ON LAKE HOPATCONG – Before the boa constrictor slithered its way into the zeitgeist, Lake Hopatcong had another legendary inhabitant, a sea creature whose initial sighting dates back to the late 1800's.
Described as having the head of a dog and the body of a 40-foot serpent, Lake Hopatcong's legendary sea monster "Hoppie" is New Jersey's Nessie and would likely scoff at the idea of a 12-foot snake taking its place in local lore.
Hoppie – whose name is taken from "Hopatcong" - was documented in the New York World newspaper according to an article obtained from an Aug. 4, 1894 issue of the Lake Hopatcong Angler.
The article titled "Lake Hopatcong's Sea Serpent" described the creature as having the head of a St. Bernard dog and the body of a snake, and said it was spotted near the inlet to River Styx by many residents.
"Several shots have been fired at it," read the article. "One man asserts that he hit the head of the supposed serpent with a ball form his 38 calibre rifle and the bullet rolled off like water off a duck's back without even making the monster wink."Read on...