The Lake Champlain Monster, popularly known as "Champ," is a dark, long-necked aquatic creature that is believed to live in the depths of Lake Champlain between New York and Vermont. For over 400 years, Champ has been sighted continuously in the country's fourth largest lake, which covers 222 square miles. Most observers have characterized Champ as a "snakelike" and having 3 or 4 humps that undulate as it moves through the water.
In the early 1600s, Champ's existence was reported by explorers and even Samuel de Champlain himself may have seen it in the St. Lawrence estuary. Native Americans referred to Champ as 'Tatoskok,' and it figures in their oral traditions. Ancient petroglyphs in Vermont thought to be over 3,000 years old depict a creature that is suggestive of Champ.
Throughout the 19th Century, many group sightings took place from aboard the steamships and in the 1870s, widespread disappearance of livestock from the shores of Lake Champlain was attributed to Champ's appetite. By 1873, Champ achieved such widespread notoriety that PT Barnum offered $50,000 for its hide.
Champ was recently seen by fishermen and witnessed by the passengers and crew of a large tourist vessel. However, multiple expeditions to document Champ's existence failed to shed any light on this mysterious creature.
While there is little definitive proof of Champ's existence, the many persuasive anecdotal accounts prompted the legislatures of both New York and Vermont to pass resolutions to protect this elusive creature. Champ Day is held yearly in Port Henry, New York
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