Latest News on Olsen “Champ Video”

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 4th, 2009

There is news.

I have been sent a new stabilized version of the Eric Olsen “Champ video.” It was produced by John Donald Carlucci of Darke Media.

Next, here is a new enhancement of the video by impossiblevisits.

Eric Olsen removed and disabled the embedding of his video from YouTube to other sites, unfortunately, on Wednesday night. Also, he closed comments at YouTube. You can still see his video at YouTube.

If past history is any guide, cryptid filmmaker Eric Olsen ~ who has made no claims that what he taped is “Champ” ~ is feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the attention. Also, as has even been demonstrated here, people can be very critical, debunking, and not too open-minded in their approach to looking at any new photo or footage. Folks interested in cryptozoology want, for instance, footage of lake cryptids, of course, but as soon as someone innocently says that an unusual “something” was taped in a loch or lake, people rush in to see who can be the first to say it was a tree, hoax, moose, or whatever. The truth is, no one knows what this one is.

How about some information from someone a bit closer to all of what is happening? A correspondent of Cryptomundo has forwarded a long and thoughtful comment:

I live a quarter of a mile from Oakledge Park in Burlington and swim / walk the dog / run there often. I know where the spot from which this was filmed. The water there is typically 8 – 20′ feet deep, and in fact is deeper now as the lake water level is elevated due to recent heavy rain. Water depth charts will bear this out. There is nothing for the animal to walk on – unless it has extremely long legs and is at least 10′ tall.

The person who posted the video is not a publicity hound and in fact already seems to regret having posted the video. He is very well known and respected in our small city, runs a successful business, and this association with “Champ” might only make him look silly.

It was very cool he shared this so we can make our own judgements.

Knowing the individual who filmed this, I can say with 100% certainty it is not a hoax he created. Also, there is no place on shore where a trickster could be towing a fake monster without revealing themselves, due to lack of cover.

It is a mysterious “thing” moving through the water to shore. Could be a moose, deer, dog, log, etc. Personally, I don’t think it looks like any of those things. But I don’t believe in Champ, either….

Still, this is an interesting video of a very strange creature.
E. Shepard

Meanwhile, the media mentions and web interest continue to increase attention, questions, curiosity, and sometimes ridicule, as opposed to understanding and support to someone who is essentially an eyewitness. It appears Eric Olsen is withdrawing a bit, but it is hard to hide in the world covered by the Internet. This may be especially true if you are the one who placed the primary evidence on YouTube initially.

Let’s just hope Mr. Olsen doesn’t disappear with his footage. There appears to be much we can learn from these phonecam images.

Here is a rundown of other news concerning developments or notable quotes about the May 31st phonecam footage of the seemingly animate object, seen near the shoreline of Lake Champlain, Vermont.

David Pescovitz’s posting at Boing Boing carries news of the video, including a mention of Cryptomundo’s reporting on this, which means the info will be copied and disseminated even more widely.

On Tuesday night, June 2, the Olsen video had registered 3,068 views at YouTube, but had jumped to nearly 42,000 views by Wednesday night, June 3.

The Burlington Free Press article, “Champ Mystery Grows” was the number one news item being read on their website yesterday, June 3rd, getting 11% of all readers to the online newspaper.

I have learned directly from The Burlington Free Press reporter Sam Hemingway that he has spoken to the State of Vermont’s moose specialist. The state’s moose expert says he is “convinced it is not a young moose,” but he’s “not sure what it is.”

“Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman will be interviewed about the new Champ video, Thursday, June 4th,” on the morning radio news show at 98.9 WOKO, Burlington, Vermont.

The “Champ story” is getting big play on the Northeast’s television stations. Some of the unique reporting even includes one well-known skeptic supposedly moving into the cryptozoology camp, which I’m sure was a big surprise to the lake-monsters-are-otters proponent when he read of his new label. 🙂

“Joe Nickell, a cryptozoologist in Amherst, N.Y., says his best guess is that the object was a moose calf.” ~ NECN

Mr. Nickel, of course, is hardly a cryptozoologist.

It is widely acknowledged that Nickel is a former stage magician and a prominent skeptical investigator of the “paranormal” (which to Nickel includes cryptozoology). He is a member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and a writer for Skeptic Inquirer.

To have the AP label him a “cryptozoologist” certainly seems like a case of a wolf dressing in sheep’s clothing.

“The video features almost two minutes of what appears to be a brontosaurus-like sea monster loafing off the shores of Oakledge Park near Burlington.” ~ WPTZ

“Olsen is reluctant to call the sighting ‘Champ’.
A biologist at UVM thinks it may have just been a moose in distress.
Another scientist says the video does appear to be legitimate.” ~ WCAX

“WPTZ reporter Heater Van Arsdel reports that some people have more reasonable explanations for the sighting. Reaction from the public has been mixed. Many want to believe that it is mysterious lake monster, but they suggest that it looks like a baby moose or a large dog.” – “Many Skeptical About Champ Sighting in Vermont” ~ WPTZ

The region’s other large newspaper ran an article about the video on Thursday, June 4th. It says, in part:

Olsen doesn’t have a listed phone number.

