Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 26th, 2014
It’s all part of the ChampFEST celebration
Sandra Mansi was on vacation in Burlington with her family from Connecticut in 1977, when they decided to take the trip out onto Lake Champlain that would change her life forever.
While paused in the middle of the lake for a swim, Mansi asked her fiance at the time to grab her Instamatic camera.
And that’s when she saw it — a plesiosar-like creature who popped out of the water, just long enough for her to document the moment permanently.
“While he was getting her camera, she saw turbulence out in the water, and she’s going, ‘Oh cool, we’re going to see a big fish. This is going to be so awesome for the kids,’” Science Education Specialist Linda Bowden said. Bowden is considered a Champ “expert” at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center and has worked with Mansi for about 11 years. “
The original photo was donated by Mansi, now in her 60s, to the ECHO Center in 2012, and it is on display for the first time on the center’s first floor as part of the center’s larger ChampFEST celebration. It is accompanied by a 10-minute video featuring Mansi telling her story of the day she saw the lake monster and how it changed her life.
During its reveal on Saturday, most people walked past the tiny photo without noticing it was there. Some noticed and decided to take a closer look at the large, dark creature depicted in the photo.
ECHO Executive Director Phelan Fretz said that though he does not believe in Champ’s existence, the picture is considered a piece of scientific data.
“It’s the real thing,” Fretz said. “It’s an undoctored photo. It felt like, as a science institution, we ought to share this fundamental data.”
Bowden said the photo only adds to the over 300 documented stories of Champ as well as the first-hand accounts ECHO personnel continue to hear from the public.
Mansi’s photo will be on display at the center until Sunday, March 2, throughout the remainder of ChampFEST. Fretz said the photo helps spark a greater interest in and passion for Lake Champlain in the general public.
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.