History lesson: What lurks beneath the Black River?

History lesson: The Black River Monster
Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 6:56 AM EDT
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LYONS FALLS, New York (WWNY) - Those who have seen the Black River have likely heard of the Black River Monster, especially in Lyons Falls.

“So in 1951, she was first spotted by a fisherman in the area just up the river,” Lyons Falls Alive president Anne Huntress said. “She has been spotted numerous times since then.”

“I’ve been in this river many times,” said Lyons Falls resident Jim Skorupa. “My father worked in the paper mill here and one of the other workers was fishing. When he came into work the next day, he told the coworkers he saw this monster.”

The village has had a slew of recent sightings.

“She is approximately 25 feet long,” Huntress said. “She’s got silver eyes and fins, so we’re told, the size of hands on each side.”

“I spoke to someone,” resident Roger Williams said, “and they said it had scales on the back, it was wavy, waving in the water, and by the ripples they said it was no fish that could be that big.”

“The first time i went out looking for her,” Huntress said, “I was in my kayak and I saw this thing in the distance with humps and thought, ‘oh, my God, my first time seeing her,’ but it was just a beaver.”

With so many sightings in the area, Lyons Falls has named the river beast.

“We thought she needs a name,” Huntress said. “People need to know she’s friendly, so we named her Lyonesse, just representative of the area. One of the lore is that she is protecting a treasure.”

Legend has it there was a bank robbery in 1912, and the robbers hid their loot under a bridge in the village. When they returned to get it later, they were greeted by Lyonesse.

“And they left,” Lydia Huntress said. “They high-tailed it out of there. So, where the treasure landed is a mystery.

In an effort to find the loot — or the monster — Lyons Falls historians have released an old treasure map that was discovered long ago in an old trunk.

“And in case there is no treasure,” Anne Huntress said, “Lyons Falls Alive has hidden our own treasure”

So come explore, for legend and lore, the treasure of Lyonesse.