May 21, 2021 I Nick Redfern

Lake Monsters: Unknown Animals or Giant-Sized Eels?

Now and again I'll post here the latest reports of sightings of giant eels. I have a strong suspicion that such eels are responsible for at least some sightings of lake-monsters (such as the Nessies of Loch Ness, Scotland, and England's Bownessie) and of sea serpents, too. Well, there's another development in this area thanks to one of the leading figures in the quest to get to the bottom of the Nessie mystery. Namely, Roland Watson. Roland's latest article on this subject is titled "More on Giant Eel Stories." It's important to note that Roland isn't a believer in the giant eel angle, but that doesn't stop him from presenting the data on this particular theory. As Roland says: "Now I myself do not think the Loch Ness Monster is a giant eel, but that doesn't mean that opinion is false and various theories regarding the beast will continue to be blogged for the benefit of discussion. Of course, if a thirty foot eel is found at the loch, I would have to accept that the monster has been found and some explanation for the non-eel type sightings will be required."

I made a brief mention above of the strange creature known as Bownessie. Without doubt, it's England's most famous lake monster, next to Scotland's Nessie. A resident of Lake Windermere, England, Bownessie has not been around as long as Nessie, but there's no doubt there's a genuine mystery to be solved. As for Lake Windermere itself, state the following of this mysterious body of water: "The lake is 10.5 miles (17 km) long and 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and has an area of 6 square miles (16 square km). It lies in two basins separated by a group of islands opposite the town of Bowness on the eastern shore and is drained by the River Leven. Part of Lake District National Park, Windermere is a popular tourist center with facilities for yachting and steamers operating in the summer." As the above data demonstrates, Lake Windermere is much smaller than Loch Ness; yet, that has not stopped a mysterious creature from appearing in its depths, which extend to 219-feet at their deepest.

Now, with that all said, let us take a look at one particularly intriguing account of the monster.  A particularly fascinating - and credible - report came   from a journalist named Steve Burnip, who saw the creature in 2006. Steve said of his close encounter of the monstrous type: "I saw a straight line of broken water with three humps. It was about twenty feet long and it went in a straight line up the lake. I nudged my wife and watched open-mouthed as it gradually faded from sight. The water was not choppy, so I know it wasn’t the wind, and I know what the wake from motor boats looks like and it wasn’t that either." A giant eel? Maybe. Or, maybe something else.

Richard Freeman, the Zoological Director of Britain’s Center for Fortean Zoology (CFZ), says that: "Common eels swim out to the Sargasso Sea to breed then die. The baby eels follow scent trails back to their ancestral fresh waters homes and the cycle begins again. Sometimes, however, a mutation occurs and the eel is sterile. These stay in fresh water and keep on growing. Known as eunuch eels, no-one knows how old they get or how big." Jonathan Downes, who runs the U.K.-based Center for Fortean Zoology, shares something interesting and though-provoking: “In February 2004 two Canadian tourists came upon a 25-foot eel floating in the shallows of Loch Ness. At first they thought it was dead but when it began to move they beat a hasty retreat." As for how those eels may have grown so large, Jonathan Downes has his own theory. It’s a theory that has been endorsed by more than a few monster-hunters on both sides of the pond: "One theory suggests that these rare, naturally occurring, mutations may now be on the increase due to pollution. PCBs [polychlorinated biphenyls] have long been implicated in causing sterility in fish. Could they be causing the birth of much larger eunuch eels in the deep lakes of Scotland?"

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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