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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Giant Catfishes and Other Lake Monsters

Normal Blue Catfish compared to the Monster Catfish, BIG BLUE

At the Yahoo group Georgia Bigfoot Society, we have been having an interesting exchange of messages considering the impact upon one field of bordline study that the number of borderline subjects a person advances has upon that one area. Patty was the first to advance the subject and so I'll quote her message first:

I have a question though.  On the Crypto Mundo website it says bigfoot, lake monsters, sea serpents and more.  How many people here who have interest in bigfoot also believe in the various lake monsters and other unknown animals.  I read the other day someone here post about bigfoot and Santa Claus.  As a Christian I cringe when I see people linking faith in God with belief in Santa Claus.  Mainly because I believed in St Nick growing up and it didn't damage me for life.  I see nothing wrong with kids believing in Santa or reading fairy tales or having invisible friends.  I don't want to be the person who bursts their bubble when it comes to St Nick so there's not a good way for me to respond to posts without risking some kid reading it, sooner or later they'll learn Santa's not real but I still remember how much more fun Christmas was before I knew he wasn't real.  I don't want to be the one to ruin it for them.   But to me bigfoot has an established history and just seems more logical to expect than the various lake creatures people say they see, many in man made lakes that really couldn't be expected to have large sea serpent type critters swimming in them.   Does anyone think it detracts from serious bigfoot research by clumping it in with sea serpents, loch ness, lake monsters, giant birds, chupacobras, giant spiders and all the other things that go bump in the night?  Our lake here is man made and has been impounded since the late 1940's.  It's got huge catfish in it but people claim from time to time to see someting similar to Nessie but logically it couldn't have grown in a man made lake so quickly, it couldn't have swam in from rivers that in places are only 1-2 feet deep.  People will insist they saw it though.  I think it's possible to logically defend one's belief in Sasquatch.  I think it possible that something is in Loch Ness but lumping every unknown animal together in an all or nothing type proposition makes it hard to defend.   I like to think I can intelligently defend my faith in God.  It does take faith, I don't have all the answers and part of it is probably because I want there to be a God.  But when I read people writing that God spoke to them and told them to do something usually stupid or something that makes them rich it's impossible to defend what they write.  Some people claim to have seen angels, some of the stories seem plausible and I want badly to see one but people have written books about this running almost nightly visitation from angels who share the secrets of God with them.  Some say they've been taken to Heaven, many say they've been healed or now have the power to heal others.  It's really close to what people say who claim to be visited by ET's over and over.  Seeing something in the night sky that one can't explain and claiming ET's have taken them to other planets and visit them weekly are totally different.  Does so often having people presume belief in one thing means belief in everything bother anyone else? 
Reports of outsized Catfish Water Monsters:
Most of the "Spots" are in introduced locations

And then I made my reply (October 7):
 Well, I was the first guy to complain about the linking of believers in Bigfoot to belief in Santa Claus. Yep, that was pretty cringe-inducing. As far as lake monsters go, they are not all the same thing and people that even SAY they are all the same thing are being misleading from the onset. Not all sightings at Loch Ness
are the same thing, some sightings are just big fish. And all over North
America, I would say the most common sightings are big fishes, ESPECIALLY big catfishes down in our middle latitudes (up North in Canada it's sturgeons more likely.) We introduce catfish into ponds and lakes all over the place, and in
absence of competetors, some of those catfishes grow HUGE. They basically have all they could ever want to eat from scavenging, and there might also be chemical or hormonal factors due to enviromental pollution involved.Those aren't the only kind of Lake Monsters there are, but the whole problem in Lake Monsters is getting over the hurdle that all the reports refer to the same thing and it is somehow "wrong" to believe there are Water Monsters. It's not wrong to believe in big fishes, outsized otters and beavers,swimming mooses or whatever. The problem is in the prejudice and not the sightings.

Now if you are going to make a big overall theory like John Keel does, and has a
vast interdimensional conspiracy theory that is behind all UFO and Monster
sightings, all Religious experience and ghost stories, well then I've seen that
theory come into and go out of fashion and IMHO it really DOES hurt credibility
for the people that believe in it. So I can see your point in reference to that.

Everybody believes in something different and in a different number pof
different possibilities. So I don't think we have to force everybody to
necessarily believe alike and to believe in EVERYTHING all at once. Because when
you believe in EVERYTHING, people think you're just stupid and gullible.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

To Which Patty Replied (Same Day):
Our lake has catfish over 6 feet long already and I'm sure they'll be larger
decades from now. Even a normal size bass slapping the water trying to catch a
bug sounds way bigger than they are and at night after a lake person's had a few
beers I'm sure they grow even more. I think that's the problem with so many
groups and organizations that research sasquatch, they also are whole hearted
believers in every critter coming and going. Believing in God and running
around trying to see Christ or the Virgin Mary in people's lawns or the frost on
their windows or wherever else people say is totally different I think. Looking
up at the night sky and wondering who or what's out there and thinking aliens
come to my bedroom to update me on cosmic affairs are also totally different. I
know groups have to play to the masses to be successful but serious discussions
and really off the wall nonsense are different. We listed to coast to coast but
way over half the time it's utter nonsense and is just something to provide
background noise to pass the night. Some people think they've seen sasquatch,
some have I'm sure but then way too many swear they've talked to them, lived
among them, killed them, even seen them being unloaded from flying saucers! I
wish serious debate no matter what the topic could be carried on without
To Which The Group Owner Replied:
It is my personal opinion that any catfish that is too big for my net classifies as being a MONSTER!  Nuff said.  Incidentally, has anybody here ever watched the series "River Monsters" on Animal Planet?

