pungent odor to them, even worse than that of a skunk.  Could it have been the odor of that creature? 

The fisherman described the Creature as being similar to an upright wolf walking on two paws.  He said that twice he had heard it baying at night when fishing above the falls but never even thought of checking it out.  He said the cry was blood curdling.  Fact or legend?  I suppose the only way to really check it out would be to night camp at or near the falls to find out. 

Any takers?

Night Monsters in Big Bass Lake

First night imagination was great on any camping trip and with the Marion Boys Club it was no exception. The imagination starts to flare up after the evening campfire as the embers provide little light. Now and then the boys would hear sounds coming from Big Bass Lake that they could not identify. Add to that, the evening campfire spoke of a monster lurking beneath the darkness of the waters.

Then every sound the boys heard was amplified according to each of their vivid imaginations.  Calvin Little heard what he thought was a splash in the water so he headed right for his tent.  One boy was sitting on the portable potty and a nut fell on his head and he thought the sky was falling. 

Then there was Kenny Huffman who thought he saw something surfacing out in Big Bass Lake while he was soaking his feet in the lake.  He quickly withdrew to his tent.  I often wondered how the boys could think that a canvas tent would protect them from their imagined monsters?  Even the croak of a frog sent boys scattering in every direction in the thick darkness. 

Of course, when offered, no one wanted to go rowing that evening.  I sometimes wondered what those frogs, squirrels, and other living creatures thought about how those great big boys were so frightened by them?  I think I know now what creature comforts means.  Or to be a boy again with all that imagination!

Myers and The Bonepickers

On a trip to the Haunted Island with the Salesian Boys Club, after we visited the Haunted House, we came upon the area where the Bonepickers were buried.  Mike Myers went a little away from the rest of the group and all of a sudden we heard him scream.  We ran to him and found him badly shaken.  He said that he saw an actual Bonepicker. 

 Immediately we fanned out in all directions but could not locate anything even close to resembling what Mike told us.  The other kids thought he was putting us on to add even more to the scared affect they were already feeling about the Haunted House.  But then Mike pointed to the ground and we beheld what you see below.  It was almost as if Mike’s image was burned into the ground after seeing what he thought he had.  Even though none of us saw a Bonepicker that night we couldn’t dismiss that image. 

 So what DID Mike really see that night?  Needless to say, the kids didn’t need any prompting to return to our wooded beachfront that night.  Perhaps what Mike saw was a figment of his own imagination.  Or perhaps not??

The Quagmire Creature Encounters Mark O’Brien

Once on a trip with the Marion Boys Club one of our boys was using the commode late at night and said he heard bushes moving about behind him near the quagmire swamp and thought he had encountered The Quagmire Creature.

This monster is said to have inhabited the quagmire swamp behind our wooded beachfront.  This is one thing that I have never mentioned before about our property because only two boys from separate clubs ever related to experiencing it. 

We could never find any evidence of any sort of tracks the next morning following that incident.  Jay reported hearing low growling sounds behind him.  He finished his business quickly and ran back to the tents but told no one until morning.

On a trip with the Hoffman Estates Boys Club, Mark O’Brien also reported seeing the Quagmire Creature.  Whereas the first boy only heard the creature, Mark said he actually saw it.  He was collecting wood behind our campsite a good fifty yards away from the main site when he saw this creature emerge from the bog and advance toward him.  He must have been observing Mark from the swamp for some time.

Mark himself was a troublesome youth and was always getting into mischeif.  He appeared angelic but within him were many devils.  I can only speculate that Mark may well have seen him and maybe even encountered him.  But when the Quagmire Creature came face to face with Mark it was probably more than it bargained for.  When the boys heard his accounting of the incident many believed that it was the creature that fled for his life and was never to be seen or heard again. 

You’d have to know Mark to really appreciate this accounting.  But never again on any boys club trip was there any sighting of The Quagmire Creature.  Once with Mark was more than enough for it I am certain.  I can almost visualize it jumping headfirst into that swamp never to be heard from again.  What a pity for it made for great campfire stories.

