February 23, 2016 | Posted in WereWOOFS

TurtleWolFStoriaBig Blue Pond is a man-made body of water that once served as a stone quarry. The water is a collection of pure rain water, and the place is well-known for its stocked supply of rainbow trout and snapping turtles. Canoers, fishermen, scuba-divers, and campers alike come to bask in the wonderful atmosphere of the pond. But, of course, this article isn’t about a wonderful place to take your kids. There is supposedly a monster lurking within the blue depths of the lake, although one of more natural origins than some of the other cryptids that could be mentioned.

The Monster Turtle that inhabits the quarry is said to be the size of the hood of a car. Many have claimed to have been chased, or had their children chased, by the massive turtle, but as of yet the beast has not taken any lives. Scuba-divers, too, have reported seeing a large, rocky-looking creature deep beneath the water’s surface. Scientists, zoologists, and cryptozoologists alike are not convinced that it exists, however. Reason being, the pond is not the naturally preferred habitat of snapping turtles. Snapping turtles gravitate more toward streams and rivers, so it is unlikely that one so large would decide to remain in the quarry. There is also the fact that several organized searches turned up nothing when looking for the monster. The place is only so big! But, while this particular large turtle might not exist, there is plenty of room to believe that there might be some very huge specimens out there.

Many believe that this turtle is simply a tourist attraction, as Iowa is a rather sleepy state as far as cryptids go. That’s not to say that nothing strange has happened out there, but rather that the strange creatures belonging to the state are either Bigfoot or quite probably nonexistent, made up, or based too heavily in old legends to be properly frightened of in this day and age.

But, of course, the Monster Turtle of Big Blue is not the only water monster within state lines. Everyone has their own version of Nessie, and Iowa is no different. The local sea serpent is known as Obojoki, or the Lake Obojoki Monster. At least Iowa didn’t give it a nickname, like Obie or something.

Obojoki is said to be 140 feet long from snout to tail, which is a really rough estimation, considering it has never been physically removed from the water and measured. It is said to be greenish or bluish-gray in color, with either scales or a pattern on its skin that resembles a scaly pattern. Since the early 1900’s it has been said to appear all around Lake Obojoki, which is part of the Iowa Great Lakes. Stories surrounding it have it turning over boats and generally startling people with its appearance, although nothing malevolent, such as eating people.

Again, it was originally thought that this beast was fabricated in order to bring tourists to the Obojoki Lake area, but the amount of unrelated sightings cannot truly be ignored. Stories of the monster have even persisted into the 2000’s, with one man’s vacation being startlingly interrupted by the creature’s appearance.

DragonWolFStoriaThe man, who is unnamed, was sitting with his daughters and enjoying some ice cream cones on one of the docks, watching the sun set. The water was calm, almost glasslike, with only the occasional ripple to disturb it. Suddenly, one of his daughters pointed toward something moving out in the water. It was like something was thrashing, and then, suddenly, a serpentine form slid up out of the water, forming a small arch and then disappearing back into the lake. The man noted that the color was a little unusual, greenish-gray, but imagined that he had simply seen some sort of fish or other creature. He quickly reevaluated when a large, reptilian head emerged from the water, along with several inches of sinuous neck. It swam like that for a moment, its head the only thing disturbing the water, and then it submerged again, which allowed the family to catch a glimpse of its blunt, stubby tail. According to the man, when he saw it next, it was heading straight for the pier. It popped out of the water one more time as it drew closer, then disappeared underneath. The pier rattled with an impact, and deciding to forget the sunset, the man and his daughters fled the scene. The animal continued to rock the dock for a bit, but then seemed to simply vanish into the depths. What the purpose of this was is unknown.

So whether or not the Monster Turtle is real, you can still head to Iowa for the Obojoki Lake Monster. But there is one more creature from Iowa that deserves a mention, and no, it is not a water monster. This monster is, of course, the Van Meter Visitor.

This creature is often overlooked entirely because the sightings only occurred in one instance. Obviously that’s not very lucrative for tourism, so why bother to keep the legend alive? Quite simply, the tale of the Van Meter Visitor is very outlandish and definitely outside the norm as far as cryptid cases go.

In early October, 1903, the town of Van Meter had a very mysterious visitor. At first only a handful of people saw it, but soon almost the whole town had caught sight of the beast once or twice. It was described as something that resembled a cross between a man and a bat, although later illustrations of the thing would liken it more to a pterodactyl or dragon. It appeared perched on the tops of buildings and telephone poles, exuding a wretched stench and shooting light out of its forehead. Bullets seemed to pass right through it, or at the very least, it just didn’t react to being shot. Its simple existence petrified the townsfolk, and it only took a few days of harassment before they rallied and tailed the animal to its lair, which turned out to be an abandoned mine. Following it, people were startled to discover that there was not one monster, but two within the mineshaft. The second was said to be smaller, perhaps a mate or offspring. The two beasts blinded their pursuers with the light they cast and then disappeared deeper into the mine, never to be seen again. It is unclear whether the citizens closed off the shaft or if the monsters simply retreated deeper into the earth and never came out again.

The Van Meter Visitor was never seen again, but it is an undeniably strange occurrence. There have been rumors for decades of living dinosaurs, and even sightings in other locations of pterodactyl-like creatures swooping down on startled humans. It is possible that the Van Meter Visitor is just a mass sighting of a creature like that, although prehistoric animals generally do not shoot light out of their foreheads. What exactly that was supposed to be remains a mystery, along with the origins and whatever happened to the pair of creatures.

Iowa may not have a whole lot of cryptids to intrigue the cryptid-hunting population, but there are definitely some interesting stories from the Hawkeye State to hold one’s attention. And, if all else fails, there’s always Bigfoot. Every state has a Bigfoot hotspot.