Nationality: South African, American
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: Spring 2019
Primary Language: English
“So, there’s this lake in the northeast called Lake Champlain, and people who live around the lake say that there’s a monster similar to the Loch Ness monster who occupies the lake, and the name of this monster is Champ. There have been multiple sightings ever since people have come to America, and people around there even believe that the monster, who lives in the lake, was worshipped by Indians as a god. But there have been no violent confrontations with the monster, and it is believed to be very nice and kind.
“I used to go to a ski lodge around the lake, and I heard [this story] from someone at a store there. Like one of those small souvenir stores.”
Local monster stories are both common and relatively easy to keep alive once started. As well as the two named in the story there are tales of the jersey devil, yetis, bigfoot, and countless other seemingly mythical creatures. Upon further investigation into Champ, the Lake Champlain monster, I was able to find examples of his cult of personality. Lake Champlain is the largest lake in the Adirondacks and draws large crowds for outdoor events throughout the year. Historically, the region was home to the Iroquois and the Abenaki, who both had stories about a creature that lived in the lake. Samuel de Champlain was cited as seeing a monster in the lake, but it was later found to have been in a different body of water. He described the creatures he saw as about five feet long, though he was told they grow up to ten, thick as his thigh with scales that even a dagger could not penetrate. This description sounds similar enough to a garfish, which current historians believe to be the actual creature seen in the lake. As time went on many of the stories began to report a larger beast. Some reported it at around thirty feet, while one even went as far as one-hundred and eighty-seven. Over time, sighting numbers and intrigue have grown, with Champ gaining national and international acclaim as ‘America’s Loch Ness Monster’.
More information on Champ can be found on the Lake Champlain tourism website at https://www.lakechamplainregion.com/heritage/champ.
The interviewee is a 23-year-old male who attends the University of Southern California, pursuing a masters degree in computer science. When he was very young, he lived in India, until he moved to South Africa. He lived in South Africa from then until he moved to New York City to pursue his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering.
This interview was conducted in person at the interviewed party’s house. The audio was recorded in order to aid in accurate transcription of the dialogue that took place.