In the good old days before the internet, if you wanted sensationalized, unsubstantiated facts, and absurd story-lines, one had to peruse the check-out lines at your local supermarket, for it was there where you would find the “rags,” a.k.a., the tabloids. These “news” magazines were sordid sheets that filled the public with salacious gossip, fashion trends, crazy diets, alien sightings, roaming creatures, and mythical beasts that prowled the night. Most of it was either “fake news” to borrow a phrase, or at the very least, exaggeration to the point of absurdity in order to titulate the public. (Not unlike your local “Community News,” with their stories of high school sports, and garage sales, and breathless reporting regarding the new skateboarding park, and other such nonsense that nobody would ever believe.)
However, if you read the trashier tabloids you will often encounter stories of people who say that aliens have already been here, and for some reason, have an unhealthy obsession with probing people in their most intimate of areas. (As a man over 50, I’ve already been probed on multiple occasions, and all I know is, while my insurance took care of the bill, I’m not sure they will pay for an alien probe seeing that it would be performed out of network. Thanks a lot Obama!) There are multiple issues regarding these kinds of stories, not the least of which is that they always seem to happen to people who either live way out in the woods or in a trailer in the desert, or in countries where it’s hard to verify whether their stories are true or not. Russia seems to be a favorite place for aliens to probe. (Literally and figuratively.) Is Putin aware of this? Does he allow such nonsense to go on? Sometimes it’s a place like Uzbekistan, or Kazakhstan, or some other such location where aliens seem to enjoy running wild
Incredibly, the Capital Region is host to not one, but two mythical creatures. The first is a beast whose story has been told and retold for many years. I first heard the tale of the great leviathan known as Champ back in the fall of 1994. At the school where I teach, Rensselaer High School, one of the requirements that all seniors must meet is to make a 20 minute presentation to a panel of teachers on practically any topic that may be of interest to the student. Topics have included historical events, great artists, sports figures, local traditions, and of course, unsolved mysteries. It was here where a student of mine told us about a creature that lurks in the depths of Lake Champlain. He is known as Champ.
If the story of a great serpent like beast trolling through the waters of a fresh-water lake sound familiar to you, then you know your unsolved mysteries. Scotland’s famous and infamous Loch Ness Monster is often considered the “gold standard” of mysterious aquatic beasts. Champ may not have the international fame of the Loch Ness Monster, but it has its fans to be sure. How do these two great sea monsters compare? Well…
Loch Ness Monster (Fun Facts)
The land of kilts, thistles, haggis, and instantaneous rage is the home of one of the world’s most fascinating myths, the story of Nessie. Loch Ness (Loch is Lake in Welsh.) is an enormous freshwater lake located in central Scotland. It is a long, narrow shaped lake, not unlike Lake Champlain. It holds more water than all of the lakes and rivers in England and Scotland combined. It is only six degrees Celsius all year, or 42 degrees Fahrenheit. (Prime for shrinkage gentlemen.) Loch Ness is a dark and murky lake which would explain why it’s so difficult to spot a sea monster swimming around in its depths. The first sightings of Nessie dates back to 565 AD. The myth of Nessie really took off in 1933 when George Spicer (No relation to Sean) reported a sighting. Nessie which means “pure” is good for the local economy, generating 25 million pounds annually. Some believe it might be a plesiosaurus, which had its heyday around 205 million years ago. There have been dozens of searches, and despite the fact that there are approximately 25 sightings per year of the monster, no official search has ever turned up anything. This includes the time when Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” herself planned to bring in dolphins from America (Larry Csonka and Dan Marino?) to search for Nessie, and still nothing turned up. Most of the famous photographs depicting a sea-serpent like creature poking its head up above Loch Ness have turned out to be hoaxes.