Champ Quest was organized in 1992.  Our mission is to collect data, search for, record sightings  and protect the animals living in Lake Champlain known as Champ.

 After more than twenty years of searching for and finding these animals I have decided to write a book called "THE ULTIMATE SEARCH"  I had great hopes of having it completed this spring now I am shooting for the spring of 2070.  Until then, in order to get basic information available to you before the lake hits the magic 50 degree mark (more about this later) I am releasing parts of the book that tell about what kind of animal Champ may be, and a few search tips to get you started on your own Champ Quest adventure.

 This book is not written from the viewpoint - What if Champ exists-I have seen these animals on eighteen different occasions, a couple of my sightings involved more than one animal and several more involved baby Champs.  There is a healthy population of these animals living in Lake Champlain.

 Since 1609 there have been over six hundred reported sightings.  Samuel de Champlain, while on his voyage of discovery, reports seeing a large animal in the lake that today bears his name.

 The most frequently asked question: What is Champ? I have described what I have seen as a Lizard like long necked animal with four legs and feet, a forked tongue, omits a hissing noise,loves the shallow waters but seen on land, eats small fish, and is about twelve inches at birth and twenty feet or more full grown. Oh, and very ugly.  The babies are kinda cute.  But, what is it or I should say what are they?

Constant research and field work has led me off the beaten path that most Cryptozoologist have chose to follow. The most popular theory is that they are members of the Plesiosaurus family. These  great ocean going reptiles of the Mesozoic Era were huge-up to forty six feet long, of which half was neck.  There were many species of Plesiosaur, one, Elasmosaurus, depicted what I and many other people had seen in Lake Champlain.  It remained on the top of my list, until one day while browsing in Barnes & Noble on Dorset Street, I found a picture of a reptile called Tanystropheus.  I Knew I had found the perfect match in both behavior and looks to the animals I have observed living and thriving in our lake.

 Over the years I have interviewed many  people that have seen Champ. One excited eye-witness described his sighting with absolute clarity "I saw Champ, there really is one, I saw two."  That is when I am forced to ask the age old question. Have you been drinking?  Actually some of the most descriptive interviews have been with the people that started to drink after their sighting. Champ is not alone, and we can not call them all Champ.  What do we call the babies?  I refuse to call them little Champies, so I named the one that has been frequently seen  in Button Bay, Tany.

 During the summer of 1994 Tany and some of his or her friends made a big splash in Button Bay, and Park Ranger Linde Emerson was watching as the scene emerged. It was the wake that made Linde Emerson stop and stare out at  Lake Champlains Button Bay.   This was not the wake a boat makes.  It was slower, smoother, unlike any Emerson had seen.
The park ranger was even more surprised  by what he saw next. First one brownish bump.  Then another.  Then a head connected to the bumpy, undulating spine of what Emerson is convinced is Champ.

"When that sucker popped up, by God, it was amazing," said Emerson, who has worked as a park ranger for 12 years, the last five at Button Bay State Park.

 The creature, which he estimates was 20-25 feet long, revealed itself for about 30 seconds and then slipped quietly back under the waters of Button Bay, a warm shallow basin of Lake Champlain where bass, perch and other fish feed.

"He was just swimming," Emerson said,  "The way I see it, he was going after a school of fish."

 In recent times, hundreds of people- boaters, picnickers, swimmers- claim they have seen one of these animals.  Some took pictures of what they saw and others wrote books without seeing . But no one has ever caught a live Champ.  Or have they?  In 1954 a 14" long reptile was captured in Shelburne bay. There is an early account of one being captured and tied up to a public dock in Burlington,Vt. It was described as being "a baby."

In 1976 a lizard like animal was caught by a Vergennes man.  It was twelve inches long, held itself up on four sturdy legs, omitted a hissing sound and had a forked tongue.  I was lucky that the man who caught the baby was my father, William H. Hall and that I was there.  I have much more to say about this catch, and you will be able to read about it in "The Ultimate Search."

