Tetrapod Zoology

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Here at Tet Zoo we’ve looked at lake monsters on a couple of occasions now: at alleged Nessie photos here, and at the sad death of the Lake Khaiyr monster here. For a while I’ve been planning to add to this list, and to write about one of the most famous, most iconic lake monster photos: the Mansi photo [detail shown in adjacent image: © Sandra Mansi]. This reasonably good colour photo is well known to everyone interested in cryptozoology, but I suppose is not so familiar to those who haven’t read the cryptozoological literature. So if you’re familiar with lake monster literature, nothing I’m about to say will be new to you. For the rest of you, here we go…

Taken by Sandra Mansi at Lake Champlain (Vermont, USA) in July 1977, the Mansi photo has always been really popular because (unlike so many alleged lake monster photos) it’s not too blurry or ambiguous but clearly shows something that looks very much like a large, long-necked grey aquatic animal. Rising from the water, it seems to be curving its neck over its rounded back, as if looking behind itself [whole image shown below: © Gamma Liaison/Sandra Mansi]. Most people imagine that the object in the photo resembles a long-necked plesiosaur, or maybe a sauropod, so it’s been taken to heart by those who contend that such Mesozoic animals are still around today. The background story to the photo has been much documented in the literature, most recently by Coleman & Huyghe (2003), Radford (2003, 2004) and Newton (2005).

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While at the lake edge with her then-fiancée (Anthony Mansi) and two children, Mansi was watching her children playing in the water when she noticed the emergence of a large object ‘less than 150 feet’ away (Radford 2004). Whether she was scared or not depends on which report you read, but she and Anthony quickly got the children out of the water. A single photo was taken with a Kodak Instamatic camera and, after taking it, Mansi stayed to watch the monster for the 5-7 minutes it was visible (a surprisingly long time). Its head appeared to be turning as if it was looking around, and it was described as having slimy, eel-like skin according to the interview incorporated into Coleman & Huyghe (2003), and as having a bark-like skin texture according to the Mansi quote reproduced in Radford (2004). It did not turn to look at the people, despite the fact that the children were making noise and that Anthony shouted on seeing it (Radford 2004). After getting the photo developed, Mansi kept it in an album (she later discarded the negative), and this is essentially where it stayed until 1981 when it was brought to global attention by way of its publication in the New York Times.

The ‘animal hypothesis’

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It soon became much-reproduced and much-discussed, and an entire seminar devoted to Lake Champlain’s monster – ‘Champ’, as it’s known – was soon held. Cryptozoologists have generally said very positive things about the photo, concluding without exception (so far as I know) that the object photographed by Mansi was an unknown animal. Joseph Zarzynski, an author and expert on Champ, referred to it as ‘the single most impressive piece of evidence’ for Champ (Zarsynski 1988, p. 61), and cryptozoological investigators like Roy Mackal and the late Richard Greenwell were apparently convinced that the photo depicted an ‘unknown animate object’, by which I assume they meant an animal. It has been suggested that a submerged sandbar is visible in the photo (Anon. 1982, B. R. Frieden in Zarzynski 1988), in which case the object might be resting on it [adjacent image shows Sandra Mansi, from Radford 2004].

As mentioned above, writers have mostly intimated that the object in the photo might be a living plesiosaur, but we also have the usual clutching-at-straws crap, with my most/least favourite idea being that the object in the photo depicts a living Tanystropheus (did the originator of that idea bother to do any research at all on what Tanystropheus really looked like?). Mangiacopra et al. (1994) concluded that Champ is most likely a giant detritivorous invertebrate, though they didn’t say anything more specific than that!

In a TV documentary produced for Discovery’s series Out of the Unknown, it was suggested that the object in the Mansi photo might be the bifid tail of a whale, with the ‘neck’ representing the tailstock and the ‘back’ representing the leading edge of one of the flukes. This is a bizarre and crazy idea, apparently favoured because Discovery wanted Champ to be a surviving basilosaurid whale, and it’s a total non-starter. For it to work, the ‘head’ would have to be emerging from the water’s surface ahead of the ‘back’, and this is not the case: the ‘head’ and ‘neck’ really are standing proud of the water and higher than the ‘back’.

