Cassie

A Multhumped Sea Monster of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Etymology: After Casco Bay, in imitation of other named water monsters. Coined in 1986 by Loren Coleman.

Distribution: Casco Bay and other points along the coast of the Gulf of Maine, including Penobscot and Portland.

Significant sightings: Future naval commodore Edward Preble was serving as an ensign on the warship Protector in June 1779 when he saw a large serpent lying on the surface of a bay along the Maine coast. Commander John Foster Williams ordered Preble to launch a longboat in an attempt to shoot the animal, which appeared to be 100-150 feet long and as thick as a barrel. As the boat approached, the serpent raised its head 10 feet above the water. A shot was fired, but the snake swam away quickly.

On July 12, 1818, a sea monster was seen in the harbor of Portland, Maine, in full view of a number of observers at Weeks's wharf.

In the summer of 1836, Captain Black of the schooner Fox spotted an animal in the inlet between the mainland and Mount Desert Rock, Maine. It held its snakelike head 2-3 feet above the water.

Maj. Gen. H. C. Merriam was sailing with his sons opposite Wood Island Light, Maine, on August 5, 1905, when they saw a mottled brown "monster serpent" with its head 4 feet above the water slowly moving toward their becalmed boat. The animal then circled them from a distance of 300 yards at about 12 miles an hour. Its head was like a snake's, the neck was 15-18 inches in diameter, and the total length was 60 feet or more. It remained visible for ten minutes, then reappeared a short time later after the wind started up.

On August 20, 1910, the fishing steamer Bonita passed an 80-foot animal in Casco Bay. It was black with large white spots.

Present status: Few sightings since the 1950s.

Sources: "Distinguished Visiter," Boston Weekly Messenger 7 (July 23, 1818): 651; James Fenimore Cooper, Lives of Distinguished American Naval Officers (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1846), pp. 180-182; Van Campen Heilner, Salt Water Fishing (Philadelphia: Penn, 1937), app.; Loren Coleman, "Casco Bay's Sea Serpent," PortlandMonthly, May 1986; J. P. O'Neill, The Great New England Sea Serpent (Camden, Maine: Down East, 1999).

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