CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - A report this month that yet another person saw a "dinosaur" in the murky waters of man-made Lake Norman has prompted someone else to step forward with a clue about what the creature might be.
In a July 14 posting on the official LakeNormanMonster.com website, a diver from Clemmons claims to have seen an "enormous" fish in the lake 20 years ago. The diver, who didn't give a name, said he was looking for old bottles among the buildings that were submerged when the lake was first created.
Adding to the creepiness factor: His light found the fish in the black waters inside one of those submerged buildings, he wrote.
"It was...at least 8 feet long and 3 feet across the mouth," posted the diver. "We hovered in the water for a good 5 minutes with our lights on it, not believing what we were seeing. I've never seen a freshwater fish that big...The only thing it did was to pump it's gills and open and shut it's mouth slowly, like it didn't even see us."
He guesses it may have been a cat fish "a damn big, scary one too." It could be the monster, he suggested.
"That fish might be a lot bigger in the 20 odd years since," the diver wrote.
Speculation of the possible origin of the fabled "monster" has increased in the past week, after a web site called CryptoZoology.com reported a 35-year-old Mecklenburg County man claimed he saw a "dinosaur-like creature" two weeks ago while traveling on a boat with friends.
The man described the creature as "splashing around in the water," 10-feet-long and reminiscent of the mythical Loch Ness monster. It was visible for about a minute before dropping below the surface, he told the website.
Doubters believe the creature – if there is one at all – is a giant catfish or even an alligator, a species that is rare in local waters.
"Couldn't this be a sturgeon?" asked one skeptic on LakeNormanMonster.com. "They get MASSIVE and do closely resemble that of a croc with the spines on their back and large bumpy scales."
The Observer has covered the ongoing Lake Norman sightings, which date back nearly 50 years.
A few dozen witnesses have posted sightings on LakeNormanMonster.com. Descriptions range from a dinosaur-like monster to a giant snake with fins... and thick whiskers.
A page is devoted to The Lake Norman Monster on the web site UnknownExplorers.com, and it notes there is no physical evidence to support the existence of a monster living in Lake Norman. The site speculates the sightings could involve a giant catfish or alligator gar.