Its eyes pierce through the night from deep out in the darkness of Mill Creek.
Its form can be seen out of the corner of one’s eye while driving down the Parkway or cruising the tracks on the Commuter Rail.
Its serpentine movements have been enough to distract even the most focused power walker passing by the Cronin Rink.
It’s the Mill Creek Monster, and photographic evidence unequivocally proves its existence.
Neighbors, commuters and residents have been befuddled for the past month as they pass Mill Creek and see what appears to be some strange animal swimming (or swiveling) in the Creek near the Commuter Rail bridge.
The Journal has even logged a handful of hysterical calls from nearby residents who have spotted the beast and called the paper for more information. Certainly countless others driving by or riding the Commuter Rail have had similar reactions, but in a more subdued way.
Until this week, not many knew the true story of the Mill Creek Monster – as it’s being dubbed – but now the secret’s been exposed.
The creator of the 7-foot-long wooden, dragon-like monster is Bobby McKenna – who lives adjacent to the Creek in the Slade’s Mill – and he’s suddenly getting a lot of attention.
“I’ve seen lots of people pulling into the parking lot that I don’t know to take pictures of it,” he said. “A lot of people walk on the Parkway and they all stop to look out at it. I’m sure people at the Commuter Rail have had quite surprise seeing it as they go by. That’s what I expected though. I put it by the Commuter Rail tracks so the people on the trains would have something interesting to look at.”
Call it spontaneous public art, or something else, but McKenna said he had always wanted to do such a thing since he was a kid. Growing up by the ocean in Beachmont, he said he was always intrigued by stories of sea monsters and leviathans from the depths of the sea.
“When I was a kid, I always read the books by Edward Rowe Snow about the sea serpent and also books about the Loch Ness Monster,” he said. “I had seen something like this on Martha’s Vineyard 20 years ago and always said I wanted to build something like it to get everyone’s attention. I got the idea to do it here one night when I was sitting outside and watching the fog roll in over the Forbes Plant. It looked spooky and I thought it would be a cool place to put something up. This year, on Halloween, my friends pushed me to do it and I did.”
McKenna seems to relish the element of surprise, as he didn’t just drop it out on the Creek in daylight.
He said he rowed out to the spot in the dark of night and anchored down his creation, hoping to surprise everyone in the morning.
“I didn’t want people to see me out there in the middle of the day doing this,” he said. “That would take all the fun out of it.”
The Mill Creek Monster is actually mostly made of plywood and leather. It is mounted on a small platform that is anchored in the mud bottom. The two platforms hold up the plywood cutout of the monster, which lurks just above the water line. For added effect, McKenna swiveled the two pieces together so that the monster seems to slither through the water when the wind is blowing.
“It does do this sidewinding thing in the wind,” he said.
To top it off, McKenna added two small solar powered lights to act as eyes, and they come on at night and pierce through the darkness – to a very eerie effect.
Now the only piece left in the monster puzzle is to decide upon a name.
“The obvious choice is Millie, but I don’t know if I want it to be referred to as a girl, so another choice is Millhouse,” said McKenna. “I kind of just like the Mill Creek Monster.”