Tag Archives: Lake Monster

One Eyed Willy of Chollas Lake

Context: H is a  23 year old American, born in California and lived there until moving to Denver Colorado for College. After spending nearly five years in Denver he moved to New Mexico where he currently lives and has lived for the past two years. This entry was collected over a Zoom call. 

Intv: “Do you remember any of the tales that came out of the summer camp we went to?”

H: “There was that one, of like One Eyed Willy… I wish I could remember the story better, you might actually be able to help me out a little.” 

Intv: “Hmm wasn’t there like a kid who was fishing or something?”

H: “I thought it had to do with a fish that took the eye of a fisherman? Oh, didn’t it go like The fisherman hooked the fish in the eye, and when the fish started to pull, he wouldn’t let go and got dragged down into the lake? Cause I remember there was that structure out in the lake and we all used to say that’s where the fisherman remained, and we were always told to look out for a fish with one eye when we would fish.” 

Analysis: I can’t say for certain, but I wonder if One Eyed Willy got his name from The Goonies. However, for a kid without any prior knowledge of The Goonies, it so easily became a piece of folklore that many children, myself included, believed. Outside of being a fun ghost story however, it also serves the purpose of informing young campers how to be safe while fishing. To be careful so that One Eyed Willy wouldn’t get you. 

Tahoe Tessie

Background information: My mom is a second-generation Filipino-American, meaning she was born here in the US. Her parents immigrated from the Philippines when they were both relatively young, and my mom’s family grew up with a lot of relatives in San Francisco, CA. However, later in her childhood, she moved with her parents and sister to Lake Tahoe, CA.

Mom: There’s like a little Loch Ness Monster type thing that people talk about in Tahoe called “Tahoe Tessie”. I’ve never really seen anything, but you know when you really stare out at the water, your eyes might play tricks on you. Sometimes though, I really have felt like I couldn’t identify what something was, and I think, no one really knows what could be in the lake – no one has ever gotten all the way to the bottom! It’s a hella deep lake, and who knows, maybe there is some kind of freshwater serpentine thing. No one would know because it’s not like they ever mess with anyone or anything on the shore.

Me: Where did you learn about Tahoe Tessie?

Mom: I think it’s just the kind of thing you hear about as a kid, I remember my friends asking me if I had heard about Tahoe Tessie, or being at the lake and hearing people talk about seeing it. But it’s well-known for people who live there.

This legend is interesting because it is so specific to an area/region – I don’t think very many people outside of Lake Tahoe know about Tahoe Tessie, and I have never heard of anyone who has had an actual sighting. However, my mom mentioned a lot about the idea of the “unknown” since no one has ever actually seen the entirety of Lake Tahoe, and I think that this is where a lot of legendary creatures like Tahoe Tessie come from.

“Bozho” the lake monster – Tale

Piece:Uhm think about this, my dad told me this story about this one monster and I’ll tell you what the name of it is, so lake Mendota, its called Bozho, so its like a serpentine snake like creature, its like the monster of lake Mendota, my dad said that in all lakes of Wisconsin. Delavan lake, Lake Geneva, whatever, theres a monster that has access to all the lakes,  so if you swim past the designated area like the buoys and shit. It can get you, its too shallow near the shore so it cant swim there, he told me this so that I would stay within the buoys.

Background information:The informant is a close friend of mine from back home. (Wisconsin) He lives in the town adjacent to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, so he is very familiar with the area.

Context: The informant first heard this tale as a kid. His dad used it to scare him from swimming outside the buoys. The informant remembers it because he lives on the lake, so he always has a reminder.

Personal Analysis: I’ve never heard of this lake monster, but I can definitely see why it was used to prevent kids from swimming past the buoys. What scared me from swimming in the lake as a kid was a short story a person had told me. A man had said that if you swim out past the piers, the seaweed wraps itself around your legs and drowns you. Although it’s not a sea monster, seeing the sea weed sway with the current certainly personified it enough to scare me.

 

Lake Champlain Monster: Champ

Piece:

“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.”

Analysis:

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.

Context:

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.

Lake Kelowna and The Ogopogo

Collector: Can you tell me about the Ogopogo?

HK: Well, at the like I visit in the summer, Lake Kelowna, there is a legend that a sea serpent just like the Lochness monster lives in the lake there. 

Collector: What is the Ogopogo like?

HK: It’s supposedly like huge green sea serpent that lives at the bottom of the lake. It’s pretty much just like the Loch

Ness Monster but the Canadian version. 

Collector: Is this a common legend there?

HK: Yeah everyone that goes to Kelowna or lives there knows all about the Ogopogo.

Collector: Do you believe that this Ogopogo actually is real and lives in the lake? Do the people of Kelowna believe in the Ogopogo? 

 HK: I don’t believe it anymore but as a young child I was very scared of it and wouldn’t ever want to go into the water. Yeah, a lot of people do believe in it people have claimed to see it and it is a pretty large fixture in the community. There are even signs referencing it and statues of the Ogopogo. 

Collector: When were you first introduced to this legend and how was it presented to you?

HK: The first time I heard of the Ogopogo was one summer when I first visited the lake with my parents and grandparents when I was seven years old. My grandfather was telling me and my sister stories by the fire one night. He told us how he had been coming to the Lake Kelowna since he was a kid and the legend had always been around. He said that the serpent would come out of the water every few years and lived at the bottom of the lake feeding on the deep swimmers and fish. After hearing that story for him I began to see and hear references of the Ogopogo all over town. I really wish he didn’t tell us because, me and my sister were scared of the lake for years after, even though we would have heard about it somewhere else eventually. 

Collector: How has your understanding and belief in the legend changed over time?

HK: I just don’t really believe it in anymore. I did as a kid and a lot of kids there do, but as I’ve gotten older and never have actually seen it I kinda just stopped worrying about it or believing it. Also, since its kinda a playful part of the community like the statues and signs around town, it just seems more like a spooky story to have fun with rather than anything real. 

Context: My informant is an eighteen-year-old freshman student at USC. He was born and raised solely in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada until age fifteen then moved to Palm Desert, California. Even since living in California, my informant has still spent around a month every summer at Lake Kelowna. His performance of explaining this legend to me was done at the Sigma Chi fraternity house at USC. 

Analysis: I thought this legend of the Ogopogo to be a very fascinating one. It strikes me as peculiar and interesting that even though it is very similar to the legend of the Lochness Monster, that I had never heard of it even though Lake Kelowna is much closer to America and where I have spent my life. I also find it fascinating that the legend seems to be such a cultural characteristic of Lake Kelowna. Not only is it just something everyone seems to be aware of there,0 but they market it and have statues of it.