The Buffalo Courier
Saturday, May 9, 1896
Page 6, Column 1
MORE OF THE SNAKE
Saturday, May 9, 1896
Page 6, Column 1
MORE OF THE SNAKE
Talk with Capt. Beecher
About the Monster.
FOUR PEOPLE WATCHED IT.
It Was Close in Shore for Three-Quarters
Of an Hour - Its Color, Its
Eyes and Its Full Form Visible
- The Captain’s Story.
Capt. Lina K. Beecher’s Crystal Beach
sea serpent will not down. In this particular
it is like the famous ghost of
Banquo, though it is, or was last Tuesday,
a more substantial being than Banquo’s
ghost ever was. It is referred to as
Capt. Beecher’s serpent because he “seen”
it first. If there are other claimants,
leaving out of the account, of course, the
people who were with Capt. Beecher at
the time, perhaps the question of ownership
can be arbitrated.
The Courier has obtained further information
about the great creature. Until
yesterday the reporter had not seen Capt.
Beecher, but learned of the strange object
seen at the beach through John A.
Miller of Kenmore, who had talked with
Capt. Beecher. It was only by an accidental
call at Mr. Miller’s office on the
10th floor of Ellicott Square that the reporter
learned that the serpent had been
seen. Yesterday another call was made
at Mr. Miller’s office without prearrangement,
when Capt. Beecher was found .
None of those whose names have been
mentioned have made any effort to have
the story published.
The Courier said Thursday morning
that three persons had seen the monster -
Capt. Beecher, his wife, and Mrs. Gilchrist,
all of Crystal Beach. To these
must be added Mr. Beecher’s little girl,
who is between seven and eight years old.
All were near enough to the monster to
see it distinctly, and its appearance
alarmed Mrs. Gilchrist and the child
greatly. Capt. Beecher, however, is a
Veteran of the War and a G.A.R. man
and has seen many strange sights in his
time. He and his wife lived at one time
in Tennessee, where rattlesnakes and
other similar “varmints” abounded, and
they were not particularly frightened.
The presence of Capt. Beecher and the
two women on the rocky point that projects
into the water is fully explained by
Capt. Beecher. This was not made clear
in the Courier’s first account, and may
have seemed a trifle mysterious to the
dubious mind. The four persons named
were sitting on the steps that lead to
John A. Miller’s cottage, “The Kenmore,”
when they first observed a commotion in
the water, some distance from the land .
Their idea was that the phenomena was
caused by a school of fish, as the disturbance
in the water seemed to be almost
continuous, and there was too much of it
to be produced by one fish. The agitation
came nearer. Finally one of the women
exclaimed, “ Why it’s all one fish.” And
so it seemed to all. There was one object,
apparently, moving along the surface
of the water toward the beach and
having as much fun as a schoolboy. It
was then that all four went down toward
the lake and as far out in the direction
of the creature as they could get.
Capt. Beecher was questioned closely
by the reporter yesterday, with no other
purpose than to get at the exact truth, as
nearly s possible , about what he had
seen. He is a small man, of simple and
modest demeanor, and nearly 54 years old.
He served in the War of the Rebellion as
Captain of the Third New York Cavalry,
and was a comrade of Gen. W. S. Bull,
Superintendent of Police, when the latter
was acting chief of artillery, and of Gen.
Rogers, formerly Park Commissioner here
and now Governor of the Soldiers Home
Capt. Beecher told his story in a
straightforward and earnest manner, and
The Courier representative was impressed
with his apparent sincerity. It was not
a mere fleeting glance of the serpent that
was had by the four persons in the party,
but they watched it for fully three quarters
of an hour, or until it was so dark
that they could no longer distinguish its
form. By this time it had retreated and
was still retreating from the proximity of
the shore. The surface of the lake was
perfectly smooth, and the serpent was so
near to the party that they could distinctly
see its eyes, which Capt. Beecher
says looked as large as silver dollars. At
times it would lie straight on the surface
of the water with its whole length visible.
Then it would lift its head and curl its
body so that it would be visible only at
intervals, where the humps projected
above the surface. At times it would turn
partly on its side, when it was plainly
seen that the color of the lower part of
its body was much lighter than the back,
which was dark brown, or almost black.
“Its head looked like a dogs head, having
A similar prominence above and back
of the eyes. Its tail, however, was pointed,
and like that of any monstrous land
serpent. When Capt. Beecher threw a
stone in its direction it would lunge fully
30 feet toward the stone, as it struck the
water. In this way it turned in various
directions in it efforts to catch the stones,
evidently thinking they were something
suitable for food. It spouted water fully
four feet in the air, and kept “sloshin’
around” in the water, as if it were
nervous or else enjoying itself hugely.
Capt. Beecher says he will swear it was 35
feet long. It did not disappear from the
surface, but they were reassured by Capt.
and Mrs. Beecher, who felt that there
was no real danger, though they too,
might have retreated , if the serpent had
come much nearer. Capt. Beecher looked
for the serpent next morning and the following
evening, but he has no seen it since.
This serpent has not been conjured up
to advertise Crystal Beach. The excursion
season is several weeks away, and
as a matter of fact Mr. Miller was somewhat
solicitous lest publishing of the
story should tend to keep people away
from the resort, especially those who love
to bathe in the lake.
It would be a good bet that these four
people actually saw at the time and place
aforesaid a great fresh water serpent, and
that there is something else than nonsense
in stories of this sort.
-Original article from the microfilm records at,
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
1 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY 14203