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The Beast of Busco is the subject of a legend in Churubusco, Indiana about an enormous snapping turtle named Oscar which terrorized the citizens in 1949. Despite a month–long hunt that briefly gained national attention, the Beast of Busco was never found.



The story goes that a farmer began to notice his chickens going missing. Believing it to be caused by known pests, he paid no mind to it. After a few months, larger and larger livestock was disappearing, even a calf in one instance; all the disappearances occurred near the lake on his property. One day, he reportedly saw a colossal snapping turtle, estimated at 15 feet (4.6 m) in length, basking on the lakeside. Terrified, he called the police; when they arrived, the giant reptile was still there. A plan was devised to drag the beast from the water with chains pulled by 4 Clydesdale horses; when initiated, the turtle and horses were evenly matched, but the chains broke. "Oscar" escaped, never to be seen again.[1][2][3]

Cultural impact

Oscar's memory lives on in Churubusco's Turtle Days festival held each June.[4] It includes a parade, carnival and turtle races.[5]

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


  1. ^ Ho, Oliver and Cochran, Josh (2008) "Mutants & Monsters: Mutants & Monsters". Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.. p.53 ISBN 9781402736421
  2. ^ Thomas, Phyllis (2007) "Indiana: Off the Beaten Path : a Guide to Unique Places". Globe Pequot. p.61 ISBN 0762744146
  3. ^ Cavinder, Fred. D. (2003) "More Amazing Tales from Indiana". Indiana University Press. p.147 ISBN 0253216532
  4. ^ Sisson, Richard (2007) "The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia". Indiana University Press. p.402 ISBN 0253348862.
  5. ^ Dorson, Richard Mercer (1986) "Handbook of American Folklore". Indiana University Press. p.238 ISBN 0253203732.

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