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Tea’s Weird Week: Lake Monster Edition

Well now, the nice weather is starting to breeze in. What’s an idyllic summer day? Sitting on a dock with a bucket full of ice and beer, listening to The Ramones and scanning a lake with a pair of binoculars, hoping to spot a Lake Monster? Sounds good to me.

In 2015 I had a book published titled Monster Hunters, which documented my adventures hanging out with people looking for evidence of ghost, UFOs, and cryptids (unknown entities of cryptozoology like Bigfoot, Chupacabras, etc.) In the early planning of the book, I knew there were several experiences I wanted to have and one was most definitely getting out on a Lake Monster expedition.

The most famous Lake Monster of all, of course is the Loch Ness Monster aka Nessie, a childhood favorite of mine. In fact, while backpacking through the UK and Ireland in the year 2000, I convinced my travel partner that we should head into the Highlands so we could check out Loch Ness. We stayed at a hostel in the town of Drumnadrochit, a hotspot of Nessie tourism, so we could go to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition and visited Urquhart Castle, which rested on the shore of the loch and was an area of several Nessie sightings. It was all very exciting to me and I bought as many Nessie souvenirs as I could cram in my backpack.

But I’m getting a bit off track. I was working on Monster Hunters and cryptozoology grandmaster Loren Coleman (prolific author and director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine) sent me in the direction of Champ Camp, an expedition that took place in Vermont in July of 2013. Champ is often called the American Loch Ness Monster, residing Lake Champlain, which is located between Vermont, New York, and Quebec. I signed up and set up camp with the cryptozoologists in Button Bay State Park in Vermont.

That’s me out on Lake Champlain, looking for Champ, July 2013.

It was really a fun experience, a weekend filled with canoe trips, campfires, talking to Champ eyewitnesses, and visiting Champ landmarks. I wrote all about it in a chapter of Monster Hunters titled “Lake Monster Fever.” On the latest Tea’s Weird Week podcast, I caught up with one of the investigators I met on the trip, Scott Mardis, an extremely dedicated researcher who probably has more knowledge of Lake Monster and Sea Serpent cases in all of the 7 Seas.

Scott actually moved from Alabama to Vermont in the 90s so he could be closer to Lake Champlain and have time for hands on investigation into Champ. Scott says he believes he might have spotted the creature while Champ-watching in 1994. He eventually moved to Florida, where he investigates Florida cases– most recently he’s been paddling down the Saint John’s River looking for a creature nicknamed “Pinky.” But he does get back to Lake Champlain on a regular basis, trying to investigate every summer. This year he’s working on setting up a summer expedition with a new organization he’s a part of called the Lake Champlain Zoological Inquiry. Will they find definitive evidence of Champ? We’ll see.

Here are just a few pieces that Scott says are classic examples of Champ evidence:

The Mansi Photo: this photo was taken by Sandra Mansi while her family was visiting the lake in 1977. They said it was a creature– critics say it shows a log or stump.
An eyewitness sketch by Christine Hebert. Christine says she saw Champ creatures resting near a boat dock at her family owned boathouse on more than one occasion. I visited the boathouse and met Christine during the 2013 Champ Camp along with Scott and the other participants. Christine seemed quite confident in what she had seen and other family members had witnessed the creatures as well.
Stills from the “Bodette Video,” in which possible neck and flipper of Champ are seen.

What do you think? (Comment on this post). Nessie and Champ are far from the only Lake Monster tales, it seems like every body of water bigger than a swimming pool has some sort of lore about it. Lake Monsters and Sea Serpents have been spotted around the world and these are an ancient fear. A famous historical story is the much feared Kraken, which sailors feared would rip apart their ships. A few more well known North American examples include Ogopogo (spotted in Lake Okanagan in British Columbia), Flathead Lake Monster (of Montana), and the Lake Erie Monster aka South Bay Bessie, spotted in Ohio and Michigan. Here in Wisconsin there’s quite a legacy of historical monster sightings, from Lake Michigan to Rock Lake to Lake Geneva. Last week I talked in my column/ podcast about researcher Chad Lewis, check out his book Lake Monsters of Wisconsin.

So there you go– pack up your binoculars, hydrophones, underwater cameras, biopsy darts, giant nets, your copy of The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, and a six pack– it’s Lake Monster season! I’ll send you a postcard:

Please Clap Dept.: I am a winner of a Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Award in the “Short Hard News Feature” category for an article I wrote for Milwaukee Magazine in 2020, “Reporting Live from the Street.” I’ll find out in May if it won gold, silver, or bronze, but I’m honored just to be in the top 3. The articles are judged by other press clubs around the country.

