Cayuga Lake, at 40 miles long, is the longest of western New York’s glacial Finger Lakes and is the second largest in surface area. This lake is located roughly 350 feet above sea level and has a maximum depth of 435 feet. Legends of a large serpent like creature dwelling in this glacial lake can be traced back to the 1800’s and according to a January 5, 1897 Ithaca Journal article, that year marked the 69th annual appearance of a sea serpent inhabiting Cayuga Lake, or, as the paper dubbed the beast, Old Greeny.
The Ithaca Journal reported that their staff has been living in daily anticipation of Old Greeny’s appearance, and have actually rejected assignments which would take them near the water’s edge for fear of the beast. A story within that edition of The Journal retold the tale of an Ithacan who was driving along the lake’s eastern shore with a friend when he saw what he knew must be the large, long sea serpent, although a tramp, who had also seen the creature, later told a Journal reporter that he believed it to be a muskrat.
For several years isolated reports of this single monstrous creature continued to be reported through the area, it wasn’t until 1929, that The Journal reported the existence of two mysterious so called sea monsters now living in Cayuga Lake. These creatures were described as being about 12 to 15 feet in length and the paper suggested that the beasts where actually members of the Seneca Lake sea serpent family that may have found their way into the local waters through a subterranean channel which they believed to exist between the two lakes. Recent scientific study however has disproved the existence of such an underground connection.
In 1974, a teenager by the name of Steven Griffin was allegedly attacked by Old Greeny while swimming in the waters of Cayuga Lake. He described his assailant as having an over all eel like appearance but its jaws were so powerful and snapped down with such tremendous force that the impact broke the boys arm.
One of the last known documented encounters with Old Greeny occurred in 1979 while Jack Marshall, owner of J.T. Marshall Professional Diving Service, was boating with some friends on Cayuga Lake. While cruising the lake Marshall saw what he believed at the time to be a large fallen tree directly in the path of his boat. He shouted back to the driver of the boat to cut the engines and stop before the boat collided with it. As the vessel slowly drifted to a stop a few feet from the log the group realized that it wasn’t a log at all, but a 30 to 35 foot long living creature which slowly slipped below the surface before their eyes.
One theory as to the identity of Old Green is that it is nothing more than the misidentification of lake sturgeon, though not common in these waters the prehistoric looking fish has been reportedly caught in Cayuga Lake before. Another theory suggests that a rare species of giant fresh water eels may dwell in Cayuga Lake. Then there are those who have seen the beast who, although not sure exactly what the beast may be, are sure that it is not a fish or an eel, but something a little more terrifying.
There is currently no physical evidence to suggest that a creature like Old Greeny is currently living in Cayuga Lake, that is of course unless it turns out to be a large lake sturgeon, in which case, it is a fact that these ancient looking fish dwell in the cold waters of this glacial lake.
On January 5, 1897, an Ithacan who was driving along the lake’s eastern shore with a friend saw what he knew must be the large, long sea serpent, although a tramp, who had also seen the creature, later told a Journal reporter that he believed it to be a muskrat.
In 1929, The Journal reported the sightings of two, 12 to 15 foot, mysterious so called sea monsters now living in Cayuga Lake.
In 1974, a teenager by the name of Steven Griffin was allegedly attacked by Old Greeny while swimming in the waters of Cayuga Lake.
In 1979 while Jack Marshall, owner of J.T. Marshall Professional Diving Service, was boating with some friends on Cayuga Lake a 30 to 35 foot creature reportedly sank below the surface of the water right before their eyes.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Lake Monster
• Size: 12 to 35 feet in length
• Weight: Unknown
• Diet: Unknown
• Location: Cayuga Lake, New York, United States of America
• Movement: Swimming
• Environment: Glacial formed lake