Tuesday, February 25, 2014

1977 Mansi 'Champ' Photo Displayed For 1st Time

'Champ' researcher Katy Elizabeth joined us on 'Beyond The Edge Radio' this past Sunday...click here for the podcast. You can purchase her book ---> Water Horse Of Lake Champlain

Sandra Mansi was on vacation in Burlington with her family from Connecticut in 1977, when they decided to take the trip out onto Lake Champlain that would change her life forever.

While paused in the middle of the lake for a swim, Mansi asked her fiance at the time to grab her Instamatic camera.

And that’s when she saw it — a plesiosar-like creature who popped out of the water, just long enough for her to document the moment permanently.

“While he was getting her camera, she saw turbulence out in the water, and she’s going, ‘Oh cool, we’re going to see a big fish. This is going to be so awesome for the kids,’” Science Education Specialist Linda Bowden said. Bowden is considered a Champ “expert” at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center and has worked with Mansi for about 11 years. “

“She knew there was nothing dangerous in Lake Champlain,” Bowden said. “Then there was all this turbulence, and this creature rose up and it turned its head.”

Mansi’s fiance returned, yelling for the kids to get out of the water, and he threw Mansi her camera, Bowden said. The three inch by four inch photo that Mansi snapped that afternoon is her proof of the day she said she saw Champ, what she and hundreds of others allege is a lake monster who resides in the depths of Lake Champlain.

The original photo was donated by Mansi, now in her 60s, to the ECHO Center in 2012, and it is on display for the first time on the center’s first floor as part of the center’s larger ChampFEST celebration. It is accompanied by a 10-minute video featuring Mansi telling her story of the day she saw the lake monster and how it changed her life.

During its reveal on Saturday, most people walked past the tiny photo without noticing it was there. Some noticed and decided to take a closer look at the large, dark creature depicted in the photo.

ECHO Executive Director Phelan Fretz said that though he does not believe in Champ’s existence, the picture is considered a piece of scientific data.

“It’s the real thing,” Fretz said. “It’s an undoctored photo. It felt like, as a science institution, we ought to share this fundamental data.”

Bowden said the photo only adds to the over 300 documented stories of Champ as well as the first-hand accounts ECHO personnel continue to hear from the public.

“People are seeing something on the lake.,” Bowden said. “Is it Champ? I’m not sure, but it’s something, and all you can do is share stories about the sightings. People are drawn to that. It’s a curiosity, and it’s part of our culture.”

The fascination over Champ is palpable, with monuments and statues of the lake monster erected throughout Burlington and businessesnamed for the creature. Bowden said she has students calling her constantly for school projects on Champ, wanting to know what type of environment would sustain it or what Champ might eat.

“I love sharing the stories,” Bowden said. “I just love being able to talk to people and say, ‘You know, it’s really cool that people are having these kinds of experiences out there.’”

Mansi’s photo will be on display at the center until Sunday, March 2, throughout the remainder of ChampFEST. Fretz said the photo helps spark a greater interest in and passion for Lake Champlain in the general public.

“The idea of one creature being here for an extraordinary time, it’s a pretty far stretch,” Fretz said. “On the other end, the power of humans to want to believe in the power of a creature like that can bring us all closer to the lake.” - Burlington Free Press

Water Horse Of Lake Champlain

The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America's Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness Monster, the Lake Erie Monster, And Champ of Lake Champlain (Graphic Mysteries)


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