The Lake Merritt Monster here (aka Oak-ness Monster) is your typical Loch-Ness-style monster that's supposed to live in Lake Merritt.

According to an Oakland North article about the monster,

"Recorded Lake Merritt monster sightings date back to the 1940’s. According to Jack Burroughs, a former reporter for the Oakland Tribune, the monster once inhabited the lake and then left (although, if Dr. Bailey is correct, he seems to have returned again). On June 21, 1946, Burroughs wrote in his weekly column:

The legend, which some go so far as to disbelieve, dates back to that far-off time when turgid streams snaked their way down from the hills to form the San Antonio creek. On a day of untoward lightnings and unseemly thunderings a vast, slimy, amphibious creature slithered along one of these water courses into San Antonio creek, waded along the creek till he came to the estuary, swam out the estuary into the Bay and thence out to sea. But before he left he hollowed out with a fillip of his tail, the basin that later became Lake Merritt. He must have been wired for sounds, for before he left he roared, in a voice that echoed from Mt. Diablo to the Farralons, a prophecy that has since been freely translated from the old Crow Indian dialect as follows: “Lake Merritt… home!”

This archival article was recently dug up from Oakland’s Main Library by Oakland resident and artist Justin Kanalakis, who has quickly become a monster buff and started making and selling t-shirts with the creature’s likeness."


Learn more about Oakland urban legends.