A number of Russian academics are calling for a scientific expedition to the remote Siberian Lake Labynkyr to solve the mystery of the monster that supposedly dwells there.
The monster, sometimes referred to as the ‘Russian Loch Ness Monster’, (or ‘Nesski’) and know locally as ‘the Devil’ has featured in local folklore since the 19th century.
According to the stories the creature has a dark grey body about seven metres in length. A massive ‘bird-like’ jaw takes up a third of its body length and its mouth has the width of ”a fisherman’s raft made of ten logs” (approximately 1.5m). In these stories the monster savagely attacks people or animals in both the water and on the shores of the 60-80m deep lake .
Recent scientific expeditions to the lake have provided some credence for the creature’s existence. Doctor Lyudmila Emeliyanova, a biogeographer from Moscow State University was conducting sonic scans of the lake in 2002 when she had an encounter she couldn’t explain:
“It was our fourth or fifth day at the lake when our echo sounding device registered a huge object in the water under our boat” she said in an interview with The Siberian Times.
Doctor Emeliyanova said that the object was”clearly alive” and too large to be one of the fish species in the lake.
She described how “I was very surprised but not scared nor shocked, after all we did not see this animal, we only registered a strange object in the water. But I can clearly say – at the moment, as a scientist, I cannot offer you any explanation of what this object might be.”
Other such surveys of the lake have reported similar mysterious encounters. In 2006 researchers were undertaking a study of the fish species of the lake when they encountered multiple large creatures on their scanner. Too large for any of the known local fish species. Their scan results, and interpretive drawings, can be viewed here.
Fishermen have also reported eerie encounters in the lake. Some have reported having boats up to 10m being lifted by something passing underneath.
Monster sightings have also occurred at the nearby Lake Vorota leading to locals and academics to theorize that the lakes are connected by underground tunnels. The most famous of these sightings was from respected Soviet geologist Viktor Tverdokhlebov whose report of a monster sighting was initially covered up by Soviet authorities.
Theories for what the monster might actually be are varied. Some think that the monsters might be prehistoric marine reptiles, such as ichthyosaurs or plesiosaurs. Others think that there may a population of Ice Age killer whales that became stranded in the lakes when the glaciers retreated. Perhaps searching for a more mundane explanation, some have suggested that the monster might even be an enormous pike.
Monster sightings are not the only feature that makes Lake Labynkyr unusual. Despite being only 60km from Oymyakon, the coldest inhabited place on the planet, the lake remains inexplicably unfrozen in winter, contrary to all other lakes in the region. Additionally despite supporting 13 species of fish the lake unusually contains no plant life.
Doctor Emeliyanova wishes to return to the lake and explore its mysteries further but has not been able to find sufficient funding. She’ll need to be quick. While under Soviet rule access to the lake was difficult, travel companies are now offering private trips for people to undertake their own monster hunts.
It is also unclear exactly when Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to be photographed capturing the beast.