The Lake George Monster

When first published in November 1937, “The Sea Angel story contained a footnote referencing an article describing a monster near the Wadding River on Long Island. The July 25, 1936 issue of The Vidette-Messenger, an Indiana Paper, carried a story about the sighting titled “Green-Eyed Monster Striking Terror Into Citizens of New York Town; Remains Mystery.”

This incident may be tied to another New York creature, The Lake George Monster. The New York Times published an article, Marine Ogre At Lake George on the creature in the July 3, 1904 edition. Seven days later, another commentary appears in The Washington Post. Of particular interest was the sighting location which was just offshore from the estate of Harry Wilson Watrous. It should be noted here that Watrous was an artist of some acclaim, having won a gold medal at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. He was elected president of the National Academy of Design in 1933. 

The Lake George Monster eventually went dormant and there was no further mention until 1934 when some interesting facts emerged about the monster and Harry Watrous. It turns out Watrous created the lake monster from a log using some gaudy paint and two green glass insulators for the beast’s eyes (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 20, 1934). Back in 1904, Watrous’ fishing companion, Colonel William Mann, had played a practical joke on him using a rather large wooden fish. Watrous returned the favor by creating the Lake George Monster. He explains that by dropping an anchor away from the shore and using ropes and pulleys it was possible to submerge the “monster” until some unwary victim came in close proximity. Watrous would then release the rope allowing the submerged monster to erupt from water and rear its ugly head. The article states the “monster” would be on display during an upcoming festival.

Watrous was in the news again in a June 18, 1936, story in The Kingston Daily Freeman. The story of the Lake George Monster is again mentioned as a side story to the main article. 

The Wadding River is some distance from Lake George and it seems doubtful that the original monster played a role in this event. It may be that someone in the vicinity of the Wadding River was testing out their own version of the Lake George Monster in 1936 after reading about it in the papers.