Cryptid Profile: The Monster Eel of Haslar Lake
Located within the town and borough of Gosport, which is situated on the south coast of Hampshire in Southern England, is a body of water known as Haslar Lake. Fed by Portsmouth Harbour, Haslar Lake is actually the deepest part of Haslar Creek, which eventually splits off in two different directions and ends up forming both Workhouse Lake and Stoke Lake. Following along? Good, let’s continue.
Portsmouth Harbour is fed by The Solent, a 20mi strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England. The Solent is filled by various other waterways, such as the English Channel and the Celtic Sea, that eventually connect back to the Atlantic Ocean. There, the connections are done. But why did we go into such detail on where the water in Haslar Lake comes from? Because if we know where the water comes from, we may be able to figure out where the monster came from.
Reported in 1987, the monster of Haslar Lake made itself known quite quickly and fled the area just as fast. Encountered by three young men between the ages of 18-20 on August 9th, the monster was reported to have attacked 19yr old Ralph Marshall after jumping out of the trios boat in order to enjoy the water. While swimming, Ralph felt something thick slam into his left foot, he then felt an excruciating pain as sharp teeth bit into the same foot and tried to tear pieces of flesh off. Immediately Ralph began kicking whatever was latched onto his foot off and shouted for his friends to help. Eventually the unseen thing let go and Ralph was pulled into the boat and taken to the nearby (former) Royal Naval Hospital. The young man required numerous stitches in order to close the wounds left behind by the creature.
A few days later, a group of teenagers swimming in Haslar Lake encountered the same creature that attached Ralph Marshall, only this time nobody got hurt. As the group was swimming, one of the teens felt something pulling on his swim fin. Just as it did with Ralph’s foot, the creature began to try and tear pieces of the fin off, and this time it was successful. The beast managed to take a chunk out of the young mans fin before he could make it back to shore. As this was happening, another teen by the name of James Walker managed to get a good look at the creature below the surface. He described the thing as being very long and shiny. He compared it to a huge iron bar that could move.
After the reports of the creature attacking two people in the water of Haslar Lake made their way around Gosport, other witnesses came forward to tell of what they had seen as well. Nearly all the witnesses described seeing the same thing and this essentially convinced the remaining skeptics that something truly was in the lake. Witnesses described a creature that resembled a nearly 12ft long eel with dark gray skin and prominent teeth that were protruding out of the mouth. It was no time long after this description that the monster in Haslar Lake was referred to by its new name, Elvis. The name Elvis was chosen because if this creature were an eel, it was the biggest any of the townspeople had ever seen and would essentially be the king of the lake. Now, you’ve got to give the people of Gosport credit as they were instantly able to find some humor in the fact that an unknown creature was attacking teenagers in a local body of water.
Now convinced that a “monster” was really in the lake, the town hoped to take care of it quickly. The plan was to drain the water back into Portsmouth Harbour and take care of whatever beast they discovered. Everything went according to plan and the lake was drained, but sadly, the only creature found was a normal sized 2ft eel. In keeping with their already fantastic sense of humor, the people of Gosport named this non-monstrous eel Tiny Tim.
The next day the lake was refilled and things went back to normal in Gosport, Elvis was never seen or encountered again. The general consensus was that the monster eel swam back out the same way it got in and returned to the Atlantic Ocean. The whole experience only lasted a few days and the mystery of what kind of eel Elvis actually was was never solved, although some believe it was a larger than normal conger eel that had never lost its teeth.
Who knows, maybe one day Elvis will show up in a new lake somewhere and start biting feet again. But if he’s busy, we may just have to settle with Tiny Tim.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Public domain.