Lake Monsters. [Page on Facebook]
Scotland is famous for the Loch Ness monster, Nessie, but Italy’s Lake Como also has a monster: Lariosauro – or ‘Larry’ for short.
Lariosauro lives in Lake Como near the aptly named hamlet of Nesso on the shores of Lake Como in Lombardy. The first reported sighting of the Italian monster was by a fisherman who saw something mysterious in the lake in 1949. In 1957, a diver in a Bathysphere reported seeing a strange beast in the lake at a depth of 328 feet, saying that it had a head like a crocodile and feet like a reptile. The monster even became the subject of a book published in 2000, ‘Il Lariosaurio’ by Giovanni Galli.
Lake Como is a glacial lake, meaning it is both very old and deep. Believers in Lariosauro point out that although the area is now home to lakes and mountains some 225 million years ago during the Middle Triassic Period, it was covered by sea. In 1830, a fossil of a reptilian creature with a short neck and flippers was discovered at Perdelo on Lake Como. An extinct type of nothosaur, the 2-foot-long fossil was classified as Lariosaurus balsami in 1847. Lake Como is also known as ‘Lario’ after its Latin name ‘Larius Lacus’ and Lariosaurus means ‘lizard from Lario’. Some have suggested that Lariosauro is its descendant and perhaps even related to Scotland’s Nessie.
Como Lake monster: the legend of Lariosauro
On November 18, 1946 two hunters near Colico, the north shore of Como Lake, claim to have met a creature with very harsh reddish scales for a length of ten to twelve meters near the shore. The two hunters took their rifles and fired in the direction of the "thing" that quickly gained the center of the lake disappearing with a sharp hissing sound. This strange animal was called Lariosauro, the same name used a century before to name a prehistoric reptile (Lariosaurus balsami) whose fossilized remains were found by the lake in 1830. The fossils of this and other species were found later and now they can be found behind the windows of the museums of Lecco and Munich of Bavaria.
Other similar sightings not far from this area gave baptism to the legendary Lariosauro, that regularly recurred in subsequent years: in 1954 a couple, father and son, spotted something with a rounded snout and webbed feet swimming on the water. It was only eighty centimeters long (A little less than a yard long: perhaps a rare otter). Three years after a bathysphere, which submerged ninety meters deep off the coast of Dervio, met an animal with a crocodile-like head and a body length of about two meters.
The last sighting happened in 2003: a giant eel, about 10-12 meters long, was seen in Lecco. Skeptical researcher Giorgio Castiglioni, who studied these cases, thinks that it was actually a group of fish swimming together.
Popular tradition, a pinch of truth and a few drops of fantasy are the perfect ingredients for a legend.
- In 1954 in Argegno a creature with round muzzle and back and webbed paws.
- In August 1957 an enormous monster in the waters between Dongo and Musso.
- In September 1957 a strange animal whose head was described as similar to a crocodile head.
- In 2003 a giant eel, 10–12 m long, in Lecco.
- Giorgio Castiglioni, Il lariosauro tra fantasia e zoologia (in Italian)
- video youtube, alla ricerca del mostro di Loch ness, il lariosauro (in Italian with English and other languages caption)
[This is one of the creatures which have been thought to be related to the Tatzelwurm on the Northern side of the Alps and it appears to be lizard-shaped and 2 to 6 feet long. It is most likely a giant Salamander owing to Ulrich Magin's identification of the Tatzelwurm. This is more than likely not the only kind of a Tatzelwurm there is, but it is very likely what the "Lake monster" version of Tatzelwurm is.-DD]
The first Wikipedia link, translated to English:
LARIOSAURO BETWEEN THE IMAGINATION AND ZOOLOGY
Giancarlo Colombo has spoken of lariosauro intended as a fossil reptile. But I will talk about the lariosauro understood as the alleged lake monster which has been talked about in November of 1946.
"Corriere Como" published a news that in the lake, at Pian di Spagna, near Colico, it would have appeared a huge animal that would have scared the hunters who were there. I would say that anyone who reads the article can be little doubt about the fact that news is clearly an invention of the newspaper. Despite this, the story has a great success. Is taken from the local newspaper "La Provincia", who invents another sighting, just as not credible, and invents as well that, years before, there would have been another. Is picked up by newspapers around Italy, for example by the "Corriere della Sera".Time after end even mentioned, even in passing, in a Donald Duck story. After you have made various assumptions about the nature of this animal, "Corriere Como" decides to put an end to the career of his monster, and after a week, he writes that it was simply a sturgeon caught by two guys. News such as that invented the monster sturgeon. Another clue we give it the same "Courier Como," which, shortly thereafter, publish in the same bottom of the first page, where it had appeared and monster sturgeon, the appearance of a ghost with photos. Well, that position was not an index of the reliability of the news.