Problems with the ‘animal hypothesis’

Anyway, all is not well for the ‘animal hypothesis’. Some things are not right about the photo. For a start, the ‘neck’ and ‘back’ don’t appear to be in the same plane: rather, the ‘neck’ is further from the viewer than is the ‘back’. Secondly, the twist in the ‘neck’ is exceptional for a tetrapod and doesn’t look natural. Possibly significant, but possibly not, is what appears to be an amorphous dark object (we’ll call it ‘object 1′) to the left of the ‘creature’. Furthermore, the left side of the ‘neck’ has a sloping ‘shoulder’ at its base, while another ‘shoulder’ on the right joins the neck base with the ‘body’. I’m not the only person to note these features: Peter Suthers, used as a photographic analyst in the Discovery documentary, noted them, the International Society of Cryptozoology drew attention to them (Anon. 1982), and Paul LeBlond (1982) illustrated ‘object 1′ in his analysis of the object’s size, even illustrating ‘object 1′ as if it were one of the animal’s flippers.

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If we accept these additional details as part of the same object as the ‘neck’ and ‘back’, they essentially ruin the plesiosaur-like shape, with ‘object 1′ in particular defying any anatomical explanation [the 'problem areas' are shown in the adjacent (poorly scanned) image, though note that they are accentuated in darkness compared to the original photo. From Naish 2001]. Taking account of all of these problems, I concluded in an article on aquatic cryptids that ‘the object is a large mass of wood with a neck-shaped branch: according to Mansi’s testimony, this momentarily burst through the water surface before turning and sinking’ (Naish 2001, p. 88). So there you have it, the idea that the object is not an animal, but a floating bit of wood, is mine :)

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However, by far the most rigorous and compelling amount of work on the photo has been produced by author and investigator Benjamin Radford. He’s interviewed Mansi, has tried to locate the exact observation site*, and has worked hard to estimate the dimensions of the object in the photo by performing field tests on-site. His conclusions are that the behaviour, morphology and look of the object don’t match an animal, but are most convincingly explained by the emergence of a floating log (Radford 2003, 2004). Driftwood is common in and around Lake Champlain, and indeed several bits of wood resembling serpentine necks and heads have been found at the lakeside and photographed [Radford photo of a monster-like Lake Champlain log shown below]. Radford has also been able to show that the object in Mansi’s photo is not immense as some authors have proposed (LeBlond (1982) estimated it at between 4.8 and 17.2 m long), but modestly sized at 90 cm tall and 2 m long (Radford 2004). Radford interprets the area between the ‘neck’ and’ body’ as shadow. He might be right, but I think it’s also possible that the dark area here represents part of the object which is only slightly submerged, or sat just at the water’s surface.

* It is argued that the exact site cannot be located. Dick Raynor, well known for his examination of lake monster photos, has – I think I’m allowed to say – some interesting thoughts on this, though his information on this is as yet unpublished. To find out why go here.

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Radford expresses in his articles (and presumably in his book, which I regret to say I haven’t seen) the point that no-one really doubts that Sandra Mansi honestly reported what she really saw. In fact, it seems that she did not jump to conclusions on seeing it but simply tried to work out what it was, and did not assume that it was a plesiosaur-like animal to begin with. But as we all do from time to time, she misunderstood what she saw. Nobody is ever really going to know for sure that the object in the Mansi photo really was a piece of driftwood, but this is a sound hypothesis and I’m in strong agreement with Radford that it’s almost certainly right.

Some time I must tell you the story of the Lake Dakataua ‘migo’ footage!

For more info, you can read Benjamin Radford’s articles online here and here.

Refs – -

Anon. 1982. Lake Champlain monster draws worldwide attention. The ISC Newsletter 1 (2), 1-4.

Coleman, L. & Huyghe, P. 2003. The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep. Tarcher/Penguin, New York.

LeBlond, P. H. 1982. An estimate of the dimensions of the Lake Champlain monster from the length of adjacent wind waves in the Mansi photograph. Cryptozoology 1, 54-61.

Mangiacopra, G. S., Smith, D. G. & Avery, D. F. 1994. A Champ trilogy: part three – but hunting what? Of Sea and Shore 16 (4), 209-212, 243-246.

