May 11, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Purchase Your Very Own Island and Famous Lake Monster in Montana

Are you one of those bitcoin billionaires looking to spend some of your digital fortune on a house on an island surrounded by a lake with its own lake monster? If you have $72 million dollars to spare, you could become the owner of Cromwell Island in Montana, which sits in the middle of Flathead Lake, which lends its name to the local legend – the Flathead Monster. Is it just American pride that causes Montanans to say their monster is better than that one in Loch Ness and that it's the cream of the cryptid crop – lake division? Does Nessie have antlers? ‘Flessie’ does!

“Located on Montana’s Flathead Lake, Cromwell Island spans some 350 acres and showcases the very best of the western state. Priced at $72 million, the property comes complete with an unfinished 45,000-square-foot villa that you can tailor to your tastes, a two-bedroom guesthouse and a dock with five boat slips.”

The Robb Report has an excellent real estate description to go along with beautiful photographs of Cromwell Island the 45,000-square-foot ‘fixer-upper’ villa with a beautiful view of Flathead Lake – the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. That’s right – this beautiful body of water (the waters are “are as clear as gin” according to the real estate listing) in northwest Montana is bigger than the more famous Lake Tahoe. And from either the villa on the beach or the 3,400-foot island summit, the views are spectacular for Flessie watching.

Flathead Lake is in northwest Montana

Flathead Lake, a remnant of a massive glacial lake, was originally Salish Lake, but became Flathead (and the natives Flathead Indians) when the Europeans arrived and mangled the name. Descendants of the Salish were removed to the Flathead Indian Reservation, located at the southern end of the lake. The legend of the Flathead Lake monster comes from another indigenous people – the Kutenai. This culture lived on an island (possibly Cromwell) on Flathead Lake, which freezes every winter. During one of those times, two girls were said to see antlers sticking out of the ice. When they attempted to retrieve them, the ice broke and the antlers rose up to reveal the lake monster connected to them. While the girls managed to escape using special powers, half of the locals fell into the lake and drowned – a legend used to explain why there are so few Kutenai today.  

Like everything else, the invading Europeans took over the legend of the Flathead Lake monster. The first recorded report comes from 1889 when Captain James C. Kerr of the lake steamboat U.S. Grant claimed he and 100 passengers saw a whale-like creature in the water which vanished when one passenger shot it … some things never change. Other alleged sightings describe it as a 20-to-40-foot eel-like monster with brownish to blue-black skin and grayish-black eyes. The year 1993 was a big one for ‘Flessie’ sightings with 13 – a Nessie-like total. Nessie has far more photos but it and Flessie share one major characteristic – skeptics believe the creature is nothing more than the product of wild imaginations turning logs, shadows, sturgeons, bears, horses, deer, elk and boat wakes into monsters. A favorite story among believers is one about a 3-year-old boy who was said to have fallen into the lake and told his mother he was saved when “The Flathead monster lifted me up".

Flathead Lake with no monster

How much is a life-saving monster like Flessie worth to you? Throw in the island, the 44,000-square-foot villa and every else around it … is it worth $72 million? The real estate listing sweetens the pot with some celebrity history.

“Cromwell Island was purchased in the late 1980s by Robert M. Lee, a renowned automobile and antique arms collector, explorer, author, and conservationist. Before his death in 2016, Mr. Lee and his wife, Anne, partially completed construction of a monumental structure including over 45,000 square feet of living space that was to serve as their home full-time. Even in its unfinished state, it has a magnitude of presence reminiscent of Versailles.”

Versailles with a monster! You can’t get that in Inverness, Scotland. According the Hall & Hall listing (more info and photos here), the foundations are made from a mix of concrete and Montana limestone instead of wood, the house gets power from the mainland and there’s a backup generator capable of providing power for 8 to 12 weeks in case of bad weather.

Or an angry Flessie.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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