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!
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.