BBC News: Thursday, 31 July, 2003
|The soldiers may have seen their 'monster' somewhere before.... BBC|
A group of Chinese soldiers say they have caught a glimpse of a local version of the Loch Ness Monster.
In a country known for its dragons, the 12 servicemen said they saw a black-headed creature with 10cm (four inch) horns and a scaled back rising out of Tianchi Lake in the north-eastern Jilin province.
The creature swam around for about two minutes before disappearing, according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
Reports of the sighting come only days after a BBC investigation "proved" that Nessie - as the Loch Ness Monster is affectionately known - did not exist. It is not the first time a monster has been seen from the banks of Tianchi Lake.
Xinhua says a similar-looking animal was seen five times during a period of about 50 minutes earlier this month.
July seems to be a prime season for spotting China's "Nessie", as hundreds of sightseers were reported to have seen it at the same time last year. As in Scotland, rumours that the Chinese volcanic lake, which is 373 metres deep (1,243 feet), is home to some sort of monster have been circulating for more than a century.
The BBC investigation concluded there was no such thing as Nessie
But scientists say the lake is too cold for large creatures and volcanic eruptions happening as recently as 300 years ago would make life extremely hazardous for any animal making the lake its home. Science used similar arguments to pour cold water on the Loch Ness Monster myth.
The BBC team originally believed there was a chance a marine reptile called a plesiosaur, which died out with the dinosaurs, could have survived the icy Scottish waters.
But an investigation using 600 separate sonar beams and satellite navigation technology surveyed the whole loch, finding no trace of a monster.
China, at least, has a choice of popular monster sighting locations. The Hanas Lake in the northwestern Xinjiang region is said to harbour species of salmon measuring 10 metres (33 feet) in length that attacks both people and cattle. A BBC spokeswoman, however, said the corporation had no current plans to investigate the existence of Chinese lake monsters.
Beijing - A black monster with a horse-like head has been spotted by hundreds of sightseers visiting a deep volcanic lake near China's border with North Korea, state media reported on Wednesday.
Reports - eagerly passed on by the local tourism authorities - have said the Chinese "Loch Ness monster" appeared twice recently in Tianchi Lake in north-eastern Jilin province, said the China Daily.
In the latest sighting, the creature appeared just 10 metres from the bank, jumping out of the water from time to time "like a seal", the paper said, quoting local tourism official Meng Fanying.
Rumours that the 373 metre-deep lake harbours some sort of monster have been circulating for more than a century, the paper said.
However, scientists have dismissed the reports, saying volcanic eruptions happening as recently as 300 years ago would make life extremely hazardous for any animal making the lake its home.
Local monster aficionados are unfazed by the skepticism and have even organised themselves in the Tianchi Monster Society, the paper reported.
The Tianchi monster is not the only "Nessie" said to be living in China.
The marine life of Hanas Lake in north-western Xinjiang region reputedly includes a 10 metre-long salmon species that attacks both people and cattle.
Source: China Daily July 11, 2005
A local tourist claims to have seen and videotaped the Tianchi Lake monster in the Changbai Mountain, in Jilin Province, Xinhua reported yesterday.
On Thursday morning, 52-year-old Zheng Changchun and his daughter and son-in-law were standing enjoying the scenery in the western side of the mountain. Suddenly, towards the middle of the lake, Zheng saw a strange, black object emerging from the water and disturbing the calm surface.
"I was so excited and shouted loudly that there was a monster in the lake," said Zheng.
"All the tourists by the lake stared at it."
Keen video buff Zheng grabbed his family camcorder and managed to get the whole sighting on film, until whatever it is in the lake vanished beneath the water. His son-in-law also took some pictures with his zoom lens.
Zheng said that when they climbed to the top of the mountain above Lake Tianchi at about 10 am, it was covered with thick fog that suddenly gave way to bright sunshine. The water emerged as clear as a mirror, ideal for photography.
Zheng's film lasts almost a minute, and in it a black object can be seen emerging from the water in the same place three times, each time lasting just a few seconds, before it finally vanishes and does not reappear.
"We were more than 1,000 metres away so it's difficult, but I would say what we saw above water was about the size of the head of an adult ox," Zheng was quoted as saying.
"But I did notice that every time it was above water, there were huge ripples in the water, suggesting the rest of it was enormous."
The Changbai Mountain is the highest mountain in Northeast Asia, at 2,189 metres above sea level. Tianchi is honoured as the deepest mountain lake and the largest crater lake in China.
Legends about the monster hidden in this 373-metre deep lake go back more than a century.
There have been more than 30 reported sightings by tourists from home and abroad over the past 20 years. There are quite a few pictures and videos of this creature, but none is clear enough to give a good enough clue as to what it is.
"Some enthusiasts are coming up with computer images of it based on interviews. I do hope this will be helpful to unveil this century-old mystery, " said Wu Guangxiao, who is investigating the Tianchi Lake monster.