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ABC News On Champ Video + New Enhancements

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 5th, 2009

The so-called “Champ video” is no longer available for embedded viewing. However, the versions below actually now show more. Please note, you still may find the video here.

This is extremely useful footage, worthy of serious cryptozoological study, as an unknown, a “lake cryptid.”

The following stabilized version of the Eric Olsen-obtained video was produced by John Donald Carlucci of Darke Media.

Next, here are two new versions of digital enhancements of the video by impossiblevisits.

Thanks to John Carlucci’s excellent stabilization of the Olsen footage, one is able to zoom in, fiddle with the cotrast, speed up the video slightly, and better discern the movement and flexibility of the animal’s neck. Notice especially, in the last still image, the water between the head and the rest of the visible body/neck.

ABC News called yesterday, and I was interviewed for the following article by Ms. Ki Mae Heussner. I supplied her with contact info for the now-famed photographer from 1977, after checking in with Sandra Mansi. It was good to see she checked in with Cryptomundo’s old skeptical buddy. But I don’t know, maybe it’s just me; does Ben Radford’s tone sound a bit harsher than usual? :-)


Video Revives Lake Champlain Monster Mystery

“Champ” Has Been Spotted 300 Times, Local Watchers Say

By Ki Mae Heussner
June 5, 2009—

Has the so-called Loch Ness Monster of North America reared his head, again?

For hundreds of years, residents of New York and Vermont have swapped stories of a mysterious underwater creature living in the expansive Lake Champlain. Although locals say it has been spotted more than 300 times, it has only been caught on camera once, decades ago. So skeptics abound, wondering how so many people can believe in something that has never provided proof of its existence.

But a cell phone video taken earlier this week of a creature apparently swimming in the lake has revived talk of the legendary “Champ.”

Captured by Burlington, Vt., resident Eric Olsen, 37, and posted to YouTube May 31, the nearly two-minute video of the lake at sunrise shows an unknown object moving across, and ducking below, the surface of the water.

“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,” Olsen told the Burlington Free Press, which first reported the story Wednesday.

Along with the video, the Web site developer and musician posted the following comment to YouTube: “I shot this video (with cellphone) of SOMETHING in the lake at Oakledge Park on Sunday (05/31/09) early am (0530 or so). Was anyone else out and about around Oakledge on Sunday just after sunrise who saw this as well?”

YouTube Video Attracts Leading Cryptozoologists

In the past few days, the video, titled “Strange Sighting on Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT,” has attracted more than 59,000 views.

Olsen did not immediately respond to requests from ABCNews.com for comment, but told the Burlington paper, “You can see that it is moving both horizontally, across the water, and vertically, going under the surface and coming back up. … It struck me as something that was long, that it didn’t have much girth.”

The new video is already causing a stir among local residents and leading cryptozoologists, who study animals whose existence has not been proven, or “hidden” animals.

“If this pans out, this will be the most convincing moving picture of this creature,” said Loren Coleman, a leading cryptozoologist and author of The Field Guide to Lake Monsters. “And that’s the kind of evidence we need to get closer to what these things really are.”

P.T. Barnum Helped Spark Interest in Lake Monster

Although no one can pinpoint the first sighting, according to local lore, the native Abenaki people told Samuel de Champlain (the Lake’s namesake) of its presence in the early 19th century.

In the 1880s, P.T. Barnum helped ignite interest when he offered a $50,000 reward for the capture of “Champ” or “Champy,” dead or alive.

Although some think the Lake Champlain monster is a dinosaur-type creature or primitive whale, Coleman thinks Champ is likely a kind of unknown seal, and one of several have been spotted in different lakes across the region.

“The theory that it’s a dinosaur is just ridiculous,” he said. “This video reinforces the direction that a lot of people have been going in. That it’s more like a mammal than a reptile.”

Forensic analyses are needed to determine more about the creature, Coleman said. Later this week, a few of his colleagues intend to measure the buoys in the background of the film to get a better sense of the creature’s size, he said.

To date, the most famous photograph of “Champ” is a 1977 image taken by Bristol, Vt., resident Sandra Mansi and published in Time magazine and The New York Times.


Sandra Mansi took this image in 1977 on the shores of Lake Champlain.


Lake Creature Photographed in 1977

The daughter of a Vermont fisherman, Mansi, now 66, said she grew up hearing the stories of the lake monster but “didn’t believe it anymore than I did the tooth fairy.”

But while picnicking with her family one afternoon on the shores of Lake Champlain, Mansi and her family saw what they thought was a head and neck emerge from the water.

