Summer Sea Serpents
Bigfoot is one of my favorite topics because he’s the subject of my novel Bigfoot CSI, but he’s not the only cryptid in town. Cryptids are creatures that science doesn’t recognize because scientists can’t get their hands on a specimen to slaughter it and cut it up, or lock it in a cage to become the subject of painful, unnecessary experiments. Cryptids are the focus of Cryptozoology, a field of study considered a “pseudoscience” because it doesn’t have any unfortunate specimens to inflict the scientific method upon. Cryptids include Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Chupacabra, Jersey Devil, and a long list of other such creatures which might or might not exist, but which are clever enough to avoid human laboratories.
The Loch Ness Monster is an exciting cryptid that has been luring the curious to Scotland for decades. There are those who claim it’s a plesiosaur, which is a long-necked sea-dwelling animal that became extinct 65 million years ago. Since Loch Ness is connected to the ocean, the theory that Nessy is a sea dinosaur makes sense to its supporters. While the Loch Ness Monster is the most famous of the sea-dwelling cryptids, it’s by no means the only one.
Lake Champlain in New York State, Vermont, and Quebec, Canada has its own maybe-plesiosaur. Nicknamed “Champ” after the lake where it lives, this creature has been seen and photographed for decades. There are even sound recordings that are similar to the vocalizations of Beluga whales, although no Belugas live in Lake Champlain.
The Southeast coast of Georgia has its own plesiosaur-like cryptid called Altamaha-ha (or Alty). This creature has been spotted in the Altamaha River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Tales about Alty date back to the Native American Muscogee people who inhabited the area. In March, 2018, the body of a strange creature washed up on the Georgia coast near the mouth of the Altamaha River. Its long neck and flippers were reminiscent of the plesiosaur and the Alty sightings. Someone got a picture, but somehow the creature’s body was not recovered, so it couldn’t be studied to figure out what exactly this thing was.
What I find particularly interesting about this creature on the Georgia coast is its similarity to the story in Bigfoot CSI. In my novel, there's a girl who has to destroy the bodies of dead Bigfoot creatures so they can't be found by humans. She and others like her are called "scrubs." Her function is vital because if humans knew Bigfoot (and other cryptids) existed, then they would devote more time and effort to tracking the creatures.
It's fun to imagine that some real-life scrub tracked down the body of this sea serpent and destroyed it before it could be retrieved and studied. Maybe my next cryptid novel should focus on Alty or Champ or the Loch Ness Monster. Writing the book would be a good excuse for a nice vacation at the beach.