Naish, D. 2001. Sea serpents, seals and coelacanths. In Simmons, I. & Quin, M. (eds) Fortean Studies Volume 7. John Brown Publishing (London), pp. 75-94.

Newton, M. 2005. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology. McFarland & Company, Jefferson (N. Carolina) and London.

Radford, B. 2003. The measure of a monster. Skeptical Inquirer 27 (4). Online here.

- . 2004. The lady and the Champ… Fortean Times 182, 44-48.

Zarzynski, J. 1988. Champ: Beyond the Legend. Wilton, New York.

Comments

  1. #1 John Scanlon, FCD
    June 3, 2008

    Looks like a manatee on its side with right flipper in the air, head to the left and facing away (I was really struck by the long narrow flippers in a picture of one I saw somewhere a couple of days ago). But a log’s much more likely in Vermont.

  2. #2 tai haku
    June 3, 2008

    I can definitely see what John means.

    On another note 5-7 minutes in sight and only one photo – has any rationale been offered up for why she wasn’t shooting like crazy?

  3. #3 Malcolm Smith
    June 4, 2008

    Radford’s article struck me as highly reasonable, and I note that he explained the sudden emergence of the log as due to a submarine wave. But the one thing that bothers me is: why would it just as suddently sink after 5 – 7 minutes?

  4. #4 Tengu
    June 4, 2008

    Yup its the best lake monster image ever (Rhines photos aside) but its not a lake monster….cant you do better than that?

    If the log was very wet it wouldnt float for long, or at least flip over to a more stable position.

    Pleisiosaurs couldnt hold their neck like that anyway.

    (BTW, loch ness is full of lumps of weathered wood like that.)

  5. #5 neil
    June 4, 2008

    Why is it they always loose the negative of these photos? And it does look like a smaller closer object too in the second photo.

  6. #6 Dave Godfrey
    June 4, 2008

    One photo, lost neg, and it was visible for ages. *sigh* Humans.

    Still the log certainly explains the “bark-like texture” of the skin, and as it was wet, the apparent slime too.

  7. #7 Jerzy
    June 4, 2008

    I believe it represents a belly and right upper arm of a species related to the below one. Perhaps the distinctive coat was wet and invisible. Compare:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdAKgJDahzw

  8. #8 John Conway
    June 4, 2008

    Log schmog, it’s clearly an aquatic ropen!

    I guess if you’ve got enough people watching enough lakes, at some point a log is going to do a damn good monster impression.

    It’s pretty clear that photos will just never do it. We don’t need a whole carcass, just a bone would do.

  9. #9 ancientTechie
    June 4, 2008

    Dave,

    I worked for many years as a professional photographer and was often asked about reproducing snapshots of people who had died. I always recommended having new prints made from the original negatives and, in the vast majority of cases, was told that the negatives had been discarded. When I asked why, the replies clearly indicated that most people discerned no connection between negatives and prints. The negatives weren’t “pictures,” so they were thrown away with the envelopes in which they were delivered.

  10. #10 Mike from Ottawa
    June 4, 2008

    On another note 5-7 minutes in sight and only one photo – has any rationale been offered up for why she wasn’t shooting like crazy?

    Because it was a family day at the lake, not an expedition and she was down to one frame left on the roll?

    That object is well within the range of odd shapes of driftwood I’ve seen floating about or washed up and that was my first thought looking at the photo.

  11. #11 Dave Godfrey
    June 4, 2008

    I worked in a camera shop for 6 years. I know all about the kinds of things that people do with prints, negs and even cameras, that frankly I’m surprised humans made it past flint tools.

  12. #12 Jerzy
    June 4, 2008

    I just love these threads. Yes, sasquatch taking a bath!

    I read at least one account when a sea monster was found and studied closely. People saw from distance a sticking neck, head, eye… all. The ship came closer and… the monster didn’t disappear. It was observed well. And everybody saw clearly – it was trunk of a tree with funny branch and a speck of barnacles for “eye”.

    Yes, no photo was published, so identification of monsters as tree logs remain unconfirmed…. ;)

  13. #13 KeithM
    June 4, 2008

    But the one thing that bothers me is: why would it just as suddently sink after 5 – 7 minutes?