“I’m turned around and I’m looking at it and my knees gave out,” she said. “At this point, the rationalization in my mind is that it’s Champ.”

Although Mansi didn’t see the creature swimming, she said the subject in Olsen’s video appears to have a similarly shaped head. The neck, however, seems longer than the one from her memory.

She has never spoken with Olsen but said, “I would love to welcome him to the club. It’s a very small, exclusive club.

“For 30 years, I’ve been telling people that the lake holds a gift,” she said. “It’s just more proof that there is something there and we need to preserve the lake.”

Biologists, Skeptics Say It’s Local Wildlife

But area biologists aren’t convinced the creature in the video is anything more exotic than the local wildlife.

“My guess is that it’s a decent-sized animal, probably a deer or moose,” said Professor Charles Kilpatrick, a biologist at the University of Vermont.

From watching the video, he guessed that a tired mammal was struggling to get its head out of the water.

Ben Radford, managing editor of the magazine The Skeptical Inquirer and co-author of Lake Monster Mysteries, has investigated claims of lake monsters across the world and is convinced that the video shows nothing more than an elk or deer in the water.

It’s ignorance, not evidence, that continues to fuel the myth of lake monsters, he said. Just as unknown creatures on land become “Bigfoot,” and unidentified objects in the sky become UFOs, mysterious characters in the water become lake monsters.

“It shouldn’t be surprising that people are still seeing things in the lake,” Radford said. “It requires little or nothing — anytime anyone sees anything that they can’t identify on the lake, it becomes Champ.”

In previous investigations of sightings on Lake Champlain, he said, floating logs, waves and other animals have been revealed as “Champ.”

No Hard Evidence Supports Existence of ‘Champ’

“There’s no hard evidence,” he said. “No teeth, bones, skeletons, or dead ones that wash up. At some point you ask, Why is that?'”

And, he added, it’s not like there can just be one. A whole breeding population of Champs would have to exist.

But despite the dearth of evidence, the myth of the Lake Champlain monster persists. The creature has even become something of a local mascot, appearing on endless tourist T-shirts and with a minor league baseball team named for it.

“They make a lot of money on their Champ T-shirts, Champ boards and sandwiches,” Radford said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that but there’s definitely an incentive to keeping the idea alive.”

But it’s not just economics that drives the legend of the lake monster.

In 1982, the Vermont House of Representatives went so far as to pass a resolution protecting Champ “from any willful act resulting in death, injury or harassment.” The New York State Assembly has adopted a similar measure.

Lake ‘Monster’ Inspires Interest in Environment

In educating youth and visitors about the lake and conservation efforts, environmental groups often rely on Champ to start conversations.

Linda Bowden, lifelong learning coordinator for ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, said her center engages visitors with discussions on Champ that present both sides.

Although hard evidence supporting the creature doesn’t exist, she said the Megamouth shark was once embroiled in a similar debate until the body of the 15-foot shark emerged in 1976. The 25-foot-long giant squid was also considered mysterious until photographs were taken by Japanese scientists in 2004, she said.

As potential support for the lake creature, Bowden also points to a 2003 study by the non-profit Fauna Communications Research Institute that conducted audio research in the lake. Using sonar equipment, researchers found evidence of echolocation, biological sonar commonly used by whales and dolphins, which do not live in the lake.

That study, combined with eyewitness accounts, she said, “make you question.”

Regardless of whether Champ exists, she said, it inspires interest. “We embrace the stories,” she said. “We think it’s great for people to take good care of the lake. It’s a great habitat.”

Also, the Burlington Free Press has a new article by Sam Hemingway, with updates on expert opinions, Cryptomundo, and media attention.

See full item here: Lake video creates a stir

Some quotes include…

* * *

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s gotten 2 million hits so far,” said Loren Coleman, a Maine-based cryptozoologist whose own Web site, www.Cryptomundo.com, has been abuzz with discussion about [Eric] Olsen’s video over the past three days.

* * *

Cedric Anderson, a moose specialist with the state Fish and Wildlife Department, said he has studied Olsen’s video and concluded that the image in the water was not a moose.

“The head shape is not right for a moose, and the body’s too long,” Anderson said. “Also, there’s no ears that I can see. Moose have ears that look like donkey ears.” He also said the creature was not an abnormally large sturgeon or a deer.

Instead, Anderson speculated it was some other four-legged animal that had been chased into the lake by dogs or other predators.

Olsen’s video ends with the creature near the shore. Olsen has said he stayed for a half hour after filming the creature and did not see any animal emerge from the water.

