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Sunday, February 21, 2010

LINDSAY SELBY: The Heavenly lake Creature

Heavenly Lake is in a remote region of the Jilin Province of China on the border of the Ryanggang Province of North Korea. The lake is also known as Lake Tianchi, Chonji Lake in Korean (Heavenly Lake in English). It lies in a crater at the top of Baekdu Mountain. It is the highest crater lake in the world, at 7,180 feet (2360 metres) and with a depth in places of over 1,200 feet (400 metres). A large unknown creature has been reported seen in the lake for many years. It has been described as a large greyish-black animal, about 30 feet(10 metres) in length with a horse like head.

The first sighting appears to be in 1903 when one reportedly attacked three people. It was described as a huge buffalo-like creature that roared and retreated underwater when they shot at it.

In August 1962 there were reported sightings of two creatures chasing one another through the water.

In 1968 a Jilin Province Weather Report Department staff member, Chou Fon Yin, was visiting the lake when he saw a wave emerged from the northeastern side and then two black points rose out of the water. Chou using binoculars to get a closer look said that the two black spots were two large creatures swimming side by side. He described them as black and grey in colour with very dog-like heads. Their movement in the water left a wake 21 feet (7 metres) long.

In July 24, 1994 a group of more than 40 tourists, including a Japanese university professor (no name given), all claimed to have watched and photographed the monster as appeared on the lakes surface for almost 30 minutes. Also in 1994, a Chinese State Media report quoted a sight-seer by the name of Meng Fanying who stated that he watched the creature leap from the water in a seal-like fashion, 30 feet off shore.

In July 2005, the China Daily published a report about a 52-year-old man, Zheng Changchun, who with his daughter and his son-in-law saw and video-taped the creature. Zheng was quoted as saying they saw a strange, black object emerging from the water and he grabbed his video recorder.

In September 2007, Chinese news reporter Zhuo Yongsheng shot a 20-minute video of several creatures swimming in three pairs. He said they were seal-like, finned creatures that spent around an hour and a half swimming in the lake. "They could swim as fast as yachts and at times they would disappear under the water. It was impressive to see them all swimming at exactly the same pace, as if someone was giving orders," he said. "Their fins - or maybe wings - were longer than their bodies."

The Reuters report from 1994:

09Sep94 CHINA: MONSTER OR MERMAID IN CHINA'S HEAVENLY LAKE?.BEIJING, Sept 9 (Reuter) - Will China's Heavenly Lake become as famous as Scotland's Loch Ness?

With sightings of a blond-headed creature -- or perhaps a "black thing as big as a bull head" -- to go on, officials at Lake Tianchi (Heavenly lake) in northeast China's Jilin province have started establishing study societies and collecting videotapes and photographs of a strange swimming object, Xinhua news agency said on Friday. The official news agency said eyewitnesses had seen a creature moving as fast as a walking man twice in the past two weeks. "At 3:25 p.m., September 2, it was clear and the swimming creature surfaced its blond head and swam from north to southwest in the lake for ten minutes before it submerged, according to Kim Taik, deputy secretary-general of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefectural People's Political Consultative Conference," the news agency said. Kim said the creature stirred up waves two metres (six feet) high. Xinhua quoted a travel guide who was taking a group of Korean tourists to the lake as saying she saw a large black "thing" swimming in the lake. It said local people have given accounts of sightings and taken pictures of a mysterious lake-dwelling creature since the beginning of the century. The creature is not China's only mystery -- reports of a man-beast "Wild Man" periodically spring up from around the country.

(c) Reuters Limited 1994 REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

It may be my reading of the reports but it sounds like some sort of seal. The roaring one from 1903 could have been a bull seal as they have a mane and it would look like buffalo. The fins are interesting as I believe some whales have huge fins. So could it be two different types of creature; one a seal-like animal, the other a whale-like creature? The lake is deep enough for them both to live there but there is little information on whether the food stocks would be sufficient.


Dale Drinnon said...

The consensus of opinion at the Frontiers-of-Zoology group was that there is likely to be a type of seal in the lake, Freshwater seals are known in Lake Baikhal in Siberia, not far away.

At the same time, this is another case where it is unwise to ascribe all the reports to a single source. There are also giant sturgeon in the same area, and some reports might also be swimming moose (elk), logs or unidentified waves.

Dale Drinnon said...

BTW, I blew up your photo and it defnitely looks like the middle section of a large sturgeon's back.

Seals and sturgeon co-exist in several places including Siberia and even Central Asia: and if the Lake Iliamna creature is a big sturgeon,it also coexists with freshwater seals in that place.

The sturgeons would also be responsible for the "fin" reports. Sturgeons incidentally have fins which look like shark's fins.

borky said...

Surely the key phrase here's "very dog-like heads".

Does he mean something more snub-nosed like a Foo or a Shar - in which case, ye', bull seal - or something more extended in the snout, like the Chinese Crested?

If the latter, then given its tall pointed ears and incredible horse like mane, we could be dealing with something more Nessian.


Mike Dash said...

Two problems here. Firstly, the lake is at such an altitude that it is frozen over for six months of each year. Second, the volcano that produced the caldera which Tianchi fills erupted in 1413, 1597, 1668, and 1702. Quite how air breathing animals such as seals could have got into the lake, and survived there,in these circumstances would require some explanation.