The ancient stories say it lives on Michipicoten Island on the Canadian side of Lake Superior and has the magical ability to cause nasty storms. It’s usually associated with more bad things in life than good – such as death and destruction – but people believed in the past that as long as an offering was made to the creature, this could perhaps keep it calm if one had to travel by water. It’s also been known to hold a grudge against the mythical Thunderbirds that rule the sky according to some Native American beliefs. Like a Michigan version of Godzilla VS Mothra.
Most of these ships went down for perfectly logical and natural reasons that are just inevitable misfortunes of sailing the Great Lakes. But this website isn’t necessarily devoted to the logical, so I mean…let’s just say it could have also been Mishipeshu, guarding that copper.
The wreck of the Algoma in 1885.
Another tale that involves the wrath of the water panther tells about four Native American men who decided to go to Michipicoten Island and deliberately take the island’s copper to help them heat their food faster. Of course, this didn’t end well for the men and only one made it back to shore with just enough life left in him to tell the others what happened before he died.
Mishipeshu is an important and powerful animal to many Native American tribes of the Great Lakes region. No one has wanted to anger this creature…like ever. It’s been said that anyone who stole the copper had misfortune befall them which pretty much meant death. There wasn’t much creative variation in what horribleness awaited a copper taker. Just death. Perhaps that’s what happened to the mysterious Michigan copper culture no one can figure out. They all fell victim to Mishipeshu for their copper greed! Legend or real creature, bring an offering of peace the next time you are in Lake Superior and honor old Mishipeshu just to be on the safe side.