Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 3rd, 2009
[June 4th ~ UPDATE: Please click here to view a new stabilization of the video.]
A two-minute cell-phone video of a “something” swimming in Lake Champlain was taken at sunrise on Sunday May 31, 2009, by Burlington resident Eric Olsen, 37. What is shown crossses the mouth of the small cove and beach area near Oakledge Park, Burlington.
This story is breaking on many fronts.
Some intriguing visual insights are becoming visible with enhancements of the “Champ video.” This footage first came to the attention of Cryptomundo, and then was shared with you and the world on Monday, June 1, 2009.
Let’s take a look at some of these new imagery and media revelations.
For starters, the name and more details about the man who captured the footage are now known. On June 3, 2009, the Burlington, Vermont Free Press published the first media article about the incident. Staff writer Sam Hemingway, who interviewed me the day before, penned the initial results of his journalistic investigation. (The print edition has incorrectly spelled my name and shortened a couple of my comments, thus changing their meanings. Therefore, I have corrected these errors in the following online version, specifically regarding those points – see bracketed edits.)
“I was just filming the water when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move, and I turned toward it and tried to zoom in on it,” said Olsen, a Web site developer and musician.
“You can see that it is moving both horizontally, across the water, and vertically, going under the surface and coming back up,” he said. “It struck me as something that was long, that it didn’t have much girth.”
The reporter talks of it being on YouTube and getting lots of hits, then continues:
Loren Coleman a cryptozoologist based in Portland, Maine, said what Olsen filmed with his phone is the best [moving] photographic evidence to date of what residents on both sides of Lake Champlain prefer to call “Champ.”
“We need to figure out what is going on here,” Coleman said. “The film needs to have a formal forensic analysis performed … to break it down frame by frame. It needs to be looked at very seriously.” Cryptozoology is the study of purportedly nonexistent or mythical creatures. [Cryptozoology is actually the study of as-yet-unverified new animals, hidden animals, and to-be-recovered "extinct" animals. ~ Loren]
Above is the famed “Champ” photograph taken in 1977 by Sandra Mansi, who was having a picnic on the lake with her family.
Sam Hemingway contacted Mansi, and wrote:
Mansi, now 66, viewed Olsen’s video Tuesday and said there were similarities — and differences — between what she saw in 1977 and what is depicted in Olsen’s footage.
“I see the shape of the head, how big it is,” she said, comparing her photo and the video. “The only thing I have a hard time with is the neck. It doesn’t look long enough for me. … Whatever he saw has a link to what I saw. Tell him, ‘Welcome to the club.’”
Coleman said the object’s movements and size ruled out the chance it was a beaver, moose or some other more common mammal. Instead, both speculated it might be some unknown species of seal with an unusually long neck.
“There’s lots of things that it could be,” Coleman said. “It’s just as interesting to me if all it is is an out-of-place harbor seal [if it is not an unknown species].”
Ellen Marsden, a biology professor at the University of Vermont, said she thinks the object is not a seal but possibly a young moose in distress.
“Fish or aquatic species rarely move that slowly in the water,” Marsden said. “It did not look like a creature that was comfortable in water. It was swimming as if something was seriously wrong.” She also said seals don’t swim with their backs out of the water.
Olsen said he never saw the object emerge from the lake. He said he stopped filming after two minutes because the phone’s memory capacity was limited and he was afraid of losing what he had filmed. He said he stayed at the park for another half hour before leaving.
There have been several alleged sightings of “Champ” on Lake Champlain over the years, but few were accompanied by any photographic substantiation.
The article, “Champ Mystery Grows,” was a frontpage story in the paper’s Wednesday edition, and propelled the news into the mainstream media. See the site for the full article.
Meanwhile, overnight, images are turning up from the “Champ video,” assisting in a closer look at this footage.
At this point, because it is an “unknown,” at the least, it is a “lake cryptid.”
A German site has posted a video capture, too.
But now, along comes this footage. And it is interesting.
Please note, if video’s embedding has been disabled, find the video here.
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Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.