A Close Encounter of the Sea Monster Kind

champAnother summer is on its way and, once again, I am hoping to see something I’ve always wanted to see.

It’s not Paris, although I hear that’s very nice. It’s not a puffin, although they are supposed to be very cool birds. It’s not a total eclipse of the moon.

No, I’ve always wanted to see the sea monster that inhabits “my” lake. I’ve always wanted to see Champ . . . although maybe I already have.

I live on the shore on Lake Champlain, a lake that measures 120 miles long and is 12 miles at its widest point (that makes it a LOT bigger than Loch Ness!) Lake Champlain is a fresh water lake and it forms the border between upstate New York and Vermont.

For hundreds of years, stories have been told about a monster in the water. The Native Americans in the region, Iroquois and Abenaki, had legends about the beast, calling it Tatoskok or Chaousarou.

In 1609, the first European to see the lake, Samuel de Champlain, supposedly wrote in his journal about seeing the creature, and hundreds of other reports have made Champ a local legend. He (she?) is the mascot of a minor league baseball team in Vermont and the celebrity behind the annual Champ Day in Port Henry, NY.

Champ has been seen by not just cranks and drunks but by officers of the law, clergy, college profs, a whole boatload of tourists. The best-known photograph of the monster was taken in 1977 by Sandra Mansi.


This copy of the Mansi photo taken from http://www.csicop.org

Killjoys have spent a lot of time trying to debunk the photo and to come up with scientific explanations for the sightings of the monster.

They even go so far as to say that most sightings are only pieces of wood floating in the lake!

But I caught these photos a couple of years ago.

What do you think? Huh? Huh? I’m just sure that all sensible, clear-minded people will agree that’s no piece of wood.

Right? Are you with me on this?