Tea’s Weird Week episode 11: I talk more with Scott Mardis about his studies of Champ and other Lake Monsters, then me and Heidi talk about AI pickup lines, a ghost grabbin’ VR game, a major shrinkage problem, and Joe Biden–fact or faked? Miss Information has a new trivia question and we close out with a track by Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra, “You Married a Sea Serpent.”

Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week episode 11: Lake Monster Edition (podbean.com)
Spotify//Soundcloud//Google Podcasts//iHeartRadio//PlayerFM//Apple//Stitcher//Pocket Casts

Check out my books:
American Madness
Monster Hunters
Wisconsin Legends & Lore

Tea’s Weird Week: Strange Birthday Adventures

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Some of my birthdays have been memorable and others mundane. I had a birthday yesterday, and I spent it doing what I love doing best– sitting around in pajamas, drinking coffee, reviewing a manuscript I wrote. I have a book out next year from Feral House titled American Madness. It’s a non-fiction that tells the action-packed story of a conspiracy theorist I met and the prevalence of conspiracy culture in America. There’s still work to be done, but a lot of progress has happened on the book over the last few months.

Sitting at home reading over my work was great, but my really fun birthdays have been getting out in the field. Here’s two memorable examples:

2013: I spent my 36th birthday in Portland, Maine where I interviewed cryptozoologist and author Loren Coleman at the International Cryptozoology Museum. What a wonderful place to be! I wrote about the experience as the first chapter of my book Monster Hunters, titled “The Monster Hunter and His Museum.” Loren named the book as the top of the “Best Cryptozoology Books of 2015” list and told me that the chapter was “required reading” for new staff, volunteers, and docents.

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I took this picture of Loren Coleman at the International Cryptozoology Museum.

2017: It was two days after my birthday, but I spent my 40th birthday preparing to voyage out to the desert to attend Wasteland Weekend, a post-apocalyptic festival. One of the most fun experiences I’ve had. I witnessed music, Thunderdome fights, a post-apocalyptic swimsuit contest, and much more, which I wrote out for a chapter of my book Apocalypse Any Day Now titled “Wastelanders.” I’ve really wanted to go back ever since, but this year my travel budget is tied up for a trip I’m doing to Dallas in November. Hopefully, in 2020 I can return to the Waste.

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My selfie at the 2017 Wasteland Weekend.

If you’d like to support me on my birthday and help me go on more wild and crazy adventures, the best thing you can do is buy or support my books:

Heroes in the Night

Monster Hunters

Apocalypse Any Day Now

And look for links in 2020 to my new books. Wisconsin Legends & Lore is going to be a cool little book out from History Press and American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theory Hijacked American Consciousness will be out August 2020 from Feral House.

You can also buy me a birthday coffee here: www.buymeacoffee.com/TeaKrulos

And follow me on social media: Twitter: @TeaKrulos Facebook: facebook.com/TheTeaKrulos

Monster Hunters “Best of the Year” at CryptoZoo News

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This is a wonderful Christmas present and a great honor personally and as a writer. Every year author, researcher, teacher, and museum director Loren Coleman selects his list of top books on the subject of cryptozoology, the science of examining unknown animals.

My book Monster Hunters took the top slot on “The Best Cryptozoology Books of 2015.”

There are many interesting titles and authors on the list. You can read it here: www.cryptozoonews.com/czbks-2015/

At the end of the post you can find out how to support the International Cryptozoology Museum, one of my favorite places on earth.

Many thanks to Loren and the ICM staff. I am humbled and flattered by this recognition.

Loren Coleman Reviews Monster Hunters!

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Here’s a photo I took of Loren at the International Cryptozoology Museum, which appears in the color photo section of the book.

When I began work on Monster Hunters, I had a few ideas of people I’d like to meet and write about. My two major ideas were, man, I got to meet a group of local ghost hunters and follow them around. My other idea was, man, I got to meet the zen grandmaster of cryptozoology. Party A ended up being the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee. I found Party B in Loren Coleman, who has actively been pursuing cryptozoology since the 60s and is the founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum.

Visiting his museum while working on the book was a fantastic experience and he humored me by allowing me to interview him as I wandered around taking in the collection of unique artifacts.

Monster Hunters has begun to circulate and Loren got a copy this last week. He wrote a review on his website and I am extremely flattered and honored by it. He says I write with “humor, sensitivity, and insight,” but the best compliment by far is that he says: “Krulos’ first chapter will be mandatory reading for every new staff, and current & future docents/ volunteers at our museum, now.”

That is just about the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m also pleased to say that arrangements are being made so copies of the book will be available at the International Cryptozoology Museum’s gift shop, so buy a copy when you stop in.

A huge thank you to Loren and the ICM staff!
Loren’s review is here: www.cryptozoonews.com/tea-review/
ICM website: cryptozoologymuseum.com/
Monster Hunters ordering info: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/monster-hunters-products-9781613749814.php