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 Lake Cryptid Video

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PostSubject: Lake Cryptid Video   Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:45 pm

A cell-phone video of a “creature” that appears to be swimming in Lake Champlain near Oakledge Park in Burlington last weekend is sparking renewed discussion about “Champ,” the lake’s legendary monster
The nearly 2-minute video, taken at sunrise Sunday by Burlington resident Eric Olsen, 37, shows an object moving across the mouth of the small cove and beach area at the park.

At several points during the video, the object appears to raise its “head” a foot or more above the water’s surface. At other times a portion of what appears to be a torso, several feet in length, also can been seen.

“I was just filming the water when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move, and I turned toward it and tried to zoom in on it,” said Olsen, a Web site developer and musician.

“You can see that it is moving both horizontally, across the water, and vertically, going under the surface and coming back up,” he said. “It struck me as something that was long, that it didn’t have much girth.”

Olsen put what he captured with his phone on YouTube, an Internet video-sharing site. Unsure about what he had photographed and reluctant to call it a “Champ” sighting, Olsen titled the footage “Strange Sighting on Lake Champlain.”

The number of viewings of the video since it went on YouTube on Sunday had reached 3,060 by Tuesday evening.

Loren Coleman a cryptozoologist based in Portland, Maine, said what Olsen filmed with his phone is the best photographic evidence to date of what residents on both sides of Lake Champlain prefer to call “Champ.”

“We need to figure out what is going on here,” Coleman said. “The film needs to have a formal forensic analysis performed ... to break it down frame by frame. It needs to be looked at very seriously.” Cryptozoology is the study of purportedly nonexistent or mythical creatures.

Before Sunday, the best known “Champ” photograph was taken in 1977 by Sandra Mansi of Bristol while she was having a picnic on the lake with her family. The photo was verified as legitimate and later appeared in Time magazine and The New York Times.

Mansi, now 66, viewed Olsen’s video Tuesday and said there were similarities — and differences — between what she saw in 1977 and what is depicted in Olsen’s footage.

“I see the shape of the head, how big it is,” she said, comparing her photo and the video. “The only thing I have a hard time with is the neck. It doesn’t look long enough for me. ... Whatever he saw has a link to what I saw. Tell him, ‘Welcome to the club.’”

Scott Mardis of Winooski, another cryptozoologist who has spent time researching the “Champ” legend, said Olsen’s video seemed legitimate and was “very impressive.”

“It does not look like it was Photoshopped,” Mardis said. “The object in the video has the same general texture as the rest of the photograph. It does not look like it was computer-generated. It looks like a ‘Champ.’”

Mardis and Coleman said the object’s movements and size ruled out the chance it was a beaver, moose or some other more common mammal. Instead, both speculated it might be some unknown species of seal with an unusually long neck.

“There’s lots of things that it could be,” Coleman said. “It’s just as interesting to me if all it is is an out-of-place harbor seal.”

Ellen Marsden, a biology professor at the University of Vermont, said she thinks the object is not a seal but possibly a young moose in distress.

“Fish or aquatic species rarely move that slowly in the water,” Marsden said. “It did not look like a creature that was comfortable in water. It was swimming as if something was seriously wrong.” She also said seals don’t swim with their backs out of the water.

Olsen said he never saw the object emerge from the lake. He said he stopped filming after two minutes because the phone’s memory capacity was limited and he was afraid of losing what he had filmed. He said he stayed at the park for another half hour before leaving.

There have been several alleged sightings of “Champ” on Lake Champlain over the years, but few were accompanied by any photographic substantiation.

Loren Coleman is a cryptozoologist based in Portland, Maine. His first name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. Our apologies. -Ed.
Link to story 1

Video here



And here

Link to story 2

Eric Olsen removed and disabled the embedding of his video from YouTube to other sites, unfortunately, on Wednesday night. Also, he closed comments at YouTube. You can still see his video at YouTube.

If past history is any guide, cryptid filmmaker Eric Olsen ~ who has made no claims that what he taped is “Champ” ~ is feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the attention. Also, as has even been demonstrated here, people can be very critical, debunking, and not too open-minded in their approach to looking at any new photo or footage. Folks interested in cryptozoology want, for instance, footage of lake cryptids, of course, but as soon as someone innocently says that an unusual “something” was taped in a loch or lake, people rush in to see who can be the first to say it was a tree, hoax, moose, or whatever. The truth is, no one knows what this one is.

How about some information from someone a bit closer to all of what is happening? A correspondent of Cryptomundo has forwarded a long and thoughtful comment:

I live a quarter of a mile from Oakledge Park in Burlington and swim / walk the dog / run there often. I know where the spot from which this was filmed. The water there is typically 8 - 20′ feet deep, and in fact is deeper now as the lake water level is elevated due to recent heavy rain. Water depth charts will bear this out. There is nothing for the animal to walk on - unless it has extremely long legs and is at least 10′ tall.

The person who posted the video is not a publicity hound and in fact already seems to regret having posted the video. He is very well known and respected in our small city, runs a successful business, and this association with “Champ” might only make him look silly.

It was very cool he shared this so we can make our own judgements.

