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China’s Legendary Kanas Lake Monster Surfaces in Front of Tourists

For whatever reason, sightings of cryptids seem to be on the rise in China. Could it be related to the rapid spread of social media and smartphone cameras? A resurgence of superstition created in the vacuum left by the Cultural Revolution? An increasing amount of contact between nature and humans due to the country’s blindingly fast urbanization?

We all need a little magic in our lives.

Probably a combination of all three. Over the last year, creatures and oddities ranging from dragon skeletons and mythical hybrid beasts have popped up in Chinese news sources and social media, while several strange creatures (or alleged creatures) have been also been spotted in Chinese bodies of water. The latest Chinese cryptid sighting happened this week as videos of the mysterious “Chinese Nessie” appeared on social media and microblogging site Sina Weibo. The video was shot on Kanas Lake in China’s far western Xinjiang Province and appears to show some sort of large mass moving beneath the waters.

What swims in the waters of China’s Kanas Lake?

As the shadowy object disturbs the surface of the lake, a woman can be heard screaming “The water monster is coming! The water monster is coming!” The “monster” the woman is referring to is the Lake Kanas Monster, essentially China’s equivalent of Nessie. For centuries, locals have told tales of large mysterious creatures living in the lake, while one 1985 study conducted by Xinjiang University even concluded that there are creatures in Kanas Lake measuring 10-15 meters in length and weighing up to 4 tons.

Sightings seem to have increased in the last few decades, attracting the attention of Chinese ecologists. The current theory is that the creature or creatures could be Siberian giant trout, a species of fish in the salmon family found throughout northern Asia which can grow up to 156 cm in length. Not quite 15 meters, but who knows what evolutionary paths an isolated population in a remote lake could take?

Giant Siberian trout can grow quite large - but not as large as eyewitnesses say the creatures in Kanas Lake are.

Giant Siberian trout can grow quite large – but not as large as eyewitnesses say the creatures in Kanas Lake are.

Is this Kanas Lake Monster sighting merely a large Siberian trout, or could it be something else? A large piece of garbage? Unknown cryptid? Ancient legendary creature? Like all sightings depending on single photographic sources, this one will remain a mystery.