Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 23rd, 2007
A new 256-page book has been published that is an incredibly important contribution to cryptozoological history. It is a welcome document capturing a pivotal time in Lake Champlain Monster research
Published by Coachwhip Publications, Does Champ Exist? Notes on the Historic Lake Monster Conference held in Shelburne, Vermont, 29 August 1981 by Gary S. Mangiacopra and Dwight G. Smith, has just been released.
Does Champ Exist? was written, according to Chad Arment, to preserve the transcript of the (so far) only cryptozoological conference held to discuss the possible existence of an unknown species of animal in the waters of Lake Champlain.
Speakers at the conference included Dr. William H. Eddy, Jr., J. Richard Greenwell, Dr. Roy P. Mackal, Dr. Philip Reines, Joseph Zarzynski, and Dr. George Zug. Several witnesses to Champ phenomena also spoke briefly, including Sandra Mansi, Mary Carty, Elsie Porter, Joan Petro, and Eugene Viens, Jr.
The transcript was created (with cooperation from the speakers) from a series of audio cassettes that Gary Mangiacopra (a conference attendee) used to tape the activities. Audio quality in some spots made clear transcription impossible, but this preserves the bulk of the proceedings.
As the Coachwhip summary concludes, the book also includes limnological notes on Lake Champlain, a chronological listing of Champ sightings, and reprints of several historical Champ-related newspaper accounts.
Some photos taken at the conference are also included.
I attended this conference. What a fantastic event. It was great to meet all the attendees and researchers there, to hear Sandra Mansi tell her story, and to compare notes with friends like Zarr. After it was over, I got in my Datsun pickup, turned on the radio (yes, “Puff the Magic Dragon” was playing), drove back to Boston, and was inspired to immediately pen an article on the conference for Boston Magazine. The essence of that article is in the 2007 edition of Mysterious America, as Chapter 11, “Champ.”
This conference will always be remembered as a stimulating event, and for me to relive my time there through reading this new book is great.
Many of us have waited 26 years for this complete conference book to be written. My deepest congratulations to Gary, Dwight, and Chad for getting this done!