And after that came the last-posted response, from Paul on Tuesday (Oct 11):
yeess,       river monsters are certainly larger than the average catch. however, the dude does go to some exotic places to make his catches. what a life, getting paid to go fishing.
[The matter of monstrous catfishes in Indiana was  discussed on one of my recent podcast interviews for the Indiana chapter of the American Fortean Society. It seems we have some very big and very ugly examples in the state, according to my host, and to which I added a few reports I had heard about myself.]
To focus on the matter of Giant catfishes in particular, here is the excerpt from my "Catalogue" of unknowns that has been reprinted in the CFZ Yearbook (longer section quoted at bottom):
Giant Catfish. It is suspected in certain instances, reports of Freshwater octopuses actually refer to Giant catfishes where the whiskers are being described as tentacles. In the case of the "Oklahoma octopus" this is fairly certain because not only are the reports to areas where Giant Catfishes are otherwise reported, they are reported in similar terms, each time using the description "As big as a horse". Furthermore some descriptions of the supposed octopus specify that it has the body of a fish or shark.
Giant Catfishes are also universally indicated, in both [Southern] Canada and the USA; Coleman also has information on these, published in FATE magazine. Reports of Giant catfishes in general may be nearly world-wide. In the USA several of the indicated lakes have been stocked with introduced catfishes and the assumption is usually made that the catfishes are not an unknown species, but individuals of known species which grow to enormous size. The most common form in the USA seems to be a gigantic blue catfish which can grow to 12-16 feet long and weight 300 to 500 pounds. This variety of giant catfish is frequently said to be "the size of a horse" and estimates of the length can run up to 20 feet long, although ordinarily 10-15 feet (3 to 5 meters long approx.)
A pertinent internet posting on the matter is quoted below:

 A FRESHWATER MONSTER? The Oklahoma Octopus is a mysterious creature generally said to inhabit three lakes in Oklahoma (Lake Thunderbird, Lake Oolagah and Lake Tenkiller) where it attacks and kills unsuspecting swimmers. According to legend and rumor, this freshwater demon measures the size (girth) of a horse and resembles an octopus, with long tentacles and leathery, brown skin. Skeptics question how an octopus — an ocean creature — could survive in freshwater lakes, but it is easy to believe that such a creature would be a fearsome predator. The Giant Pacific Octopus, for example, has tentacles that each boast the strength of a 200-pound man and a powerful beak that it uses to kill prey.

EVIDENCE OF AN OCTOPUS? Although no physical evidence exists in the case of the Oklahoma Octopus, many point to the high mortality rate and large number of unexplained drownings in the Oklahoma lakes as a clear sign of its presence. There have also been numerous reported sightings. Cryptozoologists have pointed out that species of jellyfish have been able to adapt from saltwater to freshwater conditions, and the same adaptation may have been possible for a giant cephalopod trapped in an inland lake when coastal waters receded.

 "Oklahoma Octopus" from Animal Planet:

Additional comments added by readers include :
"It is also added that octopi occupy other states. The writer says that gigantic, horse sized octopi occupy Lake Tenkiller, Lake Thunderbird, and Lake Oolagah in Oklahoma of all places. He has no sources."
[The sources are traditional and new native reports circulated locally but continuing the same tradition. I had heard about these reports independantly from informants in the area-DD]

"The problem with the water chimera creatures such as the Oklahoma Octopus is that they are sometimes reported as having composite features such as a shark or fish body also, specifying that it has fins, and that sounds more like a Giant Catfish instead."

To give you some king of idea about how extensive our zoo of Freshwater Monsters is in North America, I append two catalogue lists: the first is the list of Lake Monsters as defined by location (which is not necessarily the best way to tackle the problem, some locations have more than one type) and the lower longer list includes all of the lakes with probable identifications as to the type of "Monster" involved, when such information is already on the books or can be easily inferred from the descriptions.

Aushaps-Lac St. Jean, Quebec
Beast of Busco, Ocar the Turtle- Fulks Lake, Indiana, USA
Bessie; South Bay Bessie- Lake Erie, New York/Ohio/Pennsylvania, USA
Champ, Champy- Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont, USA
Cressie- Crescent Lake, Newfoundland, Canada
Elizabeth Lake Monster- Elizabeth Lake, California, USA [incl. probable Hoax]
Hamlet, formerly Elsie- Lake Elsinore, California, USA
Hudson River Monster- Hudson River, New York, USA
Igopogo, Kempenfelt Kelly- Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada
Illie- Iliamna Lake, Alaska, USA
Isabella, Bear Lake Monster- Bear Lake, Idaho/Utah, USA [Hoax]
Kingstie- Lake Ontario, Ontario, Canada [Several sightings including two prominent Hoaxes]
Le Monstre du Lac Hertel- Lac Hertel in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada
Lizzie- Lac Decaire, Quebec, Canada
Manipogo- Lake Manitoba/West Hawk Lake, Manitoba, Canada
Manitou- Homer Lake, California, USA
Memphré- Lake Memphrémagog, Quebec, Canada
Mugwump- Lake Temiskaming, Ontario, Canada
Mussie- Muskrat Lake, Ontario, Canada
Ogopogo- Lake Okanaga, British Columbia, Canada
Pepie- Lake Pepin, Minnesota, USA
Ponik- Lac Pohénégamook, Quebec, Canada
Rocky- Rock Lake, Wisconsin, USA
Sharlie, Slimy Slim- Payette Lake, Idaho, USA
Tahoe Tessie- Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada, USA
Tarpie- Lake Tarpon, Florida, USA
Thunder Bay Manitou (Merman)- Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Winnipogo- Lake Winnipeg/Lake Winnipegosis, Manitoba, Canada
Woodsie- Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada

