Whether fact or fiction, the study of cryptozoology is absolutely facinating to me because it is one of the last remaining “sciences” that is still steeped heavily in myth and legend. People are still willing to believe the most outlandish of claims, while others use the gullibility of the believer to exploit them in the form of hoaxes and tourist traps.
Here I will talk about the strange things people have seen in the night, while drunk. Or the truely bizzar freaks of nature that have turned out to be real through the course of science and investigation.
For my first post on this subject, I’d like to cover Lake Monsters. I’ve split this entry up because EVERYBODY seems to have one and there are just too many to put into one post.
If YOU have your own stories about any of the monsters I list below, or any other cryptic put it in the comments section.
Unless otherwise stated, all information below can be found on Wikipedia.
Bear Lake Monster – started out a local folk lore, but made it’s way into the “mainstream” with the publishing of articles written by a Mormon colonizer named Joseph C. Rich in the 1800’s. Rich published second-hand accounts of sightings of the creature in the lake that boarders Utah and Idaho. He supposedly recanted the stories later but this hasn’t stopped people from claiming to have seen the creature as recently as 2004. Animal Planet did an an episode of their “Lost Tapes” show on the creature, depicting it as a mosasaur and showing it attacking a tent full of girls. [Unconfirmed]
The Beast of Busco– The legendary Beast of Busco is thought to be a huge snapping turtle named Oscar whose first sightings were in Churubusco, Indiana in 1898 . In 1948 two brothers reported seeing a 500lb. turtle while they were out fishing and a farmer who owned the landed reported seeing it as well. Word spread to the wire service and soon a month long hunt was on. Deep sea divers were called, the lake was drained, a photographer from Life Magazine arrived to document the events and the state police had to be called for traffic control. In the end, Oscar was never found. [Unconfirmed]
Bessie – The monster of Lake Erie, is thought to be a 40 foot long snail that is grey in color. Sightings started in 1793 and have increased in frequency over the years. Two brothers in 1817 swore they saw a similar creature about 20′ long dying on the shore, but the body disappeared before they could show somebody. Bessie was also reported in the local newspaper in 1892 as fighting some “unseen” foe by the crew of a ship before looking at them “viciously” and disappearing Sightings of the creature continue through 1993. No real evidence has been produced to suggest that Bessie is real despite the current $100,000 reward for its capture.[Unconfirmed]
Bownessie – the Lake Windermere Monster of England. supposedly an eel-like creature but not much else too it. From what I can tell it shows up in lots of SF and Fantasy books but I don’t think anybody really believes its real. [Unconfirmed]
Champ – Thought to be a plesiosaur, Champ lives in Lake Champlain on the New York/Vermont/Quebec boarder. Ever since the first “official” reported sightingsin 1883 people have been speculating Champ’s existance and investigations into whether he is real or not continue into the 21st century. P. T. Barnum put up a reward of $50,000 for a carcass of Champ because he wanted to include it in his epic World’s Fair Show. Today, Champ is the mascot of little league teams, car washes, and he even has his own “Champ Day” local celebration in August. [Unconfirmed]
Dobhar-chu – With a name like that, you’d think I was talking about a pokemon, but the description of this creature sounds more like a Deep One from Lovecraft, if Deep Ones started liking dogs rather than people. They are supposed to look like an evil dog-otter with orange flippers and a piercing shreak. There is a headstone in Conwall cemetery in Ireland (where the legend came from) that states the woman burried there was killed by one of these things and chronicles her husbands harrowing battle with two of the creatures in the 17th century. I think we all know the fight probably involved a bottle and the dogs being set on the lady, but this makes for a more interesting headstone. [Unconfirmed]
Igopogo – Also known as “Kempenfelt Kelly” is said to dwell in Lake Simcoe, Ontario Canada. Not much is reported on Igopogo, only that it may be related to the Dobhar-chu because it has a head like a dogs. [Unconfirmed]
Illie – Since 1942 there have been reports of a large black or metalic colored fish living in Lake Iliamna Alaska. These reports have drawn the attention of such word renouned experts like the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet searching “for the truth”. Even the Anchorage Daily News has offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who can provide proof of the creatures existence. A bounty that has remained unclaimed since 1979. Theories on what it is span from a giant sturgeon, a whale, a shark or a snake like creature similar to the Ogopogo (will talk about later) and the Loch Ness Monster. [Unconfirmed]
Issie – Legend has it that Issie (or Isshi) is really a white mare who, after being so distraught that a samuri took her foal, threw herself into Lake Ikeda where she became the legendary creature and continues her angry search for her child. People have been claiming to see Issie since the 1970’s and pictures were supposedly taken in the 90’s but proven inconclusive. Just as a fun fact, the film Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack proposed that Issie is actually the larva form of Mothra before she becomes an adult. [Unconfirmed]