What I saw in the rearview mirror

By Leo Gervais

t was the summer of 1987. I was 21, in my second year of university, and enjoying what was a wonderfully sunny July day. I had driven the 150 km or so from Montreal to my friend Andy Matthew's cottage on Lake Memphremagog, on the Knowlton side of the lake, near Knowton's landing.

His cottage was on the lot right next to the Glenbrooke, a longtime bed 'n breakfast which although not as fashionable as in its heyday back in the 40s and 50s, was still frequented by summer vacationers.

I rounded the last curve on the twisty gravel road approaching Andy's place. This turn dipped, then hairpinned to the left. On the right, as you turned, the lake was about 50 metres down a sloping hill. On this sunny, windless day the lake look like it was covered with diamonds, reflecting the brightness on its watery surface like so many scattered jewels.

After making the hairpin, I looked in my rearview mirror, a reflex I suppose. I could see the road behind me and part of the lake in reflection, still shimmering in the bright of the day. In that brief moment that I looked in the mirror, I saw something else.

A dark, serpentine form moved in the lake about 20 metres from shore. I cannot say I saw a head, but the body had to be at least 20 feet long since I watched it for a few seconds as it came above the surface and then disappeared, leaving a large ripple effect in an otherwise still lake.

I stopped the car and got out, surveying the spot where I had seen the snake-like form. The ripple was not caused by a fish -- it was much too big for that.

I saw nothing else. After several anxious moments of hoping to get another look at what I'd seen I continued on the last quarter-mile to Andy's cottage. Upon arrival, I told him what I'd seen and he, of course, laughed. But after detailing my sighting, he grudgingly acknowledged it may have been Memphre.

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