Skip to comments.North America’s 'Loch Ness Monster' Spotted Again
Posted on 03/07/2006 10:49:06 AM PST by GreenFreeper
Dubbed North Americas Loch Ness Monster, the purported leviathan of Lake Champlain, Champ, has just resurfaced. On Feb. 22, 2006, Good Morning America aired exclusive video footage of something just below the surface of the water, possibly the lakes fabled creature.
A pair of Vermont men, Dick Affolter and his 34-year-old stepson, Pete Bodette, had made the digital recordings the previous summer while salmon fishing. ABC consulted two retired FBI forensic image analysts, who concluded that the video appeared authentic, although they could not say what it depicted.
The incident added to a long list of Champ sightings, which have described a chameleonesque creature that is black, gray, brown, moss green, reddish bronze or other colors, and is between 10 and 187 feet long, with multiple humps or coils as well as horns or a mane or glowing eyes or jaws like an alligatoror none of those features.
Such sightings may be due to large fish like sturgeon, schools of fish, and other marine creatures. For example, otters, swimming in a line, can mimic a single long, serpentine creature moving in an undulating fashion. Other Champ suspects include wind slicks, boat wakes, driftwood, long-necked birds, and many other possibilities. A contributing factor is expectant attention, the tendency of people who, expecting to see something, are misled by anything resembling it.
Although many people believe that Lake Champlain may host a dinosaur-era creature, that is unlikely in the extreme since is the lake was formed only some 10,000 years ago.
Furthemore, a single creature could not live for centuries, nor could it reproduce itself, so there would have to be a breeding population for the species to have continued to the present. Andif there were indeed multiple plesiosaurs, zeuglodons, or other leviathansover time a beached carcass or other certain trace of one would surely present itself. What's Down There?
The sightings could be explained by several otters, such as this one, swimming together...
... Or maybe people are seeing a longnose gar.
Image Credits: USFWS (top); Ohio Department of Natural Resources (lower)
Nevertheless, the two fishermen insisted they had seen something strange. Bodette stated that the creature was as big around as my thigh. Affolter admitted neither of them ever saw the entire body, although they estimated the length at 10 to 15 feet. In a report on the video, the Burlington Free Press observed (Aug. 18, 2005), In one frame it almost looks as if the head of an alligator-like animal breaks the surface. . . .
The newspaper noted that the Champ legend dated from 1609 when French explorer Samuel de Champlain described a creature the Native Americans called Chaousarou. In his journal, Champlain wrote that the species was reputed to range up to 10 feet long and that he had personally seen some half that length and as big as my thighwords subsequently echoed by eyewitness Bodette. Champlain noted that Chaousarou resembled a pike with an exceedingly long snout and dangerous teethcertainly alligator-like features. In short, Champlains description seemingly tallies with the creature the Vermont fishermen encountered.
The apparent match is instructive: the explorer was almost certainly describing a longnose gar, one of the Ganoidei subclass, which includes sturgeons and other varieties.
Although the video is insufficient for a positive identification, the mens description does permit this tentative solution to the mystery. For four centuries gar have been astonishing people on Lake Champlain. During one of my investigative trips to the lake I interviewed a fisherman who had just witnessed a friend hook a longnose gar thathe insistedwas monster sized, measuring about 6 feet 4 inches long. He called this the real Champ, and dubbed it, appropriately, Gar-gantua.
One of these days we're going to discover sea monsters for real. I hope I can discover a mermaid. With long hair and a voice so sweet I will lose . . .
OOps, human voices. Human voices. Time to wakey.
parsy, the dreamer.
"The warm and cold layers of these lakes do not usually mix. The boundary is very much like the boundary between the surface of the lake and the air above it. In the same way the waves we usually see move along the water-air boundary, the giant seiche wave moves along the warm water-cold water boundary. A giant 300-foot wave might be roaring along underneath the water, while the surface is smooth and placid.
What starts these waves? Scientists think that prevailing winds running the length of the lake can cause a build-up of the epilimnion (warm water) at the end forcing the hypolimnion (cold water) to the opposite end. When the wind stops, the warm water on the surface starts flowing back to its regular position. This is very much like getting out of the bathtub in our example. The cold water layer then suddenly rushes back to the end the warm water vacated. This giant, powerful wave of water then bounces back and forth between the ends of the lake to make a seiche. It can take 4 days for the wave to go the entire 60-mile length of the main part of Lake Champlain."
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Note: this topic is from 3/07/2006.