Coleman, on his Web site, offers viewers two adjusted versions of Olsen’s video. One “stabilizes” the footage so any up-and-down movement caused by Olsen as he pointed his cell phone toward the object is eliminated. The other “enhanced” version attempts to focus in on the creature’s head, but the image is still inconclusive.

Coleman said he was invited to appear on two nighttime nationally syndicated talk radio shows Thursday night to discuss Olsen’s video, including the Coast-to-Coast show hosted by George Noory that is aired on four AM radio stations around the state.

Meanwhile, the examination of the video is ongoing.

Ogopogo researcher/filmmaker Sean Viloria has forwarded the following enhanced enlargements of the clips from the footage. Please click on them to bring them up on your screen into a larger size.


Brought to Cryptomundo’s attention via “boyinthemachine,” from Jason Ficks of West Coast Sasquatch, here are a few stills from the “Champ video,” taken on May 31, 2009:


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About Loren Coleman
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.


30 Responses to “ABC News On Champ Video + New Enhancements”

  1. scaryeyes responds:

    Right at the end, it appears to turn and start to swim parallel to the shore (away from the camera). It’s hard to tell for certain, especially as it has almost entirely submerged at this point, but if this is the case, that would be very odd behaviour for a terrestrial mammal, even a drowning one. A terrestrial animal would be striking for the shore for all its worth, not wasting energy taking detours when it’s so close. I grant it could be a deer on its last legs, but it seems particularly unfortunate that it would basically expire so close to shore – you’d think the sight of land would give it a second wind, especially when it’s been swimming relatively strongly only seconds before.

    It’s such interesting footage, I can’t stop watching it. It does look a bit like a deer in profile at some points but not at all in others. In terms of known animals, the thing it reminds me of most in its behaviour is a seal – I know the shape is entirely wrong, and seals don’t often swim with their backs showing like that, but the way it seems to just be lounging about, in no particular hurry, rising up and sinking back down; I’ve watched seals behave in a similar way a million times. For that reason, the fact it isn’t moving very fast doesn’t necessarily count against it as an aquatic animal in my mind. Otters/seals et al can move very fast when they want to, but they don’t always want to. Even the way we seem see something kick out behind it at some point; I have a photograph somewhere of a grey seal taken off the coast of Iceland, lying with only its head and tail flukes visible above the surface and the outline it cuts is quite similar.

    I’d love to see an enhancement done on the portions where we seem to get another part emerging behind the main neck/body, because it’s very easy to be decieved by a shadowed wave looking like a solid object in these conditions. But if that is part of the body we’re seeing, it could make the animal far larger and entirely the wrong shape to be a deer/moose etc.

  2. Colpittsdragon responds:

    The third enhancement is amazing. It really does give a whole new life to what-ever-it-is. You can really see the neck bend and, just before the creature submerges it’s self (around 0:08), it tips it’s head backward. Note how, just before the video stops, the thing in the water speeds up slightly. Also, notice the stationary branch (or something) sticking up in front of it. At least we know that this isn’t just a log floating along. Is there any way to get the entire video stabilized and zoomed like this?

  3. shovethenos responds:

    I haven’t commented in a while but some of these ridiculous statements from the skeptics and some oversights by the reporters have motivated me to.

    From the ABC News article:

    “Although locals say it has been spotted more than 300 times, it has only been caught on camera once, decades ago.”

    – Incorrect. There have been several images, including the “Good Morning America” footage that ABC News itself has shown. Dennis Hall has also taken some video footage, see one of the Discovery or History Channel programs, I believe it’s “America’s Loch Ness Monster”. The Hall footage is pretty indistinct, but it is a video image that’s pretty interesting. (I hate to pick on a reporter that might be writing about this for the first time, but this is a misstatement of how much evidence is out there.)

    “The theory that it’s a dinosaur is just ridiculous,” he said. “This video reinforces the direction that a lot of people have been going in. That it’s more like a mammal than a reptile.”

    – Have to disagree with Loren here. As soon as the water cools down in the fall the sightings drop to zero. Right now the water is warming up to the point where one would expect to see sightings of a reptile again. If seals or other marine mammals were present year round one would expect to see them year round, including around breathing holes in the ice. Although I guess one could make arguments for migratory behavior.

    Also, please don’t fuel the “dinosaur” bunk. The skeptics use it to make the situation sound more fantastic than it is. If it’s a reptile it’s just an undocumented reptile species. Variations of today’s crocodilians were contemporary with the dinosaurs but we don’t formally call them dinosaurs. In fact the presence of today’s crocodilians shows that it is possible for variations of animals contemporary with the dinosaurs to survive to the present day.