    It could have been bobbing all day, and during one of its pop-ups happened to have the right orientation to have been seen as a creature. Other people could have just as easily seen, from different orientations, that it was wood and not thought about it.

    Deadheads do things like that. When I was younger and fished lobster with my father from time to time you’d see driftwood that popped up above the surface and vanished again.

    One mechanism: if the wood is wet enough, it can be pretty near neutral buoyancy. Add a tiny bit of lift (decomposition gasses trapped in the wood) and it heads to the surface; if those gasses escape so that it’s slightly less than neutral, down it goes again.

  14. #14 Allen Hazen
    June 4, 2008

    O.k., driftwood seems most likely. (Force me to bet and that’s where I would put my money.) But suppose it is an animal: in that case John Scanlon’s idea that the long bit is a flipper seems more likely than that it is an unnaturally twisted plesiosaur neck. Could it possibly be some sort of cetacean? Beluga fossils have been discovered in Vermont (University of Vermont website used to have a section on “Charlotte, the Vermont whale”)– that may date from when Lake Champlain was better-connected to the sea than it is now, but apparently quite sizeable whales have made it into the great lakes in relatively recent times (Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto has, if I remember correctly, a sperm whale vertebra excavated near one of the great lakes and hundreds of miles from the ocean, dated to within the last couple of millennia). … What is the width/depth of the river connecting Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence? Could, say, a blackfish (Globicephala melaena or similar) in principle, if badly enough lost, make it into the lake?
    … Pity. Driftwood DOES seem more probable.

  15. #15 Zach Miller
    June 4, 2008

    Darren, I love your crypto posts. Any chance we’ll be seeing more “exotic” cryptics, like the Mothman, the Jersey Devil, or the Chupacabra? It can’t all be marine plesiosaurs and sauropods! :-)

  16. #16 Darren Naish
    June 4, 2008

    Allen: it has indeed been suggested on occasion that the object in the photo might be a whale’s flipper (it sort of looks like a humpback flipper). It seems very unlikely that, large as it is (180 km x 18 km), Lake Champlain could harbour an overlooked population of cryptic cetaceans. The lake is much-used, has a long history of being traversed and used in battles etc., and is used a lot by holiday-makers and fishermen, and what monster sightings there are don’t really describe cetaceans. But could adventurous stray individuals get into the lake? I don’t know, though whales of several species get into the St. Lawrence River regularly. The object that Mansi saw (assuming her testimony to be truthful) was stationary for a long time and she didn’t report any cetacean features, like blowing, fluking, surface slick, etc.

    But, regardless, the driftwood idea fits the story better.

    Incidentally, long-finned pilot whales are G. melas, not G. melaena any more.

    Zach: well, the topics you mention are a bit too far removed from Tet Zoo’s primary aim. But you never know…

  17. #17 tdh
    June 4, 2008

    ET doing the breaststroke. :-)

  18. #18 Charlie B.
    June 4, 2008

    Re: the Lake Dakataua ‘migo’ footage – was it you who did a talk on that at the UnConvention about 10 years ago? If so, we had a chat afterwards. I’ll keep my recollections of what was said to myself ’til you tell the story here so as not to steal your thunder. :-)

  19. #19 KeithM
    June 5, 2008

    What is the width/depth of the river connecting Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence? Could, say, a blackfish (Globicephala melaena or similar) in principle, if badly enough lost, make it into the lake?

    Having been at a Canadian Forces military base set right beside, and having spent many hours in powerboat, kayak and sailboat on, said river , I think I can answer.

    The Richelieu River, while generally speaking large enough, has one small problem when it comes to whales getting up it: the rapids at St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu and at Chambly. It’s the reason the Chambly Canal was built and unfortunately, makes any whale passage up the river highly unlikely.

    The other problem is, of course, that it’s heavily used from one end to the other for recreation and transport. The odds of a whale getting up there unnoticed is pretty minimal.

  20. #20 Tengu
    June 5, 2008

    Lake Champlain freezes over in winter, I propose a different marine mammal. (but there are several poplaces of freshwater seals, and many lakes with the odd vagrant, dont forget that enterprising animal, the one with the human aiderandabbetter, as our big cats do)

    I have Zarinskys `Champ, beyond the legend` Ill dig it out

    This lake, though big, is very busy.

    it was indeed joined to the sea in the ice age

    —————————

    As for Negatives, Ancienttecchie, I think that is what separates the photographers from the snappers.

