Friday, January 9, 2009


Recently, I was asked a question about Lake Erie by fellow blogger Squirrel, who, if you don't know her blog, posts wonderful photos and delightful notes about her very photogenic town of Nyack, New York. Squirrel asked if I’d ever heard anything about an alleged Erie Triangle. The short answer was No, but I decided I better check it out right away. It sounds right up my alley. Yes, I am hereby officially outing myself as one of those people who are irresistibly drawn to the world of the unique, the weird, and the wing-nut. I have a positively Victorian curiosity for all things of the natural (and sometimes unnatural) world. I’ve read dozens of books on UFOs, seen every documentary and YouTube video of Loch Ness and the Montauk Monster. I wonder what’s happening to all the bees; I wonder if we could one day have a real Jurassic Park. But I digress; let’s get back to Lake Erie.

When I moved here in the summer of ’05, it was in part because of the proximity to Point Pelee National Park, which is world famous for its bird and Monarch butterfly migrations. By fortuitous happenstance I have just discovered (thanks to Squirrel’s inquiry) that Lake Erie is also a focal point of a lot of other activity of a more esoteric, dare I saw even arcane, nature. Oh boy! Here is what I found (along with some links for the diehards):

Slight disappointment:
Lake Erie does have a Triangle, but it’s actually a tract of land that was once hotly disputed by four states back in the colonial times. Apparently the waters off the coast of the Erie Triangle are called the Graveyard of Lake Erie because of a large number of 18th and 19th Century ships went down there. Hmmm. Maybe that name has more to it than just a coincidence?

But this makes up for it!
Lake Erie has been declared a major UFO hotspot! I haven’t seen any yet, but it’s nice to know they’re out there. Note to self: get videocam repaired and keep at the ready!

And so does this!
Lake Erie also has its own “monster” – the so-called “Erie Baby” (ours isn't as big as Nessie). I’ve heard rumors of sightings more recently, too. What to make of it all? Well, I think just about every lake in the world that’s fairly large and deep has a reported monster in it.

I also found a site that stated that the word Erie means “raccoon” in the language of the early pre-Iroquoian aboriginal tribe of the area. I thought that was pretty neat, until they went on to say that ‘erie’ was also the name for 'cat' - and these early people had a cat figure on their totem pole, and were also known as the Cat Nation. In addition, the French called Lake Erie the Lac du Chat after them. Okay, but…being the armchair naturalist that I am…I checked, and found that, as I suspected, raccoons are not taxonomically related to cats. At least not in any meaningful, modern sense. They’re related to weasels and bears, and another critter called a Bassariscus, which...wait a minute...also goes by the name ringtail cat! Hmmm. Another coincidence? Cue the Twilight Zone music.

I also wasn’t aware that any aboriginal people in North America besides those on the west coast carved totem poles. But I’m going to save that inquiry for another day, another post.

Lake Erie photo from NASA
Raccoon photo came in an email, and I have no idea who to credit for it!


Lin said...

what a cute photo of raccoons. texas has a lot of them and i hear they are around so. utah-but never seen any. ufos-could be interesting.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Interesting Deb---about Lake Erie.. Gee-how much I have learned by blogging.

Those little raccoons at first looked like soda cans lined up at the drain... HA HA... Cute little guys though.

Sylvia K said...

Boy, I'll say we all learn a lot from blogging! one of the reasons I love it. That's fascinating about Lake Erie, be interested in your next installment of history! The photo is really a cutie, too. Thanks for all the info!

bobbie said...

That photo is adorable.

Always something new to learn - right in our own back yards too!

Anonymous said...

Now what would you do if you saw a sea, no, lake monster living right off your shore?

That is a cute raccoon shot. Animal babies are so sweet.

SandyCarlson said...

That's interesting. UFO's? Maybe the colonials are still duking it out in the next life! I didn't know our side of the block had totem poles, too. I'd love to see some.

Squirrel said...

I remember raccoons (or near relatives) being called ring tail cats, (and skunks being called pole cats)
"cat" refers to a whole range of animals, hep beatniks and little digging machines.

how odd that sweet little raccoon footprints were all over my porch last night. They must have found the birdseed I spilled there.

That Lake Erie is a UFO hotspot makes sense, all of the Great Lakes have a certain mystery about them.

Cloudia said...

Very interesting. I was born in Pennsylvania -what am I doing here in aloha-land? LOL! Always loved those lakes . . . . Thanks!

hitch writer said...

the pic of the racoons is really really cute !!!

cute ws taken but nevertheless !!!

bah i gotta improve my adjective using capabilities (AUC) lol

Kathiesbirds said...

Deborah, very interesting post! Don't get carried off by any of those UFO's or Cat Nation people (whomever they are)! Hey, does this mean a totem pole will be showing up on this blog soon?

Kallen305 said...

Love the racoon photo. I had never heard of Lake Erie as a hotspot for UFO's. You learn something new every day!

magiceye said...

ruinteresting post as usual
and the raccoon photo is wonderful!!

Greyscale Territory said...

I too love the bizarre and the creatively different; the real but unreal! Loved the unfolding of ideas in this post!