He asked YouTube users if anyone else was in the park and saw the creature.

“Was anyone else out and about around Oakledge on Sunday just after sunrise who saw this as well?”

But after 73 postings, mostly from people who think he saw Champ, Olsen disabled YouTube’s commenting capability for his video.

A comment poster using the name “talkinglake” was enthusiastic about the video.

“Looks Champ-like to me! And some who have seen such sights in the past were alarmed that our creature had died, but maybe life lives on! Yay. Cool vid.”

Some users commented that Olsen had only joined YouTube on May 16 and had posted just three other videos.

But by early Wednesday, there had been more than 36,000 viewings of the video, which Olsen named “Strange sighting on Lake Champlain.”

One of those was Joe Nickell, a cryptozoologist in Amherst, who told the Associated Press he believes that the creature was a young moose swimming in the lake.

Ellen Marsden, a biology professor at the University of Vermont, agreed with Nickell, telling the Burlington Free Press she thinks the animal could be a young moose in distress.

Olsen admits he doesn’t know what it was.

Tracked down by a reporter for the Free Press, he told the paper, “It struck me as something that was long (and) that it didn’t have much girth.”

The Free Press contacted its own consulting cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman of Portland, Maine, who said a laboratory analysis would be necessary.

“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.”

Since the Vermont-based Champ Quest group became inactive a few years ago, there has been no central clearinghouse for Champ sightings.

Last summer, there were few reported sightings of the legendary lake monster.

Whatever the animal was that Olsen saw, he told the Free Press that he never saw it leave the water.

He said he stopped filming after two minutes because his cell phone was running out of memory.

Reporter Lohr McKinstry wrote the story at the Plattsburgh Press Republican.

All links to all 2009 “Champ video” Cryptomundo postings and images can be found here.

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Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
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.

49 Responses to “Latest News on Olsen “Champ Video””

  1. Richard888 responds:

    I watched the video one more time. I also read the comments under the threads of this topic and respectfully disagree with the two more popular hypotheses: A) known mammal (deer/moose/otter); B) built object.

    I definitely see a living creature but not a vertebrate! The creature seems to display slug-like characteristics that allow it to alter the shape of its head, change the length of its neck and possibly form humps when it contracts its body.

    So as a result of this video I am formulating a new theory that large lake cryptids, like Nessie or Champ, if real, are actually gigantic slugs and not air breathing cold/warm blooded vertebrates like long-necked seals or plesiosaurs. This theory would solve the problem of how large creatures can live in cold, low-in-plankton lakes since they could be sedimentary feeders.

    Ha ha, actually I just noticed a picture of such a creature to the right of Cryptomundo… see the green photo beside the binoculars and Bigfoot? This theory is more consistent with the facts than conventional explanations 🙂

  2. springheeledjack responds:

    Sorry, but I am not seeing the dog or the moose or the deer. The head does not fit with a deer: not tapered enough. As for moose: no antlers, and the shape of the head is not right. As for a dog: the head/neck and back does not fit with that at all.

    Watch the video from start to finish…this thing is not fighting for its life trying to get to the other side.

    And at the tail end of the video (:), you can see a bit of the head, the back and then further back another piece surfaces, suggesting there is a lot more critter there than what we have been able to see.

    And again, I am not seeing anything so far to suggest a hoax unless it is completely underwater (including would be hoaxer).

    Now a question or two–can we get a size estimation based on the critter against the size of the buoy? And how about an average speed using fixed points and what not…

  3. john5 responds:

    Whatever was filmed here could not be of the deer family in my humble opinion. The hairs of the deer family are hoolow given it great bouncy in water making them very capable swimmers.

    The animal in this video submerges almost entirely on several occasions. This would be difficult for a deer member to do. Although the moose is known to dive down 20 or more feet to graze on water plants there is no evidence of this animal trying to dive.

    Another well known feature of the deer family are their large ears which are clearly lacking on this video. I would have trouble believing photo wizards touched this video up.

    To see a clear difference between this animal and a real swimming deer/moose do a search of swimming deer youtube to find dozens of videos. Deer are often on a mission when they swim, ie. to get to where they are going as fast as possible and do not dilly-dally around like this animal does.

    The animal also appears to have length as can be seen in the latter part of the video. A deer leaves more of a ripple when it is swimming along and not so much of a wake as some viewers described. As well at the beginning of the video there is a large portion of the front of the animal out of the water. Though deer are bouyant there appears to be much more of the animal’s body out of the water than what a deer is capable of. The hind end of the deer often pops out of the water slightly as it kicks along through the water, an action that appears to be missing with this animal.

