Wednesday, 27 January 2021

The Monster of Lake Tahoe

 Origins of Tessie 

Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains California. It is said to be 1,645 ft (501 metres) deep and about 35 Kilometres( almost 22 miles) in length

Stories of a creature in the lake were told by the   Washoe and Paiute Tribes.The indigenous people held the large creature in high regard. Sightings of something strange in the lake have emerged in more recent times. It has been nicknamed Tessie. Witnesses describe Tessie as being between 10 and 80 feet long, having a large, serpentine body "as wide as a barrel," and ranging from jet black to green. Its skin is usually described as smooth.

In the 1950s, two off-duty police officers out on the lake reported seeing a large, black hump rise from the water going the same speed as their  boat, over 60 mph .

In winter of 1979 off the dock at Homewood,three witnesses who remain anonymous claimed to see Tessie. Described as about as big around as a telephone pole and 30'-60' in length.. It was diving up and splashing down with its head/neck? into the school of fish, which were leaping out of the water ahead of it.

In the 1980s, two fishermen reported seeing a 15-foot-long (4.6 m) serpent pass underneath the surface of the water, near Cave Rock.

Several weeks after, two divers reported finding an underwater cave, and a creature shot out, leaving the silt stirred. Where the creature had been, there were two large fin-prints.

In June 1982 a pair of off-duty Reno policemen saw Tessie. Officers Kris Beebe and Jerry Jones were water-skiing in the lake in June 1982, when they saw a smooth, black thing about 18 to 30 feet long slithering along the surface. The object looked similar to the top of a Volkswagen Bug. One officer who was in the water at the time said it came up right next to him. He didn’t look twice to find out what it was as he scrambled out of the water and back into the boat.Those two officers were shaken by their encounter but when  they told people they were scoffed at. They later moved away and never have talked about what they saw in the lake again.

Reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on July 12, 1984 two women had seen the Lake Tahoe creature  a month earlier. Tahoe City residents Patsy McKay and Diane Stavarakas were hiking above the west shore when they spotted the creature swimming in the lake.

McKay said the beast was about 17 feet long. She watched it closely and saw it surface three times “like a little submarine.” Her companion said that the creature had a humped back, and seemed to surface in a whale-like, lethargic manner.  She was also sure that it wasn’t a diver, a log, or a large ripple.

Mickey Daniels, the local owner of the charter fishing boat Big Mack II, along with others aboard his boat, witnessed a creature creating a wake the size of a boat. Another Tahoe local resident Mike Conway, witnessed something strange  swimming in the lake the mid-80s while doing a shoot for a TV commercial.

In the late 1990s, a kayaking instructor reported seeing what looked like a green two-person kayak flip over and sink. When he approached the area in a speedboat, there were no traces of the kayak, and none of his students had reported flipping over . 

In 2004, an off-duty bartender on the Tahoe Queen took a picture of a black hump in the water, which he claims is the top of the creature's head.

Reported in the Tahoe Daily Tribune on April 29, 2005, Tessie was spotted by a Sacramento couple. They saw "a solid shape in the water with five humps along its back." The sighting occurred off Tahoe Park beach, next to Sunnyside.

In 2006 a family vacationing near Tahoe saw a large, black, creature appearing similar to a sturgeon with an upturned white nose near Lake Tahoe's dark shore. However the creature moved up-and-down instead of side-to-side like a reptile. 

Some say Tahoe Tessie is a massive sturgeon or, possibly a huge  freshwater eel. Others believe it is something more prehistoric.That further begs the question where did the creature come from? It may well have been swept into the lake by  tsunami and trapped thousands of years ago. 

Several thousand years ago, according to Richard Schweickert, a retired University of Nevada, Reno geology professor, the lake experienced just such an event.

While a specific date is hard to pinpoint, it is estimated that a tsunami struck after an earthquake in the basin about 10,000 to 20,000 years ago.They found massive vertical canyons, some as deep as 200 feet, carved into the sidewall such as in Rubicon Point.

“A mass amount of water had to have been thrown out onto the shores that poured back in carving the sidewalls,” said Schweickert. “Extremely large volumes of water were pouring into the sides of the lake.”

The largest number of deep sidewall canyons is near Tahoe Keys in South Lake Tahoe.

Enormous waves may have reached the upper Truckee River Canyon before pouring back into the lake. Some countryside areas were flattened. Sediment and glacial deposits swept into the lake.

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