Chinese Lake Monsters?

3 10 2007

When I was a kid I was essentially convinced that the Loch Ness Monster (“Nessie”) was real. There were so many photos, videos, books, and crappy B-movies that there had to be something in the lake, right? Although I didn’t have a clue what all the blobs and smudgy bits on some of the most famous photographs might show, in my heart I wanted Nessie to be a Plesiosaurus, and I drew sketches of the monster continuously for a while. My semi-obsession with Nessie was prior to the famous outing of the “Surgeon’s Photograph” and I doubt there is any long-necked seal, Tullimonstrum, Cretaceous hold-over, giant Conger Eel, or enigmatic sea slug inhabiting the lake, but that hasn’t stopped some people from claiming that they have evidence of a monstrous creature in the Loch, even if they strain credulity (see here and here for one such instance from this past year).

As any well-informed lake monster buff knows, however, Scotland isn’t the only place in the world to claim lake monsters, legends of serpentine creatures being prevalent all over the world. Many of the sightings have been shown to be myths or hoaxes, but even now and then news breaks of some more shaking, out-of-focus, and distant video of something moving through the water, and that’s just what happened this past week. A tourist visiting Kansai Lake in the Heavenly Mountains area of the Xinjiang region claims to have shot footage of a number of “monsters,” the video shown on the Chinese national news;

The video is not much different from many other such videos I’ve seen, and the long-range shots don’t prove anything one way or another. The closer shots, showing something moving just under or just over the surface, are more interesting, but they don’t seem to show anything that I would call “monstrous.” Indeed, large fish like salmon do inhabit the lake, and the video is more likely to be of fish (if it is indeed showing something alive) than any sort of “monster.” This story is also relatively close on the heels of another “monster” sighting from Tianchi Lake, reported on Sept. 10 of this year. As the graphic on the bottom of the Cryptomundo posting about the Kansai video shows, though, some are already jumping to conclusions about the rather traditional (and far-fetched) identity of the mysterious creatures (if unknown creatures they be).

Are there creatures in the world that have as yet escaped discovery or are new to science? Of course there are, but poorly-shot video such as the one shown above does not prove that giant marine reptiles are living in freshwater lakes all over the world. Nature is strange and beautiful enough on its own without needed myths concocted or promulgated about it, and even if the creatures in the footage mentioned above are new, I don’t think they are going to represent any whole new Class or Order of organisms that has escaped detection thus far.


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3 responses

3 10 2007
Amanda

We have our own version of Nessie here in Vermont named Champ. As a kid I would spend hours on the Burlington bike path, looking out at the lake and imagining I saw a strange figure peeking out of the waves. I couldn’t have believed in Champ that much, ’cause I still went swimming.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champ_(legend)

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