Friday 1 May 2009

Lake Monsters of South America

There appear to be many tales of lake beasties in South America especially in Patagonia.

An American prospector working in the Andean Foot Hills in 1922 came across a trail of large tracks leading into a lake and wrote I saw in the middle of the lake an animal with a huge neck like a swan, and the movements made me to suppose the beast to have a body like that of a crocodile.” At White Lake, locals talk of a strange creature with a long reptile neck swimming in the darkness of night. And say strange noises can be heard and the sounds of something sliding on the beach in the night.

In 1907, a member of the Boundary Demarcation Commission named Vaag,was was said to have found carcass of a plesiosaur-like animal and some tracks along the River Tamago which borders Chile and Argentina..

The most famous lake monster though is Nahuelito found in lake Nahuel Huapi.

Nahuel Huapi Lake is located at the foot of the Patagonian Mountains in the Nahuel Huapi National Park and has a surface area of approximately 342 miles and is said to be 1350 feet. On the shores of Nahuel Huapi is one of the most popular holiday resorts, Bariloche. Many tourists have reported sightings of an unknown creature in the lake . The earliest known encounters with Nahuelito can be traced back to the Nahuel Huapi Lake’s native population, who for centuries told of gigantic creature living in the lake. The first official reports came from zoologist Clementi Onelli. He wrote that a Chilean farmer in 1897 was in Patagonia and reported hearing the sounds of something heavy being dragged along the pebble beach near White Lake. He also thought Vaag had found the remains of peliosaur. Then an American gold prospector named Martin Sheffield in 1922 , saw "an animal with a huge neck like a swan, and the movements made me suppose the beast to have a body like that of a crocodile."Onelli was convinced this was a genuine sighting and set off on an expedition after waiting for permits but came back empty handed.

One of the more detailed reports of a meeting with Nahuelito was in the Toronto Globe on April 6, 1922, 12 years after the sighting originally occurred in 1910. The article tells the details of a story by a man named George Garrett, a manager of a company based near Nahuel Huapi Lake. The article states that Garrett and some other mean were making their way windward, up a 5 mile long inlet called Pass Coytrue, which was roughly a mile in width and an unknown depth. Just as the men neared the rocky shore of the peninsula which created the inlet, Garret looked astern, and to his surprise about a quarter of a mile to leeward he saw an object which appeared to be 15 to 20 feet in diameter and that came roughly 6 feet out of the water, after a few minutes the object submerged into the lake.

In 1994, two young women, Paula Jacarbe and Jessica Campbell, reported that while sunbathing on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake, in an area known as the Peninsula de San Pedro, they had witnessed what they described as a headless whale with a humped back and small fins along its side frolicking in the water. Shortly after the creature submerged back into the lake, Campbell sat down on a rocky outcropping overlooking the lake in order to collect her thoughts and calm her nerves. Approximately 45 minutes after the initial sighting the creature resurfaced and began surging through the water. Fearing for her life she ran away.

Some have wondered if Nahuelito could be the result of nuclear experimentations done by German scientists during the Peron regime in the 1950’s, causing a mutation of a known creature,although sightings of the creature began long before this date.

In 2006 A series of photos were produced anonymously. Full story here:


And for more information about this Patagonian nessie:

Another familiar tale ,many lake monster sightings have similarities. Unless Nessie goes on holiday regularly there must be more than one monster about!

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