North American Lake and River Monsters
Battle River-Ogopogo, swimming moose
Bow River-Ogopogo, large eel or catfish caught
Christina Lake-Christina, swimming moose
Clearwater River-Ogopogo, swimming cow moose (taking its calf from the water's edge)
Cold Lake-Kinosoo sturgeon
Cow Lake-swimming moose
Frog Lake-Monster Frog, sturgeon
Glenmore Reservoir-suspected fabrication to attract tourists
Heart Lake
Lake McGregor-"Ogopup" 12 to 14 feet long
Lake Minnewanka-"Ogopup"
North Saskatchewan River-Pink Eye-swimming moose
Saddle Lake-swimming moose
South Saskatchewan River-Agopogo 5-8 foot-long "Ogopups"
British ColumbiaBennett Lake
Chadburn Lake
Chilliwack Lake-Canadian Alligator
Cowichan Lake-Tsinquaw, Water Bears=Giant Beaver
Cultus Lake-Canadian Alligator, Slal'i'kum=Giant Beaver
Fowler Lake-1800s-Slal'i'kum=Giant Beaver
Francois Lake-Water Bears=Giant Beaver
Fraser River-Canadian Alligator, Ogopogo
Harrison Lake & River-Chunucklas, possible Longneck
Kalamalka lake-100 foot finned creature, prob exaggerated sturgeon or sturgeons
Kamloops Lake-Ogopogo, 8-10 foot long furry creature
Kathlyn Lake-Mythical (?=Boiling Water Lake - Monster Fish, Mythical)
Kootenay Lake-Canadian Alligator, amphibious sighting; also swimming moose; Water Bear
Lower Arrow Lake-Ogopogo
Martin's Lake-Ogopogo
Mill Lake, Vancouver Island-Large Fish, possibly Catfish
Moberly Lake-Ogopogo, swimming moose
Nicola Lake-Mythical
Nitinat Lake-Canadian Alligator
Okanagan Lake-Ogopogo
Osoyoos Lake-Ogopogo, 100 foot "whale" prob exaggerated large sturgeon
Oyster River-Klato, Possible Longneck?
Pitt Lake (Pitt Lake Giant Lizard, Canadian Alligator=Andrias Giant salamander)
Seton Lake-Great White Sturgeon
Shuswap Lake-Shuswaggi=Sicopogo=Ta-Zam-Na=Water Bear & "White Seal"
Skaha Lake-Ogopogo, large sturgeon 18 to 30 feet long, some called "serpents"
Somenos Lake
Spirit Lake-Wasgo, Giant Otter?
Sproat Lake-Mythical
Tagai Lake-Tag, Sturgeon
Thetis Lake-Scaly Humanoid unlike any other reports [Confessed Hoax]
Upper Arrow Lake-"Ogopups"? [Giant beaver or otter?]
Williams Lake-"Ogopogo" (?swimming moose)
ManitobaCedar Lake-swimming moose
Dirty Water Lake-swimming moose
Lake Dauphin-swimming moose
Lake Manitoba-Manipogo-swimming moose, possible giant sturgeon
Red River-Northern Alligator
Lake St. Martin
West Hawk Lake-Manipogo-swimming moose
Lake Winnipeg-Winnipogo-swimming moose
Lake Winnipegosis-Winnipogo-swimming moose
(Manipogo "Vertebra" is no vertebra, probably a discarded old soup bone)
New BrunswickGrand Lake-Nessie-possible Longneck
Killarney Lake-Coleman Frog [Hoax}
Loch Lomond-Nessie
Lake Maquapit-Large snapping turtle
Oromocto Lake-possible Giant Eel
St Croix River, Seal with eyeglow & foreflippers noted
Skiff Lake-1887, possible Giant Eel
Utopia Lake-Old Ned, Poss Giant Eel
NewfoundlandCrescent Lake-Cressie, Giant Eel, 10-20 feet long reported
Dildo Pond
Gander Lake-Maggot-probable lobster (1 foot long)
Great Gull Lake
Long Pond- 30-40-foot-long Giant Eel
Swanger's Cove-Maggot-probable lobster (1 foot long)
Nova ScotiaLake Ainslie-Beathach mor Loch Ainslaigh-swimming moose
Cranberry Lake-swimming moose
NunuvutDubawnt Lake-Angeoa-"Inland Whale" reputedly 30-50 feet long a probable sturgeon;
poss Giant Otters in area, including Reindeer Lake, etc.
OntarioAgawa Bay, Lake Superior-Giant Otter, Colonial period or older
Bay of Quinte-19th ct sighting
Berens Lake-Alligator-like, possible Giant Otter
Big Ridge Lake
Charleston Lake-"Charlie the Dinosaur", possible Longneck?
Chats Lake, Ottowa River, 1874
Conway's Marsh
Darky Lake, Giant Otter, Colonial period or older
Georgian Bay-Seal2
Lake Huron- congregations of Seal1
Lake of Bays-possible swimming moose, large wake.
Lake of the Woods-swimming moose, poss older records of Giant Otter
Lake Superior-BichiBichi or MichiBissi=Great Sturgeon=?Bessie
Long Point Bay-1994, possible Giant Otter or large Seal (Seal2)
Mazinaw Lake-Sturgeon
Muskrat Lake-Mussie=Seal2 & Hapyxelor=possible Bessie
Niagra River-South Bay Bessie, Lake Erie Monster
Nighthawk Lake
Lake Nipigon-Giant Otter, Colonial period or older
Nith River-Slimy Casper, possible Giant Otter sightings of more recent date.
Lake Ontario-Kingstie, Osawa Oscar, Rafinesque's Giant Eel, possible Longneck
Red Horse Lake, possible swimming moose or ?Longneck, reported as 60-80 feet long
Rideau Canal -1881possible ?Longneck seen attempting to enter the canal
Lac Seul, Seal2
Lake Simcoe-Igopogo, Seal2, rare "Porpoises" possible small Bessies
Lake Temiskming-Mugwump, probable Seal2
Thunder Bay-Seal2 as a "Merman", Originally called the Guardian Water Manitou
QuebecLac Bowker
Lac Breeches-possible swimming moose
Lac Brochu-possible swimming moose, speed exaggerated as 35 mph+
Lac Brompton-swimming moose
Lac Descaire-Lizzie
Deschenes Lake (Ottowa River)-1879-1880, reports like "Bessie"
Etchemin River-Mythical
Lac Moskunge-Muskellunge, Giant Pike
Lake Massawhippi, Giant Pike
Lac Megantic-Hoax
Lac Mekanac-Giant Pike/Muskellunge
Lac Memphremagog-Memphre-swimming moose, Possible Longneck
Moffat Lake-Loglike monster in the 1880s, ?Bessie
Lac Pohenegamook-Ponik-Sturgeon and swimming moose
Lac Remi-Giant Pike
Richelieu River-Siren-Seal1
Lac St-Francois-Sturgeon
Lac St.Jean-Ashuaps (Possible Longneck)
St.Lawrence River-Onyare (Mythical); Giant Eels and possible Longnecks
St.Maurice River-1956 poss Giant Eel
Lac Simon-White Shark-?Bessie ?Sturgeon
Lac Sinclair-unidentified partial corpse (no identification possible)
lac-a-la-Tortue-Giant Pike/Muskellunge and possible Large snapping turtles
Les Trois Lacs-Giant fish/Pike
Lake Williams-30-40 foot long "Great Serpent" ?Bessie (Small whale)
Subsection, Horse's Head (all of them swimming moose):
Lac Aylmer
Baskatong Lake
Lac Bitobi
Black Lake-sightings 1894-1896
Lac Blue Sea
Lac-des-Cedres/Cedar Lake
Lac Creux
Lac Desert
Gatineu River
Lac Pocknock
Lac Trente-et-un-Milles
(And others, not all lakes listed)