    Not sure what this critter is but I am certain it ain’t a deer or moose.

  4. aclockworkorange responds:

    First post 🙂

    I do not think the video is “hoaxed” but the creature does seem somewhat slow and clumsy for a giant elusive carnivorous lake monster. But I am no expert, and am curious as to what some of cryptomundo’s more experienced members think.

  5. mystery_man responds:

    Looking at this stabilized footage, there are a few things that give me pause about the moose or deer hypothesis. Of course I keep the option open, but I feel compelled to point some things out.

    First of all, if you look at moose or deer swimming, they tend to keep their heads above the water. They are not aquatic animals, and do not generally submerge with the sort of nonchalance that seems apparent in this video. You can see that the subject of this footage clearly submerges its head casually and for a period of time that doesn’t seem fitting a swimming deer or moose. The body also comes well out of the water, and then apparently well under it, which is odd for a swimming deer. So, if this is a moose or deer, it would likely have to be in some kind of trouble for it to pop under the surface and then pop back up again, which brings me to my second point.

    If this was indeed a deer or moose in distress, it seems to me that we should expect a bit more thrashing about or panic from the animal. The subject of this video is taking its time, and doesn’t seem to be under stress or drowning in any way. If it was in distress, not thrashing, and sinking because it was too tired, then I wouldn’t expect it to be able to bring its body quite as high up as it appears to do in this clip. This animal is moving in a fairly smooth manner not suggestive of panic. The creature we see here is behaving in a way that seems to add up to an animal quite comfortable in the water.

    Of course this is merely my opinion so far, and I am not necessarily saying that this must be champ. It just seems to me that whatever it is is not behaving like a moose under stress or a deer, and so at this point I must disagree with that biologist’s analysis in this respect.

    Whatever it is, I am positive it is not a man made construct. The movements are quite natural, you can even see the head tilting and swiveling around. I see no reason to suppose this is some sort of artificial object.

    I must say, I can’t say whether this is a vertebrate or not, as one commenter has deduced. It is pretty hard for anyone to make that sort of call here, in my opinion.

    Very interesting footage, and I look forward to seeing more analysis done. An enhanced, frame by frame investigation would be quite helpful here.

  6. mystery_man responds:

    aclockworkorange- Oh I wouldn’t say being slow and clumsy is an indication that what we are seeing is not an aquatic animal. First of all, “slow and clumsy” is pretty subjective to begin with. What defines “slow and clumsy”?

    Second, not all aquatic animal are always quick and darting around all the time. I think most would probably consider manatees or dugongs “slow and clumsy,” yet they move precisely as they need to. Also, seals, whales, basking sharks, whale sharks, dolphins, sea otters, and many other aquatic animals can be pretty slow when they are just relaxing. Even aqutic predators, which I don’t think we are in any position to say champ is in the first place, aren’t going full bore all of the time. The creature in this video may not be in any hurry to get anywhere, and may not be hunting. Perhaps it is just lounging about.

    There’s no reason to think that an aquatic animal has to be quick and agile in the water all of the time. Depending on their needs, some are hardly ever quick or agile. The slow, easy movements and readiness to submerge without any apparent panic are actually reasons why I think this animal is possibly aquatic.

    Just some thoughts.

  7. scaryeyes responds:

    It does submerge entirely at the end briefly, which is interesting, and seems very unlikely for a terrestrial mammal in sight of shore. The poor animal is in serious trouble if it is something that doesn’t belong in the water – but it seems odd it would go from swimming fairly strongly to practically dead so close to shore in such a short space of time. I would expect a deer or similar to make a big effort for shore when it got so close to striking distance, but it makes no attempt. The fact it entirely submerges supports the witness’s claims that he never saw it emerge from the water – perhaps it didn’t. Also in the witness’s favour, IMHO, is his apparent shyness over the attention this is getting. Someone who’s pulled off a successful hoax would be basking in all that attention, and I find it hard to see how he could have been the victim of a hoax himself without noticing anything strange at such hard range. It would be far easier said than done to float and tow a model without detection.

    I think it’s important to be a little skeptical about the percieved length of the body appearing towards the end; in some frames, this what looks at first glance to be humps could be shadowed wakes. But there do seem to be a couple of very compelling moments where something that appears to be solid emerges a long way back from the visible portion of the animal, making its length appear much greater than a deer or moose.

    I don’t see moose – the head is tiny in comparison to the body, there’s no hump, the shape of the back (domed not sway) is not right. If it’s any known animal, I’d say otter or beaver, because it doesn’t swim or behave like a terrestrial mammal in the water IMHO. But it doesn’t look like either of those either.

