By Joann M. Ringelstetter
On October 3, 2009, Ruth and I took a photography trip to Minnesota. We always pick a subject to photograph at first light and on this trip, we decided that we wanted to be at the Pickwick Mill near Winona, Minnesota. The mill is located across the Mighty Mississippi River from the small town of Trempealeau, Wisconsin. It is about three hours from my house, so that meant that we had to leave home around 3:00 am in order to allow a couple of stretch breaks on the way and still be at the mill at the crack of dawn.
We took I-90 to the Mississippi, then crossed over into Minnesota. It was still quite dark as we made our way along the river toward Pickwick Mill. Ruth was looking out her window at the river when all of a sudden she said, “I think I just saw the Loch Ness Monster.” We began to giggle, which turned into hysterical laughing that was unstoppable (probably due to how tired we both were for having gotten up in the middle of the night).
As the tears rolled down our cheeks from laughing so hard, I almost had to pull the car over until I could get control of myself. Luckily, there were few other cars on the road at that hour. Since that “sighting,” we’ve been on the lookout for sea monsters. We’ve found them in some unlikely places, such as on the side of this barn in Vernon County, Wisconsin.
On July 17 of this year, there were news reports about Steve Feltham, a man who has been looking for the legendary Loch Ness monster for the past 24 years and who holds a Guinness World Record for the longest monster hunting vigil. According to the news, Mr. Feltham has concluded that, rather than some form of prehistoric monster, the Loch Ness monster is likely a Wels catfish. According to Wikipedia, these fish can grow up to 13 feet in length and weigh over 800 pounds.
Mr. Feltham left his home, his job, and his girlfriend in 1991 to live on the shores of Loch Ness and to scan the waters for the legendary monster. Although he has suggested that the “monster” is most likely a catfish, he isn’t claiming to have solved the mystery that has baffled people for the past 70 years. In fact, he has said that he plans to continue his search.
Ruth and I will also continue our search for these mythical creatures of the water (and land). Our latest sighting occurred in Burlington, Iowa, during our spring photography trip this year. As I returned to the car after doing some early morning photography, I noticed a whimsical sea monster painted on a park bench near the car.
If you enjoy mythical creatures such as Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, keep an eye out for them. You never know when they will appear before your very eyes.