The name is Champ (not Nessie)
by Connie Archer
by Connie Archer
For example, did you know that
Vermont has its very own lake monster? Champ.
Not Champ, as we would say in English, but Champ, with a French accent.
New York and Vermont
as well as Quebec, with the Champlain Canal
connecting the lake to the Hudson River. The lake was named after the French explorer
Samuel de Champlain who first encountered it in 1609. Although Native Americans had dubbed it by various
names long before. The Iroquoi called it
Caniaderi Guarunte, meaning “door of
the country” and the Abenaki called it Petonbowk
which means “the lake in between.”
But to get back to Samuel de Champlain . . . In 1609, Champlain spotted a fearsome underwater creature five feet long, thick as a man’s thigh, with silvery gray scales that a dagger could not penetrate. He is supposed to have claimed that the monster had jaws as wide as two and a half feet with sharp and dangerous teeth.
As it turns out, this account is somewhat exaggerated. Champlain’s actual words are far less dramatic:
“. . . [T]here is also a great abundance of many species of fish. Amongst others there is one called by the natives Chaousarou, which is of various lengths; but the largest of them, as these tribes have told me, are from eight to ten feet long. I have seen some five feet long, which were as big as my thigh, and had a head as large as my two fists, with a snout two feet and a half long, and a double row of very sharp, dangerous teeth. Its body has a good deal the shape of the pike; but it is protected by scales of a silvery gray colour and so strong that a dagger could not pierce them.”
Debunkers of Champ believe that Champlain saw nothing more than a large sturgeon or garfish. Nevertheless, there have been hundreds more sightings of Champ over the years. In 1873 and again in 1887, the showman, P.T. Barnum, even offered rewards for Champ, dead or alive.
But here’s where it gets really interesting. In 1977, a vacationer named Sandra Mansi, relaxing by the lake shore with her family, was fascinated and terrified to see a strange creature rising from the water. Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to snap a photo. That Champ photo is now world famous and has given the debunkers of Champ a lot to chew on.
Spike TV even aired a special program about Ms. Mansi’s experience.
Then, in the summer of 2005, two fishermen, Dick Affolter and Pete Bodette, managed to take video footage of a plesiosaur-like animal. Two retired FBI forensic image analysts who reviewed the tape stated that it appeared authentic and unmanipulated.
Another piece of evidence of Champ’s existence is an echo recording taken in 2003 by the Fauna Communications Research Institute as part of a Discovery Channel program. The group believe the recorded sounds are similar to that of a Beluga Whale or perhaps an Orca, but not of a known animal. The echolocation itself was recorded in three different areas of
Lake Champlain including a
man-made navigation channel in the deepest part of the lake.
Many cryptozoologists believe that the creature could be a plesiosaur, a zeuglodon (a what?) or another unknown or extinct creature, similar to Nessie of Loch Ness fame. Although plesiosaurs are believed to have died out 66 million years ago, this theory is defended by a British cryptozoologist, Dr. Karl P.N. Shuker, who argued that a surviving plesiosaur could have evolved an ability to tolerate colder temperatures, as well as a different neck structure.
of Port Henry, New York, has erected a giant model of Champ
and holds “Champ Day” on the first Saturday of every August. Champ is also the mascot of a minor league
baseball affiliate, the Vermont Lake Monsters.
And a statue of Champ is on display at the lakeshore in . Champ is quite literally the best known lake
monster in North America, a bigger celebrity even than Ogopogo in Burlington, Vermont British Columbia.
I for one am very glad Champ has never been captured. And if the imaginary
of Snowflake were just a little farther
west and closer to Lake Champlain, it would be
such fun for Champ to make an appearance in the Soup Lover’s Mystery
Connie Archer is the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. A Spoonful of Murder, A Broth of Betrayal and A Roux of Revenge are set in the imaginary village of Snowflake, Vermont. The fourth book in the series, Ladle to the Grave, will be released in March 2015. You can visit Connie at her website and blog: conniearchermysteries.com, Facebook.com/ConnieArcherMysteries and Twitter @SnowflakeVT.
It’s almost May, and some of the local ladies have organized a pagan celebration in the woods to welcome spring. But the evening goes terribly wrong when one of the attendees winds up dead, apparently poisoned by an herbal concoction prepared by Lucky’s grandfather, Jack.
Lucky’s sure her grandfather could not have made such a tragic mistake. But before she can clear him of suspicion, her best friend, Sophie, is diverted from planning her wedding to By the Spoonful chef Sage DuBois when she finds a dead man floating in the creek on her property. Now it’s up to Lucky to get both Sophie and Jack out of hot water before a killer stirs up more trouble…
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