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Throughout the world, there are hundreds of lakes, rivers, and seas that harbor large animals that are unrecognized by standard zoology. Although monsters might not be the best description of them, it is perhaps the most common, so we will use it here.

Claims of unknown water-based monsters have a long history in mythology and folklore, although they have been known my many names, such as sea serpents, great serpents, water dragons, water horses, worms, and others.

We don't hear so much about sea serpents anymore but, until the 20th century, they were the subject of lively debate, even in mainstream scientific journals.

Sea serpents have a long history in mythology throughout the world, although they weren't addressed scientifically until the mid-16th century. A survey of Scandinavian zoology, published in 1555, acknowledged the presence of serpents of vast magnitude, two hundred feet long and more than twenty feet thick, which would emerge from caves along the shore to devour anything in their paths.

The Natural History of Norway, published between 1752 and 1753, also attested to the presence of large serpents in the North Sea.

In the 17th century, Americans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony spoke of sea serpents that could be seen from both ship and shore. The American gunship, Protector, fired on a sea serpent in 1779, during the Revolutionary War, and the captain of the frigate, Boston, reported sighting a sea serpent at least forty-five to fifty feet in length in 1780. In 1819, Samuel Cabot reported sighting a sea serpent with a head like a horse's head, elevated about two feet above the water, and a body that was at least eight feet in length.

Apart from distant mythology, there are several contemporary reports of lake monsters, perhaps the most famous being the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland. Although none of these claims have been authenticated by conventional zoology, there is an amazing similarity between the appearance of these creatures in reports from different regions of the world. Descriptions of Nessie, in Loch Ness, for example, are very much like those of Champ in Lake Champlain, which borders the U.S. states of New York and Vermont and the Canadian province of Quebec. Sightings of the Flathead Lake Monster in Montana are much like those of Nessie and Champ, and so on. If it should turn out that these creatures are real, then it is likely that they are of the same species.

Other lake monsters have been reported in Lake Seljord in Norway, in Lake Seljordsvatnet in Sweden, Arenal Lagoon in Costa Rica, the Dilolo Swamps in the Congo, Labynkar Lake in Russia, Lake Como in Italy, Tian Chi in China, Lake Abaya Hayk in Ethiopia, Lake Ainslie in Canada, Lake Albert in Uganda, Lake Bathurst in Australia, Lake Viedma in Argentina, and many others, including several lakes in the United States and Canada. Many, but not all, of them are described in much the same way.

Most water monsters are not named, but some of those that have been seen in the same body of water repeatedly have been given names, including Adelong, Aeronaut, Ah-Een-Meelow, Aidakhar, Altamaha-Ha, Amhuluk, Angeoa, Archie, ASA Monster, Ashuaps, Astor Monster, Atunkai, Auli, Back Bay Sea Serpent, Bear Lake Monster, Bessie, Big Walley, Block Ness Monster, Blue-Dillon Monster, Bozho, Brosnie, Buckinghamshire Serpent, Bu-Rin, Cadborosaurus, Cai-Cai-Filu, Camahueto, Canavar, Carabuncle, Cassie, Cecil, Champ, Chan, Chessie, Cheval Marin, Chitapo, Christina, Chunucklas, Con Rit, Crater Lake Monster, Cressie, Cuero Unudo, Dakwa, Elbst, Flathead Lake Monster, Flattie, Funkwe, Gambo, Gjevstroll, Guai Wu, Guirivilu, Haietluk, Hamlet, Hapyxelor, Havhest, Hide, Hippogriff, Hippoturtleox, Holadeira, Huillia, Igopogo, Illie, Inkanyamba, Issie, Kilindini Monster, Kinosoo, Klato, Kuddimudra, Kussie, Lake Como Monster, Lake Creek Monster, Lake George Monster, Lake Norman Monster, Lake Worth Monster, Loch Ness Monster, Madrona Monster, Maningrida Monster, Manipogo, Memphre, Messie, Migo, Mi-Ni-Wa-Tu, Mjossie, Morgawr, Mosqueto, Nampeshiu, Nessie, Ogopogo, Rassic, Rocky, Rommie, Saltie, San Clemente Monster, Scoliophis Atlanticus, Sharlie, Silwane Mazzi, Sisiutl, Spirit Lake Sea Monster, Taniwha, Teggie, Tessie, Tsinquaw, Tzartus-Saurus, Uktena, Ular Tedong, Vasstrollet, Waa-Wee, Wally, Wee Oichy, West Wycombe Monster, Whitey, Winnipogo, Wiwiliamecq, Wurrum, Zemo'hgu-Ani, and many others.

While still classified as cryptids, one theory is that some of these animals may be sea serpents who have adapted to freshwater over a long period of time. At least one biologist has suggested they could be zeuglodons, primitive, snakelike whales that disappeared from the record 20 million years ago.

However, there is little doubt that some reports are hoaxes, mirages, or commonplace objects that are not being seen clearly enough.


Bear Lake Monster



Flathead Lake Monster

Loch Ness Monster



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