Legend of New York's Cayuga Lake Monster

Tamara Lindstrom
YNN Syracuse

CAYUGA LAKE -- The cool waters of Cayuga Lake have long invited boaters, swimmers and even divers into its shadowy depths.

"I would daresay I've spent more time underwater than any other human being in this area, in Cayuga Lake anyhow," said Jack Marshall, owner of Jack Marshall Professional Diving Service.

For more than 40 years, Marshall has trained aspiring divers, and even explored his underwater hometown history.

"People will research and find out where the old hotels were and they'd go out front and dump their garbage," Marshall said. "And people would find old bottles, neat things like that."

But beneath the surface lies much more than antique treasures.

At 38 miles long and more than 400 feet deep, the bottom of Cayuga Lake dips below sea level. And some say there's no telling what lives in the murky darkness.

"Of course the lake is very deep," Marshall said. "Not quite as deep as Loch Ness, but you know people have never been down there to see what's there. So who knows?"

"I've experienced on dead calm days, when there's not a ripple in the water anywhere. And we're sitting there with our engines off, pulling water samples and plankton samples out of the lake. Not a boat in sight," said Dennis Montgomery, cofounder of the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. "And all of a sudden, you look out in the lake and you see this big, soft ripply wave coming toward you, coming from the shore. Okay, so what causes that?"

A question asked by residents and so-called "cottagers" for more than two centuries.

"It goes all the way back, the first stories that I read about were from the 1800s."

An article printed on January 5th, 1897 in the Ithaca Daily Journal hails the 69th annual appearance of an elusive green sea monster.

The article claims a reputable citizen was taking a drive with a companion along the lake's shore, when he spotted what he said was "certainly the sea serpent" with a large head and long body that disappeared beneath the whitecaps.

And by this time, the creature had a name – Old Greeny.

It's the kind of story Jack Marshall would chalk up to a vivid imagination.

"I'm not a believer in that kind of stuff," Marshall said.

That is, until one day in 1979, when Marshall took some friends out on the lake in his new boat.

"And in front of the boat, I saw what appeared to be a log. I saw where it came up to the surface and part of it went down and back up again. And another fellow was driving the boat, and I told him to stop, quick, quick, stop!"

But it was too late. Expecting an impact that would wreck the motor, the boaters instead saw the water around the object churn, and the 20-foot hazard disappeared.

Story continues here: centralny.ynn.com

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