Forty years ago, on November eighth, people in the Shingle Creek area may have had a real monster on their hands. This story of the Shingle Creek Monster (pictured in this blog) was the headline for the Osceola-Polk section of the Sentinel Star. I followed Frank Carroll's footsteps when writing about this mysterious creature, nicknamed the “Loch Shingle Monster”, which doesn't flow like the Loch Ness Monster. Many people that lived in the area brushed off the beliefs that it could have been something other than a very large catfish. Many made it a personal goal to catch the moster of Shingle Creek, but they all came up empty handed.
Within the original newspaper there were five eyewitness testimonies. Each eyewitness said similar things about the Loch Shingle Monster, that it was the biggest catfish in the creek, weighing about sixty pounds, and that it was impossible for anyone fishing to even try to consider catching it. A manager of Harbor Oaks Marina, Dale Percival, said that the monster was spotted very close to the banks of the creek. He even tried to catch the monster catfish which resulted in a broken line and a mess of a reel. Charlie Brunch, another angler, stated that a fishing trip to catch the huge catfish almost ended with Brunch in the creek. Charlie Brunch was with Mrs. Ruth Cotton when this incident happened. Brunch was prepared for the monsterous catfish, but did not expect what would be on the end of his stainless-steel hook and forty-pound test line. It was because of Mrs. Cotton quick thinking that Brunch was able to stay out of the water. The end result was a straightened steel hook and the escape of the huge catfish once again. In 1977, Allen Hancock tried to reel in the fish four times and all four times his line broke.
It seems our Loch Shingle Monster shares some similarities with Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, both eluding fishermen that have been trying to make the catch for numerous years. For the skeptics, there is evidence that does support the creature to just be a catfish. Who knows, the monster fish may just return this year to escape capture once again.
Source: Carroll, Frank. Shingle Creek monster a huge catfish, or is it? Sentinel Star. November 8, 1977.
Photo Courtesy: Larissa Bixby