Hayman Lake
Last Mountain Lake-swimming moose?
Peter Pond Lake-Puff, Sturgeon, possible swimming moose
Turtle Lake-Sturgeon; Giant turtle?

Teslin Lake-?Giant beaver
Belize, Honduras &Eastern Coasts Continuing Southward to Venezuela

Caribbean Water Horse=Elephant Seal=Old 3-Toes
CubaSan Miguel del Padon (Gulf Near)
Moro Castle (Gulf near)-Old Three-Toes
[Also continuing reports of Caribbean Monk seals by fishermen in the area]
GreenlandLake Natsilik-"Sea Scorpion", poss whale or ?Seacow
Lake Umanak-"Sea Scorpion", poss whale or ?Seacow
GuatemalaLago de Atitlan
MexicoLago Catemaco, Veracruz-possible Horned Alligator, Includes Hoax
Lago La Alberca and six adjoining lakes-Chan "Dinosaur" ?Giant Iguana
NicaraguaLago de Nicaragua/Lake Nicaragua-Alligator gar; Rumored Giant snake (Anaconda?)
United States of America
Big Lake, Near Anchorage-Northern Alligator, possible inland seals
Buckland River-Tirichuk,Northern Alligator=?Giant Salamander/?Giant Otter
Lake Clark-Illie, giant sturgeon
Crosswind Lake
Iliamna Lake-Illie-Giant sturgeon; Seals 1&2 also present, Giant Pike suspected by some
Kaluluktok Lake, @ head of Kobruk River (giant fishes?)
Kenai River-Giant Salmonids, ?Taimen (Hucho)
Lake Minchumina
Noatak River-Tirichuk, ?Giant Pike/?Giant Otter
Nonvianuk Lake-Illie, giant sturgeons
Walker Lake
Yukon River-Giant fish; Alleged Mammoths (Before WWI)
ArizonaSaguaro Lake-Giant Catfish
Colorado River-Spinybacked "Alligator", possibly Big Iguana
ArkansasArkansas River-White River Monster=Whitey, ?Elephant seal acc. to Mackal,

Possible sightings of Paddlefish more recently
Bedias Creek
Lake Conway-Giant Catfish
Greers Ferry Lake-Water Panther, probably=White River Monster
Illinois River/Creek[Arkansas River Tributary]=White River Monster=Whitey
Mississippi River-Gollywog [reported as 50 foot salamander]=White River Monster =Whitey
Mud Lake-Hoax
White River-White River Monster, Whitey=Old 3-Toes, Ele[phant seal acc. to Mackal,

Possible Paddlefishes more recently.
CaliforniaBlue Lakes
Clear Lake-Clear Lake Catfish [?Introduced Walking Catfish]
Elizabeth Lake-Probable Hoax of 1800s, poss. big waterbird involved.
Lake Elsinore-Hamlet or Elsie-possible Big Iguana: Spiny back-crest on record
Fish Lake-Giant Salamander
Folsom Lake-Giant Salamander
Homer Lake-Manitou-Mythological
Klamath River-Water Dog=Giant Otter
Lafayette Lake-Giant Salamander
Lost Lake, Fresno County-Giant Catfish
Sacramento River-Giant Salamander and Giant Snake or Eel
Stafford Lake-Sturgeon
Lake Tahoe-Tessie-Sturgeon
Trinity River-Giant Salamander and Water Panther=Giant Otter
ColoradoArkansas River-"River Liz"-Large iguana capable of running upright
Colorado River-"River Liz"-Large iguana capable of running upright
Lake Como-Giant Fish (Catfish?)
Lake Katherine, nr Mt. Zerkel- possible swimming moose
Sloan lake nr Denver-Giant Fish (Catfish?)
Twin Lakes- possible swimming moose
ConnecticuttLake Basile- possible swimming moose
Connecticutt River-possible Giant Eel, ?Possible Longneck
Lake Pocotopaug

Lake Clinch
Lake George-Seal 3
Lake Monroe-?Seal
Lake Okeechobee & Everglades-Giant Horned Alligator
Madeira Beach Canals-Normandy Nessie-Seal 3=Old 3-Toes (near Lake Tarpon)
Palm beach area canal system, 2007-Seal2
Peace River-Seal3=Old 3-Toes
St. Johns River-Seal 3 and Rumored Longnecks
St. Lucie River- Seal 3
Suwanee (Susuwanee) River-Old 3-Toes=Seal 3
Lake Tarpon-Tarpie-Old 3-Toes, Continuing

Altamaha River-Altamaha-Ha, alligator gar
Chattahoochie River-Altamaha-Ha, alligator gar
No Man's Friend Pond-Altamaha-Ha, alligator gar
Savannah River, possible alligator gar
Smith Lake
IdahoLake Coeur d'Aline-Sturgeon
Payette Lake-Slimy Slim, Sharlie-Sturgeon
Lake Pend d'Orielle-Paddler-Sturgeon and Hoax
Snake River-Sturgeon ("20 feet long with wings", ie, side fins)
Tautphaus Park Lake, Idaho Falls-Sturgeon
IllinoisLake Decatur-Giant Catfish
Lake duQuoin& Stump Pond-Giant Catfish
Four Lakes Village Quarry, Lisle-Giant Catfish and possible Giant Salamander
Lake Michigan-possible Giant Sturgeon, possible large seals (Seal-2) and definite Hoaxes