    Whatever it is, it’s the most interesting footage we’ve had in a long time.

  8. swnoel responds:

    This deer or young moose may have been forced into the lake to escape a predator.

    As far as it not thrashing… how far has it already swam? Is it exhausted? Was it injured?

    Your assumptions are just that! Assumptions, as are mine!

    I recently posted a deer swimming and at a distance it looks remarkably similar.

    But to those wanting to see a lake monster… you’ll see a lake monster.

    This video was taken by a low quality video device and it’s ability to provide quality pics is evident.

  9. NWesterner responds:

    To me it kind of looks like a dog swimming. Its hard to say without a size reference. Is this thing huge or just a large size dog? Also, I find it fishy that the guy who filmed it can’t say more in detail of what he saw. He was right there filming the thing and he didn’t one time put the camera down and take a good long look at it? I know if I was filming something that strange and randomly caught it on video I would immediately stop filming to get a better look at whatever the heck it was. From the beginning sequence it appears he is randomly filming the water and catches this thing accidentally in his camera but never stops filming it. I do believe there are lake monsters but this footage to me is suspicious.

  10. kittenz responds:

    Deer (and moose) tend to swim low, typically with just their heads above water. Even if one was “thrashing around” in distress, it would not be apparent unless the animal was in shallow water.

    I don’t think that Mr. Olsen perpetrated a hoax and I do think it’s great that he shared it with the world (it’s a sort of tongue-in-cheek salute to “Champ” IMO). He probably intended it as a sort of “wink” to local people & did not realize it would go sort of viral on youtube.

  11. Erik Knatterud responds:

    If you watch a moose, deer, roe deer or dog swim across a stretch of water, you will always see their heads elevated just above the water. They can not lift their neck out of the water like this one does, nor do they dip their head low, and haven’t anybody noticed that this critter got no long ears like the aformentioned animals? It is no terrestial animal, but if it is a genuine footage or a hoax, I do not know. It is no moose whatever age, and moose leave very distinct wakes. It all depends on their swimming speed.

    I’d like to comment one more thing: The animal might be longer than you think judged by the visible part, that is the neck plus head and a section of its back right behind the neck. Watch it closely and you will see that the hump part or whatever it is rises and falls below the surface several times when it is in front of the buoy and moves toward the shore. Behind that “hump”, at two distances back from the neck, are something that might be interpreted a second or third hump rising and falling in the same rythm, barely breaking the surface or stay just below the surface. I might be wrong because the poor quality of the footage makes it hard to see accurately, so it might be just waves. It seems as if they appear at the same distance from the head and are not part of the regular v-skaped wake behind the animal.
    If this is a real animal and not a staged prank, it might be a very long animal. Intriguing footage though!

  12. mystery_man responds:

    swnoel- I am not trying to make assumptions. I don’t want this video to be one thing or the other. I am merely pointing out some things that I notice. The animal in this video submerges seemingly almost completely, something that is a bit unusual for a healthy deer or moose to do. I’m just trying to look at all angles.

    kittenz- Deer and moose do not typically go all the way underneath the surface as the subject of this video seems to do. They do try to keep their head somewhat above the water. Of course, I say “seems to do,” I could be wrong. Besides, the subject of this video is not keeping its head solely “low to the water.” It is fluctuating from a head clearly held quite high above the water, to one almost completely submerged for a time, then held high again, while not seeming to be in a hurry to get anywhere.

    As to the “thrashing,” what I mean is some signs of distress, not necessarily creating a bubbling cauldron of turbulence. I would not expect a deer to hold its head high, swim at a leisurely pace, then seem to dive under the surface only to come back up and hold its head high again. Animals can be in a panic and create quite a ruckus even in deep water, trying to stay afloat. They will do things like lunge and make an effort to get going. Watch animals swimming in deep water when a crocodile attacks to see what I mean. In trouble, they do not typically just stop, raise above the water, look around, then sink back down again only to raise up again like the subject of this video.

    It does not necessarily have to be shallow water for them to show some sign of distress. Although admittedly the quality is not so great here, it is an interesting aspect of this footage for me.

    I have not made my mind up about this video, and I’ve stated I am not convinced it is Champ. I am not assuming it is anything. I don’t know what it is. Some things certainly point to a deer or moose. What I am doing is pointing out curious things that catch my attention here, for what it’s worth.

  13. Valen responds:

    Since Champ is back in the news, I have been wondering if anyone knows whatever became of Dennis Hall? He dropped out of sight a couple of years back, his website was pulled and I never heard anything else about him.

