Graveyard Shift
260.2k readers

What Is The Brosno Dragon And Has It Really Been Lurking In A Russian Lake Since The 13th Century?

Updated July 2, 2021 260.2k views13 items

According to legends, the extended family of the Loch Ness monster lives all over the world and includes a dinosaur-like creature in Russia's Lake Brosno, affectionately known as Brosny, Brosnya, or the Brosno Dragon. As one of Russia's most famous urban legends, Brosny is also one of the most fearsome Russian cryptids. With its long tail, fish-like head, and giant mouth, the creature swallows men, boats, and islands whole according to stories. Although legends about Brosny date back to the 13th century, modern people still claim to see the creature leisurely swimming through the lake on occasion.

The icy Lake Brosno in Russia's Tver region may be an unlikely home for a dragon, but stories about its terrifying abilities and hunger claim otherwise. Like the cadborosaurus, a sea serpent sometimes spotted off North America's northern Pacific coast, the Brosno Dragon is elusive and has defied photographers for years. While some people believe witnesses of the beast have mistaken other creatures like boars or giant fish for the lake monster, scientists have a variety of other logical explanations. Did Brosny really stop the Tatar-Mongol army from capturing Novgorod or devour a German plane during WWII? According to legends, it did and may still be around to terrify Lake Brosno visitors, boaters, and fishermen.

  • Photo: Sebastian Münster / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Several Vikings Claimed To Have Witnessed Brosny Devour An Entire Island

    An ancient story about the Brosno Dragon comes from the time of the Vikings. According to legend, a small group of men believed the area around Lake Brosno would be a good location to hide their treasure. They noticed a small island located a good distance from shore and decided it would be a secure place to stash their loot. Some of the group piled into a boat with the treasure and began to cross the lake to the island.

    Before they could reach the island's shore, however, the creature appeared before them. According to stories, Brosny either swallowed the island and prevented the Vikings from succeeding at their task or devoured the group of men before they could return to land. Whatever the end result, the story helped inspire rumors about the size of Brosny's mouth as well as its appetite.

  • Brosny Is Said To Use Its Enormous Maw To Swallow Up Boats And Fishermen Whole

    Stories claim Brosny's mouth is so enormous that it has the ability to swallow islands, boats, and people whole. In some tales, the creature doesn't bother to come to the surface of the lake and instead simply opens its mouth to allow any surrounding boats to flow in. In other stories, witnesses claimed Brosny appeared like a "sand mountain" that rose out of the lake and towered above them. Many people also believed the creature capsized boats traveling through the lake and is responsible for the disappearances of several people.

    Due to the ancient legends and more recent tales, many residents surrounding the lake grew scared of going near the water, including swimming, boating, and fishing. "I'm afraid," one resident reportedly said. "I do not feel comfortable staying in this place. The monster could crawl into my house any day."

  • Legend Says Brosny Destroyed A Group Of Tatar-Mongol Invaders With Fear

    One of the first stories in which Brosny appears dates back to the 13th century. According to the legend, the Tatar-Mongol army encountered the creature while traveling to the city of Novgorod during an attempt to expand the Mongolian Empire.

    The group's leader and the grandson of Genghis Khan, Batu Khan, decided to stop at Lake Brosno so his men and their horses could rest. As the horses approached the water to drink, an enormous creature sprung out of the lake and surprised the horses and men. Although the terrified army tried to run, Brosny opened its huge mouth and devoured many of the men and their horses. Those lucky enough to survive fled. The terrible event horrified them so greatly that the survivors decided to end their journey. 

  • The Monster Is Rumored To Target Fascists

    One of the most famous tales about Brosny dates back to the 1940s, sometime around WWII. Although the details are unclear, the story claims a German pilot allegedly encountered the creature while flying over or near Lake Brosno. Somehow, the plane either fell into the water or flew low enough that Brosny could reach the jet from its home in the water. However it happened, the story claims the creature captured the plane in its mouth and the pilot was unable to escape its grasp. According to legend, the creature then swallowed the plane and the pilot whole.

    Since stories of this incident allege it was a German soldier or a fascist, they may have been inspired by people's feelings about what was going on in the world at the time.