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Five People See Monster at Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain, 1875. Boston Public Library
Lake Champlain, 1875. Boston Public Library

It was getting dark when the Joneses spotted the creature.

Martin Jones, husband and father of two, says he has heard stories about a lake monster before.

“I’m aware of the Champ legend, but I always dismissed it as silly tales that are good for tourism,” he said.

Jones wasn’t the only one person to witness the incident. His wife Tamara and his two children were also present at the lake.

“We thought we’d spend the day somewhere nice, let the kids do some fishing and eat some, you know, but you never expect something like this,” she said.

The event took place after one of the kids reeled in a largemouth bass. A splash turned their heads away from the fish back to the water: a big, greenish thing came up through the surface. At first they weren’t able to make out the shape. There was another man fishing next to them.


I was like, is that an alligator? But right away I saw the round head and big black eyes, kind of an empty look, there was nothing that resembled a reptile of any kind” said Peter Clark, 48. ” I could make up some scales on the side of the head, but most of the skin I’d say looked like that of a catfish. Then, some sort of horn or spike or something, that was freaky, really. It was there for 20 seconds and then it left.”

Whale's blowhole
Whale’s blowhole

But what makes this sighting significantly different from the others is that the beast produced a sound. The five witnesses agree that it reminded them of a whale’s noise followed by a splash.

The lake Champlain is located between the US and Canada and it is over 100 miles long and 12 miles wide. It is indirectly connected to the Atlantic Ocean, so the possibility of a cetacean sneaking into the lake can not be discarded, however it’d be very difficult for this to happen. The blowholes located on top of the head of a whale would explain the need of the animal to come up to the surface to breath; that would also explain the reported sightings every year.

How about the scales on the side of the head described by Mr Clark? Whales don’t have scales or spikes. Could it be that what looked like a horn to the witness was just vegetation, debris tangled on the animal’s head?


Nessie by JoeLercio CC BY-SA 3.0
Nessie by JoeLercio CC BY-SA 3.0

Throughout our e-mail correspondence with the two parties, we asked for some evidence to support this report, such as pictures or video, but we came empty handed. Although it seems hard to believe that in this digital era no pictures or videos were taken, take into consideration that 20 seconds is not much time; putting the fishing rod down, bringing the phone or camera out of your pocket and finding the app to take the shot -all while watching a giant monster put up a good show- seems a little difficult to do. Do you ever wonder why most of the alleged pictures of strange creatures appear blurry? I am sure you’d have a shaky hand too.

A big thank you to the Jones family for reporting this sighting and for providing us with a way to contact Peter Clark. If you were there and have further information regarding the case, please contact us.

If you are interested in finding out about the story of the lake and the alleged monster living in it, we recommend the following reads: “The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ness Monster” and “Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizensof the Deep”.


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  1. SMcKenzie

    July 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Sounds like an encounter with what we call a “mudfish” down South, also known a “grinnel”, “bowfin”, “dogfish”, “choupique”, and varous other names, some of which I can’t print here, lol, but known all over as Amia calva. They are prehistoric predatory fish, that attain a fairly good size, and they have scales or plates on the head with smooth, slimy skin over the rest of the body. Bowfins have protuberances that stick out over their nostrils that could be mistaken for spikes, I guess, and they ARE capable of making a growling noise, which is partly why they got the nickname, “dogfish”, along with the fact that they have some impressive fangs. It is not uncommon for one of these predators to be attracted by the struggles of another hooked fish and come in to have a closer look…or take a bite. I’ve lost quite a few bluegills and bass to one of these before I could land my catch, or pulled them up with a large bite taken out of it. Bowfin have to breathe air, in addition to having gills, so they frequently come up to the surface to take a gulp of air, and they DO make a sound not unlike a small whale or dolphin “blowing” when they do that. The greenish color described is typical, especially for a breeding male, which are the most aggressive members of the species, as well, and those “empty looking” black eyes and rounded head are typical, as well.

    • Mike

      July 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      That’s a very interesting possibility McKenzie.
      How big are these “dogfish” you are referring to though? Big enough for the witnesses to be confused?

  2. Pingback: Five People See Monster at Lake Champlain

  3. Jeff Stewart

    July 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Would like to get in contact with the family, I have been investigating the lake for more then 10 years with no luck.

  4. Bill

    August 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    If you have been investigating the lake for 10 years, you are dedicated. I saw the creature once in 1993 and it had a baby with it. It looked very much like a camels head and snake like body traveling through the water. Different from the dogfish description though. I believe what I saw is exactly what they see up in Nova Scotia and they call it “Caddy.” Theres that famous black and white picture from the 30’s of one of those that came out of a whales stomach in Cadborough Bay, half digested. What I saw in Lake Champlain looked just like that picture, down to the last detail. I would estimate it was 25 to 30 feet long.

