Press-Republican

November 4, 2013

Woman forms new Champ group

LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

PORT HENRY — Katy Elizabeth Huling is trying to revive the search for Champ.

She has been all over Lake Champlain looking for the legendary lake monster, promoting her book on Champ and trying to stir up interest in a new search organization.

“Since the age of 10, I’ve had a fascination with lake monsters,” she said by email. “It was my dream to travel to Lake Champlain and investigate the illusive creature known as Champ.”

HUMPS ON LAKE

An Exeter, R.I., resident, Huling said she saw Champ in August 2012 while staying at the Button Bay State Park campground in Vergennes, Vt.

“It was my own sighting and experiences of the creature which prompted me to write the book,” she said. “I know that a breeding population of these creatures exists in Lake Champlain. It’s a matter of proving its existence to the scientific community.

“I have seen this creature with my very own eyes, and until you see it for yourself, you probably would not believe it to be true.”

She described the creature she saw as humped and about 15 feet in length.

“I was camping at Button Bay State Park, sitting, eating my breakfast, and all of a sudden out towards the middle of the bay, I saw a disturbance in the water. Suddenly a blackish-colored hump came up to the surface.

“It had no dorsal fin, and it moved with casual speed towards Ship’s Point and Button Island. I did not see a neck or head. The hump was about three feet out of the water.”

She said she ran for her car to get her camera, but it was too late.

“As soon as I grabbed my camera, the hump submerged. It was unlike anything I have ever seen, but it reminded me of a small whale or a porpoise.”

SEARCH GROUP

The experience prompted Huling to start a new Champ sightings group, Champ Search. The group has a website at: officialchampsearch.webs.com.

She said that because of her research, she now refers to herself as a cryptozoologist, someone who searches for animals whose existence has not been proven.

“The goal of the group is to prove the existence of and to protect the unique animals that call Lake Champlain their home,” she said. “Champ Search will be back on Lake Champlain for another Champ investigation this coming July.”

Huling said the search next summer will probably be based at Button Bay, with side trips to Port Henry’s Bulwagga Bay, where many Champ sightings have taken place.

The last Champ group, Champ Quest, has been inactive for several years. It was helmed by Panton, Vt., resident Dennis Hall. He has said he moved on to doing other things but still believes Champ is out there somewhere.

BOOK ON SIGHTINGS

Huling’s book, “Water Horse of Lake Champlain,” is available from Amazon.com and area businesses, such as Champ’s Trading Post in West Addison, Vt.

“The book covers anything anyone would like to know about Champ, such as Lake Champlain’s history, its ecosystem, what Champ is thought to be and look like, details of reported sightings and my own sighting,” Huling said by email.

She said she wrote the book as just “Katy Elizabeth,” because that’s how she’s best known in the cryptozoology community.

Huling said she’ll be doing another book signing at Champ’s Trading Post, at some point.

For the book, she interviewed several other people who say they have had sightings of the creature.

“We know more about other planets than our own ocean,” she said. “Ninety-five percent of the world’s oceans, and 99 percent of the ocean floor, are unexplored.

“With that said, the thought of Champ is not so far-fetched.”

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com