Cryptid Profile: Ashuaps
Lac Saint-Jean is a large lake near Quebec, Canada that spans nearly 410 square miles and has a depth of nearly 210 feet at its deepest point. The water is a reddish yellow color, is fed by at least six notable rivers within Quebec, and was named after Jean de Quen, the first European to step foot on its shores in 1647. The lake is known to be full of Northern Pike, Speckled Trout, Quananiche, Sea Trout, and a nearly 60ft dragon-like serpent known as the Ashuaps. The creature gets its name from the nearby Ashuapmushuan River that drains into the lake.
Sightings of a long, bluish-black serpent-like creature that is able to lift itself nearly 3ft above the water was first officially reported in Lac Saint-Jean in the 1950’s. Though the Aboriginal Canadians that lived within in the area prior to the arrival of European settlers long knew about the creature and claimed that its lair was located on Grass Snake Island, a small island within the lake. Reports would often take on the classic serpent sighting requirements; a large dark body moving through the water out in the distance, a noticeable long neck with a small dinosaur like head resting upon it, and humps within the water (you cannot forget the humps).
The most significant sightings of the serpent took place in 1978. While out on the water near Scott Point, a married couple with the last name Tardif witnessed a 50-60ft creature swimming near the point. The creature would raise up out of the water and then submerge back into the reddish yellow water. That same day, a First Nations family by the last name of Verreault (father, mother, and daughter), were violently tossed into the water when a large creature slammed into the bottom of their canoe. The terrified family quickly made work of climbing back into their canoe and making a break for shore. The creature was described the exact same way as previous reports. It was long, black, and serpentine.
Sightings of the Ashuaps continued well into the 1980’s and began to taper off in the 1990’s. Sporadic sightings still appear in modern day, but they are few and far between. This leads many to speculate that the creature(s) has died due to old age, or it has left the lake via one of the many rivers, only coming back every now and again.
Fun fact: On July 23rd, 1955, the first ever swimming competition to cross Lac Saint-Jean was held. In total, only 7 swimmers took part in this event. Today this event is known as “la Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean” or “The International Crossing of Lake St. Jean” and it attracts participants from all over the world in an attempt to complete the 16mi swim. Rumor has it that participants are encouraged to sign a waiver stating that if they encounter or are injured due to the Ashuaps, they will not take legal action against the organization that puts on the race.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Google