    If you investigate the lake, try the Champlain bridge, where the animals would have to go through a bottle neck at that point. Also, I have heard of people having success really high up on the mountains on the New York side of the lake, since you can see down in the water from that height. The lake has a channel on the NY side, so try to find a spot where the channel would be 60 feet deep or so, where the visibility to the channel is good from above. Look at a US Coast Guard map to see the depths and proximity to the mountains. Just my two cents worth. Happy hunting.

  5. Katy Elizabeth

    January 7, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Interesting story!I have been studying the existence of Champ for years, I was there in June did not have any sightings and went back for an investigation with my group Champ Search a couple months later.I had my own sighting in 2012 on Button Bay in Ferrisburg.I saw a hump surface about 3 feet out of the water and the length I estimate to have been 15 feet.I know these creatures exist in the lake.If anyone has contact info for the family I would like to use their story in my next book about Champ (Water Horse Of Lake Champlain II)
    President:Champ Search
    ~Katy Elizabeth

    • Gene Smith

      May 30, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      Hey Katy. I just wanted to let you know that my father and I , along with a friend saw Champ in either 74 or 75 I believe it was on Labor Day weekend. Noone believed us but there was an article in a paper right after that about scientists going to the lake because of other sightings. I can’t seem to find any newspaper clippings on it. Do you by any chance have anything from around that time? Thanks in advance. Gene Smith

  6. Justin Mcmaster

    March 11, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Excuse me, Katy Elizabeth? I plan to be a cryptozoologist myself and I would really like to learn from someone who is actively participating in it. I will check back every day to look for your reply. Thank you!

  7. Trevor

    March 12, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Very interesting, it was a very detailed account and should be looked into.

  8. SpookySR

    May 26, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I too am an amateur cryptozoologist. I have followed the CHAMP sightings since the 1980’s. I was at the Shelburne Conference with Sandra Mansi, Dr. Mackal, etc. I sighted on of the creatures just south of South Hero Island near a small island. It was displaying Crocodilian behavior of “spinning”. They do this to break the fish apart as they have no hands or claws to reach it’s mouth.

    I believe that they appear to be Plesiosaurs but another Champ hunter (Dennis Hall) thinks they are Tanystropheus as he eyewitnessed then close up and personal with his father. Even allegedly captured a baby which they left with a college professor at U of V in Burlington (which he allegedly destroyed).

    I’ve studied their behavior and have concluded that the best place and time to spot them is within a large circle that stretches from South Hero Island, to Ausable River outlet, then across to the Winooski River outlet (where they’ve been spotted ashore). And the best time is during Salmon Run season. It appears that they wait just underwater like a Bear would do for the Salmon to try to get into the river inlet or when they come out.

    Winooski River area is a good spot as they were witnessed ON LAND at the Auer Family Boathouse (Charlie’s Place) just after they installed a new dock and underwater lighting. No idea what they were looking for but evidently the new lights attracted them. It was also foggy that night. They must have been going after Salmon at the Winooski River outlet just 1,000 feet away.

    The best way to spot them is with underwater cameras with infrared capability. You can attract them with lights, and sounds of distressed fish. Don’t use active SONAR as they can actually hear it and it drives them away. Use passive sonar and listen for their telltale echolocation signal. Sounds just like a Beluga, Dolphin, and Orca whale chirp. You can tell they are close when you hear this. This was proven by Dr, Elizabeth von Muggenthaler when she tracked these sounds at Lake Champlain. Here is her 1 hour long video:

    The chirps can be heard at the YouTube timestamps 28:08 and 33:08 above. To actually hear this chirps in the water on your own you will need a good microphone in a waterproof container and a very good stereo amplifier capable of frequency response above 25khz up around 35khz. Also adult humans have trouble hearing this high without special equipment. Teenager humans seem to be able to hear this high. It would be up around the frequency of a mosquito buzz. So you will need to bring along a kid on your “chirp” hunt.

  9. Fred

    August 3, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I quote “Although it seems hard to believe that in this digital era no pictures or videos were taken, take into consideration that 20 seconds is not much time; putting the fishing rod down, bringing the phone or camera out of your pocket and finding the app to take the shot -all while watching a giant monster put up a good show- seems a little difficult to do. Do you ever wonder why most of the alleged pictures of strange creatures appear blurry? I am sure you’d have a shaky hand too.”

    Bunk, bunk and more bunk. The reason there is no digital evidence is these ‘monsters’ only exist in the broken psychology of the observer. Our trivial, trite and insignificant lives force individuals to intentionally misinterpret events in order to draw attention to themselves in a desperate attempt to create significance.

    Nice try. Fail.

  10. Fred

    August 3, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I also enjoy knowing you moderate the comments. I would to when I am promoting fiction.

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