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Earl White doesn't care what people say, he knows what he saw — he even took a picture of it.

White, who has been a public works employee for the city of Westbrook, Maine, for the last 35 years, said he witnessed the large snake, dubbed "Wessie," that has captivated the community this summer, in the flesh.

At around 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, White was tending to his usual tasks near Riverbank Park, along the Presumpscot River. As he looked for trash and debris, there was a sudden stir nearby, he said.

"I must have scared it, and it took off across the river," said White in a telephone interview.

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White scrambled to get out his phone, and managed to capture an image of what he said is a long snake crossing the river to the other side.

Or maybe it was a floating log?

"It was a snake," said White, with confidence. "His head was about as big as a rear view mirror on a small car."

Snake sightings first began earlier this summer. As rumors mounted about a 10-foot-long snake lurking in the nearby woods, and feasting on wildlife, residents created the clever nicknames "Wessie" and the "Presumpscot Python."

Soon after came a beer dedicated to the slithering creature, concocted by Mast Landing Brewing Company. There is also a Twitter account and Facebook page dedicated to local chatter about the snake.

Then, on Saturday, police warned residents and visitors to the Presumpscot River area that the skin of an unidentified species of snake, roughly 10 feet long, was found near the boat launch at Riverbank Park.

White's alleged sighting, which was first reported by Bill Brock, a "crypto-expeditionary," was the latest encounter with the local legend.

White said the snake was a good size — and possibly larger than first reported.

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"I've never seen a snake that big," he said.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.