Wednesday 17 June 2020

Does a man eater lurk in Lake Labynkyr and Lake Varoto?

Killer Creature in Lake Labynkyr and Lake Varoto?
Lake Labynkyr is a deep lake situated on the territory of Oimyakon uluss. Legends speak about the monster that lives deep in the water of the legendary lake and attacks dogs, reindeers and even people. Stories say how one day the monster wiped out a caravan of Eleven ( one of the native peoples in the area)people. There are several documented encounters. The public first learned about the monster in the 1950's from the diaries of soviet geologist named Tverdohlebov. Since then several expeditions have set out to prove or disprove the existence of a monster. It is said that it could be a huge pike, a water mammoth, a reptile or a plesiosaurus, or even something from the parallel world. The expeditions don’t seem to have reported any findings.
I came across a story from the nineteenth century that in a remote region of Russia known as Sakha, or "the Devil" there lived a monster in the lake there called Labinkir It was said to be a large, aggressive creature. Further research found the following : Two geologists in 1953, doing prospecting work reported to the USSR academy of Science to have seen the creature who according to their testimony appeared from the water and approached them menacingly before disappearing. Then in the early 1960’s several people said they saw a monster with a long neck come up out of the lake making an eerie sound. Another person who saw it reported it as being lizard-like. Some reindeer owners claimed they saw the monster’s long neck bolt out of the water, trying to catch a nearby fowl. In 1964 a group of hunters claimed they saw a deer swimming in the water with a dog in pursuit. Suddenly out of mist a giant dinosaur-like monster appeared and the deer and dog disappeared into the waters.
A group of biologists from the university of Moscow on a research trip into the extreme eastern part of Russia declared they could not rule out the creature's existence.” We have scanned the bottom of the lake with an echo meter and have run into long living objects in movement" was the quote in "Itoqi" ("The Balance",a Russian weekly founded in 1996.)
Head of the expedition, Liudmila Emilianova, concedes that the 5 to 6 meter objects are not irrefutable proof of the creature's existence but believes their findings to be "a first step of a sensational discovery." Professor Emilianova believes the eye witness testimony of the local people. One of these reports given by a fisherman whilst out in his boat ,was that he saw the creature rise out of the water and then submerge. Others claimed they have seen the creature in Lake Verona about 20 kilometers away and it is suspected by some that the creature goes back and forth via an underground tunnel. Professor Emilianova said she will return to the Lake with more sophisticated equipment to further research the area.
 The lack of a lot of documented sightings may be because the lake is some 150 kilometres from the nearest civilization,a village called Tontor, and is ,without doubt, one of the most isolated areas of the world, and very cold, temperatures often dipping to -70 degrees below freezing.(,however like Loch Ness, the lake never freezes). There are no paved roads and one could only arrive by horse, airplane, helicopter, or land rover.
I then found the following report, I presume from the expedition:
The expedition to lake Labinkir was in end of august 2000.
The lake Labinkir is located in a remote part of East-Siberian mountains, at height about thousand meters above a sea level.. The unique natural conditions (in particular probability of presence of underwater caves system) and inaccessibility for the man, allow to assume that from very old times, in its dark waters could live ancient animals.During expedition, the measurements of lake with the sonar were made. The bottom in places of measurements was equal, with light evaluations. Average depths about 35 meters. The vegetation at the bottom lakes completely absent, bottom structures is small rocks, and there is rather low fish. During one of gaugings, the abnormal signals, from a large body (about eight - ten meters) were received, which has passed on depth of eleven meters (general depth of twenty two meters) under a boat, make several circles nearby and disappeared... But the questions have remained.
Dmitry Shiller said: 'We did several dives at different depths - from open air and from a tent (on the ice). We did one night deep dive. At each lake we cut several ice holes for diving. We gathered water samples at different depths. 
'In total, we did about about 200 different measurements and took about 20 samples. The maximum depth we have managed was 59.6 metres.
'Vorota lake is 30 km from Labynkyr. The scientists suspect that the lakes are connected, that there is something like underground tunnels. 
'Trying to understand the unique hydro system of these places, we needed to take some samples from Vorota too. The scientists never had such a chance previously and they asked us if we could make it and reach the second lake.'
He stressed that intriguing evidence was found that the claim of the lakes being linked maybe true. Though apart by 30km, their water levels are the same.
'What we found in support of this idea is that the water level of both lakes is identical which made us think about connecting vessels concept'.
He added: The Yakutian scientists are very grateful for our samples. They promise to tell us about the results in three months. I know that they are keen to study the living organisms which can survive in such conditions, and to check what the fish is eating in those lakes because at first glance food supply is very poor there.
'We were keen to find the crack that is supposed to be at the bottom of Lake Labynkyr: In this case we could have tried to dive deeper, but unfortunately we did not find it. Maybe this is the task for our next expedition to Labynkyr.
Viktor Tverdokhlebov, of the East Siberian branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. reported  a 1953 sighting of a 'monster' in neighbouring Lake Vorota  which was initially covered up by the Soviet authorities.
30 July: This is what happened today. It was sunny friendly morning, Boris Bashkatov and I went on a walking trip around Lake Vorota.  We had to climb rocks on the way - about 11 am the way became dangerous and we decided to go down a bit, closer to the water. Looking at the water from the rock, I clearly saw a terrace under the water with a huge white spot on it. But when I looked at the terrace again a minute later there was no white spot there. 'Maybe sunshine is joking with me', I thought. But suddenly Boris shouted 'Look! What is there, in the middle?'  We stopped. Some 300-400 meters away on the water there was clearly seen some white object, shining under the sunlight. 'A barrel', said Boris, 'made of tin.' 'Maybe a horse got into the lake,' I said. 'The object was swimming, and fast enough. It was something alive, some animal. It was making an arch - first along the lake, then right towards us. As it was getting closer, a strange coldness like a stupor was growing inside me. Above the water there was big dark grey body, the white colour has gone. On this dark grey background there were clearly visible two symmetrical light spots looking like eyes and there was just stick in the body - maybe a fin? Or a harpoon of an unlucky fisherman?'We saw just a part of the animal but we could guess its much bigger, massive body was under the water. We could guess this looking how the monster was moving - raising from the water, it threw its body forward then fully went under the water. At this time the waves were going away from its head, waves originating under the water. 'Flapping its mouth, catching fish', I guessed.'The animal was obviously swimming towards us and the waves made by the animal reached our legs. We looked at each other and immediately began to climb up the rock. What if 'it' goes out of the water? We witnessed a predator, no doubt, one of the strongest predators in this world: such indomitable, merciless and some sensible fierceness was in every his movement, in all its looks.'The animal stopped some 100 meters away from the shore. Suddenly it began to beat against the water, waves went all ways, we could not understand what was going on. Maybe it lasted just a minute and then the animal was gone, dived. It was only then when I thought about a camera. We stood for another 10-20 minutes, it was quiet. We went further. 'There was no doubt, we saw the 'devil' - the legendary monster of this area. The Yakut fisherman was right, the animal had dark grey skin and the distance between its eyes was surely not less than a raft of 10 logs. But he saw it in Labynkyr and we saw it in Vorota lake. They are 20 km away from each other - and they are not connected. I recalled that white spot under the water. Obviously, the animal was hunting at that underwater terrace and we scared it when shouted going down the rocks'.
There is a possibility that the waters of the two lakes are connected by a subterranean channel. Dr Emeliyanova wants to investigate a theory that the two lakes are linked by underground tunnels.

