Monster of the Month: Old Lucy

With only around six weeks until the publication date of A Misfortune of Lake Monsters (I can’t believe I just typed that), it feels appropriate to make Old Lucy, the famed lake monster of Lake Lokakoma, the subject of the Monster of the Month. This will also be the FINAL installment of this series.

The first reported sighting of Old Lucy occurred in 1833, shortly after the rural northeast Pennsylvania town of Devil’s Elbow, was incorporated. Native Americans had, of course, been the first inhabitants of what later became Devil’s Elbow–these of the Susquehannock tribe, who first migrated to the area in the early 1500s (possibly pushed south by the Iroquois). The report was published in the Press-Enterprise, a then-partisan press that evolved into the daily newspaper it is today. There is a brief mention of a large creature with gray skin and a long tail, swimming along the banks of Lake Lokakoma, which had been seen by a local farmer from a rival political party; the article strongly implies that the farmer was drunk. The article also notes a Susquehannock legend about strange beings seen in and around the lake.

It should be noted that no reference to this legend has ever been located in Susquehannock tribe histories that we have access to. A diary kept by the original owner of the Press-Enterprise, Ezra Ziegler, that was found in the 1950s suggests that this legend was fabricated, as was the sighting–however, that diary went missing about a decade later after a mysterious fire razed the local historical society building.

Since 1833, sightings became a regular occurrence, although descriptions of Old Lucy seem to change from time to time. The most recent report–which came only last month–indicates that the creature is approximately 12 feet in length, with almost iridescent pink and purple skin, a long tail and snout, and a series of triangular-shaped plates running from the head to the tip of the tail. Old Lucy is typically seen at night, around a small island at the south end of Lake Lokakoma. Old Lucy has been blamed for a number of animal and human deaths over the years, but nothing has ever been definitively proved, and no physical evidence of Old Lucy’s existence has ever been found beyond several grainy and inconclusive photographs and videos.

In the early part of the twentieth century, a ferry tour company opened on the lake to take visitors to Devil’s Elbow on Old Lucy-hunting trips. A number of investigations have taken place on the lake in hopes of obtaining proof of this Pennsylvania cryptid, and the town of Devil’s Elbow has become a mecca for United States cryptid hunters and the more casually curious.

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