Cryptids and Myths Wiki
Vital statistics
Kind Lake monster
Country Lake Champlain
First sighting 1819
Latest sighting 2011
Other names Lake Champlain Monster
America's Loch Ness Monster
Big Ren
Scientific information
Recognized by science? Yes (some)
Proposed species name
File:Champ range.png


Champ, Champie, Big Ren, or the Lake Champlain Monster, is a lake monster crypitd from Lake Champlain, America.

Some scientists feel that Champ may be a primitive whale called a zeuglodon, others, including Mr. Dennis Jay Hall, feel that it could be a Tanystropheus, a form of long necked reptile similar to a plesiosaur.

One thing is for sure, with the system of underwater caves that stretch along the bottom of Lake Champlain a large creature could remain hidden from modern science, and with hundreds of sightings the simple fact remains that with in the depths of Lake Champlain there lives a mystery. A mystery so compelling and so widely believed to be true that New York and Vermont legislator have both put Champ on the endangered species list.

To date no physical evidence of Champ, besides unknown echolocation signals, has been obtained, however pictures, videos and eye witness reports are still reported to this day.


The Champ, like the Loch Ness Monster, has a serpentine appearance and is about 30 - 40 feet long. It has a small head and a long, narrowed neck about 6 feet long. It has a bulking body with a vast hump and flippers 6 - 8 feet long. The portrayal implies a prehistoric plesiosaur or Archaeoceti whale.  


The legend[]

Lake Champlain, a 125 mile long body of fresh water that is shared by New York and Vermont, as well as jutting a few miles into Quebec, Canada is the reported home of a mysterious aquatic creature. Lake Champlain is as deep as 400 feet in some places with a water area of over 440 square miles. The lake was formed over 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, prior to the forming of the lake this area was actually an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The early history of the Lake Champlain Monster can be traced back to the original inhabitants of the area, the Iroquois and the Abenaki tribes. The two tribes had many legends and often spoke of a horned creature which dwelled in the lake, as westerners began to explorer more of the area it was only a matter of time before they to spotted the creature.


The first documented European run in with the Lake Champlain Monster, or Champ as it is affectionately called, was made in 1609 by French explore and Quebec founder Samuel De Champlain, while fighting the Iroquois Indians on the banks of the lake that would later share his name.


Champ researcher Dennis Hall, who claims to have seen Champ 20 times. According to Hall, in 1976, his father caught a strange-looking reptile, on the shore of Lake Champlain. He then took it to scientists, who concluded that it was unlike any known species of living reptile. Unfortunately, however, this specimen was later lost. Hall then saw a picture of a Tanystropheus, and concluded that it was the most likely candidate, for Champ.


Since that original reported sighting many sightings like it have been reported, many by credible eye wittedness. On July 5, 1977 near St. Albans, Vermont, Sandra Mansi, using her Kodak Instamatic camera, photographed what she, and many others believe is the creature known as champ during a picnic with friends and family. This picture, showing what appears to be Champ’s neck and back rising out of the water, is highly contested by some experts mainly because Sondra Mansi waited 3 years to come forward with the picture and by that time had lost the original negatives.

Over the years many experts have studied the Mansi photo and concluded that no tampering was done to the photo. Dr. Paul H. LeBlond, using wave size estimates from a mariner's standard practice of the Beaufort scale was able to estimate the lower and upper range of size associated with the image, which tie in with Sandra Mansi's account of the size. LeBlond's estimated size was 4.8 m to 17.2 m, which ties close to Mansi's estimate of 15 to 20 feet (4.6 - 6.1 m).

It was during the time of the Mansi photograph, the 1970’s, that the Lake Champlain Phenomena Investigation Group was established. Headed by Joseph Zarzynski, the formation of this group, and subsequent research, including several sonar scans showing a large object moving below the surface, resurrected the legend of Champ. This group along with others like it have spawned studies of the lake to determine if a large breeding population of a yet unknown species could realisticly exist below the surface based on food avaliblity. Other reasearchers have cross referensed past reports to isolate the best time frame to spot the creature, it was determined the reports occur more frequently at dusk and dawn which would establish a nocturnal behavior which could account for fewer sightings.


Additionally, researcher Dennis Jay Hall, who heads Champquest, has studied the incidents for nearly 20 years. Using reports of past sightings he predicts that Champ is most likely to bee seen will five days before and after the new moon of each month, mainly at night. In 1998, based off of eyewitness reports, Hall claimed his theory boosted a 75% success rate.


One piece of evidence, though not a "sighting" per se, is the recording of echolocation from within the lake by the Fauna Communications Research Institute in 2003, working as part of a MonsterQues program. The group has concluded that the sounds they have recorded are similar to that of a Beluga Whale or perhaps an Orca, but not of a known animal, and no dolphin or whale species have been previously known to live in the lake. Mammals are the only animals capable of echolocation and nothing in freshwater is known to echolocate except for freshwater dolphin's, porpoises and beluga whales (which occasionally swim up rivers temporarily in Alaska to feed and once inhabited the the region when it was connected to the sea).

The echolocation itself was recorded in three different areas of lake Champlain including a recently discovered man-made Channel buried in the deepest part of the lake, in which a species of large mammals can live undetected. Analysis conducted by the scientists who recorded the sound suggests the creature has an extremely advanced brain (unlike those which a plesiosaur and basilosaurus are thought to have possessed due to their small cranial capacity), however they could have evolved this unique ability in order to navigate the murky waters in the lake after being possibly trapped there like a species of sea horse found in the lake after it was completely cut off from the sea about 10,000 years ago due to continental chages which transformed the Champlain Sea into the now Lake Champlain).


Champ reportedly can be seen in a video taken by fishermen Dick Affolter and his stepson Pete Bodette in the summer of 2005. Close examination of the images may be interpreted either as a head and neck of a plesiosaur-like animal and even an open mouth in one frame and a closed mouth in another; or as a fish or eel. Although two retired FBI forensic image analysts, who reviewed the tape, said it appears authentic and unmanipulated, one of them added that "there's no place in there that I can actually see an animal or any other object on the surface".