Mysterious water mammoths inhabit Siberian lakes
Our team arrived in the location last fall. We asked around several old residents of the village. None of them saw any “water goblins” in or near the lake. Some peoplerecalled spotting seals in the lake on several occasions. “I go fishing on a regular basis. I have never seen any ‘water goblins’ in our lake. I have never heard about them. As for the seals, they drop by the lake now and then. One of the locals even caught a seal several years ago. He carried a camera on that day so he took a picture of the animal. There is nothing strange about seals coming down the lake. Lake Ladoga is not so far away from here. They just travel to and fro through the tributaries,” said Vasily Efremov, head of the village council.
Efremov’s explanation seems quite logical. City guys who went fishing in Lake Vedlozero may have spread the rumors about the “water goblins” after noticing seals in the lake. Any diver will agree that that seals in the water can be easily taken for humans. Besides, Lake Ladoga is located in close proximity to Lake Vedlozero. Perhaps the territory populated by seals or other species of freshwater penniped animals in Russia was much wider in the past. The assertion could explain quite a few Russian legends of mermaids and water goblins.
Hairy monsters snorting at fishermen
A large number of lakes scattered around the vast territory of Northwest Siberia are the lakes that vary greatly in size and shape. They lie in the swampy taiga and forest tundra. Many of them are connected to one another via tributaries.
Professor N. Vereshchagin, a zoologist and self-proclaimed “fighter against “the snowman buffs,” recently published an article, in which he ironically quoted one of the letters addressed the Institute of Zoology. Prof. Vereshchagin poked fun at the letter’s author who maintained that either seals or hippopotamuses lived in some of the lakes in the Irtysh basin. However, some enthusiasts of cryptozoology refrain from making a mockery of similar reports. They opt to check them first. The late Maya Bykova, one of the first “snowman buffs” in this country, made several trips to the area. She put down a number of eyewitness accounts; most of them read more or less like this:
“I was rowing my boat across the lake when I heard that splash. The sound of it made me stop. I was wondering what kind of a fish could have splashed like that. I lifted the oars and peered in that direction.
The next moment I saw something big emerge from the water, it looked like a haystack rising to the surface. I looked on and saw that the creature was covered with fleecy dark-brown skin resembling that of a seal. It made a hissing sound and dived back into the water.”
Other eyewitness accounts recorded by Bykova contain a similar description of the “monster:” creatures covered with fleecy dark-brown skin quickly rise to the surface, force air violently out through their noses and go back into hiding.
We are quite pleased to emphasize a few important things with regard to the above case as we look at it with the laws of nature in mind. First, the incidents did not take place in a single lake shut away from the rest of the world. On the contrary, the monsters have been seen in several bodies of water, which are frequently connected by means of tributaries. And those lakes are scattered over the vast and sparsely populated area. There is enough room for thousands of species to live virtually unnoticed by anybody. Second, animals can get enough food to survive and multiply. And, last but not least, any visual contact is most likely to involve local villagers who are very few in numbers, hence a sharp decrease in the possibility of a chance meeting. Besides, locals are not used to reporting their observances to the Academy of Sciences. Given a rather skeptical stance on the phenomenon among members of science community, such a letter would be either ignored or laughed at.
The question is: What are those mysterious creatures? Their fleecy skins indicate that they are warm-blooded mammals… In my opinion, they could belong to some unidentified species of penniped animals, freshwater seals. If some seals can live in Lake Ladoga and Lake Baikal, what is so strange about other seals populating in other freshwater bodies of water?
Other theories look pretty weird, to say the least. One of them has gained lots of popularity recently. According to the theory, the lake monsters are mammoths which turned into aquatic animals for reasons unknown. The theory is simply preposterous because mammoths had very few sebaceous glands under the skin, and therefore their long hair could get easily wet. A similar theory put forward by N. Avdeyev, a cryptozoologist from the city of Perm, features relic wooly rhinoceroses which somehow managed to survive. The latter theory does not seem so foolish, compared to the “water mammoths” of the former one. Still, it can hardly hold any water either.
Translated by Guerman Grachev