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The largest body of water in the United States other than the Great Lakes, portions of Lake Champlain are in Vermont, New York, and the Canadian province of Quebec. It is a long lake, about 110 miles long and 13 miles wide, with a maximum depth of 400 feet. In this lake is said to be Champ, the Lake Champlain Monster, a serpentine sea monster much like the more famous Loch Ness Monster. While exploring the region in 1609, Samuel de Champlain described a water creature about 20 feet long, as thick as a barrel, and a head like a horse. He also noted that the Abenaki tribes had known of the creature, referring to it as a "chaousarou." Nothing more was heard until the 1800s, but the area was sparsely settled until just before the War of 1812. By 1810, reports resumed. In 1819, a group of settlers reported seeing the creature's head above the surface of the waters of Bulwagga Bay. In 1819, a ship captain reported seeing a black monster, about 187 feet long, with a head like a sea horse. Between 1870 and 1900, there were at least twenty sightings. In 1873 there were several sightings. In 1887, the New York Times reported that a group of people who were having a picnic near Burlington, Vermont sighting the sea creature. P.T. Barnum once offered $50,000 for the carcass of the sea serpent, but no one collected on the reward. In 1915, a group of people saw the creature as it appeared to have been stranded in shallow water at the entrance of Bulwagga Bay, eventually freeing itself and swimming to the Vermont side of the lake. Another spate of sightings came in the 1930s and 1940s, which slowed until the 1970s, when Joseph Zarzynski organized an investigation group that encouraged people to report sightings of Champ, after which sighting reports have continued. Some have suggested that Champ might be a zeuglodon, a primitive whale believed to have been extinct for 20 million years, while mainstream scientists believe that some of the sightings may have been of a sturgeon.



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