Shockwaves are vibrating through the town of Port Dover, Ontario,Canada, for people are being bitten by an unknown creature whilstpaddling offshore of a beach near the Port Dover pump house, whichlies about 1 kilometre from the town.

In the just 24 hours three people were attacked by the aquaticassailant. One of these was Port Dover resident Brenda McCormack, 47,who was bitten on the side of her right calf while paddling in themurky Lake Erie water near the beach in the early evening ofJuly.

“I just felt a great big chomp,” she said, and was left with threebig puncture marks and a circle of abrasions that looked like theshape of a jaw.

Brenda was the creature’s first victim. The next day, a man andthen a child – who was treated and released from the emergency wardof the Norfolk General Hospital in Simcoe – were also attacked by thecreature in the same area.

Speculation as to the creature’s identity is rife through the townwith some people thinking the creature could have been part of agroup of piranhas released into the wild after they grew too big fortheir owner’s aquariums.

Dr. Harold Hynscht, however, who treated the man who was attacked,has ruled out piranhas, lamprey eels, snapping turtles and walleye,goby and muskellunge fish. But commented that whatever it was, “itwas a big honking fish.”

Patricia Hall, the nurse who treated Brenda McCormack, said, “Ohyeah, it’s the Lake Erie monster. That’s what people are jokingabout.”

Lake Erie boaters have told stories for years about sighting darkgreen or brown monsters some nine to 12 metres long that swim in awavy motion.

The only plausible creature it can be, according to Dr Hynscht, isthe bowfin, an aggressive fish that grows to be 45-60 centimetreslong, and is often called a living fossil because it resembles fishthat lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Bowfins, often calleddogfish (even though bowfins are not sharks like ocean-dwellingdogfish), usually eat other fish, frogs, small rodents, turtles,leeches and crayfish.

“One of the consistent elements of the stories I’ve heard is thatit happened so fast they hardly had time to react,” Dr. Hynscht says.

“Whatever is doing this is doing so because of territory. It’s notdoing this because it’s hungry.”

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