No, it’s not Nessie — but tales of a mythical Upstate New York water creature continues to captivate people to this day, as it remains one of the most searched-for monsters in the United States.
That’s according to Seaquest, which calls itself an interactive animal experience attraction. The company listed which mythical beasts were searched for the most on Google, and found that legendary creatures from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were all among the most-hunted for…online, that is.
In New York, half a million people every year are looking for Champ (or Champy), a serpent-like animal said to be in the waters of Lake Champlain. Rumored to be similar in appearance to the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, the legend of Champ is said to date back hundreds of years to the Native American tribes that once called the land home, according to a tourism site for the region.
While historians believe the creature spotted at the time — both by local tribes and Samuel de Champlain, for whom the lake is named after — may have been a large garfish, there were reported sightings in the 1800s of an animal anywhere from 25 feet to 187 feet long, the tourism site states. There were nearly 200 supposed sightings by the early 1990s, and there was even a new string of sightings since 2000 that led to multiple TV specials and segments about Champ.
Fun fact: Champ has been protected by state law in New York and Vermont since the early 1980s, so don’t get any ideas of going to hunt the mysterious serpent in person.
The Hulu docuseries “Sasquatch” digs into a triple homicide on a northern California weed farm. A local rumor circulated that the mythical creature Sasquatch, aka Bigfoot, was the killer. Director Joshua Rofe says the series explains how urban legends permeated the local talk about the crime.
The Jersey Devil
Not to be outdone, New Jersey has a beast of its own that fascinates even more people. Designated in 1938 as the country’s only state demon, the Jersey Devil is the subject of nearly three-quarters of a million Google searches every year, according to Seaquest.
The Pineland Preservation Alliance describes the creature as “a kangaroo-like creature with the face of a horse, the head of a dog, bat-like wings, horns and a tail.” If that’s helpful.
While descriptions of the Jersey Devil vary, accounts of seeing it date back more than 250 years throughout the marshes of southern New Jersey, and occasionally in local cities and towns, the organization states. A
According to legend, when Estellville resident Jane Leeds learned that she was pregnant for the 13th (!!) time, she cried out “Let it be the devil!” The story goes that when she gave birth, it was indeed a baby devil, which let out a screech before unfolding its wings and flying out the window to a nearby swamp.
Since that time, there have been more supposed interactions than one can count, and multiple books written about the Jersey Devil (which, yes, is the inspiration for the state’s NHL team name). There was even, at one time, a $100,000 reward for its capture, dead or alive, according to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.
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For its part, Connecticut made the list of honorable mentions for the Glawackus. According to urban legend, the creature is an odd combination of dog, cat, bear and possibly other things that terrorized the town of Glastonbury, near Hartford, in 1939. There were sightings in the 1950s and 1960s, though nothing has come up since — but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to search for more details about the Glawackus.
The most popular mythical creature in the U.S.? That goes to the Skinwalkers in New Mexico, followed by the famed Bogfoot in Washington state.
Here are the top 10 most Googled monsters in the U.S., and how often they are searched every year, Seaquest found:
- 10. Skunk Ape – Florida (325,000 searches)
- 9. Champy – New York (486,000 searches per year)
- 8. The Jersey Devil – New Jersey (728,000 searches per year)
- 7. Jackalope – Wyoming (1.6 million searches per year)
- 6. Mothman – West Virginia (1.6 million searches per year)
- 5. Thunderbird – North Dakota (1.9 million searches per year)
- 4. Chupacabra – Texas (2.9 million searches per year)
- 3. Wendigo – Minnesota (3.6 million searches per year)
- 2. Bigfoot – Washington (4 million searches per year)
- 1. Skinwalkers – New Mexico (6 million searches per year)
And these were the other creatures that have generated a great deal of interest as well:
- 1. Menehune – Hawaii
- 2. Glawackus – Connecticut
- 3. Taku-He – South Dakota
- 4. Bear Lake Monster – Utah
- 5. Dark Watchers – California
Source: NBC New York
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