Knowing the individual who filmed this, I can say with 100% certainty it is not a hoax he created. Also, there is no place on shore where a trickster could be towing a fake monster without revealing themselves, due to lack of cover.

It is a mysterious “thing” moving through the water to shore. Could be a moose, deer, dog, log, etc. Personally, I don’t think it looks like any of those things. But I don’t believe in Champ, either….

Still, this is an interesting video of a very strange creature.

E. Shepard

Meanwhile, the media mentions and web interest continue to increase attention, questions, curiosity, and sometimes ridicule, as opposed to understanding and support to someone who is essentially an eyewitness. It appears Eric Olsen is withdrawing a bit, but it is hard to hide in the world covered by the Internet. This may be especially true if you are the one who placed the primary evidence on YouTube initially.

Let’s just hope Mr. Olsen doesn’t disappear with his footage. There appears to be much we can learn from these phonecam images.

Here is a rundown of other news concerning developments or notable quotes about the May 31st phonecam footage of the seemingly animate object, seen near the shoreline of Lake Champlain, Vermont.

David Pescovitz’s posting at Boing Boing carries news of the video, including a mention of Cryptomundo’s reporting on this, which means the info will be copied and disseminated even more widely.

On Tuesday night, June 2, the Olsen video had registered 3,068 views at YouTube, but had jumped to nearly 42,000 views by Wednesday night, June 3.

The Burlington Free Press article, “Champ Mystery Grows” was the number one news item being read on their website yesterday, June 3rd, getting 11% of all readers to the online newspaper.

I have learned directly from The Burlington Free Press reporter Sam Hemingway that he has spoken to the State of Vermont’s moose specialist. The state’s moose expert says he is “convinced it is not a young moose,” but he’s “not sure what it is.”

“Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman will be interviewed about the new Champ video, Thursday, June 4th,” on the morning radio news show at 98.9 WOKO, Burlington, Vermont.

The “Champ story” is getting big play on the Northeast’s television stations. Some of the unique reporting even includes one well-known skeptic supposedly moving into the cryptozoology camp, which I’m sure was a big surprise to the lake-monsters-are-otters proponent when he read of his new label.

“Joe Nickell, a cryptozoologist in Amherst, N.Y., says his best guess is that the object was a moose calf.” ~ NECN

Mr. Nickel, of course, is hardly a cryptozoologist.

It is widely acknowledged that Nickel is a former stage magician and a prominent skeptical investigator of the “paranormal” (which to Nickel includes cryptozoology). He is a member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and a writer for Skeptic Inquirer.

To have the AP label him a “cryptozoologist” certainly seems like a case of a wolf dressing in sheep’s clothing.

WPTZ reporter Heater Van Arsdel reports that some people have more reasonable explanations for the sighting. Reaction from the public has been mixed. Many want to believe that it is mysterious lake monster, but they suggest that it looks like a baby moose or a large dog.” - “Many Skeptical About Champ Sighting in Vermont”
“The video features almost two minutes of what appears to be a brontosaurus-like sea monster loafing off the shores of Oakledge Park near Burlington.”
“Olsen is reluctant to call the sighting ‘Champ’.
A biologist at UVM thinks it may have just been a moose in distress.
Another scientist says the video does appear to be legitimate.”
The region’s other large newspaper ran an article about the video on Thursday, June 4th. It says, in part:

Olsen doesn’t have a listed phone number.

He asked YouTube users if anyone else was in the park and saw the creature.

“Was anyone else out and about around Oakledge on Sunday just after sunrise who saw this as well?”

But after 73 postings, mostly from people who think he saw Champ, Olsen disabled YouTube’s commenting capability for his video.

A comment poster using the name “talkinglake” was enthusiastic about the video.

“Looks Champ-like to me! And some who have seen such sights in the past were alarmed that our creature had died, but maybe life lives on! Yay. Cool vid.”

Some users commented that Olsen had only joined YouTube on May 16 and had posted just three other videos.

But by early Wednesday, there had been more than 36,000 viewings of the video, which Olsen named “Strange sighting on Lake Champlain.”

One of those was Joe Nickell, a cryptozoologist in Amherst, who told the Associated Press he believes that the creature was a young moose swimming in the lake.

Ellen Marsden, a biology professor at the University of Vermont, agreed with Nickell, telling the Burlington Free Press she thinks the animal could be a young moose in distress.

Olsen admits he doesn’t know what it was.

Tracked down by a reporter for the Free Press, he told the paper, “It struck me as something that was long (and) that it didn’t have much girth.”

The Free Press contacted its own consulting cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman of Portland, Maine, who said a laboratory analysis would be necessary.

“The film needs to have a formal forensic analysis performed, to break it down frame by frame. It needs to be looked at very seriously.”

Since the Vermont-based Champ Quest group became inactive a few years ago, there has been no central clearinghouse for Champ sightings.

Last summer, there were few reported sightings of the legendary lake monster.

Whatever the animal was that Olsen saw, he told the Free Press that he never saw it leave the water.

He said he stopped filming after two minutes because his cell phone was running out of memory

More video here including new enhancements and stabilization of the video

”Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." ~H. L. Mencken

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