Lake George Monster
The Lake George Monster, fittingly named "Georgie", was a hoax invented by painter Harry Watrous after a fishing bet with newspaper editor Colonel William d'Alton Mann in 1904. The monster was purportedly sighted at Hague Bay in Lake George in New York, United States. This was a reported solution to an ongoing rivalry that Watrous had with another resident (Colonal Mann). After word had spread about, Watrous began to move the monster around the lake for more publicity. The monster was also sighted at The View restaurant, near Hague.
The original monster is currently on display at the Clifton F. West Historical Museum in the Hague Town Hall in Hague, New York. A replica monster can be found at the Lake George Historical Museum in Lake George, New York.
According to Monumental Mysteries, Harry Watrous and Colonel William Mann were avid fishermen and the two decide to see who can catch the biggest trout in the lake. When Mann showed Watrous a 40-pound whopper he had just caught, he knew he wasn't going to catch anything bigger and realized he had lost the bet. However, days later, Watrous discovers he had been pranked by Mann--the prize catch was a fake fish. Mann had a giant dummy fish made, and from a distance, it looked like the real thing. Watrous then decides to get even by scaring the colonel, and using a 10-foot long cedar log, he builds a bizarre-looking creature. It has bright red fangs, large eyes, a massive open mouth with a long tongue and strands of whiskers made from hemp rope. Watrous then threaded a 100-foot long rope through an anchor at the bottom of the lake and through a pulley at the end of the log the monster rested on. So by tugging on the rope, he is able to make the monster rise up out of the water at will. Watrous pulled his friendly prank over and over, sparking the frenzy of sightings all those years ago before abandoning the gag for good. But 30 years later, Watrous revived his monster with the intent of revealing his secret as a practical joke.
- Nickell, Joe (Dec 2007). "The Lake George Monster Hoax". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
- "Lake George Monster". Hague on Lake George Chamber of Commerce.
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