Night of the Michigan Dogman Attack

The Hoffman Estates Boys Club kids were just past the tree farm down the Bloody Antler Trail when they heard a blood curdling growl. In the tree farm behind us we saw a figure running across the meadow. It appeared to be a human body but with a grotesque head. I had heard tell of the stories of the Michigan Dogman and perhaps that is what we were all seeing.

He suddenly stopped in his tracks and glared at us even though we were about seventy yards away. He looked skyward and screamed in agony sending the boys close around me. Then he came forth in almost a charge. Before we knew it, he was in front of us. A strange dog like head was what we took in and two older boys picked up a large branch to hold it off. But he shook those branches aside as if they were toothpicks.

I moved forward to protect the boys and the thing shoved me to the ground as if I were nothing. Before I knew it shirts were being torn ascender and screams filled the air. I grabbed the creature from behind and he shook me loose in no time flat and set upon the older boys again. By now it was evident that we had encountered the Dogman as his head was very visible to us. It acted as if it were insane.

The creature ignored the smaller boys and continued his assault on both me and the two older boys. One boy he flung ten feet through the air and the smaller kids went to his side to assist and protect him. Throughout the attack the Dogman shrieked that blood curdling howl as if it were wounded.

After about ten minutes, which seemed like an hour, it moved off without giving us any more due attention. The next thing I knew I was getting myself off the ground from my tent in full perspiration. What a nightmare that was! It made me ponder if the legend of the Dogman was real or not. But for that dream it was more than real. It was a terrifying nightmare!

The Legend of the Michigan Dogman

The Michigan Dogman first appeared in 1887 and is said to roam northwest Michigan. Two lumberjacks initially supposedly saw him and described him as a creature with a man’s body and a dogs head. There is no mention on how much ale they might have consumed that night at their local tavern.

The Dogman could well be Michigan’s answer to the Bigfoot legend as stories abound on this creature as living in the Manistee National Forest. He even has a song named after him called, The Legend.

In 2007 a digital film of an encounter with the Dogman was made. The entire film is 3.5 minutes long, and appears to have been shot in the mid to late 1970s. Early scenes are typical home movie fare: children riding snowmobiles, a German shepherd, a person chopping wood, etc. Toward the end of the film, the photographer is shooting from inside a moving vehicle traveling along a dirt road, when he spots what appears to be a gorilla-like animal moving in a field on the passenger side of the vehicle. The photographer exits the vehicle and seems to pursue the creature for several seconds. Then it appears again, facing the photographer from a ridge about 150 feet away. After a few seconds the creature charges. Rapid movement of the camera suggests the photographer is fleeing the attack. In the last five seconds of the film, there is a flash of teeth and muzzle, and the camera drops to the ground, laying on its left side.

After years of analysis and debate, the film was finally revealed as a hoax in the finale episode of Monster Quest on March 24, 2010. The Gable Film had been shot using vintage cameras, film, and period props by Mike Agrusa, a fan of “The Legend,” song. Monster Quest claimed their investigative team uncovered irregularities in the film, and then forced the hoaxers to confess to werewolf expert Linda Godfrey. However the Hoaxers say that they told “Monster Quest” from the beginning that the film was a fake and they fabricated the “investigation” to make a more interesting episode.

Still, the Michigan Dogman does make for good ghost stories around the campfire and who really knows what’s lurking in the forests of Northwest Michigan these days? Did I just hear a howl? Hmmm?

Night of the Monster at Big Bass Lake

After a rather spooky outing to the Haunted Island that night, the Marion Boys Club kids returned to our wooded beachfront for a campfire of ghost stories.  The boys wanted to know how that island came to be made known as haunted (you can find that story on another post at BBL and Beyond under the category Haunted Island).  As I began that story, all of a sudden the boys heard two large splashes about forty yards out into Big Bass Lake.

They huddled together as I informed them that the monster of Big Bass Lake might be making known his existence to them.  Kenny Huffman, who had already been really scared at the Haunted Island, drew so close to me that I could hardly breathe.  And he was the only kid over sixteen on this trip! 

