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"Colossal Claude" From Oregon Folklore Accused Of Causing Underwater Eruption

We never take sea monster reports seriously. They’re always kraken jokes.

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Eleanor Higgs

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Eleanor Higgs

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Eleanor is a content creator and social media assistant with an undergraduate degree in zoology and a master’s degree in wildlife documentary production.

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Black and white drawing of a sea monster attacking a boat

No one can be sure what Colossal Claude looks like, or even if he's real, but he might resemble something like this. Image Credit: Dn Br/Shutterstock.com

Stories of cryptids like the bogeyman, yeti, and Loch Ness monster persist over time thanks to "sightings", alleged witness reports, and dubious accounts stretching back through the history of all things unexplainable. Few have quite the video footage though as one event attributed to "Colossal Claude".

Colossal Claude is said to roam the waters around the Columbia river, in Oregon, USA, and has supposed sightings dating back to the 1930s. He was first "spotted" by the crew of the Lightship Columbia in 1934, who reported Colossal Claude to be a huge creature around 12 meters (40 feet) in length. The sea monster is said to resemble a long serpentine animal with a thick body and evil-looking horse-like head. The crew even watched Claude for some time through binoculars before deciding against pursuing him for fear he would swamp the boat.

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Only a few years later, another report of Colossal Claude turned up in 1937 from the captain of a fishing trawler called the Viv, who reported a "long, hairy tan-colored creature, with the head of an overgrown horse, about 40 feet [12 meters] long, with a 4-foot [1.2-meter] waist." Similarly, another report from a halibut fishing boat, the Argo, described Claude having coarse gray fur, as the crew watched him tucking into some fish.

A few more patchy reports have been added over the years but most seem to slip away, until two people decided to go kayaking on June 29, 2017. Two friends took out kayaks for a seemingly innocent afternoon paddling on Yale Lake in southwest Washington. However, they reported seeing strange bubbles rising up from the surface of the lake, despite a lack of current or any change in weather conditions. 

Dipping their camera under the water reveals swirling debris and bubbles, then an eruption of what appears to be dark brown mud and leaves arrives at the surface, which, according to the video, stank! The clip below is from season three of The Proof Is Out There.

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There is some suggestion that Colossal Claude could be following the salmon population from the ocean into the lake to feed on them. However, as one of the marine biologists points, out the salmon population has decreased within the Columbia River so there are unlikely to be unknown large creatures living in Yale Lake.

One more likely explanation is given in the video by geologist Bob Anderson. He suggests that the bubbles are just caused by natural gas trapped at the bottom of the lake bed. This would also explain the terrible smell that the kayaker complained about as hydrogen sulfide and methane gas are released.

If you want to read about some deep water "monsters" that definitely do exist, check out these 10 inhabitants of the Mariana Trench.


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natureNaturenatureanimals
  • tag
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  • myth,

  • sea monster,

  • weird and wonderful

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