There’s nothing like a swim to cool you down on a hot summer day. North America is home to hundreds of lakes that are popular recreation areas for tourists and locals, but some of them might be harboring something bigger than trout. We’ve all heard of the Loch Ness Monster, but North America has her fair share of mysterious water creatures, and some of them are closer to being proven real than Nessie is. Here are the top 5 places you can swim with monsters this summer.
Thetis Lake, British Columbia
Canada has lots of lake monsters, and one of the most fearsome is said to live here at Thetis Lake. It’s known as the Canadian Lizard Man, and it can even leave the lake if it wants to. In 1972 two teenage boys claimed that they were chased by a five-foot-tall creature that had a human body and a lizard head covered in sharp spikes. One of the boys had even received a gash on his hand from the monster. Two days later another man spotted a similar creature swimming in the lake.
A police investigation uncovered that a local man had lost a pet Tegu lizard, an aggressive breed that can grow up to four feet long. The jury is still out about whether the Lizard Man of Thetis Lake is a very real, very large lizard or a half human monster, but if you go swimming there, you might find out.
Cadboro Bay, British Columbia
As long as you are in British Columbia hunting for the Lizard Man, be sure to check out Cadboro Bay to see if you can get a sight of the monster affectionately known as Caddy. Reports of this monster began in the early 1900s, and in 1934 two duck hunters saw something they couldn’t believe. They had just downed a duck and were rowing over to get it out of the water when a colossal beast rose up, snatched the duck in its jaws, snapped at some seagulls and then submerged. They described Caddy as a gigantic eel-like creature with the head of a horse and powerful flippers. Native legends from this area also describe large eel-like monsters living in Cadboro Bay and the lakes of this region.
Lake Erie is bounded by Ontario, Canada on one side and the U.S. states of New York, Pennslyvania, Ohio, and Michigan on the other. Visitors to the lake have reported sightings of a creature known as Bessie since the 1700s. It is described as a massive snake-like animal, with silver scales the size of silver dollars and big, brown eyes.
In 1892, sailors reported seeing a giant sea snake, churning up foam in the water as if it were tackling something. When it relaxed they saw that it was at least 50 feet long and about 4 feet in diameter with large flippers and eyes that the sailors described as being “viciously sparkling”. In 1990 three separate reports came in of a sizeable eel-like creature variously described as being 30 to 50 feet long.
In September 1990 a local newspaper in Port Clinton, OH ran a contest to name the lake monster. Bessie was chosen because it rhymes with Nessie. If you are fortunate, your monster hunting trip to Lake Erie could make you $5,000 richer. The owner of the Huron Lagoon Marina, Thomas Solberg, has offered a $5,000 reward to anyone who captures Bessie alive. Good Luck!
Lake Tahoe, NV, CA
Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine Lake in the U.S. and one of the most sighted lake monsters in the U.S., Tessie, is said to call it home. Washoe and Paiute tribes local to the area have long spoken of a creature that lives in an underwater tunnel beneath Cave Rock. Modern sightings of Tessie may confirm that the native reports are more than legend.
In the late 1980s, two divers reported seeing a large creature shoot out of an underwater cave, disturbing the silt. When they went closer to investigate, they found two large fin-prints where the creature had been. In the 1950s two off duty, police officers reported seeing a large black hump rise from the water and keep pace with their boat that was going over 60 mph. Sightings of the creature continue to this day.
Tessie is usually described as a long eel-like animal with fins, depending on the report it may be anywhere from 15 to 60 feet long. Every story has described it as moving up and down in the water, the way that mammals like dolphins do, rather than side to side like a fish, creating multiple humps that can be seen rising from the surface.
Lake Tahoe is the worlds 10th deepest lake, with depths that reach over 1,600 feet deep. In the mid-1970’s Jacques Cousteau, the famous oceanographer used a miniature submarine to explore the lake. After his investigation, he allegedly said: “The world isn’t ready for what’s down there.” He never released any pictures or data from his dives.
Lake Champlain, NY, VT, Quebec
The monster of Lake Champlain, known as Champ is one of the most famous in the world. Legends of a monster living in the lake go back to Native tribes, and sightings have happened continuously since European settlement of the area in the 1600s. Champ is sometimes described as a large eel or snake-like creature, and sometimes as a Nessie like creature, with a long neck that can rise out of the water.
In 2003 the Discovery Channel did a special on the famous monster and discovered something interesting. When they took sound recordings within the lake, they picked up sounds that were similar to those produced by beluga whales or dolphins, neither of whom is known to live in the lake. Who knows, maybe Champ is something more than a tourism-boosting legend after all.