I told the boys how the monster makes his appearances only on the darkest night as he comes up for a cupful of air and anything else he can gulp down.  Andy Freshwater’s eyes got really big at that time.  Just then the boys heard another splash even closer in to shore.  He must smell us, I suggested, to which the kids headed directly to their tents.  By the way, it wasn’t fish making those splashes either but rather Dale, another supervisor on the trip.  He used a few large rocks when he was supposed to be using the latrine to scare the kids. 

We could both hear the boys letting their imaginations run loose within their two tents as they began guessing just what kind of monster they were hiding from?  So, who knows what is really lurking in the dark and gloomy depths of Big Bass Lake at night?

The Monster of Big Bass Lake

In the mid 1970’s this picture was taken on Big Bass Lake by one of the kids when I wasn’t in the area. I was cooking at one of the campfires at that time. But I was drawn to the lake when they were shouting, “Look at that monster, Dave!” When I arrived at the shore I also saw that hideous monster.

I asked the boys if any of them wanted to go with me in the rowboat to get closer to the creature. I didn’t get one request to tag along so I ventured out alone. As I got closer to the creature I noticed that it didn’t seem phased at all by my approach. I would have thought it would have been diving out of sight.

One of the kids screamed when he saw me approach the creature and yank it from the water tossing it into the front of the boat while I scampered to the rear. I half rowed and half paddled to the shore as the boys eyes got bigger and bigger as I approached them. “No, Dave, we don’t want to see that thing”, they cried as they moved off the shore and closer to the tents.

As I got out of the rowboat at the shoreline, I yanked the monster from the boat saying, “As soon as this dries out it will make for some good firewood”. You see what looked like a lake monster from shore was only a piece of wood. However, that youngster’s photo sure looks like a lot more, doesn’t it?

Errie Big Bass Lake on the Night of the Monster

I suppose just about any lake can be rather spooky at night but even more so Big Bass Lake when the “Monster” story is told over an evening campfire. What eerie creature lurks in the depths of Big Bass Lake appearing only in the dead of night? I told our campers it must have been seen several times by the kids of Camp Martin Johnson over the years but have yet to have a confirmation on that.

Just what does that creature look like? No one really knows for certain. An old fisherman on the lake stopped by our campsite when we were there on a trip with the Marion Boys Club and related that he was on the lake just after midnight when the water began to churn below his boat. He related that the disturbance nearly sank his boat. He did not stick around for a face to face meeting but headed to shore faster than a speeding bullet. The boys were riveted to his every word.

As he turned to return to his boat after that tale, he dared any of the boys to head out onto that lake with him to the very spot where he had once located the creature.  To his dismay not one of the boys took him up on that challenge.  The next day, the boys wanted to row out to where the old man claimed to have seen the monster which was just to the north of Haunted Island (where else?).  In his tale, he claimed of spotting a few rowboats sunk at that location but the boys could never find evidence of that. 

Still, none of those kids desired to head out to that location at night.  On tha trip, the old man’s story even outweighed the Haunted Island for dread of night.  Who knows what evil lurks beneath the surface of Big Bass Lake?

The Frog Monsters of Seaman Lake

On a spring break camping trip to the Big Bass Lake area we stayed at a place on Seaman Lake because it was still too cold to camp out on our beachfront property. At least that was what I thought until we arrived there to find it flooded over as well. So we stayed at a cabin on Seaman Lake which is about two miles away.

Even in mid spring frogs could be heard croaking away in the evening and one night on our glassed in porch I told of the legend of the frog monsters of Seaman Lake to my Marion Boys Club kids. Legend had it that the frog monsters would jump up the hill to take captive kids that weren’t doing all their chores.

That porch was lighted only by two candles that evening and the kids could hear frogs croaking in the distance even as I spun that yarn. With each passing moment they huddled closer together especially as one frog in particular seemed to be getting louder.

At just the right moment I sneaked my arm behind one of the boys and rapidly knocked upon the glass window pane which sent them all flying every which way. Of course in a few moments they were all boasting how they knew it was a fake all the time. Maybe they did, but what about those frogs in Seaman Lake?

By the way, I wouldn’t recommend a rowboat filled with water as a good escape route for when those frog monsters come to call!

The Camp Martin Johnson “Monsters”


Now, by monsters, I am not referring to the children of Camp Martin Johnson, but those things that came out of the woods or lake, or even, in one case, the Lakeview Cemetary.

