Sea mon­ster en­counter re­lived 42 years later

Shag Har­bour in­ci­dent story con­tin­ues

South Shore Breaker - - LOCAL - KATHY JOHN­SON TRICOUNTY VAN­GUARD kathy.john­son@bel­

The 1967 Shag Har­bour UFO crash is not the only strange, un­ex­plained oc­cur­rence that has hap­pened in Shel­burne County over the years.

Shag Har­bour UFO Fes­ti­val go­ers were treated to an eye wit­ness ac­count of a sea crea­ture en­counter, ex­pe­ri­enced by Cape Sable Is­land fish­er­man Rod­ney Ross in July 1976, while fish­ing with his fa­ther on the fish­ing grounds known as Pol­lock Shoal.

The open­ing night of the UFO Fes­ti­val (Aug. 3) was only the third time that Ross has told the story to an au­di­ence. He is the last of the five fish­er­men aboard three dif­fer­ent boats that saw the crea­ture dur­ing a one-week pe­riod 42-years ago.

“Some like to call it the South Side sea mon­ster and I think I prob­a­bly agree it looked like a mon­ster,” said Ross.

The story be­gins on a Mon­day when a fel­low fish­er­man, the late Eis­ner Pen­ney, was out fish­ing on the Pol­lock Shoal. He had fin­ished fish­ing for the day and started for home when he turned around and saw this strange look­ing crea­ture fol­low­ing be­hind him, said Ross.

“It was some­thing that kind of scared him, so he opened his boat full throt­tle and it was still fol­low­ing him. As he in­creased his speed the crea­ture kept ris­ing out of the wa­ter and was 12 to 14 feet out of the wa­ter. He was quite scared,” he said. As a tac­ti­cal move, he steamed to­ward the shal­low wa­ters of the Horse Race where the depth is only two or three fath­oms deep. The ma­noeu­vre worked. The sea crea­ture was gone.

When Pen­ney got back to shore and told his story, peo­ple didn’t re­ally be­lieve him, said Ross.

“They laughed at him, told him he was crazy and said there had to be some log­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion for it.”

Then Wed­nes­day came and Ross and his fa­ther Keith headed to the fish­ing grounds. They hadn’t heard about Pen­ney’s en­counter so had no idea of what might be in store.

“It was sort of foggy that day,” re­called Ross. Af­ter fish­ing for a while and catch­ing about 500 pounds of cod, the tide turned. Ross said his fa­ther went in the cud to have his lunch while he stayed on deck try­ing a new fish­ing rig.

With ev­ery cast he was catch­ing fish, then noth­ing, he said.

“Ev­ery­thing got right quiet” ex­cept for a “swish­ing noise. I couldn’t see very far in the fog, so I kept lis­ten­ing and by and by seen this thing in the wa­ter. I thought it was some­thing adrift in the wa­ter. I looked, and it was mov­ing like a hump with big huge eyes on the top of its head. I mean huge, prob­a­bly 10 inches across,” liken­ing it to a croc­o­dile.

Ross called to his fa­ther to come up on deck and have a look. To­gether, they watched it go­ing back and forth from the east to the west, “not once look­ing at our boat and we were right there,” said Ross.

“Ex­cept for this one time. It stopped and turned and looked right at us. I could feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck. It started com­ing at the boat and com­ing and com­ing and com­ing un­til it was just a few feet away and it reared about 10 or 12 feet out of wa­ter and opened its mouth and there were row and rows and rows of teeth sort of like fangs or tusks,” he said.

“You could see its body was full of bar­na­cles and corals and big bunches. It was prob­a­bly 50 to 60 feet long. Its head was much big­ger than its body,” he said, and its tail was ver­ti­cal. “We watched this thing for about 15 min­utes and not one time did it go un­der, it didn’t blow (like a whale) there was just that swish­ing noise.”

Once the crea­ture started com­ing at the fish­ing ves­sel, Ross said, “Dad put it in gear wide open and I looked back and it came within inches of smash­ing our boat. I know in my heart if it wasn’t for my fa­ther’s quick think­ing I wouldn’t be here to tell this story. He saved our lives that day.”

Outrun­ning the crea­ture, the two fish­er­men stopped and lis­tened.

“We heard the sound again,” said Ross. Not tak­ing any chances and see­ing an­other boat on the radar about a mile away, they de­cided they should steam down and tell them what they saw be­fore head­ing home. It turned out to be Eis­ner Pen­ney, the same fish­er­man that saw the crea­ture two days be­fore.

“He said you don’t have to tell me what you see. I seen it Mon­day and just hauled his an­chor we went to land to­gether.”

The third en­counter hap­pened on the Fri­day, when the late Edgar Nick­er­son and his son Robert went fish­ing to the Pol­lock Shoal.

“Edgar was brag­ging on the set, ‘I guess I got the Pol­lock

Shoal all to my­self. Ev­ery­body is scared of this fish.’ He no more than said it and up came this thing close to his boat.”

The Nick­er­sons also made it back to shore safely. Ross re­called telling the story to two re­tired fish­er­men in the com­mu­nity the day it hap­pened and was told that in 1934 two fish­er­men out of

South Side that had an ex­pe­ri­ence much the same.

“It was a scary crea­ture,” said Ross, adding he thinks it was some sort of di­nosaur or pre­his­toric crea­ture from the ocean deep.

Kathy John­son

Cape Sable Is­land fish­er­man Rod­ney Ross holds up a clip­ping from the July 14, 1976, Yar­mouth Van­guard that chron­i­cled the story of the en­counter by five fish­er­men aboard three fish­ing boats with a mys­te­ri­ous sea crea­ture.

Kathy John­son

Third-gen­er­a­tion ocean ex­plor­ers Fabian Cousteau and Ce­line Cousteau, grand­chil­dren of the leg­endary Jac­ques Cousteau, lis­ten to wit­nesses of the 1967 Shag Har­bour UFO in­ci­dent tell their sto­ries at the Shag Har­bour UFO Con­fer­ence on Aug. 3. The Cousteaus, along with a film crew, were in the area film­ing a doc­u­men­tary about the UFO in­ci­dent.

Kathy John­son

Cape Sable Is­land fish­er­man Rod­ney Ross tells his story of an en­counter with a sea crea­ture in 1976 to Shag Har­bour UFO Fes­ti­val go­ers on Aug. 3.

Kathy John­son

A draw­ing of the sea crea­ture seen by five Cape Sable Is­land fish­er­men in 1976 that ap­peared in an is­sue of the Bluenose mag­a­zine that year.

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