|Page 7, Springfield Leader, August 25th 1907|
According to the August 18th, 1907 edition of the Springfield Leader, the authorities in Springfield first became aware of the monstrous fish when Duff, beloved dog and mascot of the Springfield Police Department had his tail bitten off while swimming in the lake. By August 21st, the newspaper had uncovered the truth: Some time before, two workers at the park had seen the creature appear from the underground lake at nearby Giboney Cave. Recent torrential rains had swelled the stream leading out of the cave, allowing it to escape. According to these witnesses:
"The mouth resembled more the picture of the mouth of the hippopotamus on a circus billboard, and his teeth were fully six inches long. Large horns over a foot long graced the head of the huge monster, while the fish was literally covered with long wiry whiskers, which gave the fish the appearance of a huge sea monster rather than that of a fresh water fish."Geologists speculated that the creature had originally come from the Mississippi River and somehow entered a vast underground waterway through the White River system.
While a few workers at Doling Park kept the creature a secret, the monstrous fish made itself at home in the lake, befriending the local swans. When some of the swans were eaten by two small alligators (kept in a nearby menagerie pond) the Catfish burrowed into the pond and devoured the alligators in revenge.
In the August 25rd edition, the Springfield Leader reported that former mayor Ben Meyer had an earlier encounter with the beast. Meyer had been fishing in the lake, and while reeling in a prize bass the Monster Catfish came up and devoured Meyer's trophy. Few believed his story, fueling his animosity toward the Catfish and prompting the former mayor to announce a $100 reward for the capture of the monster.
NEXT WEEKEND - More encounters with the monster, including the final battle!