    “Ben Radford, managing editor of the magazine The Skeptical Inquirer and co-author of Lake Monster Mysteries, has investigated claims of lake monsters across the world and is convinced that the video shows nothing more than an elk or deer in the water.”

    – Since the skeptics have been so snarky I’m referring to this as the “Van Gogh Deer” theory. Deer, elk (Are there elk near Champlain?), and moose all have big honking ears. So these ears should be visible at some point since the figure turns its head in several directions where they would be silhouetted against the horizon in at least a couple places in the footage. So unless your theory is that the animal severed its ears and mailed them to an ex-partner in a fit of romantic mania the theory doesn’t work too well. There is other evidence against it being a deer/etc. – the snout and neck proportions are wrong, the swimming behavior doesn’t match too well, etc.

    “And, he added, it’s not like there can just be one. A whole breeding population of Champs would have to exist.”

    – And different sizes, including baby or infant animals, have been reported. Dennis Hall reported seeing a young one and also a park ranger at one of the parks adjacent to the lake reported seeing a small one.

    My take:

    – I’m pretty sure it’s not a hoax.

    – In my opinion it doesn’t look like a deer, moose, elk, dog, beaver, otter, fish, turtle, etc.

    – To go a little bit out on a limb, in my opinion I think it looks like the animal shown in the Mansi photo and the Good Morning America footage. However, I don’t think the footage shows the “head, neck, and part of the torso” as some have said. In my opinion what is shown is only part of the head and neck, with a portion of the neck being held horizontally so that it appears to be torso. As the Mansi photo shows these animals seem to have really long necks.

  4. gavinf responds:

    Honestly, I just feel better that Mr. Ben Radford was interviewed. The fact he is ‘convinced’ that there is nothing more there than a deer or elk probably proves the existence of Champ once and for all.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Seriously, though. That is a very long deer or elk. More importantly to me though, is that starting at the :35 second mark of the video, the animal’s head is submerged almost completely to the top of it’s head. As it slowly re-emerges, up to the :58 second mark, the back continues to re-appear, even as the head appears to be at a 45 degree angle (minimum) to the water. How does a deer, in distress, with the weight of it’s body and it’s head at that angle, slowly push it’s back up out of the water? If you envision a deer or elk at that angle in the water, it’s entire body, especially the hind-quarters, would have to be at a similar angle to the head. And if it is in distress kicking with all it has left, why does all it’s movements remain slow and deliberate?

    Now, I also realize that in at least (2) two spots on the video, the head has a definite deer shape, and also a dog shape. Even a ‘serpentine’ shape. That, however, is not uncommon in sightings of cryptids.

    Finally, for me, this video was taken by an individual who did not seem to think whatever he was seeing was an animal he was familiar with. Considering he has shown a limited interest in media coverage is promising in that he did not release the video for the notoriety. And contrary to most naysayers, not ALL eyewitnesses are blathering idiots who confuse a deer, flock of birds, stick or waveform on a lake with an unidentified creature. If you live in a rural or wooded area, as I do( and no, I am not a redneck or hillbilly, or uninformed yokel), you become accustomed to the sight of animals like deer. If you see something in the woods, or in the water that looks out of place, your first thought is not cryptid creature, but, “hey, I wonder what animal that is”?

    This video seems to be the real deal.

  5. rkn responds:

    Otter, seal, dog, snake, sheep, turtle… at one point it looks like one thing, and the next it is completely different. One thing I thought of from the beginning was, if the animal somehow is caught in a fishing net or similar?! This could be an explanation for the relatively slow speed, the fact that the animal disappears when it reaches shallower water, and maybe even the long body/neck and “something” appearing behind it at some point – its the net surfacing. Just a thought…

  6. DWA responds:

    G-otter say: that is a very anomalous appearance and behavior for any known animal.

    If it’s an animal.

    Moose or deer, calf or otherwise, is laughable.

    Seal or otter I would say are out. Otterly.

  7. Endroren responds:

    You know, the more I see the more this looks like a turtle. The solid, unmoving back. The slow pace through the water. The squarish snout. The way the back drops down and the head stays surfaced (typical turtle behavior).

    I’ve been looking at tons of pics and it really seems like a turtle. All I need now is video of a turtle swimming on the surface! Anyone else have a good video?

  8. DWA responds:

    And ohboy! An opportunity to shoot up Ben Radford! These don’t come nearly often enough anymore.

    “Ben Radford, managing editor of the magazine The Skeptical Inquirer and co-author of Lake Monster Mysteries, has investigated claims of lake monsters across the world and is convinced that the video shows nothing more than an elk or deer in the water.”