    (a friend of mine from the local ghost hunting group (I use the term snidely, as you will see) came to me asking of a cheap source of recording equitment.
    I said “Its easy enought to find old film cameras these days”
    They replied, “No, we want to go digital” (thats exactly the `pop` phrase they used….I hate it.)
    I replied “But you told me you want to be taken seriously”
    “yes we do, thats why we want the latest in equitment.”

    So I told them they needed a great dane….

    Didnt get the joke, did they?

  21. #21 Darren Naish
    June 5, 2008

    Charlie said…

    Re: the Lake Dakataua ‘migo’ footage – was it you who did a talk on that at the UnConvention about 10 years ago? If so, we had a chat afterwards. I’ll keep my recollections of what was said to myself ’til you tell the story here so as not to steal your thunder. :-)

    Yes, guilty. I still have a recording of the talk, plus the video and all the visuals. I spoke to a lot of people that day (there was international media interest), but I spoke to someone about crocodilians and giant theropods – I think this might have been you. If so, hello again :)

  22. #22 Andreas Johansson
    June 5, 2008

    Darren, I love your crypto posts. Any chance we’ll be seeing more “exotic” cryptics, like the Mothman, the Jersey Devil, or the Chupacabra? It can’t all be marine plesiosaurs and sauropods! :-)

    The Mothman is a plesiosaur? Sounds like a meme worth spreading!

  23. #23 Sloan
    June 5, 2008

    On 6/4/08 at 6:40 a.m. Jerzy said:

    I believe it represents a belly and right upper arm of a species related to the below one. Perhaps the distinctive coat was wet and invisible. Compare:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdAKgJDahzw

    I concur with Jerzy’s analysis. The linked video footage is most compelling. If he’s right, I am amazed that the Mansi family managed to escape with their entire stock of Keebler Chips Deluxe Chocolate Chip Cookies virtually unmolested. The Oreos, however, did not fare so well.

  24. #24 Allen Hazen
    June 5, 2008

    Darren–
    Agreed that driftwood is more likely: I was just trying to see how the “endgame” would go for a Cetacean hypothesis. As for the “blackfish” getting renamed: nomenclature of extant Cetacean genera and species seems about as messy as that of terminal Eocene titanotheres! And what in my childhood was listed as “the” blackfish (or pilot whale) has been split into two species, with different length flippers….

    KeithM–
    Thanks! Your post is an example of the Internet at its best: people with different but first-hand knowledge filling in areas of ignorance for total strangers! … The rapids are bad news for any diehard proponent of a “Champ is a Cetacean” hypothesis, but I’m not sure the traffic on the river is conclusive: small to medium-size whales in recent years have turned up fairly far from the sea on a number of intensively used waterways (I don’t remember precisely, but I think something got above Philadelpia on the Delaware River in the last couple of years), and if it swam upstream at night…. (Sorry: just playing the Cetodevil’s Advocate here.)

  25. #25 allison
    June 5, 2008

    i’ve heard that this (or maybe it was the famous pic of nessie???) was actually the trunk of an elephant and that the elephant had been a part of a traveling circus that stopped at the lake (or lock???). in the pic, supposedly an elephant lifts its trunk out of the water to breathe and elephants for sure are swimmers. even if i’m referring to the pic of nessie that’s almost identical to the body shown in this pic, doesn’t it seem likely that a traveling zoo might stop by a lake for its animals? and weren’t there a lot more traveling zoos back then to make this plausible?

    even if i’m totally wrong (which i have no problem with, it’s happened before) i don’t understand why you would only take one pic if the “animal” surfaced for a few minutes. even if you didn’t jump to conclusions about what it was, why wouldn’t you shoot like crazy??? i certainly would have. and i would’ve admitted i’m a tool when the pics come back as driftwood-elephants.

  26. #26 Charlie B.
    June 6, 2008

    Ah yes! I thought I recognised you when I started reading this blog a while ago (before you moved to SciBlogs). Awesome that you remember that natter we had amongst all the kerfuffle of media and fandom at a big convention!

