Loch Murray Monster
Lake Murray Monster Pic
[September 15, 2002 - The Latest Sighting, see below!]

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Every now and then, Irmo has a sighting of some kind of water monster that inhabits Lake Murray. The monster [Messie] first 'surfaced' in 1933 when residents of Irmo and Ballentine (the famous Gilbert Little sighting) saw a cousin of the Loch Ness Monster. Sightings have continued almost every year since then.

It was described in The Independent News in 1980 as "a cross between a snake and something prehistoric." Many folks around Lake Murray claimed to have seen it and, to make matters worse, the Loch Murray Monster was said to be very aggressive.

Buddy Browning, his wife Shirley and their friend Kord Brazell were enjoying themselves fishing on the lake back in one of the coves when the monster charged them. They denied a South Carolina Wildlife Department claim that it could have been an alligator or a large fish, like a sturgeon. (Alligators are not native to the lake.)

    Buddy Browning: "We noticed something coming out of the water at us. It attacked our boat! It wasn't an illusion, it wasn't an eel or sturgeon. It was unlike anything I ever saw before, and I have been fishing Lake Murray for over 20 years. We never did ever figure out what it was. It was not an alligator. . No! I know alligator when I see it!

    "It was very aggressive. It came towards the boat like it wanted us to leave. Whenever we came up to near where it was nesting or doing whatever it was doing, it just came up to us. It could've been mating. It was basically on top of the water where you could see it quite well. And leave is exactly what we did.

    "I'm not sure if it was a sturgeon, though. I've never seen it since. I did come back that day. Kord and I came on back over here to the house and got the shotgun. We was going to go back after it and claim it! But we never did see it again."

    Shirley Browning: "It tried to climb into the boat. Buddy beat it off with a paddle."

And an unidentified caller to radio station WNOK FM 104.7 in October 1996 reported: "I was fishing on Shell Island, off of a friends cove, and I saw a fin that was about two feet long come up. I thought it was a big bass, but I didn't know what it was, so I threw my line right out in front of it. It broke my rod in half and took it with it! All I had left was just the handle grip! That's all that was left. I didn't know what it was. . . all I know was it broke my rod in half! Just after that, I saw it roll, but that was it." Thus, the legendary birth of the Lake Murray Monster. Sightings of super-sized fish or unexplainable creatures continue today.

So much so, that in 1990, a file was opened by South Carolina's Fish Wildlife and Parks Department. Lake Murray Biologist Lance Harper was in charge of keeping track of incoming reports. "I've talked to ten or twelve people that have seen it. They were reputable, not on drugs or drinking," Harper said. During his 20-plus years working on Lake Murray, Harper said he never saw "the monster" but admits that he did find unexplainable large holes in nets he had set around the lake while studying habitat.

Over the years people from all walks of life, military personnel, doctors, police, lawyers and regular folk have reported seeing something out there. The sightings appear to fall into two categories, large fish and serpent like creatures. In the large fish category, some believe it could be a sturgeon. According to Harper, the 41 mile long and 14 mile wide lake is large enough and deep enough, more than 380 feet, to sustain a supersized creature. "There's alot of bio-mass in the lake as far as being able to maintain something," Harper said. But what exactly, is the lake home to? According to Fort Jackson U.S. Army General (retired) Marvin B. Corder, it's home to something far more sinister than a big fish. In a 1990 letter to the South Carolina Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Corder said he and his son have seen something in the waters not once, but twice. "This serpent-like creature is 40-60 feet long with the head and body resembling a snake, with a tail of an eel."

Sightings similar to this have been reported in every decade since the original report in 1933. 

These and many other cases are documented in a booklet about the "Loch Murray Monster." This booklet (3rd edition now available for purchase) contains almost 50 pages of detailed sightings over the years. While it is not unusual to go several years without a sighting of the creature, they do come in periodically. The last documented sighting occurred in September, 2002. Over the years it seems the monster has been spotted in all parts of the lake, during all seasons. You can even see people wearing T-shirts and Hats and other  merchandise having the Loch Murray Monster displayed.

While locals and experts disagree over whether the Lake Murray Monster is a serpent like creature or a supersized fish of some sort, Harper offers these words "There are people whose words I don't doubt. They've been startled by something. What it is, I don't know."

The Loch Murray Monster, "Messie", has been sighted recently. Maybe she'll just pop up in the right place. Maybe you'll be the next one to sight her.


September 15, 2002

Respectfully submitted and feeling a bit "stupid", I am, Mrs. Sandie Hurst, a new resident of Lexington:

I have lived in Columbia for most of my 46 years, and not being a  water buff, I stayed away from Lake Murray. But recently we have  moved to Lexington near the dam. I really enjoy viewing the lake and pay special attention (while trying NOT to wreck into another car) every time I cross the dam.

Earlier this week I was with a friend of mine, and as I looked at the lake I saw "exactly" the SAME picture that is shown on your web  page, I told my friend, "Look at that! WHAT IS THAT!!"  As the water  was calm, "this wavy curvy long thingy" was oddly placed in the serene water. My friend told me, "Oh, that's the Loch Murray Monster."

I  began to laugh, and he told me "Seriously, you haven't heard about  that before?" I was hysterically laughing at this point  because he is ALWAYS pulling jokes on me, I told him "No, I haven't, but what in world is making that HUGE ripple in the water". He began to tell me abit about the "so called "Loch Murray Monster". He told me he would find the site on the internet and send it to me.

WELL, HE DID, AND THAT RIPPLE OF WATER on your web page  is the SAME ripple I saw this past week.!! There was nothing else around this "area" to cause or create this "ripple". Again, the water  was calm and I was sober, so "I saw what I saw"!

So, now I sit, STILL wondering about that "ripple" and have to tell my friend,  "Well, you convinced me!" I was never a "water bug", I NEVER  like swimming in something I couldn't see the bottom of, and NOW, I  know why! I will remain on the shores, admiring the beautiful sunsets,  and be on the look out for the all so famous "Loch Murray Monster"...  And then go swimming in friend's pool, where the only floating monsters are the ones I blow up myself!!

Take Care, and perhaps, with the lake being lowered,  this "wavy ripply thingy" can be seen again. And you can bet, I'll be on  the shore looking through binoculars!!

September 24, 2002
My name is David Stuckey,I operate a Marine repair service and have been an avid boater on Lake Murray for 40 years. I have seen countless wakes made by the so called monster, My wife also has been with me almost every time I have seen this. It has circled my boat on occasions.I have kept this to myself all these years but I know there is something very big in this lake.
David Stuckey
S&S Marine
Lexington side of Lake Murray
February 1, 2003
My name is Dakota, by the way I'm not a lunatic and I'm not on drugs. About 2 years ago I was swimming in the water and I stood up. The texture was very bumpy and sort of scaley feeling. I found that to be strange and then about two minutes later I stood up again in the same spot and what ever I had stood on was gone. Could this had been Messie???
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