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Lake Monster Mysteries

Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures

Benjamin Radford
Joe Nickell
Foreword by Loren Coleman
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Lake Monster Mysteries
    Book Description:

    For centuries, eyewitnesses around the world -- from America to Africa, Argentina to Scotland -- have reported sightings of dark, mysterious creatures in area lakes that surface briefly, only to quickly disappear. While the most famous lake monsters of Loch Ness and Lake Champlain have gained international notoriety, hundreds of lakes around the world are said to shelter these shadowy creatures. Lake Monster Mysteries is the first book to examine these widespread mysteries from a scientific perspective. By using exhaustive research and results from firsthand investigations to help separate truth from myth, the authors foster our understanding of what really lurks in the cold, murky depths. Benjamin Radford and Joe Nickell are considered to be among the top lake monster authorities in the world. Here they share unique insights into many of the world's best-known lake monsters. They interview witnesses and local experts and discuss the different types of lake monster sightings, delve into possible explanations for those sightings, and examine hoaxes, evidence claims, and legends surrounding the monsters. The authors have also conducted groundbreaking fieldwork and experiments at the lakes and have examined recent photographic and sonar evidence. Incorporating newly-revealed information and up-to-date developments in the cases they present, professional monster hunters Radford and Nickell plunge into both the cultural histories of these creatures and the scientific inquiries that may hold the key to these mysteries.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-7130-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xvi)
    Loren Coleman

    There are always two sides to a story. The book you are about to read is the best version to date of a skeptical look at the entities known as lake monsters. The formal examination of lake monsters has been a subfield of cryptozoological research for more than two centuries. During the fifty years that I have been studying these freshwater cryptids, I have learned much about them.

    According to surveys and research that I and other cryptozoologists have conducted, more than a thousand lakes around the world harbor large, unknown animals unrecognized by conventional zoology. Such claims have a...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Benjamin Radford

    People have always had a fascination with strange, mysterious creatures roaming the earth, lurking beneath the water, and flying in the sky. Centaurs, unicorns, Pegasus, and other fantastic creatures have been claimed or rumored to exist since ancient times. Greek myths told of harpies—half-woman, half-bird creatures—that attacked Jason and his adventuring Argonauts. Since man took to the sea, sailors and fishermen have reported dangerous behemoths that could swallow ships whole or drag men to their watery doom, as well as the more alluring mermaids.

    Our thirst for the exotic and fantastic remains unquenched, and humanity has created an...

  6. 1 Loch Ness
    (pp. 11-26)
    Joe Nickell

    Of all the sea serpent—like creatures that are reputed to inhabit some of the world’s large lakes, none is more famous than “Nessie,” the purported Loch Ness monster (figure I.I). Supported by sightings, photographs, and other evidence, Nessie continues to spark the popular imagination.

    Reports of the existence of a creature in the great Scottish lake date as far back as the sixth century, when St. Columba supposedly saved a man’s life by commanding the attacking monster to depart. (Such pious legends of saints—some of whom could reportedly fly and others who could allegedly live without eating—are...

  7. 2 Lake Champlain
    (pp. 27-70)
    Joe Nickell and Benjamin Radford

    Termed North America’s Loch Ness monster and known affectionately as “Champ,” the legendary Lake Champlain monster reportedly haunts those waters. Lake Champlain was formed roughly ten thousand years ago when an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, the Champlain Sea, was transformed by receding glaciers into an inland, freshwater body (Zarzynski 1984a). This lake—and some say the creature, too—was “discovered” in 1609 by Samuel de Champlain. Since then, the 125-mile-long lake, situated between New York and Vermont (with 6 miles extending into Quebec), has received much attention (figure 2.1). In 1873 and 1887, showman P. T. Barnum offered huge...

  8. 3 Lake Memphremagog
    (pp. 71-78)
    Joe Nickell

    Located in north-central Vermont and extending into Quebec, Lake Memphremagog is the second largest lake in the state (figure 3.1). According to Malloy (2003b), the name is from the Western AbenakiMamlabegwok,which means “at the Big Lake Water”; another source (Lake Memphremagog n.d.) gives the meaning as “Beautiful Waters.” Like Vermont’s largest lake, Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog hosts its own aquatic monster, “Memphre” (Lake Memphremagog n.d.; Malloy 2003b). In fact, there are purportedly five Vermont lake monsters—or “Vermonsters”—all with cute nicknames. Besides “Champ” and “Memphre,” there are “Seymour” or “Semoe” (Seymour Lake), “Willy” (Willoughby Lake), and “Ms....