  14. Colpittsdragon responds:

    I would like to draw attention to maps that includes Oak Ledge Park (Google Maps: “Oakledge Park, Burlington, VT. Check out the satellite images). If this was a moose, even a small moose, is it really possible that it went completely unnoticed? With all the media attention this is getting why hasn’t someone stepped forward to say they saw a moose nearby on the same day? The animal would have had to have crossed multiple streets, back yards, and open spaces. Even here in Vermont where moose are less than rare, seeing one in Burlington would be noteworthy, someone would remember and step forward (especially with Mr. Olsen’s request for other sightings that day).

  15. Labyrinth_13 responds:

    I’ve viewed the stabilized video and read all of the comments here (which have been great and very thoughtful).

    So far, I find this to one to be one of the most intriguing possible cryptid videos that I’ve ever seen. I’ll be following this one with great interest. My thanks to all who have weighed in so far and to Cryptomundo for covering this story so well.


  16. kittenz responds:


    Deer and moose don’t typically go all the way underneath the surface when swimming, but if they are tired or wounded, and possibly on the verge of drowning, they would, and their distress would not be readily observable if they are in deep water. This looks like a deer to me but given the somewhat northern location I think it’s possible that it could be a moose. I think it’s a deer.

  17. dalva173 responds:

    Does anyone know what happened to the Dick Affolter “Champ” video shot a few years ago?? It has been pulled from every website it once was available on. Is there a cover-up? Was it a hoax?? There was definitely something to be said about that video as there is to be said about the new one! Extremely interesting footage.

  18. deadfoot responds:

    Very cool video, especially the stabilized one.

    Throwing my 2 cents in the ring here, I gotta say it looks too “wooden” to be real. Its “back” doesn’t seem to appear to be keep a consistent distance to the head. At some point it even looks to be kind of sideways in relation to the head; like it’s a separate piece of something bobbing around. Maybe it’s just a perspective thing.

    There are definitely “nodes” that appear to be loosely connected, or at least following in a nice regular pattern, giving it that classic sea serpent impression. Or maybe it’s a family of these somethings, like ducklings following the mom. Pretty odd.

    Sounds like the guy who took the video is genuine, but could it be some scuba guys in a line with some props having a good laugh? I don’t see bubbles but maybe it’s too far to notice?

  19. jayman responds:

    The reaction to Olsen’s video does go a long way in explaining why people who see cryptids or other anomalous phenomena are reluctant to publicly step forward with their experiences and evidence. Nobody wants to be called a liar or a fool.

    Please keep us informed on how this plays out.

  20. Colpittsdragon responds:

    deadfoot- Your comment about the ducklings gave me a thought. What if this is a loon. I know, it’s supposed to be big and all, but what if that’s a trick of the light or something? Just a thought… I know, no beak and so on…

  21. dambert responds:

    Someone pointed out there is a bouy. So we have a landmark. I would like to know what the general depth of the area is. I then would like to know how deep it would need to be for a deer or moose to go from Swimming to walking.

    You see, there is alot of back visible. Correct me if i am wrong, but if the feet are not touching, would there not be less back visable?

  22. andrewzoo responds:

    Two questions:

    1. If this was a land-based animal struggling to get out of the water, why wouldn’t it swim towards the person filming it? That would be the closest exit from the water.

    2. If this was a land-based animal struggling to get out of the water, why wouldn’t the person filming it continue to film it until it emerged from the water (thus allowing identification)?

    I don’t see a lot of movement by the object itself (no undulation, no turning of the head, no shake of the head to throw off water, etc.). It appears to be a solid object like a log or a man-made construction. to me.

    An inanimate object would only travel at a constant pace in a single direction if it was flowing along a current. Lakes don’t have currents (or do they?).

    My thought is that this is a hoax.

  23. Loren Coleman responds:

    Dambert asks about the depth of the water. This was already answered in this posting, above:

    “I know where the spot from which this was filmed. The water there is typically 8 – 20′ feet deep, and in fact is deeper now as the lake water level is elevated due to recent heavy rain. ~ E. Shepard”

  24. dalva173 responds:

    One thing is for certain, government funding for serious research into this matter is necessary if we are to ever find these elusive creatures. Without proper funding, our research efforts are fruitless and we are left only to speculate and ridicule each other with these types of inconclusive evidence.

  25. Dr. Strings responds:

    I still fail to understand how this can be viewed as a living creature that is able to swim well and elude capture for so many years. It absolutely does not appear to be swimming. It does appear to be dragged or pushed, as none of the movement looks like the natural action of any aquatic animal. If it was struggling, as many say, why no thrashing or splashing? It just floats along and bobs up and down like one solid object. If this was how Champ actually swam, you could jump in the lake and go throw a net over it with little difficulty, it would seem. And what is that other object behind the “creature” Could it be the person pushing the “creature” breaking the surface and giving themselves away? Why does it seem to stop right in front of the marker for so long? To give us a nice bit of perspective of size? Finally, why does the video happen to stop right when it appears the creature may make landfall? All a little too convenient for me.

