Yes, it could’ve just been bad eyesight or too much rum, but on May 13, 1782, Vanant St. Germain, a Canadian fur trader, spotted what he believed to be an actual merman swimming in the cold, deep dark waters of Lake Superior. While making a stop at Pie Island in the northern part of the lake, St. Germain spotted the creature and described it as looking “child-like with brownish skin” and having “extremely brilliant eyes.” According to the authors of the book Mysterious Islands, St. Germain, thirty years after he saw the merman, “stood before the Court of King’s Bench in Montreal to sign an affidavit,” further proving his conviction of what he had seen so many years before in Lake Superior. But St. Germain wasn’t the only one to speak of strange water creatures in the lakes. The Ojibwe people told of a creature they called the Maymaygwashi. This creature was also described as looking “child-like” and sometimes hairy. The Maymaygwashi is also known as another unpronounceable word, Nebaunaubaewuk.
Naturally, St. Germain’s first instinct when he saw the merman was to get out his gun and shoot at it. They had been traveling with a Native American woman of the Ojibwe tribe and she prevented the shooting. The woman told them it was bad luck to be threatening the water creatures/gods and sure enough, a nasty storm rolled through the area that lasted for three long days. Was the storm just a coincidence? Better not shoot at the next merman or Maymaygwashi you see swimming in the waters of Lake Superior or any of the other Great Lakes.
- Bisaillon, Cindy. Gutsche, Andrea. Mysterious Islands: Forgotten Tales of the Great Lakes. Lynx Images: Toronto. 1999.
- http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maymaygwashi. Retrieved 8/14/08.