Located just south of Mount Ararat, in Eastern Turkey, is a fridge fresh water body of water named Van Lake. The lake its self sits approximately 5,160 feet, more than one mile, above sea level, and was created during the Pleistocene era when volcanoes Sipan and Nemrut violently erupted creating a hardened magma wall in the Van basin. This newly formed wall blocked westward drainage to the Murat River and over time formed what is know known as Van Lake. One of the most unique bodies of water found on earth today, Van Lake’s tide levels rise tremendously every year, transforming peninsulas into islands and enriching the lakes waters with sodium carbonate and other salts which ordinarily would have been extracted by evaporation. Even more unique than the lake its self may be the resent eyewitness reports of what is now known as the Van Lake Monster.
The Van Lake Monster first came to international attention in a Daily Telegraph article, which was dated November 2, 1995. The article read:
"Turkish authorities are sending investigators to the country's largest lake to look for what witnesses have described as a dinosaur-like monster. A parliamentary commission has agreed to send a search party designed to unveil Turkey's version of the Loch Ness Monster, after the provincial deputy governor claimed to have seen it."
Unlike other lake cyrptids, it would appear that the Van Lake Monster does not have a long history in the region; in fact, the earliest known encounters with the creature come from the same year as the 1995 newspaper article. The only historical evidence of the creature appears to be persistent rumors regarding an ancient engraving, discovered in a small church on one of Lake Van's four islands, which is said to accurately depict the features of the creature in the lake. Said to be some 50 feet in length, with dark, mottled skin, two small eyes situated on top of its head and sharp triangular humps on its back, the Van Lake Monster has been described by hundreds of eyewitnesses as being almost “prehistoric” in appearance.
In 1997 a short video clip of the creature was shot by 26 year old Van University teaching assistant, Unal Kozak. This Controversial video has baffled researchers as to the identification of the creature in the film. Some claim to have seen a beak; others seem positive it is nothing more than a swimming elephant, where as skeptics refuse to see anything other than a pile of garbage bags being dragged through the deep waters of the lake. In late 1997 the film was aired on CNN and since then has become the center of a firestorm of cryptozoological controversy. The Turkish scientific community is at a loss to explain the identity and origin of the animal and Biology professor at Ataturk University in Erzurum, Orhan Erman, claims that there is nothing that even remotely resembles the Van Lake Monster capable of living in the lake, stating "It is simply not possible for a creature of the size claimed by witnesses to live in a closed lake like Van."
Despite what the experts may say, hundreds of eyewitness has come forward in the last ten years claiming to have seen something in the lake. Those who have photographed the creature, including Kozak, who has become a local expert on the animal, even writing a book on the creature, have not hesitated to allow their images to be examined and scrutinized by marine biologists of the prestigious Cambridge University, as well as the renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. It is this willingness to expose their evidence and themselves before such impeccable academic researchers that leads some skeptics to claim that the Van Lake Monster is nothing more than an attempt to boost local tourism.
No physical evidence of the Van Lake Monster exists to this day, eyewitness reports and small amount photographic evidence; including Kozak’s video are all we have to suggest an unknown creature lives in Van Lake. The fast that Kozak’s video was aired on CNN gives a little more hope that something strange and unknown does lurk in the murky depths of the lake.
1997, Unal Kozak films what is to become one of the most controversial lake monster video in cryptozoological history.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Lake Monster
• Size: Approximately 50 feet long
• Weight: Unknown
• Diet: Unknown
• Location: Van Lake, Turkey
• Movement: Swimming
• Environment: Sodium Enriched Glacial Lake Water