    The New Britain story is well worth it! Hope you share it soon. Right, no more reminiscing off-topic… *relurk*

  27. #27 Graham King
    June 7, 2008

    So there you have it, the idea that the object is not an animal, but a floating bit of wood, is mine :)

    Just what I thought myself!

  28. #28 DDeden
    June 7, 2008

    perhaps her kid wearing an old time curved back snorkel?

  29. #29 BOB GEDDES
    June 9, 2008

    FIRST OFF HOW CAN ALAKE MONSTER SWIM IN 3 FEET OF WATER???
    I DID A SCAN OF THE PICTURE ONLY TO FIND, THE WATER IS SHALOW . I CAN SEE THAT THE MONSTER IS NOTHING BUT A GROUNDED CHUNCK OF A TRUNK OF A TREE THAT HAS BEEN IN THE WATER A LONG TIME. BOB GEDDES YUKON CANADA

  30. #30 Nate
    June 9, 2008

    If you think that its a log you need to get you eyes checked I live next to a river and see logs floting down it all the time.

  31. #31 Suz
    June 9, 2008

    Photo of driftwood fails to match to photo of possible lake aquatic. Two separate items completely.

  32. #32 David Marjanovi?
    June 10, 2008

    If you think that its a log you need to get you eyes checked I live next to a river and see logs floting down it all the time.

    If you don’t think that’s a log, you need to go to a lake, where wood gets soaked for years and eventually sinks. In a river there’s no time for that.

    Where do you live that you have a river next door but no lake far and wide?

  33. #33 dustin
    June 10, 2008

    it is not real but the monster is real

  34. #34 Hai~Ren
    June 10, 2008

    Oh crap, every time we bring in cryptozoology, somehow the collective IQ of the comments suddenly drops.

    I’ll just state this: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  35. #35 mc2
    June 12, 2008

    Yeah i have seen many nature films of seals looking exactly like this sunning a flipper

  36. #36 dg
    August 7, 2008

    Good fun, sorry I came to the party so late. Yes, of course it’s not a sea creature. But the log theory cuts both ways – it’s easy to make a log look like a weird creature from the right angle, just as any picture of any item in a lake from afar could be presented as a log.

    That being said, does the piece of wood in the “Model Behavior” slide look realistic to anyone? Are those supposed to be non-tapered roots, with nothing directly below the trunk? Or a large branch that bends back around nearly a full 180 degrees? Not like any tree I’ve ever seen in Vermont.

  37. #37 MAXXXX
    August 17, 2008

    U ARE forgetting the HUNDREDS of witnesses,including the ferry boat captain with 60 people on,who SAW IT UP CLOSE,who also got it on sonar.liz muggenthaler a worlds top scientist on BIOSONAR,got active biosonar at 145k hz that was similar ,yet different than a dolphin,AND sonar,showing a LARGE(not a tree trunk)swimming BIOLOGICAL object.i must say that on her website,ANIMALFAUNA DOTT COMM she used very advanced software and hardware not availiable to the general public.that man ben radford is delusional and probably mental to ignore all the evidence.skeptics are usually nuts.

  38. #38 David Marjanovi?
    August 17, 2008

    That being said, does the piece of wood in the “Model Behavior” slide look realistic to anyone?

    Yes. Trees that grow on rocks often have such roots.

    liz muggenthaler a worlds top scientist

    That proves it then. <yawn>

  39. #39 Drum Bunny
    May 10, 2009

    I can understand her losing the negatives but, come on, only one picture in 5 minutes. That’s plenty of time to run back, get more film, load it and shoot. It looks more and more like a log and I think the other photos from that day would prove it, that’s why they’re missing. Plus, the neck is way too short to be Champ.

  40. #40 Diva
    September 30, 2009

    Give me a break!! Load more film?? What if she didn’t have another film and what if she was at the end of the roll and couldn’t get more than the one shot. If they are at a remote location it isn’t like there is a corner store on the shoreline!!! What can’t you people see the photo for what it is…”Champ” I know Sandy personally and I can assure you she is NOT a liar and did not fabricate this story NOR did she “stage” the picture or alter it in any way. Sandy is probably one of the most honest people that I know. All of you skeptics make me shake my head!! Also, how many of you people saved your negatives??? I for one know I never saved mine…so what’s with all of the negative comments??

