American Loch Ness Monster "Champ"
Little is know about the elusive Champ's behavior. If he exists, he appears to enjoy keeping a low-profile and hiding from the public, possibly in a hidden channel that runs through the deepest part of Lake Champlain.
Champ is said to dwell somewhere in the depths of Lake Champlain, a large, deep, freshwater lake bordering New York, Vermont and Quebec, Canada. The lake, named for French explorer Samuel de Champlain who mapped it in 1609, is 120 miles long, 12 miles wide and as deep as 400 feet in some spots. It was likely formed some 10,000 years ago by retreating Ice Age glaciers. Observers have noted that chilly Lake Champlain is similar in depth and temperature to Scotland's Loch Ness, home of the legendary Loch Ness Monster.
There have been several hundred reported sightings of Champ and the descriptions vary: Somewhere between six feet to 25 feet--or even longer--in length, a horse-like or snake-like head, dark coloring, and, possibly, a humpback. Accounts describing Champ as long-necked and broad-bodied with a short tail and four paddle-like limbs seem similar to those of a plesiosaur, an ancient aquatic creature that existed during the dinosaur era and is thought to have been extinct for the last 65 million years.
Champ's better-known cryptid cousin, the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland, originally gained worldwide acclaim in the 1930s following a series of reported sightings. In 1993, a famous 1934 photo of "Nessie" was determined to be a hoax.
Stories of a giant serpent living in Lake Champlain date back to the time when Native Americans were the region's primary residents. The explorer Samuel de Champlain recorded seeing a long, thick serpent, "eight to ten feet long&with a snout two feet long and a double row of sharp, dangerous teeth&it is protected by scales of a silvery grey color so strong that a dagger could not pierce them&" Experts now believe he was likely describing a sturgeon and note that these fish sometimes cluster head to tail near the water's surface while feeding, possibly creating the strange, undulating humps reported by eyewitnesses claiming to see Champ. By the 1870s, U.S. newspapers began to report sightings of a large creature living in Lake Champlain and showman P.T. Barnum even posted a big reward for the serpent's head.
MOST RECENT SIGHTING
In 1977, while vacationing at Lake Champlain, Sandra Mansi snapped a photo of a large, serpent-like creature rising out of the water. The photo was eventually deemed authentic by experts although it was impossible to determine what exactly it showed. In the summer of 2005, two local fishermen shot videotape of a mysterious being in the water they believed could be Champ. The footage appeared credible, but proved inconclusive in helping to resolve the question of whether or not the Lake Champlain monster truly exists.
Browse the MonsterPedia for all the gory details on the most famous and mysterious monsters around the world, from Nessie and Sasquatch to werewolves and giant squid.