Posted on Friday, 20 August, 2010 | 6 comments
Columnist: William B Stoecker
People have always believed in and often reported seeing strange creatures unknown to zoologists. Today, such unknown animals, like the Yeti or Sasquatch are called “cryptids,” meaning simply that they are hidden or little understood, if they exist at all.
The vast, deep oceans are one thing, but freshwater lakes, of limited depth and size are another, especially when they are far from the sea. It is only natural for people to look down into the dark and mysterious waters of a deep lake and imagine that some dreadful creature might live there, but how could similar creatures exist in a great many lakes not connected to one another and only remotely connected to the sea, often via narrow and shallow rivers? Yet they are reported by hundreds of witnesses in a score of lakes around the world, and there are even intriguing (though inconclusive) still pictures, films, and videos. We shall briefly examine four of these lakes.
The most famous is Loch Ness, located in
Lake Champlain in New York, Vermont, and Quebec is part of the Great Appalachian Valley, which is a southern extension of the St. Lawrence fault…which, incredibly, is the west end of Scotland’s Great Glen fault, broken and separated tens of millions of years ago by plate tectonics, when North America split off from Europe and drifted west. The lake is some 110 miles long and 12 miles wide at its widest part, and about 400 feet deep at one point in the long, narrow channel running the length of the lake. Due to seasonal temperature changes, the lake produces deep seiche waves. There are plenty of lake trout and Atlantic salmon in the lake, perhaps enough to feed a community of large creatures, if they exist, if they are physical and biological in nature, and if they are carnivorous. Interestingly, most researchers seem to assume that lake monsters are predators…but suppose that they are plankton or plant eaters? There have been some 300 reported sightings of “Champ,” varying widely in description. The local Iroquois and Abenaki Indians believed a monster called Tatostok lived in the depths of
And this is a problem. On the one hand, the sheer mass of the reports, especially the many sonar contacts in Loch
Most of the lake monsters and sea serpents resemble ancient accounts of dragons. No one has ever satisfactorily explained why dragon myths, often depicting very similar creatures, are found all over the world. European dragons included fire drakes which could fly and breathe fire and cold drakes which lived in the water, sometimes even in wells. The dragons were portrayed as huge reptilian creatures with long necks and tails, and long horns or ears (or both), and, in many cases, bat wings, and, often, dorsal spines. Their heads were often depicted as horse-shaped. The European dragons were often malevolent, and sometimes lived in caves. Interestingly, in the ancient Anglo Saxon poem Beowulf, the dragon, seen at night, resembles a UFO. Chinese dragons were similar, but had no wings (although they could fly), and had antlers rather than horns, and were seen as mostly benevolent creatures who had something to do with rainstorms. Dragons in general were regarded as intelligent beings, and were said to hoard and guard treasure. On the Ishtar Gate of
William B Stoecker
Article Copyright© William B Stoecker - reproduced with permission.