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Beast of Busco facts for kids

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Beast of Busco
Sub grouping Lake monster
Similar creatures alligator snapping turtle
Country  United States
Region Maumee Valley,
Northern Indiana
Habitat Water

In Indiana folklore, the Beast of Busco is an enormous snapping turtle which citizens claimed to have seen in 1949. Despite a month-long hunt that briefly gained national attention, the "Beast of Busco" was never found.


In 1898, a farmer named Oscar Fulk claimed to have seen a giant turtle living in the seven-acre lake on his farm near Churubusco, Indiana. He told others about it, but eventually he decided to drop the matter.

A half century later, in July 1948, two Churubusco citizens, Ora Blue and Charley Wilson, also reported seeing a huge turtle (weighing an estimated 500 pounds) while fishing on the same lake, which had come to be known as Fulk Lake. A farmer named Gale Harris owned the land at that time. Harris and others also reported seeing the creature. Word spread.

In early 1949, a UPI reporter from Fort Wayne sent the story out on the wire services, and the turtle became nationally famous.

Curious mobs of sightseers began to invade Harris’ land forcing state police to be called in for traffic control.

After many doubted the existence of the turtle, Harris made several attempts to catch the beast, including draining the lake by pumping the water into an area sealed off by a dam with the help of Orville Bright and Kenneth Leitch only for the dam to break when the lake had almost been entirely drained. But despite many attempts, "Oscar" (named after the original owner of the farm) was never captured.

In March 1949, an attempt to send a deep-sea diver into the pond failed when the wrong equipment was delivered to the Harris farm.

A photographer for Life Magazine, Mike Shea, took 299 photos at the site, but they were deemed unusable.

Cultural impact

Oscar's memory lives on in Churubusco's Turtle Days festival held each June. It includes a parade, carnival and turtle races.

A turtle shell labeled "Beast of Busco" hangs in the Two Brothers Restaurant in Decatur, Indiana.

A small concrete statue of a turtle sits on the sidewalk at the main intersection in the center of Churubusco.

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