Searching for a monster

By: Jonathan Kegges

LAKE CITY, Minn. (KTTC) -- Most of us have probably heard of the Loch Ness Monster. Legend has it that we have one of those swimming in the depths of Lake Pepin right here at home-- and two national TV shows sent crews to Lake City this week to tell the story.

The Travel and Discovery Channels have gotten word of a monster we call Pepie and now Lake City will be featured nationally for it.

NewsCenter's Jonathan Kegges and photographer Dymanh Chhoun followed the Travel Channel crew as they took to Lake Pepin by boat.

The story was passed down from generation to generation by Native Americans

"We couldn't see what was making it, but it was something very big right beneath the surface of the water, said Pearl of the Lake Captain Larry Nielson.

A creature on Lake Pepin that couldn't be explained.

"When the white pioneers in the mid 1800s actually settled here, that's when they started putting it in print in the newspapers," said Folklorist Chad Lewis.

And now a monster the locals call pepie has caught the attention of two major television networks.

"We came to talk about Pepie, take the tour on the boat, talk to people in the city and the surrounding area if they know about the lake monster," said Assistant Director of CMJ Productions Emmanuel McEwan.

It's a brand new show called Monsters Destination that will first air on the travel channel in Canada. It not only highlights the tales of monsters living among us around the world, but shows off the town and what it has to offer for tourists.

"It's a travel show, it's on a travel channel so we talk about tourism, does it impact the city and the people that live there," said McEwan.

Lake City and Lake Pepin aren't the only things being showcased around the world, it's the Minnesota weather. We've gone from rain to sleet to snow, the fog is rolling in and it's really making the environment a perfect one for a monster to choose to live.

"You certainly don't have to have a great imagination to believe a monster is in here on a day like today," said Lewis.

But for everyday, Pepie or at least the legend of Pepie could do big things for a tiny town.

"It's pretty exciting we've had a lot of news stations like yourself and newspapers come and do a little story over the years, but we've never had the opportunity to be featured on national television," said Nielson.

And for a town that is rich in tourism that means a lot.

"We only have six or seven months out of the year to make a living out in this part of the country so we need to get as many people out here as we can," said Nielson.

But if you are coming to Lake city to look for the monster, Chad the folklorist compares Pepie and its surroundings to Loch Ness and it's monster Nessie.

"The similarities and the size and the surroundings and whether that's connected to both places having a monster I don't know," said Lewis.

The Discovery Channel will be out on Lake Pepin trying to find Pepie Thursday for one of their upcoming shows.

The Travel Channel edition is expected to air in Canada around Christmas, but we in the states may have to wait a year to see the final production.

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