PRETTYmuch wherever one goes in the world where there is a large enough body of water there are bound to be reports of lake monsters. This strange phenomenon transcends cultural and geographical boundaries, and with so many such creatures swimming through the lakes of the world it sometimes seems that our waterways are absolutely crawling with mystery monsters. I have written of lake monsters from all over the world, and here I will take a look at some of the more well known such aquatic anomalies from the far eastern country of China.
One of the more well-known Chinese lake monsters known of by the outside world is something strange lurking in the depths of the volcanic Lake Tianchi, or Heaven’s Lake, in the isolated mountain region of the Baekdudaegan and Changbai mountain ranges on the border of China and North Korea. Although sightings of strange things in the lake go back hundreds of years, public attention was drawn to the phenomenon in 1903, when a group of three people was allegedly set upon by a massive creature similar in appearance to a buffalo, which came crashing out from beneath the waves to attack. The beast was reportedly shot six times, but survived to sink back down into the depths and disappear.
In later years, another high profile report of the monster of Lake Tianchi would surface in August of 1962, when a witness observed through a telescope two large creatures seeming to play and chase each other. This set off a wave of sightings, with over a hundred people reporting seeing the monster, sometimes more than one of them at the same time, and descriptions varied from that it was some sort of giant fish to a long-necked, plesiosaur-like beast with a human sized head, with many reports making mention of a white ring around the bottom of the neck and smooth, grey skin. In more recent years there was a July, 2003 sighting made by a group of 12 Chinese soldiers, who say they saw a creature with a black head with two four-inch horns and a prominently scaled back, which they watched swimming for 2 minutes before it sank down beneath the waves. The Chinese state news agency Xinhua went on to say that the creature had been spotted an additional 5 times within a 50 minute period earlier that month.
Even more recent is spectacular video footage released in September of 2007 by journalist Zhuo Yongsheng, who was at the lake when he said he saw six of the creatures swimming in unison, which looked to be seal-like, with noticeable, very prominent fins. He managed to take 20 minutes of admittedly blurry footage of the monsters, and said of them:
They could swim as fast as yachts and at times they would all disappear in the water. It was impressive to see them all acting at exactly the same pace, as if someone was giving orders. Their fins—or maybe wings—were longer than their bodies.
There has been much speculation as to what the monsters of Lake Tianchi could be, especially since the lake is considered to be too cold and volcanic for large creatures such as what is described to survive. Ideas include some undiscovered species of whale or freshwater seal, or giant, possibly mutated fish. No one really knows, and reports of the Lake Tianchi monster continue to come in at a steady pace, especially in the summer months.
Another Chinese lake fairly infamous for its lake monsters is Lake Kanas, located in a remote mountainous area of Altay prefecture, in the autonomous northwest region of Xinjiang. The lake itself is a glacial lake, formed some 200,000 years ago in a deep valley, and is known for being the deepest glacial lake in China. It is famous for being set...
To be continued
By Brent Swancer