    Well, hopefully he’s not talking about this video, which in no shape or form could be an elk or a deer. (Elk. In Vermont. There’s a scoop bigger than Champ. Sheesh. At least do some homework before you launch in with the cynicism.) Too many scoffers clearly show that they don’t get out much. I’ve seen moose in the water; and this is so not a moose that you don’t even need that qualifier. Having owned a plush moose, elk or deer as a child is sufficient qualification to rule out any of those here. Unless, of course, you are just firing off a kneejerk debunk salvo, without any evidence, like Ben likes to do.

    “It’s ignorance, not evidence, that continues to fuel the myth of lake monsters, he said.”

    It’s ignorance, not evidence, that fuels hip-shooting like that, too. And that gives anyone the idea that he can state, conclusively, that instead of an animal not known to exist, that’s an animal not known to exist in Vermont.

    “Just as unknown creatures on land become “Bigfoot,” ….

    Hey! He agrees that Bigfoot exsists. Making headway here, far more, I admit, than I expected! Check me here; Bigfoot is an unknown creature, on land, right? Once again, homework would be a great idea here. If you read sighting reports, you know that bigfoot sighters aren’t seeing known animals. They are either seeing what they say they are; they are certifiably dysfunctional; or they are flat lying. All of them, no exceptions. But Ben, whatever he may tell you, doesn’t read reports. He displays that regularly. Pretty odd for someone who likes to vapor on and on about all the research he does.

    “…and unidentified objects in the sky become UFOs, …”

    UFO means …wait for it….Unidentified Flying Object! Ding! “Unidentified” makes it nothing more than, hmmmm, what was that? Could have been anything. I’ve seen UFOs, more than once. Most of us have. I just went, hmmmm, could have been a meteor, or a bird, or an airplane, or something. Then I just went on with my life. As most of us do.

    “…mysterious characters in the water become lake monsters…”

    At least he admits it’s mysterious. Good. Monster? Who said anything about that?

    “It shouldn’t be surprising that people are still seeing things in the lake,” Radford said. “It requires little or nothing — anytime anyone sees anything that they can’t identify on the lake, it becomes Champ.”

    Then we’d have millions of sightings per year. Do we? Almost every time I see something on water that I can’t identify, and this is since early childhood, it becomes ….wait for it….something I can’t identify. A UFO (Floating, not Flying). Which isn’t anything but an unidentified something. Which could be an unidentified but totally mundane something. What really gets me is that folks like Ben seem to think that the country is full of people who see logs on the water and run wild-eyed to the police in utter conviction that they’ve seen a monster. None of the recent Champ videos I have seen have been marked by anything more, on the part of the witness, than: hmmmm. This is weird. Have a look. If you think of it, it’s the *press* calling everything they see “Champ.”

    “There’s no hard evidence,” he said. “No teeth, bones, skeletons, or dead ones that wash up. At some point you ask, Why is that?’”

    Well, Ben, there’s one possibility: nobody has found anything who has said anything about their find. That we aren’t aware of any doesn’t mean there are none. I think there are many people who, if they obtained proof, would tell no one. And I think there’s a good reason: they don’t want to go through the treatment they get from folks like Radford, who seem to like putting people down more than they seem to like getting to the bottom of things. (Other than the barrel.)

    Once again I say what is to me the real mystery about scoftics: why do they display so little curiosity? Why are they so openly willing to show how little homework they’ve done? It may be partially due to the general ignorance and cynicism that the public expresses – at least publicly – about topics like this.

    But if you were a scientist, never mind a witness, and you read Radford, why would you want to take a single risk to put your name and reputation to something that would probably be dismissed, essentially, without review?

    Watch Ben’s response to this, if he bothers, and you’ll see why you wouldn’t.

    And if science stays away from this topic because scientists don’t want to be smeared by Champ-poop like this, well, we’ll never know.

    Don’t you wonder why that is? Man, I do.

    If you think you know what’s on that video: you are wrong. Unless you can prove it. Any scientist will tell you: that’s how it works.

  9. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Cryptologgus plesiomimus.

  10. DWA responds:

    I did have one question about what appears to be a hoax earmark, the aimless panning over the lake that snaps to attention not as, but *before* the animal shows up in the video.

    Does the witness’s backstory address that at all?

    Because one thing this could easily be is a prank.

  11. DWA responds:

    Just answered my own question:

    ““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,” Olsen told the Burlington Free Press, which first reported the story Wednesday.

    That’s plausible. Of course, the extreme lack of detail means that a hoax (in what would have to be very cold water by a very patient hoaxer who was very willing to start this silliness in this very cold water well before dawn) is still possible. I guess.

