Statesville Record & Landmark Article
Surf the web and you will find the Lake Norman monster
By Cara Froedge
The Statesville Record & Landmark
Published September 14, 2002
For ages, myths about lake monsters have rippled through towns. The most popular, of course, is the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, which has believers from all over the world. It has also been the subject of a Learning Channel special. Move over Nessie; your time’s up. There’s a new kid on the block, and its name is Normie. Some say it’s an alligator; some say it’s a jellyfish; and some say it’s a catfish mutated by pollution in Lake Norman. Locals and out-of-towners say they’ve encountered the creature. Now, lake-goers can report Normie sightings on a new Web site, lakenormanmonster.com, created by Mooresville resident Matt Myers, 28.
Nine brushes with the fishy sounding mystery have been posted so far. In all accounts, no one has been hurt. But the mutant has caused somewhat of a splash. When the Web site went live, Myers had 27 visitors. That number has grown to around 9,000. One California man writes that he and his girlfriend heard what they thought were children playing in the water. They say that they realized the splashes couldn’t be human and, after shining a flashlight on the area, they saw something with a nine-inch tail. One woman said she was standing on the dock at Blythe Landing and saw a 20-foot catfish jump from the water to snag a bird. A man from Indian Trail writes that his boat mysteriously disappeared after the monster appeared. “Me and my friend was out in my boat jumping wakes around Marker 13 when we saw what looked like a large stick come up out of the water. I went over to check it out, but when I turned the boat was gone,” he wrote.
Myers, a Web developer, heard similar tales of the monster when he moved to the area in 2000. “It’s just fish tales,” he said jokingly. As for Myers, he’s never seen any type of monster in the lake. But there are a few facts that make him a believer. In 2000, video footage of an alligator sunning itself was run on a Charlotte television news station. Fisherman have caught record-breaking Arkansas blue catfish, which have never been stocked in the lake. There is even a species of freshwater jellyfish not indigenous to the lake or its feeder, the Catawba River.
“There are strange fish in Lake Norman,” said Michael McLaurin, executive director of the Lake Norman Marine Commission. “I don’t know about a 20-foot catfish, though.” McLaurin said there are “extremely” large fish at the bottom of the lake where most of the food is found.
Loch Ness specialist Jan-Ove Sundberg, a crytozoologist (one who studies creatures whose existence is not proven) wrote an introduction to the Web site. “Catfish are big, ugly and mind their own business, but they will surface when you least expect it; and if you don’t know much about them, they will certainly look like a monster instead of a known fish species,” he writes.
The Web site offers facts about Lake Norman, Catawba River, a newsletter and e-cards. Visitors can also buy T-shirts, hats, mugs, mousepads and coasters.
For any strange or spooky aquatic encounters, contact the Lake Norman Marine Commissioner at (704) 372-2416.
This article is reprinted with permission of The Statesville Record & Landmark. For weekly news of Statesville and the surrounding area, call 704-873-1451, Extension 1, to subscribe to The Statesville Record & Landmark.