The Beast of ‘Busco and Other Turtle-Monsters

This of course is the giant prehistoric marine turtle Archelon, animated by Ray Harryhausen in One Million Years B.C. I wonder if giant turtles still roam the seas? There are plenty of urban myths about giant turtles roaming inland lakes.

When I was a kid growing up near the slag heaps of the Calumet Region, in Northwest Indiana, I heard a tale about an enormous snapping turtle with a shell 8-feet in diameter that lived in George Lake. His name was Caesar. I looked and looked for that beast, and found and caught plenty of smaller common snapping turtles. Caesar apparently stayed buried in the muck of the lake and only surfaced under certain lunar conditions. Further south, in the town of Churubusco, Indiana, a monster turtle named Oscar, weighing 3 tons and measuring 12 to 50 feet in diameter (reports vary, but he is allegedly at least as big as a pick up truck) resides in a deep pond. Oscar was first sited in 1948, and in 1949 a few men managed to secure a chain around his shell, but the powerful beast could not be pulled from his lair and the chain broke. Since the 1960’s, Oscar has only been spotted a few times. The folks of Churubusco celebrate the cryptid turtle with an annual “turtle days” festival.

The amazing beast in the image above appears to be a “squrtle” —a snapping turtle with a squid’s head. Or perhaps it is more appropriately a Cthulhurtle (Chelydra lovecraftii)? The “squid-faced snapper” named after H.P. Lovecraft. These are rare indeed. This beat-up old photo and the one below are the only known documented images of this unusual beast.

Actually, these are from a dream. I made these hoaxed images by stitching a Humbolt Squid to a Common Snapper using Pixelmator™ software! Yesterday I spent some time with my girlfriend down by the Rockford Dam. We noticed several large common snappers moving about below the spillway. Some appeared to be swimming in the turbulent current —riding shells vertical against the incoming flow of water and catching some waves. I’m not kidding. The snappers were playing in the spillway. Anyway, later that evening I fell asleep and dreamt of hundreds of “squid-faced” turtles grabbing people as they walked by the dam. They hid in rocky crevices and snatched nearby walkers and dragged them into the murky depths of the spillway. The tentacles moved like flat ribbons, like an anemone rather than darting like a chameleon’s tongue.

I think I am blogging too much.

W.H. Blackman, 1998. The Field Guide to North American Monsters, Three Rivers Press. 249 pg.

4 Responses to “The Beast of ‘Busco and Other Turtle-Monsters”

  1. Convincing, I thought this was real for a minute. The turtle’s shell and the squid’s head have two different light sources. Otherwise, it looks real to me. This would have freaked Lovecraft right out. Keep up the good blogs!

  2. Love the turtle/octupus 🙂

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