  12. Richard888 responds:

    If undiscovered animals the size of cows swim in many of the world’s lakes, it would probably be very unlikely that they are air breathing.

    When an air breathing animal, like a seal, surfaces from immersion to open its nostrils and intake air, it creates commotion on the surface that when multiplied by the number of times it has to do this each day Times the population of the creatures in the lake, people looking towards the surface would have taken notice of the creatures long time ago.

    The more I ponder on the hypothesis that these might be large invertebrates shaped like plesiosaurs for hydrodynamic reasons (just like Cetaceans are shaped like fish) that don’t really need to surface and that spend most of their time near the bottom, the more comfortable I feel with it. The hypothesis would also explains why no bones are ever found. It is a win-win hypothesis, in my opinion.

  13. Loren Coleman responds:

    DWA, I see you have answered your own question, but let me add to this.

    Reviewing the personality makeup and habits of Eric Olsen, as best one can from reading what he has formerly placed online, it appears he is artistic, musical, interested in being a good father, keeping in touch with his friends, sharing random scenes in his life and doing a little sunset/sunrise photography. Actually, all of this points to someone that would have been doing exactly what he was doing: taking rather calm images along a shoreline at 5:30 in the morning before he has to deal with being a parent, catching that quiet moment connecting with the kind of vista his special eye has noticed in the past.

  14. cryptidsrus responds:

    Kudos to the comments GavinF and DWA posted. I personally would not go as far they did in regards to Radford but I appreciate the “spirit”. :) And DWA in particular always has interesting stuff to say.

    I forgot to say in other posts:
    I’m sure Olsen is familiar with the wildlife of the area he lives in. I’m sure he would know what a moose or deer in the water would look like otherwise he would not have insisted that he did not know what it was. I admit it might be possible he was mistaken but from the way he ‘s been protrayed I doubt it. Just me, that’s all.

    And GavinF:

    You’re right. That has got to be the biggest, longest, earless “deer” I’ve ever seen. Fascinating what Vermont plantlife will do to an animal’s anatomy. :)

    Ben Radford:
    Could the “harshness” come from the fact that there is geniune doubt this time as to the identity of the creature filmed??? Methinks I sense desperation. Hmmm.
    But hey, come back to Cryptomundo, Ben!!!
    Was wondering were you had gone off to!!!
    Disagree with you almost entirely but still I and others here welcome the “other side” of the argument. Seriously.

  15. vtcrusade responds:

    >>the native Abenaki people told Samuel de Champlain (the Lake’s namesake) of its >>presence in the early 19th century.

    ahhh. Samuel de Champlain died in 1635, so if the Abenaki’s told him anything in the 19th century, it would probably be even more of interesting story then Champ.

  16. flame821 responds:

    Has anyone managed to get a good size estimation on the subject in the video yet?

    I know that Mr. Olsen said it was larger than a dog, but in several places on that video it looks surprisingly fowl-like (says the woman who raises ducks as a hobby). The only thing that makes me hesitate to say water fowl is that it seems to go underwater tail side first.

    Are there any readers who live in the area who can provide a good estimate as to the size/distance of that buoy? I believe one reader did email that the depth in that area ranged between 8-20 feet. Perhaps they could snap a few photos from the same spot as Mr. Olsen to allow us to get a decent estimate of the creature’s size

  17. Allen responds:

    Search (google video, for example) on this “Moose Swimming” watch a couple, before you even read my humble post.

    Moose and Elk and other animals ROUTINELY swim long distances. They don’t have to be chased and they do not struggle fearfully. Again, check the videos they are easy to find. Just because it is an escape from some preditors does not mean they don’t just swim. How do you think they got to some of the Islands they live on? Noah’s Ark? ;-)

    All Moose/Elk do not have antlers and those who do, don’t have them at all times. Another reason the head does not look like a Moose or Elk (or whatever animals live around there), is from the OBVIOUS fuzzy focus. That could also be from the contrast problem, but the outline, I think you have to admit, is FUZZY. The shape is not clear. Again, just look.

    Hopefully, someone, someday, will get a tissue sample, or science will advance enough so that we can learn of all life in a lake by sampling a cup of water.

  18. standorsey19 responds:

    Might this be a very wet young bear? Or even a large puma, the head shape looks right.