Bass Lake-Giant Catfish
Big Chapman Lake, nr Warsaw-Giant Beaver
Big Swan Pond, nr Vincinnes-Giant Beaver?
Eagle Creek-Local joke about three large fishes swimming in a line

Fulks Lake-Beast of Busco, Oscar the Turtle - Hoax with introduced large snapping turtles
Hollow Block Lake, nr Portland-Giant Beaver?
Horshoe Pond, nr Vincinnes-Giant Beaver?Giant otter? (dogheaded animal + 60 foot wake)
Lake Manitou-Hoax
Lake Maxinkuckee
Wabash River-Giant Beaver, slaps tail on water
White River-Giant Catfish

Okoboji Lake-2001-"Oval-headed" animal bumped against dock, Probable Giant Catfish.
Spirit Lake-Vague reference and suspect

Kingman County Lake-(unknown carnivore ate an entire calf, not necessarily an aquatic animal)

Herrington Lake S of Louisville -Giant Beaver
Ohio River-Giant Black Snake
Reynolds Lake-Giant Black Snake

Calcasieu River-?
Boyden Lake-swimming moose
Chain of Lakes-swimming moose
Machias Lake
Moosehead Lake-swimming moose
Rangeley Lake-Giant Fish, possible sturgeon
Sysladobsis Lake-possible Giant Eel reported as "dogheaded snake"
MarylandPatuxent River-Hoax
Zekiah Swamp-Eelpoot-Hoax
MassachussettsSilver Lake-Giant Frog
Twin Lakes, Berkshire Hills-Giant snake or possible giant eel

Au Train Lake-large fish circles boat 1870s
Basswood Lake-
Carter Lake-Giant Blacksnake
Lake Charlevoix-?Sturgeon?Bessie
Leelanau Lake-1910, suspected Tall Tale
Lake Erie-Bessie (?Small whale), includes a probable Hoax
Lake Huron-Larger and smaller types of seals
Lake Michigan-Possible Sturgeon, probable Seals and probable Hoaxes
Lake St Clair-Bessie, reported as scaled
Lake Superior-Bessie (called a giant sturgeon, also possibly cetaceans); probable Seals
Narrow Lake-1886
Paint River-swimming moose
St Mary's River-Hoax
Straits of Mackinac-Bessie
Swan Lake-"No Such Animal", swimming cow.
Thunder Bay-Bessie (Small whale? Large Sturgeon?)
Trout Bay, Lake Superior-Bessie? (Small Whale)
Williams Lake-possible big fish?

Basswood Lake-Waterspout
Big Pine Lake-Oscar-Giant Sturgeon
Big Sandy Lake-swimming moose
Leech Lake-Possible Giant Sturgeon (2) detected on sonar 1976
Minnesota River-Hoax
Lake Minnetonka- unidentified wave action with unknown cause
Lake Pepin-Pepie-Giant Catfish
Serpent Lake-Mythical, said to be no monster involved

Pascagoula River-unidentifiable, possible alligators

Lake Creve Coeur- Probable Pike, not especially large
Lake of the Ozarks-Giant Catfish and alleged Longneck, possible hoax
Kansas River-Giant Fish

Flathead Lake-Montana Nessie-Sturgeon and swimming moose. Beyond any shade of doubt.
Missouri River-8-foot-long black fish, suspected sturgeon, ran into fiberglass boat and dented it
Waterton Lakes-Oogle-Boogle, "Ogopups," incl. poss. giant beavers and otters

Alkali Lake [Walgren lake]-Seal 3 according to Roy Mackal
Missouri River-Mythical, probably based on swimming bison

Lake Mead-Giant Catfish and Giant Beaver. Lake is artificial
Pegrand Lake-Possible introduced alligator gar for sports fishing
Pyramid Lake-Mythical
nr Reno-Freshwater Octopus, possible hoax
Walker Lake-Cecil-possible introduced alligator gar for sports fishing
New Hampshire

Moore Lake-underwater, glowing alligator. Highly suspect single sighting.
New Jersey

Columbia, SITU HQs-Unknown Giant Pink Salamander
North Shrewsbury River
Old Mill Pond
New York

Baldwinsville Mill Pond-Hoax
Black River-Giant Beaver
Canadaigua Lake-Mythical
East Caroga Lake-Giant Pike/Muskellunge
Lake George-Hippogriff-?
Hudson River-Suspected sturgeon and "Super-Eel" as well as undefined mass, possible whale
Lake of the Woods-Possible sturgeons
McGuire's Pond-Hoax
Lake Onondaga-Mosqueto-?Mythical
Lake Ontario-possible Giant Eel; Possible Longneck and a known Hoax
Lake Placid-Mythical
Silver Lake-Hoax, possible otters
Spirit Lake-Mythical
Wading River

North Carolina

French Broad River-Dakwa=Alligator gar
Hiwassee River-Tlanusi (Giant leech)-Oversized Lamprey
Lake James-possible Alligator gar
Lake Norman (Reservoir)-Alligator gar and Giant Catfish-introduced
Little Tennessee River-Giant Blacksnake?
Valley River (Tennessee Vally River?)-possible Alligator gar

North Dakota
Devils Lake-Mythical
Lake Sakakawea-probable paddlefish

Lake Erie-South Bay Bessie, includes one Hoax of a planted Python
Cuyahoga Valley-Peninsula Python-Giant Blacksnake, Hoax and legitimate reports also
Loveland-Loveland Frogs (UFO Humanoids??)
Ohio River-Giant Blacksnakes and Giant Salamanders
Olentangy River-Giant Beaver ("hippo-sized")
Slaven's Pond Bridge-Giant Salamander

Lake Eufaula-"Nessie"-probable giant Catfish
Lake Oolagh-Oklahoma Octopus, probable Giant Catfish
Lake Tenkiller-Oklahoma Octopus-probable Giant Catfish
Lake Thunderbird-Oklahoma Octopus-probable Giant Catfish

