Champ, the American Loch Ness Monster

The 1977 Champ photo by Sandra Mansi is the most compelling image yet captured of Champ, the monster of Lake Champlain.


In Lake Champlain, legends tell of a massive creature that sometimes appears from the deep and looks for all the world like the Loch Ness Monster. Known as Champ or Champy, this creature has been spotted over many decades. One incredible photograph, taken by Sandra Mansi in 1977, has mystified experts ever since. What could Champ be? How about a piece of driftwood?






Check out these images from


More research by Ben Radford, who created the images from scienceblogs.

Once, many years ago—about the time of Mansi’s photo, in fact—I was walking beside the spillway of a dam during a rainstorm when a willow tree just ahead of me toppled into the stream. The bank had seriously eroded and the tree just suddenly leaned out over the water until the roots pulled free of the ground and the whole tree was pulled under the water. I was astounded. It’s not something you see every day. But maybe half an hour later, I was even more astounded when something huge rose up out of the water, a dark, massive shape dripping water, green stuff hanging from it like seaweed from the back of a leviathan. After the instant of shock, I realized that it was just that willow tree rolling along under the water until some of the limbs broke the surface, the long leaves like seaweed or beast fur.

As I stared, the fallen tree rolled on and sank back beneath the surface, leaving me to gaze at the depths of the universe.

Still, if I ever get the chance to spend some time at Lake Champlain, I’ll be looking. I’d also like to spend some time at Loch Ness, Lake Okanagan and other places where lake monsters are said to live. In fact, I think, they arise from the human heart.

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