I want to personally thank all the CMJ campers who sent me in stories about their favorite resident monster at their camp on Big Bass Lake. Campers and staff remember Harold the Swamp Monster, The Claw, Harry Ape, Raccoon Man, Baby Bender, and Redeye. As to the latter he was a disfigured madman whose facial features were distorted by sulfuric acid and he had just escaped from the Baldwin Mental Hospital. Others remembered someone called Stumpy. There were a lot of spooky goings on also at the Lakeview Cemetary.

And how about this Baby Bender storyline? Supposedly Irons was hit by a plague and the doctor was quick to bury anyone with symptoms. Baby Bender was placed in the coffin prematurely and when they opened the coffin for the funeral they saw scratches on the inside (the fact that a baby’s nails probably couldn’t scratch the coffin lid never seem to dawn on a group of scared 10 year olds!).

In ’72 Jimmy Gleason invented Harold the Swamp Monster, who supposedly lived in the swamp between The Attic (them Porte’s residence) and Frontier Village. We even had a Hunt for Harold, an all-camp event, where each village had to go into the swamp and find their designated Harold. it was not a well thought out event! All of the staff spent the evening tearing off leaches and there was mud throughout the dining hall. Smores were definately out of the picture that night.

Who was the supposed escapee from the Sauble Mental Hospital? It seemed there were a lot of mental hospitals in them thar woods! Again my thanks to all the people that sent me there thoughts about the monsters and ghouls around Camp Martin Johnson.

Fishermen Set Rowing Record

Big Bass Lake had a low fog upon it one dark and gray morning. Two lone fishermen were out on the lake trying their luck. Just to the right of the boat the waters became agitated. Was it the Big Bass Lake monster? Well, those two fishermen must have thought so because they put in those oars lickety split and began rowing toward shore faster than a speeding bullet. Could the Olympics be far behind for those two?

In that rowboats wake appeared a miniature yellow submarine. Just then, I awoke out of a sound slumber. I guess I had too much of my grandmother’s chili the night before. But as I awoke out of that deep sleep I could have sworn I heard the sounds of a general quarters being sounded down at the lake. Could that be? Naah! Hey! Who took my submarine sandwich?

Night of the Bonepickers

The Hoffman Estates Boys Club was the only club at our property that ever heard the story of the “Bonepickers” while visiting the Haunted Island. Just for a change of pace, we had taken the opportunity to view the mounds just north of the Haunted House on this particular trip. However we did so from afar. Then I gathered the boys close to the Haunted House and told them the story of the bonepickers.

Some curious teens once visited the island by boat at the stoke of midnight. It was said they never returned. Legend had it that as they were walking around the mounds, several bony hands reached up from the ground and grabbed their ankles pulling them beneath the ground until there was no sound but the rustling of the wind. I asked the boys how they might have reacted and observed some petrified faces.

I then asked the kids if they would like the opportunity to put that legend to the test and suggested we also walk about the mounds.  One of the kids blurted out, “Forget you, Dave!”  That seemed to be the answer from all of them so we took one last glance at those mounds and then the kids headed back to the boat at the rickety pier for a return trip back to our wooded beachfront with no regrets whatsoever.

The Strange Depression On Our Field


Not far behind our old barn on the field is a strange depression that looks for all appearances to be about the exact shape as the indention of a flying saucer. It is the only place on our half-mile long field with a depression like that. In fact, it is the only indention on that entire field. How did it get there?

Well, it made for a great story line outside our woods for boys club campers. None of the kids could explain that depression either. They were quite dumbfounded as to how it got there but that is the same amazement that has held me captive since I was a young boy. I’ve visited that location many times and sometimes if I had the motivation would start digging there just to check it out more thoroughly.

Can you imagine if you were driving down the Big Bass Lake Road on the southwest side of the lake and saw a flying saucer there? Would you stop to check it out or continue on your way even a tad quicker than usual? The haunted island has a more vivid story to it but this one remains a gigantic mystery as to how that depression was formed in a field that is otherwise 100% flat? Maybe Rod Serling might have had an answer for one of his Twilight Zone programs?