OK I know that title is a bit ridiculous. But let’s look at some news media sources and back ground to get a better understanding as to what I’m getting at.
First watch this video:
These two Vermont area men, in the ABC NEWS Good Morning America video one being a lawyer, recorded something very strange at Lake Champlain Vermont for which I have been knowledgeable on for decades. What am I talking about? Well a local man named Dennis Jay Hall, a local carpenter and amateur naturalist, has a long history with these alleged creatures and denizens of the lake.
Tanystropheus or what?
Dennis alleges that they are a legacy of prehistoric creatures called Tanystropheus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanystropheus). He says this as he claims to have had close encounters with them at the northern part of the lake and actually claims that his father captured a 12-14″ infant and brought it to the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington in where they claimed it “looked” like what they thought a Tanystropheus would look like. However, they have been extinct for over 230 million years!
So what did UVM conclude? Brush it under the rug and deny everything. Dennis claims that another man caught one and kept it tied up to a dock in the lake feeding it fish. So why hasn’t this amazing discovery been better documented? ABC News tried to in 2005 but the video above just DISAPPEARED from their video storage. Dennis, an experienced carpenter, caught a nail to his eye and was blinded for life and then dropped into obscurity The University is denying any involvement with Dennis’ father or Dennis himself. However a certain Dr. Cheryl Morse Ph.D from the Geology department has taken an unusual interest in the case – but too remains silent.
Lake Champlain is located between Vermont and New York. It is the sixth largest lake in the United States at 110 miles in length and 12 miles in width. Lurking somewhere in the depths of this lake is a creature locally known as “Champ.” The creature has reportedly been spotted about 300 times. Since tourists began flooding Vermont in the late 1800s, the sale of Champ shirts, Champ coffee cups, and other touristy Champ knickknacks has skyrocketed. Champ is also the official mascot of the Vermont Lake Monsters, the state’s only professional baseball team. The town of Port Henry, NY has a wooden sculpture of Champ, a Champ sightings board, and the town even holds an annual Champ Day on the first Saturday of every August. The states of New York and Vermont have even passed laws that would protect the animal if it were ever closely encountered by a person. Despite all of the hype surrounding the creature, Champ has successfully kept from providing much physical evidence of their existence.
Without much physical evidence of Champ, how do we know they exist? The truth is, we do not have any hard proof that they do. In fact, there are many skeptics regarding the creatures including Joe Nickell Ph.D., a Senior Research Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. Based on a combination of Champ reports, Nickell cynically describes Champ as being “chameleon-esque creature that is black, gray, brown, moss green, reddish bronze, or other color, 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 alligator’—or none of those features.”
Although the view that Champ(s) do not exist is the plausible explanation, seeing as there is not yet true or hard physical evidence of the creatures, there are still many believers. And why shouldn’t there be? There are plenty of believable reports mixed in with the crazy ones. For example, Sandra Mansi (of New Haven Connecticut) in 1977 photographed Champ in what is said to be the best photographic evidence of any lake monster. Mansi said that she, her fiancee, and their children were visiting the lake when her fiancee saw the creature in the water. He ran to get the camera while she got the kids out of the water. Mansi’s fiancee handed her the camera and she took one photo. After a few years of keeping the photo hidden, Mansi finally had it examined by photography experts to prove that it was a real picture. It was taken off northside St. Albans Bay Vermont (near Killkare State Park). It depicts a long necked blackish creature with a large body looking back over it’s shoulder. Here’s a photo of what she captured with her camera on July 1977: click here It looks amazingly like what you’d expect a Tanystropheus to look like see photo here.
Perhaps the most impressive evidence of Champ’s existence, however, is not a photo or video. It is a recorded sound. In June, 2003, a team from the Fauna Communications Research Institute visited Lake Champlain. On three separate occasions, using high tech equipment, the team visited areas of the lake where Champ sightings have occurred. The team picked up an echolocation signal on all three occasions that measured about 140 kHz. Echolocation is basically an alternative to sight in which the animal uses extremely high pitched noises to create vibration. This vibration then bounces off the animal’s prey and can be detected by the predator. In underwater environments, the only known animals that use echolocation are dolphins and whales. This signal, however, could not have been made by a whale or dolphin because is very different from their signals. Also, freshwater dolphins live in much warmer climates, like the Amazon and Southeast Asia.
French explorer Samuel de Champlain was the first European to see the creature. The rumor is that in 1609, Samuel de Champlain saw something in the water that he described as a “20-foot serpent thick as a barrel, and a head like a horse.” Here is the alleged head of a Tanystropheus: click here and here. Does it look like a horse’s head with teeth? And check out the barrel shape.
This description is very much like the description of Champ. Popular beliefs are that Champs are either Plesiosaurs or Tanystropheus. Both of these reptiles are prehistoric creatures that are believed to be extinct for several hundreds of millions of years. Each one has a very long neck, while the Plesiosaur has flippers, and the Tanystropheus has small webbed feet that allow it to walk on land as well as swim. In fact, the unofficial scientific name of Champ is Champtanystropheus, coined by Dennis Jay Hall. The name is not accepted by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, because there is no animal or pieces of animal available for study (per se). There have also been many beliefs that Champ is actually an existing creature in the lake. Some theories are that Champ is actually a longnose gar, a large sturgeon, or a line of otters swimming. Still another skeptical theory is that the sightings are of large fish, and the photographs are just hoaxes.
Although there have been many Champ sightings, the debate on their existence may never be solved until scientists acquire a specimen of the animal, if it indeed exists. Otherwise, no number of photographs can prove there is an animal, because there are always narrow-minded people there to say that it was just a sturgeon or a longnose gar.