Chessie, The Chesapeake Bay Monster

By Dale Drinnon

Chesapeake BayEver since this country was young, a strange creature has been sighted in the Chesapeake Bay. This creature, unofficially known as Chessie, is said to be a dark tubular or snake-like animal averaging 20- 30 feet long and capable of swimming up to 10 MPH. Chessie is known to be sometimes curious of nearby humans and is not afraid by those who work and live on the Bay, and who might therefore chance upon it. The creature is still seen intermittently. concentrations of sightings occur in May through September most likely because that is when the Bay is most populated with boaters and swimmers. Chessie has been sighted most often are Love Point at Kent Island, the mouth of the Potomac, and the Eastern Bay.

Chessie was by all accounts not your typical Longnecked, Humpbacked, Plesiosaur-shaped sea monsters. Instead, Chessie seemed to be truly serpentine and traveled along in a serpentine motion, in broad horizontal sine-curves or closer-knit sets of squiggles.

In May of 1982, the first hard evidence of Chessie’s existence arrived. While at their Kent Island home, the Frew family, along with friends, believed they spotted Chessie and they made a videotape. Mr. Frew and his wife were looking out at the bay when they noticed a large snake-like creature. Frew and his wife spotted the creature in shallow, clear water about 200 yards from the house. The Frews grabbed their camera and started recording. That video tape was later analyzed by people at the Smithsonian. It was determined that the creature taped was a living animal. Frew video taped the creature as it swam toward a group of swimmers. It dove beneath the swimmers and reappeared on the other side of them. The creature they saw was about 25-30 feet long, 1-2 feet in diameter, dark brown with aa undulating back. In 1978, a retired CIA employee, Donald Kyker, also reported seeing Chessie and 3 others about 75 yards off shore. His neighbors, the Smoots’, also witness the creatures. They gave descriptions of a 30 ft, sleek, dark gray creature swimming about 7-8 miles per hour.
Chessie the Chesapeake Bay Sea Serpent

In the summer of 1982, the Smithsonian had a mini-symposium to determine if the videotape was indeed evidence of Chessie’s existence. Along with the video, there was a photograph taken by a woman who was previously afraid to bring it to public attention. The officials concluded that the object was definitely alive, but they did not conclude what it was. The creature in the Bay was left Unidentified.

Although a manatee was discovered to frequent Chesapeake bay and frequently migrated to and from it, the descriptions of the manatee do not match the creature and there is virtually no chance that the manatee is responsible for any of the sightings, still photos or video footage.

[On the other hand, every now and then a sighting in the more typical Plesiosaur mode also pops up. At the beginning of the Wikipedia's entry on Chessie, it states:
"Chessie is a legendary sea monster said to live in the midst of the Chesapeake Bay. Over the years there have been many alleged sightings of a serpent-like creature with flippers as part of its body. According to Matt Lake in Weird Maryland, two perch fishermen, Francis Klarrman and Edward J. Ward, in 1943 spotted something in the water near Baltimore.
“This thing was about 75 yards (69 m) away, at right angles from our boat. At first it looked like something floating on the water. It was black and the part of it that was out of the water seemed about 12 feet (3.7 m) long. It has a head about as big as a football and shaped somewhat like a horse’s head. It turned its head around several times—almost all the way around.”1
(-After which the Wikipedia emphasizes a snakelike creature swimming by horizontal undulations-DD )
1.^ a b Lake, Matt: Weird Maryland, page 68. Sterling Publishing, 2006. ISBN 1402739060.


4 Responses to Chessie, The Chesapeake Bay Monster

  1. Partricia Samuel says:

    I too saw Chessie in 1973. My boyfriend and I were sitting just off Carrs Beach room and a little area facing a small area of water in a quiet spot. It was about 5:30 6:00 in the morning summertime and we could hear the water rippling. The approach of this thing looked like it was maybe a head decoration on a big boat. We could only see this big head like a horse/dino head. Then all of a sudden it started to rise up out of the water and we see the multiple humps and just how massive this thing was. We were afraid it was coming ashore that’s how close it was so we backed up quickly and never looked back. We never talked about what we saw..

  2. John Gayle says:

    My parents and I were sailing across the Chesapeake bay (from Fishing Bay to the Eastern Shore) in the summer of 1986 and saw something “Chessie-like” about 70 yards off our starboard bow. My father yelled, “Look at that! Look at that!” When I turned, I clearly saw the head of an animal extended far above the surface of the water and wake trailing it for a good distance. The head portion stuck 6-10 feet out of the water and swayed back and forth as it moved as if a submerged body was pushing it along. The visible section was eel-like, with a fatter head. I don’t remember the color. It zipped across the top of the water for about 3 seconds and then dove. We talked about it for the rest of the trip, but when we told others, no one believed a word of it so we basically quit talking about it.

    Our family (particularly my father) has grown up on the bay/Hampton/Eastern Shore/Virginia Beach and we fish/sail/surf/etc… I think it’s safe to say that we are familiar with the water and its peculiarities. But this incident was certainly unique. We discussed all the possible “normal” explanations for what we saw and the closest likeness would be a huge swordfish or dolphin which breached and then skipped on its tail for a considerable distance. The likeness breaks down however because the unnatural movements of the animal, it’s shape (particularly that it was curved like the left half of a circle rather than curved like a dolphin – the right side of a circle if that makes sense), and the height of it’s body out of the water. I would be interested to hear of other sightings.

  3. Chris says:

    In 1999 me and a friend of mine were sitting on the shore of the James River in Enon. It was about 10:00 am mid summer. We were about to start fishing when we both noticed a creature coming across the river. It was about 100 yards to the right of us and we thought it was a deer swimming across the river. We noticed a head sticking out of the water bobbing back and fourth. Then we realized it was only in about a foot of water. It was dark in color and shaped like a deer or horse head. We got up and ran close to it when we realized it was trying to come on shore. It turned and looked toward us and went under water about five feet from the shore and dissapeared. It was right beside a dock so we went on it and looked down in the water and we could see a path from a snake like serpent in the sand that came towards the shore and turned and went back out into deeper water. After that we sat there all day waiting and hopeing it would come back but we saw nothing else. We told people about it and not many people believed us . I know what I saw and it was not normal . I would like to leard more about it but it is very strange. Chessy Is Real !

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