  19. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- In my opinion, this is not a hoax or a prank. As I said before, the subject of the video is moving its head and displaying undulations indicative of muscle movement. If this was a fabricated object, then a lot of work was put into it for a just short cell phone clip. I don’t buy that. I also don’t understand how this could be a prank. Did he go looking for one fairly bizarre looking deer swimming (if that is what it even is) so that he could film it as a joke? Are you suggesting we have an omnipotent hoaxer here? :)

    I am leaning farther and farther away from deer on this one. From what I see here, the body proportions seem strange for a deer, the body long and the neck short and thin when compared to the rest of the body. The method of swimming is also unusual, as deer just do not swim along almost completely submerged, with just the tip of their head poking out. This animal could just be very exhausted, but just before it spends the second half of the clip swimming practically underwater, it has been holding a good portion of its oddly long back reasonably high above the surface. In my opinion, not the behavior of an animal on its last legs.

    The lack of ears is an important anomaly here. It could be caused by the blurriness of the footage or shadows, but I have a bit of a problem with that as well. Deer have fairly impressive sized ears, and I would expect we would see at least a hint of that at some point if that is what we were seeing in the clip. The animal here at no point displays even a hint of a deer’s huge ears. That could have a rational explanation, but I think it is quite as odd feature of the creature and not supportive of the “deer hypothesis.”

    I still think this footage may have a mundane explanation, but I’m not so sure that “deer” is it. I could be wrong, and I am certainly questioning everything I see as well as my own assumptions, but the animal filmed is in several respects not deer-like.

    Saying this footage is a deer and leaving it at that is not answering a lot of questions for me.

    In my opinion, this footage is extremely interesting and deserves the scrutiny it has been getting.

  20. Ferret responds:

    “It’s ignorance, not evidence, that continues to fuel the myth of lake monsters, he said. Just as unknown creatures on land become “Bigfoot,” and unidentified objects in the sky become UFOs, mysterious characters in the water become lake monsters.”

    Wow…I believe in all of those things, I wasn’t aware an opinion supported be evidence (regardless of it’s conclusiveness) was ignorance.

    At any rate, after reconsidering the head I think what we might be looking at here could be Champ indeed. It’s a lake cryptid, that’s for sure!

  21. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    How in the world did someone come up with dog? That is not a known dog I ever saw. Look at the head and its shape, no ears visible at least.

    A moose? The head is too small to be a known moose.

    My best theory is Champ, unknown Champ or unknown/known turtle.

  22. ewingfox responds:

    Hello!

    I think this new footage is great because it has really sparked a grand dialogue. I am a staunch believer in “Champ” because I saw him/her 11 years ago late on an August Afternoon. I was about 30 feet off of the south end of North Beach in Burlington in my kayak and the creature was about 50-60 feet away in deeper water. It was at least 20 or more feet long, and its head was supported on a long slender neck about 5 feet above the level of the water. there was a pronounced hump rising above the water about 8 feet behind where the neck disappeared into the water, and a tail was evident no less than 10 feet behind the back of the hump, which cleared the water enough where I could see the shore of New York between it and the water. It was back-lit by the sunlight, so I can’t comment on the color, skin, etc, but I was floating there, it turned its head toward me and we sat and just stared at each other for what seemed like an hour but was more likely to have been just 30 or 40 seconds. It arched its neck forward, dipping its head into the water, creating the double arch that others have reported. it then turned toward deeper water, the body elongating and then in a very snakelike way whipped itself away, submerging after a short distance (less than 30 feet or so). The entire time we floated watching each other, it was in profile, so I feel confidant about my estimates of size and shape.
    I was excited to watch this video, but I can safely say that this animal is not the one i saw… It could be a young offspring, perhaps, but it didn’t move the way that the one I saw moved. I am certainly no expert, but my vote is either that this is a immature offspring of the creature I saw, or another unknown mysterious creature that Lake Champlain has decided to share with us!

  23. Gothic_Thylacine responds:

    Wow…..I agree, Ben Radford’s comments are WAY harsher than called for. It feels almost like he’s insulting anyone who even thinks even “It could be” or “Maybe”. Uhg. People like that really anger me. >:( There is absolutely no reason to insult people for thinking differently than you do!

    Anyway, I remember at first I said it could be a dog (I said it COULD be, but not my full belief) But now looking at the enhanced videos, I honestly can’t think of any known critter it could be. At least from the video of course ;) I gotta say this is very impressive footage. We may very well be seeing an unknown animal.
    No way to be sure at this point. But that’s half the fun!

  24. bamaboy responds:

    I haven’t seen anybody ask this question but I was wondering if the guy that shot that video waited to see if whatever that was came ashore? It looked pretty close to shore to me and if it did come ashore I’m sure he could have seen what it was.