  26. Pygar responds:

    It looks like a Polecat to me. Can they swim? (The Atlantic, I mean.) 🙂

  27. Lost_Thought responds:

    Its an intriguing video for certain but, I’m leaning towards hoax. (intentional or otherwise)

    This is why:
    If my viewing of the videos are correct, there is evidence that the “creature” is producing a LOT of subsurface thrust to little locomotive effect. Look at the wake of the “creature”, its flat broad and long. To me this indicates impeller propulsion rather than animalistic limb based propulsion. Something like this [] underwater scooter could be used by a diver to propel a bulky object.

    I may be entirely off base, but that is my gut feeling. Has anyone sent the video to someone who studies hydrodynamics?

  28. MadM2000 responds:

    It is some kind of a mammal ( deer\moose\dog ) and in the beginning of the video its floating on its (right) side with its head facing the far side away from the camera, then it (wakes up?) and turns around so we get to see the head and neck more clearly while the body is submerged.

    Clearly the animal is fighting for its life and drowning.

  29. cromcrom responds:

    What about a freed Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris? Looks quite similar to me, and it could explain the familiarity with water…

  30. Loren Coleman responds:

    How many capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) are kept around Lake Champlain? And do they have bodies this long?

  31. cryptidsrus responds:

    Great discussion!!!

    And hey, it’s about time you got here, Mystery_Man!!! I was asking for your opinion on this 2-3 posts back, buddy!!! 😉

    My take on this—

    1) After repeatedly watching the video several times and thinking about this for several days, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the REAL DEAL. Call it whatever you want—Sea Serpent, Plesiosaur, Unknown Aquatic Animal, etc., etc., etc. I was also going for Deer yesterday but after finally getting to watch this video again several times I have to say I Do Not Think So.
    Like some others have said here, there were no signs of visible struggle; no signs of a mammal-type creature trying to get out as fast as he/she can out of the water.

    2) On closeup, the head looks nothing like that of a moose. I agree with the moose expert. Same for a deer head. On the contrary, the head is vaguely “horse-like,” whichs ties in with some descriptions of Champ, Nessie, and other Lake Creatures given over the years.

    3) Nobody yet has given any explantion for the “humps” seen to the back of the head. I’m sorry, (and I may be blind) but I don’t think enough attention has been paid to those. Those do not look like wakes to me. Sorry.

    4) As Impossiblevisits puts it in the enhanced video—a mammal would NOT settle down into the water like that thing does at the beginning of the video.
    And like I stated before on a previous post—-the deer that I saw swimming across a lake was faster than this critter. It was bent on getting out of there. Deer and Moose are not water animals, after all.
    This thing was taking his/her time, almost like it was out enjoying the breeze and sunning itself. 🙂

    5) Richard888—I hear what you are saying. Actually, you are not the first person to put forth the theory of “Giant Sea Slugs.”
    Oberon Zell-Ravenheart theorized the same thing in his book A Wizard’s Bestiary some years ago. Don’t buy it personally but I respect your attempt to make sense of this.

    Oh yeah—the WPTZ video commentary that this was a “brontosaurus-like sea monster.” does not make sense to me.
    Brontosauruses were enormous creatures that could be seen from a mile or so more in the water. Plus they were not totally aquatic. If they had said Plesiosauruses that would have been one thing. But Brontosaurus??? (“Sigh.”)

    I guess the person who said that stated the first thing that came into his/her mind. I’ll accept that.

    I do not think Olsen is a hoaxer. Don’t blame him for not being more public. Considering the way witnesses are routinely dismissed and embarassed by the public and the media, I would probably act the same way.

    And to reiterate—

    Glad to see a civilized discussion!!! And glad to see ya here, Brent!!! I’m not as on the fence as you but still your comments and experience are most welcome!!!

  32. cryptidsrus responds:

    To Loren:

    I would love to see you go up against Joe Nickell like you did some years ago at CNN. Would make good TV.

    And I agree—
    Nickell is a lot of things—but he is NOT a cryptozoologist.

  33. Pygar responds:

    I would have thought that the “neck” (if that is what it is) is too long and thin to belong to a Capybara. And, if this is an escaped exotic, then it might actually just as well be a Polecat, since, according to ISIS, a number of US zoos keep specimens of this species.

  34. flame821 responds:

    I’m curious if Mr. Olsen HEARD anything.

    If it were a known land mammal who was in distress I would expect it to be calling out, especially if it were a young animal. I agree it doesn’t look like a deer and I really have no experience with moose to say one way or the other.

    I do disagree with the ‘artificial’ POV. The subject seems to be changing shape/position on a regular basis. At least I assume that is why we see a long neck with a pronounced muzzle in the beginning and then a longish neck with a stunted blob a bit later. An animal turning its head would have its profile changed dramatically, which is what I think is happening here.

