Monday, September 23, 2013


Using direction from an eyewitness, B. M. Nunnelly was able to create this sketch of Genny. (B. M. Nunnelly)

On a sunny morning in the late 1980s, two teenaged boys approached the muddy backwaters of the swollen Ohio River in Henderson County, Kentucky, armed with a .22 caliber pistol. The boys, Andy and Mike, planned to take turns shooting turtles off logs, and soon found targets aplenty. Mike's father, who had driven them to the isolated spot, remained in his car but was close enough to hear the shots from the handgun. 

The shooting stopped, however, when Andy saw something bob up from the river only a few yards away: a green hump, like an auto tire, covered in moss with dark green circles the size of baseballs spaced about a foot apart. Both boys watched in amazement as another hump surfaced close to the first one, and then another, until five humps sat there like a string of tires tied together. The humps were segmented and their surface resembled the skin of a lizard. 

The greatest shock, however, came when a head rose from the water in front of the humps. The boys could clearly see its elongated snout and dark, black eyes. As the head swung in their direction the creature appeared startled and sank quickly, humps and all, beneath the surface. 

This account was adapted from Mysterious Kentucky, with permission of the author, B. M. Nunnelly, who interviewed Andy some years after the incident occurred; Nunnelly found that the memory was still fresh in Andy's mind. Andy added that the creature (later named Genny, for the Geneva area in which it was sighted) was approximately 30 feet long and as big around as an automobile tire. It did not have scales. Andy also noted that a dark line ran along the creature's length, and that when the beast disappeared from view, it sank swiftly all at once rather than plunging forward in a diving motion. The creature swam with a side-to-side movement (unlike most serpent sightings which are usually described as up-and-down motions) that created a powerful wake. Andy also told Nunnelly that both he and Mike were too stunned to even think of firing at the creature, which appeared large enough to have made the boys its dinner if it had cared to. Andy was able to direct Nunnelly, a skilled artist, to create the drawing that accompanies this story. 

To this day, says Nunnelly, Mike is still too unnerved by the incident to talk about it. But Nunnelly has uncovered other eyewitnesses in the Geneva area. In 2001 James Kennedy was spending his Fourth of July holiday camping in the Sloughs Wildlife Management Area only two miles from Mike and Andy's encounter. To his surprise, he was able to watch a large, unknown "snakelike" creature swim as close as three or four feet from shore for several hours. The animal was no behemoth, measuring only about three feet long, but it had a beak shaped like a duck's and swam with its head above the surface of the water. Kennedy told Nunnelly he was close enough to be sure that it was not a snake, and regretted that he had failed to bring his net along to try to capture it. It's tempting to speculate that this was an offspring of the larger creature seen by the two teenagers almost 20 years earlier. Or perhaps there is more than one type of unknown aquatic inhabiting the area around Geneva, Kentucky. 

Nunnelly has also witnessed a few strange things in the waters of that state. One incident occurred about 20 miles from the two spots mentioned above, when he was able to view a humped, duckbilled, snakelike creature that he estimated at somewhere between the size of the two previously sighted creatures. This sighting was also made in the Ohio River, near Stanley in Davies County. His wife also saw it, and the couple was able to observe it for 30 minutes as it swam and repeatedly dipped from sight in the same, swift sinking motion noticed by Andy and Mike. In the mid-'90s, as he drove across a bridge over the Ohio, Nunnelly saw the neck and head of an unknown aquatic creature. It rose about five feet from the water, and reminded him of pictures he had seen of that famous Scottish lake monster, nessie of Loch Ness.

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