Sunset at Water
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The Lake Champlain Zoological Inquiry is constantly working at researching the Champ phenomenon.

The current projects planned are a collaboration with Crash-Course Cryptozoology on a documentary, Release The Bodette Film, and a fieldwork trip sometime in 2021 to the marshes of the Ausable river.



Our work in the field takes us to many edges of the lake, diving in the water and surveying the land for any signs of a large, semi-aquatic animal. Tracks, sights, sounds, and other trace evidence are what we're keeping an eye out for.



We believe in educating the public on this phenomenon as much as possible; that means giving the latest updates on new sightings, debunking evidence when it can be proven false, and talking about what might be happening at the lake on both biological and psychological levels.



We're not always out on the lake. Most of the time, research into the phenomenon involves analyzing evidence from afar, like photos and videos, and diving into the history of the area.



The scientific method has, over and over again, proven itself to be the most accurate process in studying the world. We believe results must fit this method to be reliable; that means they must be analyzed objectively and, if correct, be consistent across time as data.



The phenomenon at Lake Champlain involves, to a heavy degree, debating theories. Plesiosaurs? Large terrapins? Pinnipeds? Whatever the answer might be, we believe one must have a solid grasp of their theory's scientific implications to be formed in the first place.



We believe heavily in the preservation of Champs, if they do in fact exist. Laws in local areas around the lake prohibit the direct killing of one such animal; but they do not push for preserving its food supply or keeping its home clean.


Black Water

The so-called “Lake Champlain Monster” is a real thing. It remains in a limbo of half existence as an idea or theoretical concept to explain seemingly inexplicable observations by otherwise rational people of some kind of large, animate phenomena in the lake. This has been going on for hundreds, possibly thousands of years.It has been known by many names. The Iroquois called it “Oniare” and the Western Abenaki called it “Gitaskog”. In the middle of the 19th century, it was “The Lake Champlain Sea Serpent” and a hundred years later, it was “Champy” or “Champ”. Today, the idea means different things to different people. To some, it is simply a good story, regardless of any reality that might lay behind it, a handy piece of regional folklore to promote tourism. Others see it as a bunch of foolishness, wild stories based on faulty observations of briefly glimpsed natural phenomena. However, there remains a small core of people who sincerely believe they have seen either an unknown species or some kind of prehistoric survival in the mysterious depths of the lake. Champ is alive in the minds of these people.While the case for Champ might be compelling by judicial standards, the biological sciences demands a type specimen in order to recognize Champ as a real animal. This has yet to materialize, though people have been actively searching for many years. Something may yet be found, though it may ultimately prove to be less exotic as many have dreamed of. The potential is certainly there : As recently as 10,000 years ago, what is now Lake Champlain was a portion of a larger sea inhabited by large marine animals and some of the fish currently inhabiting the lake are believed to be survivors from that time (sea lamprey, rainbow smelt, landlocked Atlantic Salmon). If there is a Champ or group of Champs, they may have done the same trick as these fishes.Besides the abundant testimony of eyewitnesses for the existence of something weird in the lake, there is also a small body of controversial material evidence that may corroborate the sightings: Sandra Mansi's 1977 photograph, echolocation-like sounds recorded in the lake by Liz Von Muggenthaler in 2003, the 2005 Bodette-Affolter video and Eric Olsen's 2009 video. Obviously, these pieces of circumstantial evidence await further confirmation but remain compelling to many. What will be the ultimate answer to this mystery? The jury is still out.

- Scott Mardis