Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 5th, 2012
Today, 35 years ago, on July 5, 1977, Sandra Mansi snapped a photograph of what might be the Lake Champlain Monster (“Champ”).
© Sandra Mansi
Sandra Mansi’s encounter with this unknown object in the water took place on Tuesday, July 5, 1977. She and her fiancé Anthony Mansi, along with her two kids from a previous marriage, were taking a break during a drive around the lake. Mansi saw what she thought was a school of fish, then possibly a scuba diver. She took a photo, and keep it in a drawer for 3 years. Her family joked about it by calling it a “300 pound duck,” she told me. Finally, when asked about it, through a series of casual remarks to friends, it was Lake Champlain investigator Joseph Zarzynski, who would bring the image to light.
The Mansi photo has been called, by National Geographic, by experts, by cryptozoologists, the best photograph of a Lake Monster ever taken.
In my 1978 book with Jerome Clark, Creatures from the Outer Edge, I personally penned the add-on appendix, “Epilogue: 1977 – A Year Filled With Monsters.” In that ending chapter, I looked at the remarkably great number and maximum diversity in the reports of “high strangeness” of cryptids in that year. Now, 35 years later, we are experiencing one anniversary after the other, of the Dover Demon, of the Lafayette, Ohio black panther series, of the Little Eagle, South Dakota Bigfoot accounts, of the Lawndale, Illinois Thunderbird snatch, of several other incidents mentioned in my and Jerry Clark’s book, and, of course, the Mansi Champ photo. That year, 1977, was quite a twelve months.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.