  25. Loren Coleman responds:

    bamaboy asks:
    “I was wondering if the guy that shot that video waited to see if whatever that was came ashore?”

    Yes, this has been answered here in the articles and blog writings. Eric Olsen waited for over a half-hour to see if he could see anything coming out on shore. Nothing did.

    Please review all the recent “Champ video” postings and the comments for answers to other questions.

    Nevertheless, questions are welcome.

  26. DWA responds:

    m_m:

    That was an experiment. I knew you’d be checking in. So I wanted to see what a mainstream scientist, applying his experience and knowledge to a cryptid video, would say to a standard-issue scoftical debunk.

    THAT’s how one should sound when responding to a standard-issue scoftical debunk.

    OK. For the scoftical mainstream scientists among you, I have just this one question.

    Why didn’t you do this with the Patterson-Gimlin film?

    CLASS DISMISSED.

    Thanks, m_m!

    (You still think I’m kidding.)

  27. cromcrom responds:

    What about some kind of turtle ?

  28. Samson77 responds:

    DWA: maybe because most of were either not around at the time of the Patterson/Gimlin film, not old enought to care, or were unaware of it. Just because someone is skeptical of a piece of purported evidence, does not mean they are negative nancies.
    The burden of proof is on the one submitting evidence, not the one questioning it.

  29. Samson77 responds:

    I would love to have this as yet unidentified creature turn out to be something unknown, as much as anyone else. Because the “neck” looks stiff and the “body” seems to bob up and down in the water, my opinion is that it is something being pulled by a rope.

  30. DWA responds:

    samson77:

    I am obviously talking about the mainstream scientists who did review the Patterson-Gimlin film, when it was first made public. (A roomful of them got a special showing.) No need to address anyone in the categories you cite; I’m talking about the ones who were there, and who deep-sixed it – as later technical reviews of the film have made clear – without analysis. As well as all those who have succeeded them in the same ‘approach.’

    And I take especial issue – and always have – with this assertion: “The burden of proof is on the one submitting evidence, not the one questioning it.”

    That’s not right. At the very least, it is irrelevant to the discussion.

    The person submitting the evidence has just that, the evidence submitted. The burden, in reviewing the evidence, is on the scientist reviewing it to justify – using his techncial expertise – any position he *publicly takes upon it.* To allow anything else is to allow scientists to hide behind their degrees and the naivete of the public to wholesale call people fakers and liars. This is just about the most destructive thing scientists can do to science.

    Patterson did exactly what he had to do. He went out there, got the evidence, and submitted it – as anyone in his situation *must* do – for analysis by a candid world. He’s done. It is now up to science. Which failed the public – with a few fortunate exceptions – by not properly taking on the burden of technical analysis of the evidence.

    We will never accept anything as proof of a cryptid short of scientific verification. Laymen, regardless their qualifications or care for the evidence, won’t cut it for us. Patty has made that more than painfully obvious. It is incumbent on scientists to, if they insist on opening their big mouths on the evidence, to say why they believe what they do. In the case of Patty, there has never been a skeptical analysis of this film. I defy anyone to find one. (No, David Daegling’s doesn’t count. He does everything – including name-call – *but* analyze the film. Napier’s doesn’t count either. It isn’t analysis; it’s unfounded supposition regarding things he personally wasn’t comfortable with.) I have not seen a skeptical ‘analysis’ of Patty that I couldn’t tear to shreds, on the merits, and I’m not even a scientist.

    Mystery_man brought his experience and scientific expertise to bear on this latest “Champ.” He didn’t pronounce a conclusion – which would be hard, nay impossible, to do here – but noted carefully why known species aren’t a slam dunk and why a prank would be very hard to accomplish. With few exceptions, the scientists who have expressed opinions on Patty have shot from the hip, discarding their science to behave like ignorant laymen; the few that have not have said no worse about it than “inconclusive” (where even Daegling came to rest).

    You can withhold judgment on a cryptid film. You can say “I don’t know what that is.” You can decline an opinion based on insufficient evidence for you. But to say you know – based on nothing more than a look – that it’s fake brands you an unschooled cynic. Or, if you’re “positive,” a True Believer. Neither stance does service to science.

    When I look at alleged-cryptid videos on this site, I apply everything I know about animals and the natural world. Which, for a non-scientist, is a lot; and is much more than backs any “negative nancy” opinion I ever heard from a scientist who hasn’t done his homework.

    Most people may not know when that’s happened. But I do; I call them on it; and I demand better from them. As we all should; it’s their job, after all, to apply what they know. If they don’t want to do that, they should just keep quiet and spare the rest of us their personal contribution to global warming.



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