Lake Norman sea creature gets a name on new county park trail
Catawba County has officially named one of the most visible trails in its new 606-acre Mountain Creek Park after a legendary Lake Norman sea creature that anglers and homeowners still report seeing roaming the waters.
The park opens Saturday on the northwest tip of the lake in Sherrills Ford, about 35 miles north of Charlotte. Among its 19.52 miles of total trails is a 0.82 mile paved, ADA-accessible “easy” trail named Stormie Normie that winds 90 to 100 feet to a pier on the lake.
Stormie Normie is a child-friendly name for the legendary Loch Norman monster, park officials told The Charlotte Observer during a preview tour.
Sightings of a giant fish have been reported on the lake for decades, according to news outlets and a website dedicated to the legend.
With 520 miles of shoreline, Lake Norman spans parts of Mecklenburg, Iredell, Lincoln, and Catawba counties.
Park staff have been considering the names of the mountain bike trails, Catawba County spokeswoman Amy McCauley told the Observer this week.
The names “were inspired by the history, traditions and habitat associated with the location of Mountain Creek Park,” McCauley said in an email. “Because it’s a park, the names have also been infused with a bit of fun.”
‘What the fuck is this thing?’
Public interest in spotting the beast prompted cruises where passengers searched Lake Norman with binoculars.
In 2017, a film crew from the Japanese TV show “What’s This – Mysteries From Around the World” embarked on an unsuccessful three-day hunting expedition to find the beast, the Observer reported era.
Anglers and owners, however, continue to report sightings on LakeNormanMonster.com, a site that sells Normie t-shirts, mugs, beach blankets, posters, prints and a children’s book.
A crappie fisherman reported the last encounter on January 18.
“Could it have been Normie?” the Sherrills Ford man posted to the website after he said he saw ‘something sticking out of the water’ while fishing from a pier in Mountain Creek, at the northwest end of the lake in the Catawba County.
“But it was moving,” he said. “The head would go forward, then it would slow to a stop and go back. I was like, ‘what the hell is this freaking thing?!'”
The creature was brown and “about as big as a goose’s body, but it wasn’t a goose!” reports the fisherman. “It moved about 20ft then slowly descended. I was blown away by anything…and I’m not mad!!
His phone died the moment he tried to photograph the creature, he said.
“I saw it there too!” one person answered.
“I caught ginormous catfish. I was a fan of the idea of something being mutated and genetically crossed into a different species,” another person replied.
“What did I just see? A monster?’
On July 31, 2021, while paddle boarding in Person’s Cove, an unnamed Denver, NC resident saw “a dark figure 6-8 feet just below the surface, about 10 feet from the shore”.
“A few parts were barely above water, then all of a sudden they splashed and went underwater,” the owner told LakeNormanMonster.com.
Five minutes later, “the same creature broke through the surface of the nearby water,” according to the report.
“What’s going on?” the person wondered. “What did I just see? A monster?”
In July 2017, a 35-year-old man from Mecklenburg County told CryptoZoology.com that he spotted a “dinosaur-like creature” while traveling on a boat with friends, the Observer reported at the time.
The man described the creature as “splashing through water”, 10ft long and reminiscent of the mythical Loch Ness monster. It was visible for about a minute before sinking below the surface, he told the website.
It’s just a gigantic fish, say skeptics
Skeptics say the monster is just an ordinary fish grown up.
The creature is likely a catfish that grew over 8 feet long, a Clemmons diver posted to LakeNormanMonster.com in 2017.
In response to a Denver, North Carolina resident’s post on the website, another person said the owner had probably seen a giant catfish, an alligator gar that can grow up to 10 feet long, or a long-nosed gar.
The longnose gar, which can reach 5 or 6 feet in length, definitely roams the lake, including near the new fishing pier in Mountain Creek Park, park officials told the Observer.
This story was originally published June 18, 2022 7 a.m.