martes, 20 de noviembre de 2012
Champ, the Lake Champlain "Monster".
Champ is a member of the elite group of creatures who share a common bond classed as cryptozoological animals. These creatures include dragons, unicorns, Pegasus, Sasquatch, Yeti, and of course, Champ's "cousin", the Loch Ness Monster. The single trait they all have in common is that their existence on earth has never been satisfactorily proven or conclusively disproven. Lake Champlain Named for its discoverer, Samuel de Champlain, Lake Champlain is a spectacular hundred-mile-long lake that stretches down from Canada and runs north and south between Vermont and New York, forming a natural border between them1, 3. While in some spots the lake reaches a depth of 400 feet, extending 150 yards or more from the shore much of the lake is only 12 to 14 feet deep2. A characteristic trait of long, narrow lakes with deep channels is the seiche. Both Loch Ness and Lake Champlain are endowed with this peculiar feature. A seiche is a perpetual wave in an enclosed body of water, which lies in a geographic area that undergoes severe winters. Changes in spring and autumn temperatures affect the shallow areas of these long lakes more rapidly than they affect the deep channels, causing the deep water to slosh back and forth, between the lake's boundaries, like a plucked guitar string. At the surface, the seiche in Lake Champlain may be barely a ripple while below the surface it is usually about 30 feet high and at times may grow to a height of 300 feet3. Champ History Samuel de Champlain is often quoted1, 2 as having written that he saw, "a 20-foot serpent thick as a barrel, and a head like a horse" in Lake Champlain during his explorations in the 17th Century. However, this misquote is believed to have first appeared in a 1970 Vermont Journal article by the late Marjorie Porter. In Champlain's true journal, he most likely described the gar fish2, 6 in an entry that reads (Muerger 1988): "... there is one [fish] 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." The earliest genuine report of a Champ sighting is from 1819. A "Capt. Crum" aboard a scow on Bulwagga Bay saw "a black monster" about 187 feet long with a flat head that resembled a seahorse. According to the account, the monster reared its head more than fifteen feet out of the water. The creature was two hundred yards in the distance and traveled "with the utmost velocity" while being chased by "two large Sturgeon and a Bill-fish." With his remarkable vision, Crum noticed that it had three teeth, large eyes the color of a peeled onion, a white star on its forehead, and a red band about its neck2. Champ was relatively quiet for the next 50 years until reports of the monster started resurfacing in newspapers around 1873. The news stories drew the attention of P.T. Barnum who offered a $50,000 reward for Champ, captured dead or alive. Although many sought the reward, no one was able to deliver the giant to Barnum1, 4, 5, 6. Champ Sightings From the varied description in reports over the years, Champ is chameleon-like and a master of disguise2, 3. Reports have compared him to a great snake, a large Newfoundland dog, a yacht, a horse, a manatee, a periscope, a lizard-like four-legged animal, and a whale.