  35. kittenz responds:

    “Why would a land animal not swim toward a person?”

    Could it be because it’s wild ? And maybe has been hunted or otherwise frightened by people? Wild animals don’t generally look to our species as their saviors.

    Even a tame animal such a a dog is apt to panic and swim away from someone whom it does not know.

  36. kittenz responds:

    Also, wild animals that are drowning or otherwise distressed don’t tend to call out; that can draw the unwanted attention of predators, who are always eager to pursue an easy mark. So wild animals generally keep mum when they are in distress. They reserve calling out for times when they want to be heard, such as during mating seasons.

  37. Oz responds:

    Richard888 – Re: slugs. I think Ted Holiday was the first to suggest slugs as lake monsters, in his book “The Great Orm of Loch Ness,” published in the late 60’s.

    They tell me a sign of age is always saying “it’s been said/done/written before.” I must be getting old (getting? – I remember lying awake listening to Lake Monster discussions on the Long John Nebel Show on WOR).

  38. mystery_man responds:

    cryptidsrus- Yeah, sorry about that. I wanted to comment on this earlier, but was tied up. When I finally got on to finally look at this Champ stuff, this new posting was up so I went straight here. Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad to throw in my two cents. Some other thoughts.

    I do appreciate that this may be a deer. Swimming animals can look quite mysterious and anomalous under the right circumstances. The clip here was taken some distance away and the resolution is not as good as any of us would like it to be. However, some things still make me think.

    I do not think that this is an artificial buouy of some sort just being dragged through the water. First of all, if you look carefully, the animal is clearly moving its head around, and there appear to be undulations indicative of some sort of muscle movement. If this is an artificial float of some sort, then it had been made with animatronics or some complicated way of approximating body movement. If a hoaxer was going to go through all of that trouble to make something like that, then why would they not film it with better quality gear or from closer up? Hoaxers want attention. I find it hard to believe that a hoaxer who has managed to make something so convincing is just going to take a short clip with a cell phone.

    As to the deer hypothesis, like I said I have not closed the book on that yet but some things still bother me about it and I think demand careful scrutiny.

    The head looks wrong for a deer, as does the length of neck in relation to the perceived length of the body. Where the neck joins the back is visible, and it seems somewhat out of proportion with the size of the rest of the body for a deer. The neck also seems to practically merge right into the head. At some point in this stabilized footage it looks almost like a deers neck with no head attached where I would expect one to be. The neck is thin and short compared to the body, and the head small in relation. This could just be an illusion caused by the wake in the water, and the lack of resolution, however it just seems a little off for a deer to me.

    The shape of the head also does not look particularly like a deer, but again it could be blurriness causing this effect. It also could be an illusion caused by the turning of the deers head, making its face seem shorter. There is not enough contrast and too much shadow to tell for sure. There’s the possibility this could be brought into focus and I’d say “Oh I see. Right. Deer,” but the head gives the impression of looking very rounded, the muzzle short, and the wrong size for the rest of the body for a deer. This could have a rational explanation as I’ve mentioned, but it is curious to me.

    As far as deer swimming go, I still think the animal here seems awfully comfortable with submerging and quite leisurely in its movements. During almost the whole second half of the clip it is swimming along with just the barest tip of its head sticking about the water with the whole body apparently below the surface. At the end, it seems to go all the way under. Deer just do not swim like this. They don’t go under and just pop the tip of their nose out. I appreciate that it could be a wounded deer and is having trouble keeping it head up. As kittenz pointed out, it would be perhaps difficult to tell in deep water the amount of distress the animal is under and it could be too exhausted to struggle. However, I am just not getting that impression. The rising, submerging, rising again seems very controlled and to me not indicative of a wounded or struggling animal.

    I do not completely agree that the subject of this clip looks like an animal completely uncomfortable in the water. Maybe it is, but we would have to see more footage to make that call I think. As I have already mentioned, many types of aquatic animals move slowly and “clumsily,” but yet are moving exactly as they must. Of course, then we have to explain how it has remained so hidden for so long, but my point is that from what we see here, the speed and movements of this animal do not necessarily indicate something drowning or out of its element.

    I will keep watching comparison videos and examining this one, but as it stands I still think this is an intriguing clip and not to be discarded out of hand. In my opinion we can learn something from this whether it turns out to be a deer or not, as it helps us to understand how these things appear and further bolsters our skills at picking apart footage.

    Fascinating stuff, and good comments so far from everyone. I like this exchange of ideas.

  39. tropicalwolf responds:

    More important than focusing on the “thing” in the video, may be looking at the waves/ripples in the foreground. The focus/size/movement of the waves in the “front/bottom” of the frame suggest that this “thing” is neither as far away from shore nor as big as the filmmaker would have you believe.

