The Lake Champlain Monster (Champ/Champy)


Champ or Champy is the name given to the Lake Champlain Monster a North American cryptid [1] allegedly living in Lake Champlain [2] a natural freshwater lake located within the borders of Quebec, Vermont and New York state.

The lake discovered in 1609 by Samuel de Champlain and once of great military and commercial importance is known today for its recreational opportunities,
beautiful cottages, great fishing, great hiking, swimming, canoeing, cross country trails and of course Champ for which there have been over 300 sightings.

Champ has become a great revenue generator attracting tourists from many countries. Port Henry a costal town has erected a giant model of the elusive monster and celebrates “ Champ Day” on the first Saturday in August, the Vermont Lake Monsters, a Minor League baseball team, use him for their mascot and the “Champ” logo is used far and wide.

The legend of Champ/Champy dates back to pre-European times, the Iroquois and Abenaki, American Indian tribes native to the region, referring to it as “Chaousarou” and “Tatoskok” respectively.
 
The first European to see the monster is often touted as the great French explorer and the lake’s namesake Samuel de Champlain. Unfortunately the supposed sighting appears to have never happened at least not in Lake Champlain and has been traced to an article in the Summer 1970 issue of “Vermont Life” by since deceased writer Marjorie L. Porter.

Today Champ/Champy sightings are commonplace:

In 1819 the Plattsburgh Rebublican published an account of a "Captain Crum," sighting an enormous serpent-like creature from the shore of Bulwagga Bay, NY.

In 1873 the crew and passengers of the steamer W.B. Eddy allegedly saw a strange creature in the water near Dresden, New York.

In 1883 Sheriff Nathan H. Mooney claimed to have seen a gigantic water serpent from a distance of 50 yards his story predating the Loch Ness “Surgeon's Photo” by 50 years.

In 1945 a large creature was purportedly observed surfacing mid-lake by the crew and passengers of the S.S. Ticonderoga.

In 1977
tourist Sandra Mansia took a photograph which has arguably become the most famous piece of evidence for the existence of the monster.

In 1993 a baby Champ purportedly swam between two bathers at Button Bay State Park, Ferrisburgh, Vermont.

In 1995 Dennis Hall of Champ Quest recorded images (alleged to be Champ) on video.

In 2003 scientists using underwater microphones recorded a high-pitched ticking and chirping similar to whale or dolphin noise but were unable to positively identify the source.


Inevitably in a discussion of Champ/Champy (as with all cryptids) the question of validity eventually rears its ugly head. Sightings may be frequent, but are they authentic? In the case of Champ/Champy, is it perhaps, as suggested by cryptozoologists, a plesiosaur related to the Loch Ness Monster, or is it something else, something of today's world, ordinary, less exotic?

Possibilities:

Wishfull thinking.

A hoax.

A partialy submerged tree trunk or log.

An animal (aquatic or otherwise).

A large fish possibly a lake sturgeon (a prehistoric leftover from the Cretaceous) which can live for a 150 years, grow as much as 9 feet (3 meters) in length and weigh over 300 pounds (140 kilograms).  

A subsurface (standing) wave called a seiche which can throw debris from the bottom of a lake to the surface. Seiches are know to occur in both Lake Champlain, Lake Okanagan and Loch Ness.


[1] The word “cryptid” was devised by Manitoban John E. Wall and first used in the International Society of Cryptozoology Newsletter, Summer 1983. It basically refers to creatures that are hypothetical, presumed extinct or for which there is insufficient proof to establish their existence with absolute certainty.


[2] Lake Champlain is a 125 miles (201 km) long, with a maximum width of 14 miles (23 km) and a maximum depth of 400 feet (122 meters). By comparison Loch Ness is 22.6 miles (36.3 km) long, with a maximum width of 1.7 miles
(2.7 km) and a maximum depth of 744.6 feet (226.96 meters) and Lake Okanagan, alleged home of Ogopogo the Lake Okanagan Monster, is 84 miles (135 km) long, with a maximum width of 3.1 miles (5 km) and a maximum depth of 761 feet (232 meters).





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