There are many bodies of water believed to contain a supernatural creature. Loch Ness and Nessie, the Kraken in the seas. Charybdis and Scylla of the Mediterranean. But Lake Superior is not one of these cases.
Lake Superior is the creature.
There have been thousands of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes chain in North America. An estimated 550 or more are believed to lie undiscovered in Lake Superior, primarily along a stretch of coastline called Shipwreck Coast. Harsh northern winds and frequent poor weather in the region is blamed for the deadly conditions. Crowded shipping lanes are also a culprit, particularly in the area’s heyday in the late 1800s. Ships often collided with each other, and in the freezing waters the cheap steel hulls cracked under the pressure.
Due to the lake’s unique properties, and out of respect for the dead, the shipwrecks are left where they sank rather than brought to the surface when discovered. Scuba divers often explore the bottom of the lake searching for lost ships. Some days, observers have seen ghostly ships sailing on the surface, believed to be the undiscovered wrecks still patrolling the waters.
Lake Superior is the third largest lake in the world, and is over 1300 feet deep. It is not technically affected by the tides, but it does have similar movements twice daily. The lake is cold, often just below freezing. Portions of the lake will freeze over, but its immense size means that the entire surface does not. The waters that enter the lake remain there for over 190 years before making their way through other rivers and channels elsewhere.
The lake’s cold grip does not let go of those that die in its’ waters. Bodies found in Lake Superior do not decay, as the cold water prevents the process of decomposition and the gases that typically bloat a body do not form. The remains of the sailors that drowned can still be found near the ships they once sailed. The ships and crew are often seem attempting to complete their voyages when the moon is high, or at the edges of a storm. Whether physically or metaphysically, the lake does not release the dead.
The most famous wreck is that of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which in 1975, was taken down by waves of over 25 feet tall and dragged to the bottom in two pieces. The destruction was so fast the crew hardly had time to react, and 29 crewmen died that night. None of their bodies have been recovered, and still reside on the lake’s bottom.
The lake is believed to be home for some sea creatures, some resembling large fish or serpents, or occasionally sharks. But the most dangerous part of Lake Superior is the lake itself; the huge waves and deep, cold waters are the biggest threat you will face in the area.
This is not an enemy to be defeated, or a threat to be fought. The way to remain safe from the lake is to not drown in it. The lake does not release the dead. If you must enter the waters, either swimming or on a boat, ensure you go during fair weather, and avoid Shipwreck Coast.