Crater Lake-Mythical, but possible otters or seals
Crescent Lake-Large seal, Seal 3?
Forked Mountain Lake-Waterdog=Amhuluk=Giant Otter
Upper Klamath Lake-Large seal, Seal 3?
Walowa Valley-Big Walley-Large seal, Seal 3?; Freshwater Octopus alleged

Wolf Pond-Probably Hoax with introduced Python. Numerous other Giant Blacksnake reports
"Dobhar-Chu" or Master Otter Attacks alleged

South Carolina
Goose Creek Lagoon-Giant Pink Hellbender
Lake Murray-Messie-Alligator gar

South Dakota
Lake Campbell-"Dinosaur"=Old 3-Toes=Seal 3?
Missouri River-Mi-ni-wa-tu, Unketehi, etc-Possible Giant Beavers, poss. otters

Forked Deer River-Giant Beaver?
Kentucky Lake-Giant or alligator snapping turtles
Little Tennessee River-Dakwa-Alligator gar
Tennessee River-Alligator gar (incuding stranding of several dead ones when flood receeded)

Brazos River- Alligator gar reported as 18 feet long.
Lake O' the Pines- Giant Catfish
Red River-Giant Catfish
Rio Grande-Giant Catfish, Legendary Longnecks (Avan-Yu)

Bear Lake-Isabella-Hoax, possible Giant Beaver, observation of swimming elk by rangers
Great Salt Lake-Hoax, possible stray sturgeon, possible wading bison
Lake Powell-Giant Beaver
Logan Lake
Mud Lake
Panguitch Lake-Mythical
Sevier Lake
Utah Lake-Hoax, Possible Giant Beaver

Lake Champlain-Champ-swimming moose, possible Seal2, possible Longneck
Connecticutt River-Sturgeon
Dead Creek-suspected Hoax
Lake Willoughby-unidentified wave action
Winooski River
Woodbury Lake-12-foot scaly beast with antenna=Catfish

Lake Chelan-Mythical, possibly based on Sturgeon
Columbia River-Sturgeon
Moses Lake-possible swimming moose
Omak Lake-Mythical
Quinalt Lake-Mythical
Rock Lake-Mythical with Sturgeon and mistaken views of logs and waves
Spirit lake-Possible Giant Beaver
Lake Steilacoom-Whe-atchee, Mythical
Lake Washington-11-foot-long white Sturgeon

West Virginia
Monongahela River-Ogua-Giant Beaver
Ohio River-Giant Beaver
Browns Lake-probable sturgeon reported as 27 feet long and with barbels as "Huge teeth"
Chippewa Lake
Devlan Lake
Devils Lake-1892-possibly two Giant Pike seen in combat. Large fish reported otherwise.
Elkart Lake- probable Giant Pike
Fowler Lake-1892- Large "Otter or Beaver"
Lake Geneva-1892-100-foot animal reported to overturn boats-likely a wave action
Lake Kegonsa
Koshnkonong Lake-Giant Pike (NOT pickerel: pickerel are the smaller ones)
Lac La Belle-Immense Fish
Lake Mendota-Bozho, Probable Giant Sturgeon, Possible Giant Otter
Lake Michigan-Alleged Giant Sturgeon
Mississippi River-Mythical
Lake Monona-20 foot animal, possible Sturgeon
Oconomowoc Lake
Okauchee Lake- 6-foot-long Pike
Pewaukee Lake
Red Cedar Lake-probably exaggerated Sturgeons
Lake Ripley-unidentified wave action
Rock Lake-Rocky-Large Pike developed into a Longnecked monster in retelling
Sturgeon Bay, Lake Michigan-Giant ?Sturgeon and Water Panther=Giant Otter
Lake Waubesa-Giant ?Sturgeon (sounds like Bessie)
Lake Wingra-Snapping Turtle
Lake Winnebago-Giant ?Sturgeon
Yellow River

Alcova Reservoir
Bull Lake-"Copycat" report after fictional Lake La Metrie story
Lake DeSmet-swimming moose
Hutton Lake-Mythical
Lake Katherine-Mythical
Lake La Metrie-entirely Fictional
Pathfinder Lake-Large Fish
The "Classic sea serpent " is a special case; such sightings occur worldwide and statistically are astonishingly uniform; most "Lake Monster " reports are in this category. The reports do not show any particular geographic assortment or differentiation by hump size, as Heuvelmans maintains in his categories of "Many-humped" and "Super-otter"; they also occur in the tropics, where they are universally also referred to as aquatic serpents of unusual size. Some authors, such as Mackal, see evidence of zueglodons in these reports. Zueglodon spines are not made to undulate that way; the tail vertebrae look like long sections of pipe and the whole tail section is meant to move all in one piece. This is a mechanical stage in evolving a whalelike pattern of swimming.

The reports in this category are obviously and beyond any shade of doubt standing wave patterns such as delayed wakes made by passing boats. One of Heuvelmans' "??" reports was by a Professor Heddle, who saw a "Many -humped" effect and correctly identified it as a wave, and he is the only expert witness to have contributed such an observation in previously-published sea-serpent literature. I have seen the effect myself on the shore of New Jersey when I was affiliated with the SITU and for a brief while had hoped that it was an actual sighting. Heuvelmans notes in reports of each category separately (SO,MH,ME and LN) that the appearence of the humps are due to "waves in the wake" and this is even an important feature of the "Super-otter" category. The difference in long-humps-with-long-intervals and short-humps-with-short intervals is a function only of wavelength; several locations, such as Loch Ness and Lake Okanagan, log reports of both types.
The importance of this cannot be underestimated. Of ALL Lake monster" reports, as many as over 90% are not describing real animals, they are describing waves in the water, even if an unknown animal is making the waves. It is also significant that in Heuvelmans' study In the Wake of Sea Serpents, 75% of the reports are nondeterminative even without deleting categories; deleting the wave-effect reports drives the total bite out of reports much higher.