  41. #41 David Marjanović
    September 30, 2009

    Are you sure you wouldn’t save the negatives of an earth-shattering discovery?

  42. #42 stcoleridge
    February 18, 2010

    I always thought – and still do – that this looked like an otter with its flipper up. But there is a problem with its laying like that for 5-7 min. I suppose (would one lay there and groom itself perhaps, holding the same ‘pose’?).

  43. #43 dean yarham
    February 25, 2010

    the fact that you people are viwing these pics means that you are true beleivers if you have the same interest in the unknown send me a friend request and i can show you pics im from the okanogon and i have proof the ogopogo exists people say it is a stugeon but it is not my email is hammer at live.com

  44. #44 Ladd
    March 11, 2010

    Hi Darren,

    I find it hard to believe that someone like Ms. Mansi would throw a negative showing an amazing event away! Why would a person do that? Maybe because the negatives would show the prior failing attemts of photographing the “Monster!” For me to believe, I would want to see all 24 negatives! Sounds fishy to me.

    Best regards, Ladd

  45. #45 sandra mansi
    April 27, 2010

    In 1977, I did indeed see and took theS mansi photo….. what I witnessed that day was not a log. This was over 30 yrs ago, still to this day it is the same and will allways be Champ….. Sandra Mansi 2010

  46. #46 Kevin
    May 13, 2010

    I think it’s awesome that Sandra Mansi herself commented here.

  47. #47 sk8er
    June 12, 2010

    the log that was washed ashore doesn’t even look like the mansi photo. yeah, it could e mistaken for champ but it’s probably not going to be. in the mansi photo, on the left side there’s some sort of lump like thing, that’s not next to the log, is it.

  48. #48 Charles
    September 3, 2010

    Any photograph of great significance to a person would prompt him or her to take care of photo and in cases where you would expect scrutiny, even preserve the negative. This of course is not the first time a controversial photo surfaced so one would think anyone of sound mind would know what to do with his or her evidence.

  49. #49 R.E.Craig
    October 2, 2010

    To me it looks very much like a Killer Whale breaching.

  50. #50 Larry Vellons
    December 3, 2010

    Why is it that comments posted by true believers are usually loaded with atrocious spelling and grammar? I don’t want to come across as offensive, but…

  51. #51 David Marjanović
    December 4, 2010

    Common cause: lack of education.

  52. #52 Wolf
    May 31, 2011

    With all due respect, your otherwise seemless explanation neglects to sufficiently solve the reported movement of the head and neck.
    Incidentally I recall the Discovery Channel documentary and agree that its whale theory was more of a stretch than even the plesiosaur theory. It’s still not as laughable as the idea that it’s a swimmer in mid-stride.
    Finally, I applaud your strategic insertion of a neck-and-head-shaped branch resting on a shore. Would you be so kind as to inform us as to where it was photographed? Was it taken at Lake Champlain, or elsewhere?

  53. #53 Clifford Paiva
    July 21, 2011

    Darren Naish is an evolutionist; hence his perspective is a form of pseudo-science, a common real-science detriment which removes empirical data when such information, or field and experimental test results conflict with evolutionary defunct models. In fact no such thing as “paleo” anything exists. Terms such as cretaceous, jurassic, devonian, or any other such nonsense cannot be substantiated by experimental science. For a NON-scientist to scientifically comment on field data is absurd. If he possesses evolutionary oriented doctorates then of course they are, scientifically, irrelevant. Someone should as Darren to produce just one fractional, in progress, transitional fossil.

  54. #54 Darren Naish
    July 21, 2011

    Hilarious, thanks.

  55. #55 Clifford Paiva
    July 21, 2011

    Darren Naish is an evolutionist, hence his perspective is a form of pseudo-science, a common real-science detriment which removes empirical data when such information, or field and experimental test results conflict with evolutionary defunct models. In fact no such thing as “paleo” anything exists. Terms such as cretaceous, jurassic, devonian, or any other such nonsense cannot be substantiated by EXPERIMENTAL science. For a NON-scientist to attempt a scientific assessement concerning field data is patently absurd. If he possesses evolutionary oriented masters or doctorates then of course they are of course scientifically, IRRELEVANT. Someone should ask Darren to produce just one fractional, in progress, transitional fossil. SANDRA MANSI ON THE OTHER HAND HAS PRODUCED AN OPTICAL FRAME OF AN ELASMOSAUR, IF THE NECK IS OBSERVED ON THE LEFT OF THE BROACHED PORTION, OR AT LEAST A PLESIOSAUR, both of which should be in existence today.