 Champ animals do exist in Lake Champlain.  There is a lot of evidence, but most scientist don't think the animals exists.  "I've never seen any credible evidence that there is a Champ creature," said George Labar, a professor at U.V.M. Labar has studied Lake Champlain for almost as long as I have observed and studied the animals known as Champ, 20 or more years.
 Photos don't prove the existence of Champ either, said Labar.  They can be doctored, and even if they are not doctored, that doesn't mean its Champ.
"What it appears to be isn't necessarily what it is," said Labar
 In any case, there are many Champ believers.  A so-called baby Champ is continually sighted atButton Bay State Park, said Laura Hollowell, park naturalist.

"People are seeing something.  It's not just hysteria." Laura Hollowell

One thing that you can be sure to see while searching for Champ is the natural beauty of Lake Champlain. This alone will keep you coming back for more, and combine the natural beauty with that of the beauty of a true mystery such as Champ, and it might look like the pictureI took of Button Bay from the sight of the 1962 Girl Scout  Roundup, who incidentally are having a 35 year reunion at Button Bay August 3-9.  Hundreds are expected.

Champtanystopheus is the name I have given to the species of animals known as Champ. I am confident that I am on the right track in my search and will not have to eat my words, otherwise I would have left it CHAMP.

 Tanystropheus (there are many spellings of this word and I will try to use them all)  is a member of the Protorosaurs family (they live in Charlotte) which in turn are members of the Archosauromorph family ( I believe they moved to New York) and they all pre-date the Archosaurs (yes there are still a few up in Forrestdale) better known as Dinosaurs.  The Protorosaurs were a lizard type reptile (absolutely no relation to the Charlotte Protorosaurs) that lived in the deserts of Europe toward the end of the Permian Period.  Its long legs were tucked under its body, allowing it to chase after fast moving prey-mainly insects.  Its neck was made up of seven large and greatly elongated vertebrae.

Tanystropheus.  The long necks of the Protorosaurs reached an extreme in this member of the group.  Tanystropheus, neck was longer than its body and tail combined.  Yet only ten vertebrae made up the neck, each bone was greatly elongated.
 Click to see a skeletal view of Tanystropheus

 Tany and the Elasmosaurus look similar but there are major differences.  The Elasmosaurus had flippers.  Tany has feet. The Elasmosaurus is 46 feet long. Tany is 25 tops.  The most important difference is that the Elasmosaurus was an egg-layer and would have laid her eggs much like the modern day turtles (in open sight humans).  The Champtany gives live-birth.  Unusual for a reptile, but she was not alone, other reptiles including the very ancient Ichthyosaurs , were live-bearers.

 In my book "The Ultimate Search" I cover the birthing habits of the Tanystropheus in depth.
 Identifying and protecting the habitat in which the offspring of Champtanystropheus live is very important to their survival.  That habitat is threatened as you read.  On April 27 of this year while inspecting our favorite marsh,  Mary Ellen (my sweetheart)  caught a frog, it was deformed.  Champtanystropheus is a strange looking animal, mutations will not help when it comes to interviewing eyewitnesses.

Most living things creatures of habit.  Do you not see the same faces everyday as you drive to work? They become familiar and comforting.  When you do not see them you become concerned or alarmed. I watched a family of geese grow up in Button Bay.  They swam past me every night during the course of one summer.  One night, as a test of  a theory I had, I hid on them.  Thier response was just as expected, they avoided the spot I normaly sat and swam out into the lake instead, obviously alarmed. By returning to the same spot every night I had become an old friend.  Champtanystropheus responds no differently (they need friends too).

 The moral of the story,  pick a spot to search from and stick with it.  You do not have to sit motionless, act normal,  it's the consistency that counts.  Who knows maybe you can become an old friend of Champtanystropheus, and if a true friend they might let you take their picture.

Best of luck and  if you see one of these reptiles DO NOT POKE IT WITH A STICK, DO Contact Dennis Hall