Unidentified Huso Sturgeon This type is general across the Holarctic, especially in Siberia and Canada, but also apparantly extends down into the Northern USA., including "White Sharks" reported in the Great Lakes area during the "Jaws" craze (personal info; Eberhart includes a separate mention at Lake Simon, Quebec). This type has the type of body scutes associated with Huso, being spaced apart instead of continuous along the sides. The Lake Ilamna creatures are rather typical. These sturgon incidentally are both saltwater and freshwater inhabitants.
Giant Sturgeon or Great White Sturgeon. Like a white sturgeon or a Russian giant sturgeon (Huso) commonly reported as being 20 to 40 feet long, most often 30 feet long or less, but also at double those lengths and as much as a hundred feet long with exaggeration. Basically fish-shaped with sharklike fins, large widely-spaced scutes along the back and sides that are directly identified as being like a very large sturgeon. Sometimes turn up on sonar fish-finders moving around at depths, at which time they can again be reported as up to 60 feet long, but doubtless much smaller ordinarily. Head is flattened with a bluntly pointed snout, compared to the shape of a shark's head, but the barbels under the snout are also distinctly noted, sometimes reported as overhanging fangs in front of the mouth. Color is ordinarily greyish on the back with a white belly, but the color may also be tinted with brown or green depending on the individual and on lighting conditions. The skin other than the big armor scutes is reported as smooth, and the head is also singled out as being armored. They are fish-feeders and are sometimes known to jump out of the water, on occasion giving the appearance of a long neck 10 to 20 feet long (3 to 7 meters long approx.) In Asia, sometimes reported as "Giant Salmon" or "Giant Paddlefish"

Giant Salmon are reported in the Kenai river in Alaska, being the size of dolphins; this information comes from Pastor Ron Stevens of the Southeasten Holiness Church in Indianapolis (personal info, a FOAF report) Similar creatures living in Eastern Asia are the Taimen or Giant Trout: these are large salmonids that spend their entire lives in fresh water. It has been suggested that the Kenai river dolphin-sized salmon are really Alaskan Taimen (Hucho not Huso)
Giant Catfish. It is suspected in certain instances, reports of Freshwater octopuses actually refer to Giant catfishes where the whiskers are being described as tentacles. In the case of the "Oklahoma octopus" this is fairly certain because not only are the reports to areas where Giant Catfishes are otherwise reported, they are reported in similar terms, each time using the description "As big as a horse". Furthermore some descriptions of the supposed octopus specify that it has the body of a fish or shark.
Giant Catfishes are also universally indicated, in both Canada and the USA; Coleman also has information on these, published in FATE magazine. reports of Giant catfishes in general may be nearly world-wide. In the USA several of the indicated lakes have been stocked with introduced catfishes and the assumption is usually made that the catfishes are not an unknown species, but individuals of known species which grow to enormous size. The most common form in the USA seems to be a gigantic blue catfish which can grow to 12-16 feet long and weight 300 to 500 pounds. This variety of giant catfish is frequently said to be "the size of a horse" and estimates of the length can run up to 20 feet long, although ordinarily 10-15 feet (3 to 5 meters long approx.)

Giant Pike These fishes are like larger editions of the well-known great northern pike or Muskellunge, but whereas those fishes are usually thought to grow no larger than about six or seven feet long, the giant versions are reported as being twelve to fourteen. The shape of the heads can strike witnesses as being snakelike or horselike, but photographs and witness' sketches show the typical pike sort of head at larger size and with the usual markings. Color is usually a yellowish brown or olive with darker brown spots or streaks, and often stated to be coloration as typical of a pike by witnesses or collectors of the reports.
Giant pikes in Eurasia are supported by old records of 15-20 feet long, including in the Guiness Book of World Records; some "Lindorms" and other water monsters are also apparently large pikes.
Giant pikes are also indicated in water monster reports in the USA, especially in the Great Lakes region, but Giant garfishes are also possible; such reports from the Western US could be accidental introductions. Information on both sets of reports are in Eberhart.
Alligator Gar-The original Lake Monster report made by Champlain at Lake Champlain was a type of gar, but the dimensions which he gave were much too large for the ordinary longnosed gar and more in the size range of the alligator gar. Alligator gars are widely exported by sports fishermen because they are fierce fighters and very tenacious of life , and specimens have turned up in Hong Kong and in Central Asia. Most if not all of these introductions go unrecorded and would be strictly Illegal: but I had thought for some time that the Walker Lake "Serpent" at least was an artificially-introduced alligator gar and other reports of the type turn up on the East Coast of the USA, including especially in the Carolinas. Alligator gars have also been reported in Lake Nicaragua, where they are evidently responsible for some reported "Monster" activity.
Giant Eels: Heuvelmans' "Super-eel " was a dustbin category but did contain good reports of evidently local, well-defined forms of outsized eels. The specific categories included a giant conger about 20 feet long seen off of Singapore (Heuvelmans indicates Charles Gould as a source and multiple local sightings) and a much larger form with fins at the side of the head like a titanic conger with a characteristic dark top and light bottom (unlike the smaller forms). In the 1970's, I statistically separated the category and called the larger well-defined form Titanoconger and the smaller conger-like form Megaconger; the two apparantly are also different in habitat and coloration.

When he was advancing the theory that the Loch Ness monster was a giant eel, Maurice Burton noted several reports of river monsters that were like giant eels in Britain and on the continent, seemingly France and Germany.. Sometimes, these were reported with doglike heads and serpentine bodies. no individual reports and no further details were given. These might be the same as similar reports from Scotland, Ireland and possibly Scandinavia, but these are mostly in the small "Monster" size range, 10 to 20 feet long. Similar "eel" reports in a similar size range are mentioned as coming from Eastern Canada., including a report by a diver in Lake Memphremagog, but also several reports from Newfoundland and New Brunswick, and possibly ascending up the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario. James Sweeny was told by a member of Loch Ness investigation of a purported freshwater giant eel skeleton 40 feet long found in a lake in Uruguay. There is as so far no direct connection between saltwater and freshwater reported forms of giant eels. The freshwater reports are however consistent with the "Megaconger" category.
Giant FW Eel in NA is Said to be from 10 to 30 feet long, sometimes perhaps as much as 50 feet long but this is doubtless a mistake. Reported as distinctly eel-like and of the general conformation like a large conger eel with two pectoral fins noted behind the head. Face is very much like a conger eel when seen distinctly. Long continuous fin runs along the back and on both sides of the tail, above and below joined at the tip, suggestion that the back fin is sometimes called a "Mane". Color is brown, darker on the back than on the belly, but not a great contrast in the colors above and below. Color may be darker and reported as black: sometimes the belly is described as a dirty yellowish. Not seen very far inland and when inland is only on major rivers like the St. Lawrence: also not seen in the Southern US or the Gulf of Mexico, but other types of Giant Eels are reported there. These are not seen in freshwater locations. It is possible that such eels are reported in Alaska but more definitely that they are reported in far NE Siberia.