  56. #56 Georgia
    July 21, 2011

    Darren: is this Clifford bloke correct? Am I studying for a scientifically IRRELEVANT degree? Well, I wish someone had told me this before. I could’ve saved my money and paid for a faith healer to cure my short sightedness.

  57. #57 Clifford Anthony Paiva
    July 21, 2011

    No…you don’t need a faith healer…just COMMON SENSE. And yes…if you’re degree is based on evolution than you have largely wasted you’re time…and money. If you’re interested in experimental sciences, then pursue mathematics, physics and chemistry…and their derivatives…mathematical physics, biophysics and biochemistry…and you’ll probably be on much safer ground than paleontology, paleo-climatology or whatever PALEO you’re connected with…

  58. #58 Kent O'Connor
    July 21, 2011

    Yes, you could get common sense, like that evidently used by creationists who believe in Noah’s ark and in a magical fairyland where glow-in-the-dark pterodactyls flap around and plesiosaurs frolic in Lake Champlain. Or you could learn how to think critically. And how to examine evidence. And how to not let your personal faith-based views dominate your view of the word. And you could learn how to write without sounding like a creationist moron. Just sayin’.

  59. #59 Owlmirror
    July 21, 2011

    Clearly, God created the universe the day that Clifford was born, and everything in it that looks older than himself was specially created to “look” old. Alas for his poor parents, created with fake memories. And of course, studying fakes created by God is pointless.

    Re the OP,

    I’ve seen a log with a whorl of wood that looked like an eye right next to a root that looked vaguely like a snout (except for an inconvenient bit that branches off). The combination looked a little like a worried boar.

    Pareidolia: It makes you think it looks like it works, bitches.

  60. #60 David Marjanović
    July 22, 2011

    Clifford, you’re calling God a liar. Read this article called “Radiometric dating from a Christian perspective”.

    If you’re interested in experimental sciences, then pursue mathematics

    What? Where are the experiments in mathematics?

    On transitional fossils: well, tell me a transition, and I’ll provide a list off the top of my head within 5 minutes of reading your comment.

    Counter-question: Why is the similarity of life arranged in a tree shape? Why doesn’t it form a square or a disc or a circular line or a tape (like the botanist Jussieu thought in mid the 18th century) or a star or a cross or whatever or just a random distribution? Why a tree?

  61. #61 Georgia
    July 22, 2011

    Clifford: So common sense will heal my short sightedness? And here I’ve been using glasses all these years. That’s what I get for trusting in science.

  62. #62 Owlmirror
    July 22, 2011

    Oh, David. Of course there are no transitional fossils in the Cliffordverse. There’s no stratigraphy, so how can there be transitional fossils?

    And of course, there’s no one tree of life, either. Instead, there’s a forest — a forest of baraminim!!

  63. #63 heteromeles
    July 22, 2011

    @David: Heck, I learned evolution from a professor who was the son of missionaries and active in his church. Amazing how many evolutionary biologists still go to church and do good in the community. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were ordinary, decent, caring people.

    Anyway, I always tell creationists, if they don’t want like radiometric dating, they really, really, shouldn’t stand under a smoke alarm very long. Why? Well, the radiometric dates say the Earth is 4 to 5 thousand million years old. The Bible says it’s 4 to 5 thousand years old. If the Bible is right, then our ability to estimate radioactivity is off by a factor of one million. Smoke alarms contain a chip of radioactive material inside them, and if they are a million times more radioactive than we think they are, then you really shouldn’t stand under one.

  64. #64 Sam Sam K.
    July 23, 2011

    I just want to note that I have seen Clifford Pavia on tv shows discussing the existence of the ropen AS IF WAS 100 per cent REAL and using some sort of very questionable optical physics to support this view. My bs alarm was going off at the time, I did not realize they were only using him because he is a creationist.

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