Trying to find theories to explain the sightings, if it is not a leftover from the Jurassic Age that somehow survived  the Ice Age - some have suggested an abnormally huge and well-fed pike.Yury Gerasimov, head of the Ichthyology Department of the Institute of Biology of Freshwater of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is dubious. 'I have never come across such a big pike and I highly doubt they can exist. If we trust the stories about this 'Devil', there must be about 1.5 metres between its eyes. It means the length of its body must be about 7-8 metres.'Pike do not live so long in order to reach such a big size. There are two factors that help fish to grow - nutrition and comfortable water temperatures. Even if nutrition is perfect there, surely the temperatures are not that high. So in my opinion the view about a huge pike is a fantastic one'.
The creature is said to be a killer : 

In the book Trip to the Cold Pole by Gennady Borodulin* there is a tale from Labynkyr in the 1920s.

“An Evenk family of nomads followed their reindeer and reached the shore of Lake Labynkyr. They decided to stay overnight on the shore. A five-year old child went to the bank of a stream which led into the lake while adults were busy. Suddenly the adults heard the boy screaming.
The father and grandfather rushed to the bank. They stopped on the edge of water and saw the child being carried away by an unknown animal to the centre of the lake. It was a dark creature, with a mouth looking like bird's beak. It held the child and moved away with quick rushes, then it dived leaving huge waves and dragged the child under the water.
The granddad swore to revenge the 'devil. He took a sack made of animal skin, stuffed it with reindeer fur, rags, dry grass and pine trees needles, put a smouldering piece of wood inside. He attached the sack to a huge stone on shore with a rope and then threw the sack far into the waters of the lake.
At night there was noise and splashes and terrible screams of the 'devil'.  In the morning the waves brought the huge dead animal, about seven meters long with a huge jaw, almost one-third size of the body, and relatively small legs and fins.
The old man cut the animal's stomach, took out the body of his grandson, and buried him on the bank of the stream. Since then this stream is called 'The Stream of a Child'.

Some accounts even suggest the 'creature' makes a hideous primeval cry as it attacks its prey. “Personally, I do believe that when the information about something strange circulates among local people for so many years, it just can't be groundless, it means something is there’ said Dr Emeliyanova. “I know the local people very well - they are ingenuous but they do not lie”.
So sighting from eminent scientists and sonar tracings,are you inclined to believe and in what? There is another candidate which has been around from the Jurassic Era.
The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), also known as the gavial or the fish-eating crocodile.It has a long snout full of teeth which could be mistaken for a beak type appendage and is  among the longest of all living crocodilians. Mature females are 2.6–4.5 m (8 ft 6 in–14 ft 9 in) long, and males 3–6 m (9 ft 10 in–19 ft 8 in). They have a distinct boss at the end of the snout, which resembles an earthenware pot known as a ghara, hence the name "gharial". The gharial is well adapted to catching fish because of its long, thin snout and 110 sharp, interlocking teeth. Male gharials with an alleged length of 7.16–9.14 m (23 ft 6 in–30 ft 0 in) were sighted around the turn of the 20th century.The gharial probably evolved in the northern Indian subcontinent. Fossil gharial remains were excavated in Pliocene deposits in the Sivalik Hills and the Narmada River valley. It currently inhabits rivers in the plains of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. It is the most thoroughly aquatic crocodilian, and leaves the water only for basking and building nests on moist sandbanks. Male gharials with an alleged length of 7.16–9.14 m (23 ft 6 in–30 ft 0 in) were sighted around the turn of the 20th century.It would have to evolve greatly to adapt to the cold waters but its distinctive snout makes it a candidate for the creature that may reside in both lakes.
*please note I have been unable to locate a copy of the book to confirm this entry which I got from the Siberian Times.

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