The Michigan Merman, or Maymaygwashi, is a cryptid that is said to live in Lake Superior in Michigan. Although it is not one of the most famous cryptids, it is still a very interesting creature that plays an important part in the legends and folklore of Michigan.
|Lake Superior, Pie Island
|Child-like body with the tail of a fish; 3 feet / 1 meter tall; dark complexion.
|Approximately 3 feet / 1 meter tall.
|Hides among rocks in the water; elusive.
|Unknown, possibly omnivorous.
|Lakes, specifically Lake Superior
|Eyewitness accounts and testimonies
|Sightings and Encounters:
|Witnessed by Venant St. Germain and another traveler.
|Believed to be mythical; some attribute bad luck to harming such creatures. Skeptics consider sightings as folklore.
The Legend of the Michigan Merman / Maymaygwashi
The Maymaygwashi are water spirits that are found in Ojibwa folklore. It is said that these spirits take the form of small mermaid-like creatures that are half-fish, half-human. They are believed to have child-like bodies and the indigenous tribes believe that they are guardians of the lakes and forests of the North American Boreal region.
These creatures can also be found in the folklore of other indigenous people and are sometimes also called Memegueshi, Mamakwaasiuch, Memegwecio, or Memegwashio.
There aren’t many Western accounts of the Michigan Merman with the most notable being that of a man by the name of Venant St. Germain, an experienced explorer who saw the merman emerge from the water about 150 feet away from where he was camping. He said that the merman had the upper body of a human and it was about the size of a seven or eight-year-old child. He said that it had a human face with bright eyes and a dark complexion. He also noted that the lower part of the creature’s body looked like that of a fish.
When he saw the merman, he was afraid so he reached for his weapon to shoot it but was stopped by an elderly Ojibwe woman who warned him that harming a merman or mermaid would bring incredibly bad luck and devastating storms. Sure enough, that evening a massive storm began and the area was tormented by relentless weather which stranded the travelers for the next three days.
Later, when St. Germain was retelling his story, he met another traveler who said that he had seen the same thing. This prompted St. Germain to provide a sworn testimony in a Canadian court in 1812 swearing that what he had seen was real which cemented the Legend of the Michigan Mermaid firmly into the stories and legends told in Michigan today.