Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
Cryptozoology: the study of organic life whose existence has not yet been proven.
Gibraltar Island, 2007
Two men had planned a diving trip into Lake Erie to study the effects of the pollution on the walleye and common carp in the area. These fish were the biggest product for fresh water commercial fishermen and the Department of Health had given them this assignment. Dr. Clive Brown and Christopher Trudeau had started their dive off the northern docks on Gibraltar Island, located in the southwestern section of Lake Erie. The dive was scheduled to last an hour, but the police dispatched a rescue boat after the men had been missing for five hours. After an extensive search, they found Dr. Clive brown floating face up, he was still alive. When they pulled him onto the boat they cut his diving suit and mask from him and began to administer CPR. Dr. Brown violently regained consciousness, spitting water and seizing. He grabbed the first medic he could and began screaming that his partner was dead and to get the boat off the lake. He wouldn’t stop screaming until the boat reached dry land. They took him to the closest hospital on the mainland in Ohio, and police began to question him. When he was able to stay awake, they asked him what happened and where his partner was. He couldn’t stave off the shock very long; he would slip in and out of consciousness and had a hard time speaking about the events that occurred at the bottom on Lake Erie. The investigators tried to charge him with murder and withholding evidence, but nothing stuck. Without any remains of Mr. Trudeau they didn’t have sufficient proof that it wasn’t anything more than a simple drowning. Dr. Brown would not speak of the incident.
Six years after the disappearance of Christopher Trudeau, an article appeared in a supermarket tabloid. The magazine was never meant to be taken seriously. This was the kind of reading material that claimed aliens were at the crucifixion of Christ, or a two thousand year old bat boy was found in the Middle East. The only reason the article caught my attention was the author’s name: Clive Brown. The article was about the two colleges’ dive into Lake Erie, and what happened down there. After reading the heavily edited garbage I decided to track him down and speak to the man myself, “the horse’s mouth” and all that.
I finally tracked down Dr. Clive Brown and asked him to speak on these events. He reluctantly agreed after a very long plea, and a hefty fee considering my salary. The following is his unedited record of the events that took place that day in Lake Erie.
“Lake Erie is one of the five Great Lakes. It borders Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Canada. It has had a pollution problem since the 1970’s because of all the factories and mills that are placed too close to the lake, releasing record levels of pollution. On some days the pollution gets so bad, people have reported seeing a mirror sheen on the lakes surface, along with a mixture of discolored algae and dead fish. The tests were going fine; we had collected all the samples we needed and even had time to catch the scenery. Everyone says Lake Erie is nasty, full of pollution, but man when you are down near the bottom; it’s as beautiful as the Caribbean. We were about to finish when I thought I had my ankle wrapped in seaweed. I pulled a knife from a sheath on my hip to cut the weed when I noticed through the fog my breath had created in my dive mask, my partner was violently flailing. I saw what looked like light pink ropes with the thickness of a human leg wrapped around Christopher’s legs and neck. He was trying to free his neck when the bonds began to slowly pull him down. I looked at my ankle and saw that it wasn’t seaweed that had taken hold of me; it was the same light pink rope like thing that had ensnared my partner. I slashed at it with my knife, over and over, as hard as I could; consider the resistance of being under water, until the elastic rope snapped. Blood spewed into the water from the sliced pieces and I heard this deep groan underneath me. Now look, there are some things in this world that will make people shit their pants just thinking about it, and I’m telling you, that sound is something that will haunt me forever. The groan echoed through the water, almost like sonar. I could see my partner still being dragged down by three different pink ropes, the further down they dragged him, the greater the angle between the ropes became, and then they stopped. I swam down against the pressure as hard as I could to save my long time colleague and friend. When I reached Christopher I pulled out my knife with the purpose of freeing him, but it seemed neither of us could stop panicking. Christopher’s entire body was thrashing with fear, and I had far from steady hands. The ropes were at an impasse, each one wanted to pull him in its own direction. They let Christopher hang there a moment; he was thrashing and flailing like a toddler throwing a fit, still attempting to free himself. He abruptly stopped moving, it was like he had just figured out how screwed he was. Time stopped, and I just stared at Christopher’s face through my dive mask, his eyes were slowly widening. I could hear my heartbeat, and the world was still. After what had seemed like a lifetime had passed, the soft pink ropes pulled the body part that it was attached to in a separate direction. One took Christopher’s left leg, another took his right leg, groin, and midsection, and the third one took his damn head, chest, and arms. There was so much blood; it was like a squid had spewed red ink right in front of me. I remember after it was all done, thinking of how quickly I accepted that Chris was dead, and just wondering what the hell I was going to do next.”
He pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his shirt’s front pocket, lit one, took a puff, and looked down to the floor for a moment.
“I never really cried over his death, I never even made it to his funeral. Every time I think about what happened, I just get so afraid that I can’t…..”
He paused for a moment, and then continued.
“I had underwater flares for lighting and pulled one out of my equipment bag. I struck the flare and dropped it. It sank down and lit up a section of the lake bed. I swear to God, from the time that flare left my hand and fell to the bottom of that lake, my life has never changed more drastically. I saw four of them, large dark green and brown colored figures, they were frogs! There were four frogs the size of Goddamn box trucks sitting at the bottom of the lake, with Christopher’s limbs still hanging out of three of their mouths. They chewed on him, staring at me the entire time, like they just wanted to swallow so they could come after me. Their eyes were fixated on me; I was lost in a trance. It was like a dream, I knew I had to get away but it was like my brain couldn’t send the proper signals to my muscles to move. Then I heard it again, that deep, echoing, chest rumbling groan. The neck of the only one who wasn’t eating inflated. It looked like a freaking hot air balloon. Then it was like someone in my mind screamed at me, MOVE YOU IDOT! I started to swim to the top of the water as fast as I could, another deep groan echoed from underneath me. I had considered if it was a reaction to the pain I had caused one of the creatures with my blade, or from the rage it was expressing as its prey was escaping, it didn’t matter.
A fly, I had been reduced to nothing more than the equivalent of a simple house fly, I was feeling true and absolute helplessness. One of the tongues grabbed my oxygen tank and knocked the hoses loose. I lost consciousness soon after, due to either the sudden pressure change, or the reality of what I had just seen, I wasn’t sure. You know the rest, by some miracle they found me. I was half dead and everyone assumed I was absolutely insane. You know how they say when a veteran who’s seen combat will come home and freak out over a loud noise, like a window being shut to hard or something like that?”
“Post traumatic stress disorder.”
“Exactly, PTSD is the only souvenir I got from that diving trip, now I am terrified to be submerged in any amount of water. I literally cannot take a bath without having a panic attack. I have to shower with the curtain open. Does this sound like a problem that a normal functioning adult should have? But hey I’m alive, which is a hell of a lot more that anyone can say for Chris, right?”
I stood up, shook Dr. Brown’s hand, and thanked him for his hospitality and testimony.
“What are you going to do now?” He asked.
“I just want to share your story with anyone willing to listen.” I told him
“Good, I just hope this doesn’t end up in another one of those God awful supermarket tabloids.” He said.
I smiled, shook his hand again, and we parted ways.
Credit To – Killbo Fraggins