At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Monday, 2 June 2014


Lake Memphrémagog
Straddling the border between the United States and Canada, we find Lake Memphrémagog.  It has long been reported that a monster swims about in its depths.  This is true of many lakes in North America and it is probable that in some cases the rumors are no more than pieces of folklore or the result of misperceptions.  However, each case is worthy of examination.

The monster is said to have featured in the beliefs of the local Native Americans but the first definitely recorded sighting was in 1815.  However, a suspicious fact is that descriptions of the creature tend to vary.  It has been referred to as a sea-serpent, by which I take it it has some elongated features - neck or whole body.  One witness claimed it looked like two deer swimming one behind the other, with four horns.  One wonders if what the witness saw was in fact two deer swimming one behind the other.  The monster is supposed to dwell in the deepest part of the lake at Owl's Head.  A "serpent" was observed by H. Guyon a number of times in the 1940s.  He asserted it was 150' long.  He said its skin resembled that of a catfish.  In 1976 or thereabouts there was a sighting of what was described as a seal with a long neck.  (It has, actually, been suggested that the Loch Ness Monster is an unknown species of long-necked seal).  At Owl's Head in 1972 a creature with a "horse's head" dove beneath the boat of Miss H. Hicks, Director, Red Cross, Essex County.  There was a further report in 2005.

A nearby lake is Massawippi, also credited with a monster.  Peradventure it is the same monster as that of Memphrémagog, for rumor has it there is a tunnel under water connecting the lakes.  It has been described as 6'-7' in length with a head resembling that of a catfish.  Could it be a catfish?  They can live a long time and grow to considerable sizes.  Divers in the lake are said to have seen 'enormous things' without further elaboration.  Another rumor says the lake harbors fish with cows' heads.

The whole story of the Massawippi Monster may spring from or have been influenced by a sculpture said to have been formerly visible on a rock on the shoreline.  It depicted an Indian head with a serpent around its neck.

The trouble with many lake monsters is that it is so easy to mistakenly believe you have seen a monster when in fact you have perceived something else.  Disturbances in the water, rocks, vegetation and normal animals can all take on a monstrous look.  The "upturned boat" type of monster could turn out to be just that - - an upturned boat.  The backs of large fish breaking the surface can also look fairly monstrous.  Few people realize just how big a sturgeon or a wels can grow.  Even features on the shore, seen from the wrong angle, may cause a mistaken report.

Therefore, many monster reports have to be treated with considerable caution.  However, that doesn't mean there aren't any monsters.  The depths of the waters are always mystifying and, when shadowed, can seem places of strangeness and dread. 

Map of Lake Massawippi

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