Seattle’s Sea Monster
The sea serpent Willatuk was first sighted in 1736 near present-day Seattle. Since then, hundreds of people have glimpsed this creature, some recording what they saw in simple drawings and hurried snapshots. Willatuk is a huge aquatic animal, similar to a plesiosaur, who is at home in both the fresh water of Lake Washington and the salt water of Puget Sound.
Sightings of Willatuk, Seattle’s sea serpent and lake monster, have been recorded in the Puget Sound area for almost 300 years.
1736 — First sighted by Native Americans in Elliott Bay, off present-day downtown Seattle. Named “Willatuk” after the ancient God of the Ocean.
1794 — Seen by a group of Native Americans off the coast of present-day Edmonds.
August 8, 1818 — Four white trappers from Illinois sight the giant animal in Lake Washington on the north end of the lake near present-day Kenmore.
September 12, 1818 — Fur trappers sight Willatuk in Puget Sound near present-day Queen Anne.
October 4, 1888 — Journalist Harold Bloomrod completes a series of articles on Willatuk for the Seattle Lake Tribune. He is last seen alive on October 21, 1888, while rowing out into Lake Washington from Matthew’s Beach. His body was never found.
June 4, 1904 — Ten-year-old Elizabeth Hillmeier claims to have seen Willatuk on several occasions when the animal would swim up to the shoreline while she fed him apples. Scientific examination of the area showed impressions of a “large animal bigger than a whale to have been resting on the shore.”
September 24, 1912 — Dr. Henry Buttlehjegen, a noted zoologist from the University of Chicago, names Willatuk “The Lizard Swimmer” after sighting him off Mercer Island.
July 4, 1934 — Harold and Kathleen Smith of Ballard claim to have seen Willatuk swimming through the Ballard Locks and into Shilshole Bay in the middle of night.
March 24, 1944 — Fisherman Kenneth Hammerton and crew of the Cape Interlock sight a large creature moving through the water off Shilshole Bay. According to Hammerton, the creature, “was 40-50 feet in length with a long, undulating neck and it moved through the water with great swiftness. As we pulled our ship closer to examine the creature, it sank into the water and disappeared from sight.”
July 9, 1955 — David Lowenstein sights a large, long-necked animal “which looked like a dinosaur” while driving along the shoreline of present-day Kirkland.
May 14, 1969 — Crypto-zoologist Edmond Brussels claims to have seen Willatuk appear in the north end of Lake Union. “He was absolutely huge and had the most magnificent and noble head. Truly an astonishing find! All my years of research have paid off.” Brussels was working on a book about Willatuk when he died unexpectedly. His papers have never been published.
January 1, 1976 — A grandmother of five, walking alone along the south end of Lake Washington, witnesses “a huge dinosaur” wallowing in the shallows of the lake near the shoreline.
August 18, 1994 — While swimming in Lake Washington near Magnuson Park, two teenage brothers, Peter and Matt Nelsen, witness “this gigantic thing come out of the water, it burst out and moved its head around for a second…it looked like a snake or something…and then it disappeared.” They swim to shore and when they look back, there is no sight of what is believed to be Willatuk.
June 15, 1999 — Crypto-zoologists Dr. Henry McCarton and Professor Luis De La Reyo claim to have a discovered a tunnel five miles deep that runs from Puget Sound into Lake Washington. They claim this substantiates their theory that Willatuk is able to live in both fresh and salt water, making Willatuk the world’s only sea serpent and lake monster.
September 14, 2000 — Fisherman Grip David apparently witnesses Willatuk in Puget Sound on his return from an Alaskan fishing trip.
April 1, 2002 — John L. Lease of Seattle makes a call to police in a panic on his cell phone. “The creature is here! It is alive! It is huge! It is incredible!” Unfortunately for police, and Mr. Lease’s family, Mr. Lease never provides his position. A week later he is reported missing. His whereabouts remain unknown.