Mystery Salamander (Andias, often called Megalobatrachus)
Giant salamanders of this type are separable from general water monster reports and are basically holarctic in distrabution. Reports extend from the British Isles, Northern Germany and Central Europe all across Eurasia in spotty distrabution to Siberia, where Richard Freeman tells me such creatures are called Paymurs: they are also found in Canada and parts of Alaska, and then on the the midlands of the USA and even to the Central Atlantic states. These are sometimes called "giant water lizards", sometimes "alligators", and sometimes are described as having horns or catfish barbels. The eastern USA seems to have a pink form, of which an example seems to have inhabited a pond on Ivan Sanderson's property at one point. They are sometimes reported with distinct "annulations" or costal grooves giving rise to such names as "wurms" or "wurrums", and they also can inhabit much smaller bodies of water and can be even more evanescent than other kinds of Lake Monsters. These salamanders and the Huso sturgeons have skeletons that are largely cartiliginous and thus bodies are said to "melt entirely away" without leaving traces. These are almost universally stated to be no larger than 6 to 9 feet long, but some reports make them out to be much larger.
Giant Salamanders are reported as "Northern Alligators" and recognized to be the same as Chinese and Japanese Giant Salamanders when they appear in California: some of them apparently have catfish whiskers (barbels) reported as "Horns" and some of them are a bright pink, on the East Coast especially. Ordinarily not so large, 3 to 6 or 7 feet long (1 to 2 meters), although some reports make them out to be larger, up to 15-16 feet (5 meters). Ordinarily fish-eaters that stay underwater although some are stated to come out amphibiously onto land. Capable of breathing air or water .Usually a dark brown or black with a paler underbelly, but the sides may also show a speckled appearance, sometimes pink-and-black like a gila monster. It is asumed that this is a warning coloration and that the salamanders prodouce a toxin in the skin.
Remnant Steller's Seacows:
Recent reports of "Manatees" have come from the Long Beach area of Washington state, and Heuvelmans mentions one such report from British Columbia but assumes that it must have been an elephant seal. Such reports are also current in Southern Alaskan bays and inlets, and letters to Argosy (and to Ivan Sanderson personally) following the article on the Mylark echogram spoke of several sea monster sightings, some of which could have been of seacows.
There are also both traditional Inuit "Upturned-boat" monsters supposedly living in Hudson's bay, and very old reports of "Mermaids" in that area recorded by the explorers searching for the Northwest Passage. Manatees are the traditional explanation for Mermaid sightings, but there are otherwise not supposed to be any manatees in the Arctic. A famous example of one such sighting was made in the Foxe Basin.
Marine biologists Bret Weinstein and James Patton of the University of California have noted that there are vague reports of Steller’s Sea Cows from along the northwest coast of North America and the northeast coast of Asia, in the Arctic Ocean and Greenland. If such reports are not discounted, then Hydramalis [Rhytina] gigas, or a subspecies, may still be alive today.Great Lakes Whale, esp. South Bay Bessie: Typically 25-35 feet long and often a foot or two out of the water. Color brown, gray or frequently an olive-brown. two small dark eyes seen on the sides, a blowhole on top of the "Bottlenose" head is also described as a "Third eye" at least once.Teeth reduced and only at the front of the beak, and a peculiar arrangement of one tooth sticking out on top and two sticking up in front on the bottom jaw is recorded twice in separate incidents 150 years apart. Two fairly small pectoral flippers with "Arm-like" bony structure. Small fin on back, toward the tail end and often noticed, but characteristic of the type when it is noticed. Whale-like tail. Sometimes small pods of two to five animals will be seen following closely behind one another. Overall form when just the forepart is seen, and when the beak is hidden below water or otherwise missed, strikes several witnesses as looking like a large fat snake.
Allowing for this much, other similar reports are also noted in the area with creatures trying to go upstream in smaller rivers, and this could include the Ottowa River in Canada and also around Toledo, Ohio, and into Wisconsin. The creature's name is an anglicization of the name for the Lake Superior Monster in Native lore, Misi-Bissie or Bichi-Bichi, and represented as a gigantic sturgeon (of probably whale size)


  1. I live within 5 minutes of the Bow River (in which I spend upwards of 150 hours each year, fishing)in Alberta, Canada, and within 10 minutes of the Glenmore reservoir. No eel or catfish has ever been caught in the Bow River, as we have neither group of fish in this province.

    The Glenmore Reservoir has large pike (along with trout, whitefish, perch and burbot), but I am unaware of any lake monster being reported in there in the past 70 years. The Glenmore reservoir is an entirely constructed body of water.

  2. The South Saskatchewan River in Alberta, Canada is home to some rather large sturgeon, probably accounting for any 'monster' sightings in that body of water.

  3. Hello, Christian, and thank you for your comments!
    We ARE talking about introduced species in several of these cases and not naturally-occuring ones: furthermore, they do not need to become established over the long term in order to produce reports of "Monsters." That neither eels nor catfishes are native to the river in question would be entirely consistent with what we are hearing in several smaller bodies of water here in the USA. I was rather astonished to learn that sports fishermen were going around gleefully introducing alligator gars because they were considered good sport-they are also highly dangerous and aggressive fishes and introducing them into most areas is definitely an illegal action.
    As for your second posting-yes, several reports do sound like sturgeons. These reported sturgeons are often described with some unusual features, though. And unfortunately you have done a rather bad thing-you have offered a solution without hearing any descriptions on the type of "Monster" the solution is supposed to fit. In this case, some of the creatures seen in that area are supposed to be furry and are more likely to be otters.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.


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