By Pearson Fowler
In a year where terror has infiltrated the hearts of Furman students in the form of killer ladybugs and sentient mold, there is one more creature that students must face.
The Furman Lake, as if it were not already lethal enough, is now currently being occupied by an unidentified menace that resembles something between a shark and the Loch Ness monster. Its prevalent fin and apparently ornery nature inspires comparisons with a shark, while its elusive and enigmatic character parallel that of Nessie.
Brighton Ernest, head of the Furman Fish and Fly Club, was kind enough to shed some light on the situation. “Oh the shark in the lake? Yeah, that elusive monster has been here for decades. It’s a grass carp; not the common carp that invaded from Asia, but a species introduced intentionally. They put it in the lake to eat grass in the ’60s but it has been scaring freshmen ever since,” he said.
Being able to identify the beast certainly subdues some of the fascination and the more fanciful explanations for what it could be, but perhaps the more prudent and telling question is still unanswered.
How did it get to be so big? If only subsisting on a diet of grass, it seems inconceivable that the “carp” could have grown so much that it can no longer stay completely submerged in the water. Some students have speculated that it subsists on freshmen, while others say it eats the students who wear “YOLO” tank tops non-ironically.
Regardless of what it eats or how it got to its current size, several eyewitness testimonies seem to support the notion that this beast is capable of great deeds, terrible but great.
“I remember the first time I saw it. I was fishing for bass by the UC parking lot, when all of a sudden a monster from the depths appeared and took a chomp at the pink worm I was fishing,” Ernest said. “I reacted by yanking the worm out of the water and releasing a high-pitched scream that attracted the attention of several visitors. After it disappeared, there was no way I could ever explain what I saw. No one could understand”.
For a man who has conquered fish in the Upstate for many years to be so startled by a “fish,” it must have been spectacularly horrifying. The jury is still out on how exactly it could have reached its current size and whether or not it has in fact eaten any freshmen.
One student in particular, junior Samuel Dawson, had a close encounter with what he can only assume was the same creature during his freshman year.
“It was my birthday and my roommates insisted on laking me. I wasn’t going to overpower both of them, so I figured I would just go willingly. It was always going to be a fun story right?” Dawson said. “Well, after they threw me in, I opened my eyes for barely a second, just to get my bearings, and I was horrified to see what looked like the meanest fish I’ve ever seen, making a beeline right for me. I’m not sure what it would have done if it made it to me, but fortunately my roommates were already pulling me out of the lake. If they had not been there, I could have lost a finger, or worse.”
Needless to say, although the lake monster is seemingly terrifying and has been popping up all over student media sources, it is a harmless carp, a fish that feeds on grass and not students. The carp, however, is only an introduction into what else is lurking in the lake.