What is the Lake Champlain Monster?

An audio recording of the Lake Champlain monster appears to contain echolocation, a technique used by dolphins.

The Lake Champlain Monster, commonly known as the Champ, is a legendary creature that some believe lives in Lake Champlain near Burlington, Vermont. Like the Scottish Loch Ness monster, Champ is regarded by believers as a lost relative of aquatic dinosaurs. A 1970s photo taken by an amateur photographer shows a large creature in the lake, but whether the photograph is real, distorted or a hoax remains a matter of great debate.

An alleged early history of the Lake Champlain monster is credited to Samuel De Champlain, founder of Quebec and the man who gave the lake its name. In 1609, De Champlain reportedly reported seeing a large monster in the lake while fighting the Iroquois on the shores of Lake Champlain. There is no real record of this sighting, and many experts believe the story to be a hoax.

In 1883, a local sheriff claimed to have seen the monster, and its public announcement led to a flurry of other eyewitnesses to Champ’s mysterious sightings. According to the sheriff’s claim, the monster was at least 6m long. Fervor grew to taste the Lake Champlain monster, and legendary showman PT Barnum offered a $50,000 reward for the animal’s carcass.

What many championship supporters believe is definitive proof of the monster’s existence came in the form of a photograph taken in the late 1970s by a woman named Sandra Mansi. Mansi’s photograph shows a startling image of what appears to be a long-necked, dinosaur-like creature approximately 45 meters off the shore of Lake Champlain. Mrs. Mansi witnessed the creature with her husband and two children and claimed she kept her head out of the water for about four to seven minutes before diving into the water. Experts are divided on what the photo actually shows, some suggesting the creature in the photo is distorted in size, and others suggesting it is just a floating tree stump or a large bird.

See also  What are killer bees?

Believers in the Lake Champlain Monster think it is related to the prehistoric plesiosaur, an aquatic reptile with a long snake-like neck. The plesiosaur is thought to have become extinct as a result of the KT extinction, when many dinosaurs and other early animals died out due to immense environmental change. The Lake Champlain Monster, to be a plesiosaur, would need to be a single 10,000-year-old animal or the result of a small, consistent breeding group. The first hypothesis is considered unlikely because no creature is known to live that long, the second is often ruled out because an active breeding population would likely be seen more often.

Recent information in 2003 and 2005 prompted renewed interest in the Lake Champlain Monster. An audio recording was made in 2003 by a film crew working for the Discovery Channel. The recording appears to contain echolocation, a technique used by dolphins and some whales to find food and locate obstacles. The recording, while similar to a beluga or killer whale, is not of any known species living in the lake.

In 2005, a video taken by two fishermen appears to show an animal just below the surface of the lake’s waters. While the video is no longer available for public viewing, the photos appear to show an animal that looks like a fish, dolphin or eel, but believers claim to be the elusive Lake Champlain Monster. Experts cannot conclude what the video shows and even the fishermen themselves are not sure what was filmed.

Studying the legends of champions is a favorite activity of cryptozoologists, people who study unclassified and possibly unreal animals. As with the Loch Ness Monster, fully convincing people that Champ doesn’t exist will likely never be possible. Marine biology experts claim that the lake could not support a breeding population of plesiosaurs even if they had survived the KT extinction. To date, scientists have been unable to produce a consensual explanation for echolocation, the Mansi photograph or the 2005 video.

Leave a Comment