There is a similar case in August 1957. This time is a daily Como, "The Order", to publish the news of a huge monster appeared between Dongo and Musso.Here, too, it is clearly an invention of the newspaper and this time has not even happened. The news there remains isolated.
A case a bit 'more interesting is that of the next month (September 1957). It 's always "The Order" we wrote that two men from a bathysphere have seen a strange animal. I have seen the front, considering that it could be long in total between 60 centimeters and one meter and twenty. The description is very vague and therefore it is difficult to speculate. There is one particular, that the head resembles that of a crocodile, which could make us think that - if the news is reliable and it has been reported correctly - the animal could possibly be a big pike. Of course, with details so vague, it's hard to say for sure.
A recent case (2003) was reported in a forum on the internet. One person said he had seen from Monte Barro, looking down into the lake in Lecco, about 10-12 feet long eel, measures clearly exaggerated for what we know. At the same forum, someone wanted to make a joke about what might have been drinking on top of the mountain and someone else, taking more seriously the thing, he speculated that it could be a group of fish that swam compact and that could have given the 'impression that it was a very long one fish. Although the author of the sighting denied, it is clear that the hypothesis of a group of fish, or light reflections on the surface, it is more credible to think that not long eel 10-12 feet long.
An interesting case, what I was most passionate about, is to Argegno 1954. The newspapers, local newspapers, but also others around Italy, devoted a few lines, with few details. There was, however, one interesting: the name of the man who had seen this animal. So I was able to contact him and ask him some more information about this strange animal, so as to supplement the very meager news appeared in newspapers.
From his description shows that it was an animal on the long 80-90 centimeters. Surely it was not a fish. To explain it to me, told me that while the front of the fish is pointed, this animal had instead a rounded snout. The same was true for the rear that was not as tight as you would expect in a fish, but larger.He said, like that of a pig. Another interesting detail: the legs. Putting together all these details, the picture that emerges is that of a mammal with webbed feet. My idea is that it was an otter. The otters in 1954, there were still in Como, inter alia, at Pian di Spagna, just where it was set lariosauro the sighting of the "Corriere Comasco."
Of course it can be born an objection, that I thought I: If an otter is at Pian di Spagna can be up to Argegno.There. To resolve this doubt I have asked for help from Claudio Prisons, University of Pavia, who was doing research on otters in the Pollino National Park, studying the behavior and, among other things, on the move. He told me that (even though it is of course one thing every day) for an otter can make a shift of this length. In his studies, facts on the ground, had recorded movements of considerable magnitude. The fact that it should be a sporadic case would seem to confirm the hypothesis: would also explain why the animal has not been recognized.
Finally, I make some general observations that can apply not only to the lake of Como, but also for the 'whole phenomenon of monsters, lake or not.
Firstly, there are often inventions. And the jokes. For example, on Lake Como, in 1965, had been thrown into the water a monster inflatable rubber. I told (with photo) "Corriere della Sera".
Sometimes it may be that the animal was actually seen, but the sighting has been misunderstood. Instead of an animal unknown to science, it is an animal not recognized by the observer. So it could be, with a question mark, for pike in the case of September 1957, and a question mark with a little 'smaller, because it seems quite valid identification for the otter in the case of Argegno 1954 .
often hear people say that if there are many voices on a lake means that something is true. In reality we should study the cases one by one because it is clear that an animal such as Argegno and that of September 1957 are described in a way so different that it is impossible to say that two news reinforce the hypothesis of the existence of a new species . In the limit would increase to two new species ...
I think that, as he said Giancarlo Colombo, before thinking about things that are outside of what we know, we should take into account the assumptions about what you already know and then on the animals that already we know exist and that may have been seen.
Giorgio Castiglioni , librarian at Paré and Moltrasio, studied news, rumors and legends about mysterious animals. Monster Larian wrote three articles in the first issue of "Studies of the municipal library of Cavallasca" (reprint: municipal libraries and Moltrasio Paré, 2005) and the "monsters" of Lake Como , in "Canturium", 3 , Apr. 2005, pp.33-35.
Other areas with similar water monsters reported from around Switzerland, other reports are in Bavaria. The basic type could be a Giant Salamander described as 2 feet to 6 feet long, but confused with rare sightings of otters and even big fishes. It is possible the length can be estimated as twice too long in some reports. The basic creature has a round head and round fat cylindrical body with four short legs and definite feet with digits, sometimes said to be webbed, and a lizard-like tail. Reports spill over even into the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans. Giant eels are also reported, but ambiguously. It can apparently also take up residence in caves and travel along underground streams, and also breed in them when necessary.
Known reports run back to the 1700s and early 1800s. There is one photo of a Lake Monster known from this area, but it is a probable hoax. I have a copy of the photo cut from a magazine stuck away in my files. More definitely crocodile-like monsters (Medcrocs) up to 30 feet long or more, are reported further to the South and are occasionally reported ashore.