We love to call things monsters.
“Pepie: The Lake Monster of the Mississippi River” is the title of the latest book by Chad Lewis (with Noah Voss), reflecting early newspaper accounts, and a term we tend to use for creatures that defy explanation.
But in conversation, he prefers to call Pepie a “sea serpent,” which is the less fearful term used to search historical records about such sightings around the world.
Nash Hoover likes an even more benign term. He calls whatever is (or isn’t) in the lake simply a “creature,” and has taken on its defense as a personal cause.
Hoover and several friends, all from Northfield, are filming a documentary, “Chasing Legends,” aiming to eventually release it in episodes.
“It’s been a lifelong obsession, a desire to get the right story told,” said Hoover, 19. By “right story,” he means debunking the myth that Pepie is fearsome.
“Why can’t it be Pepie the vegetarian?” he asked. “Dolphins eat fish, and if they were bigger, they could eat us. But we don’t call them monsters. What is to say that Pepie isn’t anything but friendly?”
Hoover is especially irked by an episode on Discovery Channel’s “Monsters and Mysteries in America” that aired in March with a synopsis touting “an aquatic mega monster viciously emerging from the depths.” (Pepie also is the subject of an episode filmed for the Travel Channel, which has yet to air.)
Hoover long has been intrigued by the paranormal. “I want to see this stuff for myself,” he said. “And we have plenty of legends to check out.” His crew sandwiches in filming on weekends around their jobs, but he’d like to do this full-time.
Yet Hoover stressed that people should make their own decisions. “I don’t want to start a tidal wave of paranormal searches, but want people to be out there finding out for themselves.” KIM ODE