  9. 4 Silver Lake
    (pp. 79-88)
    Joe Nickell

    On the night of July 13, 1855, in Wyoming County, New York, two boys and five men were fishing from a boat on Silver Lake near the village of Perry. After several minutes of watching a floating log, one man exclaimed, “Boys, that thing is moving!” Indeed, according to theWyoming Times,after bobbing in and out of sight, suddenly, “the SERPENT, for now there was no mistaking its character, darted from the water about four feet from the stern of the boat, close by the rudder-paddle, the head and forward part of the monster rising above the surface of...

  10. 5 Lake Crescent
    (pp. 89-100)
    Benjamin Radford

    Lake Crescent is a picturesque body of water in northeastern Newfoundland near the small town of Robert’s Arm (figure 5.1). Settlement of the area dates to the 1870s, although native peoples, including the Beothuk Indians, were early visitors. Robert’s Arm (formerly Rabbit’s Arm) has a population of about a thousand. The scenery is gorgeous, with walking trails snaking over lush green hills and around the placid lake. Deep and cold, Lake Crescent is allegedly home to Newfoundland’s own lake monster, affectionately known as “Cressie” (figure 5.2).

    Local Indian myths and lore are often cited by cryptozoologists as evidence for the...

  11. 6 Lake George
    (pp. 101-110)
    Joe Nickell

    Called “one of the grandest hoaxes of all times” (Lord 1999, 187), the Lake George monster has occasionally resurfaced (figure 6.1) since its debut at Hague Bay, New York, in 1904. In 2002 and 2003 I investigated the historic case and even examined what is purported to be the original fake monster. I also investigated the possibility of a real leviathan in Lake George. The findings are fascinating and revealing.

    Located near the southern end of Lake Champlain, Lake George is a placid, thirty-two-mile-long lake in western New York’s Adirondack region. There, at Hague Bay in 1904, artist Harry Watrous...

  12. 7 Lake Okanagan
    (pp. 111-136)
    Joe Nickell and Benjamin Radford

    Lake Okanagan in British Columbia is said to be home to “Ogopogo,” purportedly “one of the most thoroughly documented unidentified lake creatures,” second only to Scotland’s “Nessie,” and “possibly the most famous North American monster aside from Bigfoot” (Blackman 1998, 69). Although Ogopogo has been dubbed Canada’s Loch Ness monster, cryptozoologist John Kirk (1998, 4) counters that, “since the appearances of the Canadian beast predated those of its Scottish cousin, it ought to be said that Nessie is Scotland’s Ogopogo.” But does such a monster exist?

    Ben Radford and I have long been fascinated by the alleged Lake Okanagan denizen,...

  13. 8 Other Notable Lake Monsters
    (pp. 137-148)
    Joe Nickell and Benjamin Radford

    So far in this book we’ve examined some of the world’s greatest and best-known lake monster mysteries. And although Nessie, Champ, Memphre, Cressie, Ogopogo, and the rest get much of the attention, their lesser-known cousins are said to populate countless lakes around the globe. What follows is a brief survey of the world’s other lake monster mysteries.

    Canada’s Lake Utopia, in southern New Brunswick, is reportedly home to a fearsome monster, according to Micmac Indian legend, century-old tales, and modern eyewitness reports. As with other lake creatures, it is variously described but only rarely glimpsed; its presence is more often...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 149-152)
    Joe Nickell

    As our investigations have made clear, the existence of lake monsters is doubtful, for a variety of reasons. We often speak of Nessie, Ogopogo, Champ, and other lake monsters as single creatures, but for some hitherto unknown species to reproduce, there must be a sizable breeding herd. This means that each lake should hold not one but perhaps a dozen or more creatures—presumably making a verifiable encounter more than ten times more likely than if there were just one individual. Loch Ness, for example, is a little more than twenty miles long; how can a dozen giant creatures share...

  15. Appendix 1 Mysteries and Misinformation: How Cryptozoologists Created a Monster
    (pp. 153-160)
    Benjamin Radford
  16. Appendix 2 Eyewitness (Un)reliability
    (pp. 161-164)
    Benjamin Radford
  17. Appendix 3 Animating the Champ Photograph
    (pp. 165-167)
    Benjamin Radford
  18. Appendix 4 Ogopogo Film and Video Analysis
    (pp. 168-174)
    Benjamin Radford
  19. Index
    (pp. 175-191)