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Urban Myths of Ottawa: Mussie, the Lake Monster of Cobden

Urban Myths of Ottawa: Mussie, the Lake Monster of Cobden


By Adam Slight

There is something about dragons, sea creatures, and giant monsters that captivates the imagination. Bigfoot, the Kraken, and Loch Ness Monster are mysteries that will always hold a grip on our collective curiosities.

Like many others, I was obsessed with dinosaurs at a young age. Not only was their sheer size an object of fascination for me, but I was also completely hooked by the weird uncanny feeling that indeed, these bizarre and awesome creatures once walked the Earth.

It is no wonder then that there are so many myths about prehistoric beasts that continue to walk the planet. While it is true that the woolly mammoth only went extinct only 5000 years ago, many believe that dinosaur-like monsters from millions of years ago persist to this day. The Loch Ness monster is one popular example. It is also believed by some that a jungle in the Congo escaped the Ice Age and is subsequently the current home of “Mokele-mbembe”—A modern dinosaur capable of “stopping rivers” and eating hippos and elephants.

Mussie, Cobden’s Bane

But the Ottawa Valley has its own pre-historic killer. If you’re at all familiar with rural Ottawa, then you’ve probably heard of Mussie—the giant serpentine creature of the Muskrat Lake, just outside of Cobden, ON. Mud trout beware!

One artist managed to get Mussie to sit still long enough to create this flattering sketch of the shy beast.

Some witnesses describe Mussie as a 25-foot long, serpent-like creature with three eyes that towers over its prey before going in for the kill. It is long, sleek, and scaly, with flippers to help it move through the murky depths.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s many witnesses came forward describing fins and humps cutting the surface of the lake—the fins and humps of a vicious lake-born killer! Apparently Mussie was even caught on film and studied by skeptical scientists. In 1988, enthusiast Michael Bradley performed a sonar survey of Muskrat Lake in hopes of locating the creature. He located…something…that he believes was Mussie.

Old Man Seymore was a simple God-fearing fisherman with an apparently delicious dog.

In the 1930s a local fisherman allegedly vowed to take down Mussie after the creature supposedly devoured the man’s beloved dog. The fisherman died filled with regrets, as Mussie probably picked its teeth with the dog’s bones.

Some say that Samuel de Champlain learned of the creature from the Algonquin natives when he travelled through the area (of course, there is no actual documented account of this). Propagating this myth, the Village of Cobden actually featured a sign at the entrance of the village displaying Champlain overlooking Muskrat Lake, with the three-eyed Mussie poking its head from the water.

Muskrat Lake was formed about 10 000 years ago when the glaciers of the last ice age receded. Eventually the Champlain Sea dried up, and Muskrat Lake was all that remained. It is believed that Mussie was once a prehistoric creature who inhabited the Champlain Sea.

Of course, modern accounts of Mussie have changed. Many, including Bradley, think that Mussie is just a large seal-like mammal living at the bottom of the lake.

And now I will issue a challenge. I will give 1 million dollars to the one who can bring me Mussie’s head so I can mount the retched beast on my wall.




mark on September 15, 2013 AT 02 pm

Hi. Are there any actual pictures of mussie