The big buzz in the cryptozoology community right now concerns a piece of footage taken on May 31st 2009 at Oakledge Park in Burlington, Vermont, and on the shore of Lake Champlain. Lake Champlain is famous in the world of lake monster research as it’s alleged to be home to a large, long-bodied animal of some sort: for a previous discussion see my article on the Mansi photo (easily the best known image purporting to show a large, unidentified animal in the lake). The new film was taken by Eric Olsen on his mobile phone: the original version is viewable here on youtube, but can no longer be embedded. Here is a stabilised version produced by John Donald Carlucci, also available via youtube. The footage, and the events behind and around it, have been extensively discussed by Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo, and as usual with events of this sort (e.g., Montauk monster) I’m coming in late to the game.
This looks like a fairly long-bodied animal with a short neck and short or absent tail, and its poor performance in the water makes it look like a terrestrial mammal that, quite frankly, is struggling and possibly in trouble. The water in this area is apparently 2.4-6 m deep, so it’s unlikely to be an animal that is walking along the lake bottom as has been suggested. Many people have suggested that it’s a swimming deer, with young moose being one of the most frequency mooted identifications. That would appear to be the most likely option, but the head looks very short for a deer: there’s little chance that this is a moose for that reason, and a state moose specialist in Vermont is on record as saying that this is, indeed, not a moose. In fact, in closeups like the one below (borrowed from Cryptomundo, thanks Loren), the head is surprisingly small, way smaller than I’d expect for a deer, or indeed for a dog, seal or any any likely candidate. Could it be an injured or very ill waterbird, like a swan or goose? The head and neck are very much the wrong shape for this.
One final thought: is it not an animal at all, but a floating log? The way it seems to erupt from the water surface at the very start of the footage, and the lame way in which it appears to bob around and drift (rather than actually propel itself) does make it look log-like. Recall that other animal-like objects seen in the lake have been identified as floating logs too.
Olsen doesn’t know what it is and hasn’t made any sensational claims about it. For the time being, I admit that I really don’t know what it is either. What is it? Your thoughts would be appreciated.
For previous Tet Zoo articles on lake monsters see…
- Really: photos of the Loch Ness monster
- The sad death of the Lake Khaiyr monster
- Best lake monster image ever: the Mansi photo.
- Filming Migo, the monster of Lake Dakataua
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