|Underwater Pyramids and Sea Serpents
Salvage diver, Adventurer, MIT grad and Milwaukee native Max Gene Nohl invented the first self contained underwater
breathing apparatus(SCUBA). In the winter of 1937, he tested the suit and pioneered a helium/oxygen breathing
mixture in a record breaking 420 foot dive to the bottom of Lake Michigan. The helium/oxygen mixture idea was
co-developed with fellow Milwaukeean Dr. Edgar End of the Marquette School of Medicine. In one bold move, the diving
world took a quantum leap forward and Milwaukee was it's ground zero. "The Deepest Dive" made international news
and it's young diver was a sudden celebrity. Nohl immediately announced plans to dive the wreck of the Lusitania and
film the entire adventure as a feature documentary.
This was not the first dive using his new equipment. The previous summer had brought the veteran salvage diver to the
pyramids of Rock Lake in Lake Mills, Wisconsin.
For years, fishermen and pleasure boaters had reported seeing unusual underwater structures. They were well known
in Indian lore as a Necropolis(city of the dead) left behind by "Foriegner Kings"-a people who had inhabited the area
5,000 years before . The structures were first described as "pyramidal" in newspaper articles in 1900 during a wave
of pyramid mania that swept the Badger State. Max Nohl could'nt resist. He made a series of dives in the late summer.
Underwater conditions were difficult -at times murky, then suddenly clear, then very dark and almost black with silt.
Toward the end of his last dive, he came across a tall pyramidal structuremade of densely fitted small rocks. To the
eye of the trained engineer, it was clearly man made. Max wanted to return to the lake and dive more extensively, but it
wasn't to be. Many years later, before he could return, he and his wife died in a tragic car accident that also took the
life of soul singer, Jesse Belvin. The undersea structures of Rock Lake remain a mystery and are the subject of
Lake Mills is a lovely town set in an ancient area. The great ruins of the Cahokian City of Aztalan is two miles east.
Compiled by Mary Sutherland
|The Burlington Mounds
"...A race that long has passed
away built them.
A disciplined and populous
race heaped, with long toil, the
The red man came—
The roaming hunter tribes,
warlike and fierce, and the
mound builders vanished from
The gopher now mines the
ground where stood the
All is gone...All—save the piles
of earth that hold their bones
and the platforms where they
worshipped their unknown
|BURLINGTON SACRED SITE TOURS
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|The sightings began in Rock Lake (located in Lake Mills in Jefferson County). This is the same Rock Lake that
contains mysterious burial structures that are believed by some to be an underwater Necropolis left behind by an
ancient, forgotten people. The area has a rich and ancient heritage. It's filled with burial and effigy mounds and the
ruins of the Cahokian outpost city of Aztalan lie a few miles to the east.
In 1869 a large serpent-like creature was first seen to be lurking along the shallows of Rock Lake. It was described
as agressive, frequently hissing at onlookers. Sightings were a common occurence. A Lake Mills resident named
Fred Seaver claimed to have hooked it with a fishing line. "The creature grabbed the bait and towed him a half mile
before breaking his line". It soon had a name, "The Rock Lake Terror." In the summer of 1882, two men from Lake
Mills, Ed McKenzie and a Mr. Seybert were in rowboats, racing each other across the lake. Half way across, they
saw an object that "looked like a submerged sandbar" almost directly in their path. The sandbar suddenly came to
life, raised it's "snake like head" out of the water, opened its jaws and then dove under the lake surface. Within
seconds, it rose out of the water again, this time right next to McKenzie's boat. McKenzie yelled out repeatedly,
"Bring a gun! Bring a gun! Bring a gun!”
Men on shore saw what was happening, quickly commandeered a boat and rowed out to the two threatened
boatmen. The serpent dove a second time and made no more appearances that day.
A few miles from Rock Lake is Red Cedar Lake. In 1891, a sea serpent went on a week long rampage along its
shores. It seized animals from surrounding farms, carrying them still alive into the water. Later, their partially
devoured remains were found lying in the muddy shallows. An area wide panic followed. In nearby Lake Ripley, a
growing resort area, summer cabin dwellers fled and business dried up. (At the time, it was thought that the two
lakes were connected by an underground river.) Then, after three decades of continual sightings and encounters,
the monsters gradually, and quietly, went away.
Indian legends tell of a time when the Ho Chunk were camped on the shores of the Rock River, not far from Rock
Lake, Lake Ripley and Red Cedar Lake.
"In this stream lived a huge and terrible monster. The older people of the tribe say this creature had a large head,
awesome jaws, and body likened to a serpent. It is said to have ranged the whole length of the stream, preying on
both animals and men, as to which he most preferred no one knows. Hapless creatures that went to the water to
drink were frequently seized and swallowed. At all of the fording places this demon found hunting good. Indians
crossing at these places were promptly dragged beneath the water and never seen or heard of again. Some Indians
believed that there were several of these monsters living in the waters of the Rock River and made many offerings
of tobacco and other desirable things to appease the wrath of the monsters."
The state record largemouth bass was caught on Lake Ripley in 1940, weighing 11 pounds, 3 ounces and Ole
Evinrude, inventor of the outboard motor and long time resident of Jefferson County, tested some of his early motors
on the lake.
Compiled by Mary Sutherland
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