    Just wanted to add my thoughts, other than those, I think Dr Strings has hit this one on its soggy head.

  40. Loren Coleman responds:

    Media appearances: I will be on the Jeff Rense Show tonight (10-11 pm Eastern) and then on Coast to Coast AM briefly a little after 1:00 am Eastern, mainly to discuss the “Champ video.”

  41. Loren Coleman responds:

    There are no ears visible on the footage of this animal’s head. Consider the length of this event, as shown on the video. Deer, moose, and dogs do show their ears when swimming, at some point. They are not what seems shown here.

    Other animals – otter, beaver, oop seal – are to be pondered.

    So too must the unknown option.

    I do not sense this is a hoax.

  42. mystery_man responds:

    Yes, I do not think this is a hoax either. And Loren reminded me. Add lack of ears to my general analysis of the apparent oddness of the creature’s head.

  43. cryptidsrus responds:


    I agree that it “could” be a deer. That possiblity seems more remote by the day, though. I’m sorry, the head just does not look “right” for a deer. And I understand that many animals do not “panic” in water—but this whatever-it-is looked like it was having a grand old time out there in the depths!!!

    This is NOT a moose. At least admit that. I’m not an expert at this or many aspects of the animal kingdom—such as
    “Moose Behavior in Water,” but that shape does not scream out “moose.” Even the expert quoted in the article admitted that. To me, this looks like the “real thing”.


    Thanks for pointing out the lack of ears of the creature.
    Did not notice that. Guess I’m going blind like the rest of us. More “proof” that this is not a deer or moose.
    I’m like Watson:
    I “see, but do not observe.”
    And hope you and Nickell DO get another go at it, so to speak.

  44. tropicalwolf responds:

    Respectfully, let us not blanketly discount the “dog theory”….plenty of dogs have “hanging ears” that would not be visible. Credible research demands looking at EVERY possibility before automatically “accepting” the incredible.

  45. mystery_man responds:

    cryptidsrus- Oh yes, I agree. It’s not a moose in my opinion either. Also, as I explained, I have my doubts that it is even a deer. I also stated on several occasions my impression that this animal seems be sort of casually swimming about, so I also think that whatever it is is not necessarily panicking or struggling. Read my post above and you will see that I said I think the animal is leisurely submerging and coming back up in an apparent controlled manner. That has been my general stance on this footage the whole time. Saying this is a deer and leaving it at that doesn’t answer everything for me either. I think we are in more agreement here than you may think. 🙂

    However, I do see the importance of looking at this from every angle. So for instance, where I too think that the animal does not seem to be struggling or drowning, I also understand the value in appraising the ways in which I could be wrong. Also, with the shape of the head, whereas I see something not very deer-like, I wonder if there is anyway I am misinterpreting what I am seeing due to conditions, angles of the head, and so on.

    I am trying to approach this in a scientific manner, which means picking it apart while questioning my own ideas or assumptions. So far, I am under the impression that what we are seeing is probably not a deer or a moose.

  46. kittenz responds:

    Remember this is an “enhanced” version of a low resolution video. The “lack of ears” could be due to the animals ears being lost in the backlighting off the water. I think it’s a deer, or just possibly a dog (Labs are awfully common, and they do like to swim, but this animal doesn’t seem to swim like a dog does). Deer seems most likely.

  47. wbp responds:

    As some have pointed out above, toward the end of the film, a hump of some sort appears considerably behind the “head” and “main hump” (which are pretty much visible throughout the film). This second hump is clearly visible at (roughly) 1:31, 136-8, and 1:44, and it trails at a consistent distance from the head and body so as to be be construed as being attached to these somehow.
    If it’s a dog/deer/moose/otter/cabybara/etc., what could this second hump be?

  48. cryptidsrus responds:


    Thanks for the input. I understand you have to look at it from a scientific viewpoint.

    You think it could be a turtle??? Some folks are saying that…

    The body just seems too elongated and too big for that.

  49. Erik Knatterud responds:

    Fascinating, that people still discuss the “thing” being moose. The most prominent feature of a swimming moose’s head held above the water are the very visible ears and the extra long snout, the same with deer execpt the snout is far more pointed. I am glad Coleman too mentioned the ears. It is no moose in distress, just an unknown creature leisurely coasting towards the shore. Why the hell does is have to be something known, a polecat, a turtle or god knows what? No way this is a terrestial, mundane animal, no way this is a so-called “long necked seal”, it is much longer.

    See it again and again and again, there are three portions of its body behind the neck, the foremost visible part above the surface, the next two parts creating distinct upheavals of water (small waves) very close to the surface.

    Check out the wake left of the animal. There is the standard v-wake from the neck or the foremost hump, but there is also another disturbance inside this wake, behind the third hump. I cannot copy or store this footage, otherwise I would try analyze it.

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