Most people are familiar with Scotland's Loch Ness Monster, affectionately known as Nessie. She might be the most famous aquatic beast, but Nessie is the star of just one of many lake monster legends. In fact, there are plenty of United States lake monsters with their own stories and sightings. From a half-man, half-goat in Texas to the legendary Lake Champlain Monster in New York, the list of lake monsters within the US extends beyond your wildest imagination.
Are lake monsters real? Or are the reported sightings just fabricated tales meant for your amusement? Although some believe these creatures are nothing more than great camping stories, others have supposedly witnessed the creatures in person and have no doubt about their existence.
Texas: The Half-Man, Half-Goat Lake Worth Monster
In 1969, one of the standard places for teens from Lake Worth, TX, to hang out was near Greer Island, right off Shoreline Road. During the summertime, kids would go on dates near the lake. On July 9, 1969, three couples were parked in the area when they reportedly spotted a creature in a gathering of trees. The monster allegedly jumped on their car and attempted to grab one of the female occupants. They were able to escape unscathed, but the creature left an 18-inch gash on the side of the car.
The following night, another group of people supposedly spotted the monster at the lake, including local deputies. Reports stated the beast appeared to be angry and even threw a tire 500 feet. The group promptly left the area, fearing they would be attacked.
According to legend, the Lake Worth Monster lives near the Trinity River and can swim and climb trees. It eats fish and chickens. The monster is said to have horns and resemble a half-man, half-goat creature. Although there have not been any recent sightings of the Lake Worth Monster, the tale is kept alive with events like the Lake Worth Monster Bash.
North Carolina: Normie The Lake Norman Monster
Locals around Lake Norman, NC, have reported seeing a dinosaur-like creature nicknamed Normie for around 50 years. Those who claim to have seen Normie say it bears a close resemblance to the famed Loch Ness Monster.
Despite the multitude of sightings, many feel that Normie is probably an oversized catfish or possibly an alligator. A diver exploring the lake in the 1990s remembers seeing an odd creature. He noted:
It was at least 8 feet long and 3 feet across the mouth. We hovered in the water for a good five minutes with our lights on it, not believing what we were seeing. I’ve never seen a freshwater fish that big. The only thing it did was to pump its gills and open and shut its mouth slowly, like it didn’t even see us.
New York And Vermont: Champ The Lake Champlain Monster
Lake Champlain is over 100 miles long and borders New York and Vermont. In 1873, newspapers reported a sea monster living in the lake. The first piece mentioned railway employees working near the lake who claimed to have seen a massive serpent with a flat head and silver scales emerging from the water.
Around that same time, a steamboat carrying tourists claimed to have hit the sea monster, which nearly caused the boat to turn over. The sightings only increased from there and the monster was nicknamed “Champ."
In 2003, there were at least three sightings of Champ. In 2007, the History channel featured Champ in the series premiere of its reality show, MonsterQuest.
Kentucky: Herry The Giant Eel Pig
Lake Herrington is a man-made lake located in Mercer, Garrard, and Boyle counties in Kentucky. The lake is a favorite fishing spot, known for its large variety of wildlife - including a strange creature that resembles an eel-pig hybrid. There have been sightings of the beast since the 1920s, but it wasn't taken seriously until Professor Lawrence S. Thompson of the University of Kentucky reportedly encountered the eel-pig swimming near his lake house in 1972.
Witnesses describe the creature as approximately 15 feet long with a body of an eel, the snout of a pig, and a curly tail. There has been much speculation over the years as to whether Herry (as locals call it) is merely an alligator or even an unknown fish species.
- Video: YouTube
Florida: The Muck Monster
In 2009, Greg Reynolds and Dan Serrano, nonprofit workers who clean waterways in the Palm Beach area of Florida, were contacted to remove a log from the Lake Worth Lagoon. The men arrived to remove the log but instead found what they could only describe as a sea monster.
Reynolds was able to record video footage of the creature, which he uploaded to his company's website. The footage eventually went viral, with news stations reporting on what was later named the Muck Monster.
Utah And Idaho: The Bear Lake Monster
The first mention of the Bear Lake Monster appeared in the Deseret News in 1868. It was written by Joseph C. Rich, an Idaho politician and judge. Rich noted the monster was referred to as a "water devil" by Native Americans, and that locals in the area had seen the beast, which resided in the waters of Bear Lake on the Utah-Idaho border. The monster was described as a serpent-like creature with the head of a walrus or dinosaur and prominent ears.
Although Rich allegedly recanted his story about the Bear Lake Monster, the sightings continued and many others came forward with their own tales. In fact, there were several different monster sightings in 1868 in the area, including reports of multiple sea creatures. The sightings have only grown over the years.
The most recent known sighting was in 2002, when Brian Hirschi claimed to have seen a monster. Hirschi was anchoring a boat when he saw what looked like "two humps in the water." Hirschi then said something lifted his boat up, revealing a slimy, serpent-like creature with red eyes. After lifting the boat, the Bear Lake Monster apparently swam away.