Chessie the Chesapeake Bay Monster
The original story began from the tale of two fishermen—Edward W. And Francis Klarrman—heading across the bay one day in 1943, looking to haul in their daily catch. The two men caught sight of a 12-foot-long serpentine creature, not too far from their vessel. They saw this creature turn to look at them several times. It turned its horselike head almost completely around, before disappearing under the waves.
The entire experience was astonishing and the Chesapeake Bay Monster has become a unique fixture of local history. Their description of Chessie was rivaled only by the more widely-known Loch Ness Monster. Plenty of witnesses have described Chessie as long, black, and snakelike, but the reports have varied drastically. Whether Chessie is 12-foot serpent, or a 30-foot serpent this cryptid has been reported as far back as 1846. Captain Lawson originally reported this strange creature when he saw it at the tip of the bay. It isn’t difficult to imagine that it is still considered a tall tale even to the present.
The Legend of Chessie
While it’s true that the legend hasn’t been substantiated with scientific fact, those who claim to have seen her range from retired CIA officers, fishermen, soldiers, and regular civilians. Those who argue her existence point out that the plausibility of her existence is much larger than her cousin across the pond—the Loch Ness Monster. This is due to the fact that the Chesapeake Bay has much more direct access to the open ocean than Loch Ness; as one of Britain’s largest and deepest freshwater lakes, it is connected to the sea, but there are nearly 7.5 miles of the River Ness between the lake and the oceanfront.
Scientific advancements have given us the capability to explore the ocean floor, but that hasn’t revealed every secret. Chessie has somehow kept its legend alive through its cunning, elusive, shy, and daring spirit. The existence of Chessie remains plausible, despite evading any type of classification.
People are most likely to catch a sighting of the Chesapeake Bay Monster between May and September. This is likely due to the warmer weather which causes people to flock to the beach. Do the larger crowds draw the curious creature closer to shore? Or are the increased number of watchful eyes the cause of the nearly 30 reports per year?
Sightings of the Family-Friendly Fiend
In 1982 a guest of Robert and Karen Frew captured the first known footage of the sea monster. The Frews were having a cookout at their seaside home on Love Point, when they noticed something strange. The guest noticed this creature undulating through the water near the shore. When they couldn’t identify what they were seeing they grabbed their camera.
Unfortunately, video evidence from 1982 was sub-par and with the camera zoomed all the way in all that was captured was a blurry dark gray mass snaking through the water. After being sent to the Smithsonian for verification, the professionals analyzed it, but all they could say with certainty was that the dark blurry mass was, in fact, a living creature. While they couldn’t confirm that it was Chessie, it fueled the fire of a legend that had previously been a laughable local tale. This of course brought on a lot of skeptics and caused the Frews to be the target of criticism and controversy—with many accusing them of participating in a hoax for clout. Thankfully for the legend of Chessie, the candid nature of the Frews report brought out witnesses who had remained silent due to their unwillingness to become social pariahs.
A more in-depth description of Chessie came from an encounter in 1985 when a recreational fisherman and his friend hooked a fish out on the bay. When this fisherman turned to see what he had caught he was met with a shockingly huge serpentine creature as it erupted from the water, a snapped fishing line hanging from its mouth. It rose approximately twelve feet out of the water, exposing its diamond-shaped flippers and ellipsoid body before submerging into the depths of the bay. This pair of fishermen described this creature as having green-yellow reptilian skin, with barnacles covering its back. Are we to believe that previous accounts only ever witnessed the creature’s long neck and not the entire body?
A 2014 sighting of Chessie described it as a long, black, serpent winding through the water of Magothy River. These witness accounts are conflicting, but it’s unclear whether or not these reports are of different creatures. This particular witness was parked aside the Magothy River at high tide, around 1:40 AM when he saw Chessie. The witness didn’t specify the lighting situation surrounding the sighting. Initially, he believed that what he saw was two creatures traveling together. A lack of photo evidence caused his sighting to remain unverified.
Sea Serpents like Chessie
Reports of sea serpents like Chessie (or even Nessie for that matter) aren’t uncommon—after all, our planet is 71% water and less than 10% of that has been thoroughly mapped out and explored. The existence of these kinds of creatures cannot be completely ruled out, which is how these kinds of legends still have so much steam after one hundred fifty years.
The spirit of Chessie maintains its playful innocence, instead of a malicious nightmare fuel cryptid. In the years since the first reported sighting Chessie has become a mascot for the people in the Bay. As a result, its likeness has been turned into plushies, stickers, and apparel to promote tourism.
- Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology by George M. Eberhart
Georgia-based author and artist, Mary has been a horror aficionado since the mid-2000s. Originally a hobby artist and writer, she found her niche in the horror industry in late 2019 and hasn’t looked back since. Mary’s evolution into a horror expert allowed her to express herself truly for the first time in her life. Now, she prides herself on indulging in the stuff of nightmares.
Mary also moonlights as a content creator across multiple social media platforms—breaking down horror tropes on YouTube, as well as playing horror games and broadcasting live digital art sessions on Twitch.