Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Tahoe Lake Monster - Tessie, To His Friends

A recent ski trip to Tahoe (yes, skiing in May - strange but true) piqued my interest in that vast, beautiful lake and the wildlife beneath its waters - particularly its fish, since I'm a pretty avid fisherman when I can escape my computer. So when I returned home to Oakland, I did a little online research into the Tahoe ecosystem. What I discovered, in addition to the fact that Tahoe is 1645 feet deep and harbors fish species including rainbow, lake, and brown trout, is that the lake may (or may not) be home to a Nessie-esque lake monster, nicknamed, surprise, Tessie.

Tessie is purportedly a long, serpentine beast who's spotted from time to time breaking the surface to breathe and paddling around leaving mysterious v-shaped wakes in the lake. One witness quoted in this article
about Tessie observed that the creature "seemed very lethargic." Perhaps he'd had a few too many trout that day.

On another occasion Tessie, perhaps yearning for a screen career, interrupted the filming of a TV commercial being shot on the shores of Tahoe. Unfortunately the footage taken that day was destroyed under mysterious circumstances. If it ever existed at all.

As with all alleged monsters, there is no shortage of sensible, level-headed explanations for what's really going on. Tessie could be a beaver, or a sturgeon, or a log, or...anything but a giant landlocked lake serpent from the age of the dinosaurs. And as usual, such explanations are a total joykill, so they're best ignored.

If you're ever in the Tahoe region and want to experience the Tessie phenomenon for yourself, stop in at Tahoe Tessie's Lake Tahoe Monster Museum
in Kings Beach, a town on the north shore of the lake. Here you'll find everything you'd want to know about Tessie - well, except for a physical specimen of the beast. For that, you'll have to mount your own expedition into Tahoe's depths. If you ever put one together, let me know...I'll bring the beer.

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