The following piece is something I wrote in January 2017. I thought that today I would share it again.
Siberia’s Yakutia region is home to a lake monster whose stories date back to the late 1800s when documented sightings began to be recorded. However, legends of the monster go back much further. The creature is known as “Labynkyrsky Chert” or the Labynkyr Devil—named after Lake Labynkyr where the monster dwells.
Nicknamed “Siberia’s Loch Ness Monster,” the Labynkyr Devil has made its rounds in the news lately after new sightings have been reported.
A Man’s Quest for Answers
At the time of this writing, Andrey Solovyev has spent over 100 days—alone—on Lake Labynkyr. Enduring temperatures that dip below –50 °F, Solovyev has made a home in a small wooden shack. His closest neighbor nearly 100 miles away.
What would drive a man to live in isolation in one of the harshest environments on Earth? One motivation is to test his survival skills. In the world in which Solvyev came from, he works in the tourism industry; he also teaches survival skills. What better way to determine where your survival skills rank than to spend a winter alone on Lake Labynkyr?
The biggest reason Solovyev stationed himself on Lake Labynkyr is to try and obtain evidence for the existence of the devil that lives in the lake. He has always been intrigued by the stories of the creature and wanted to come to the lake and find out first-hand if the monster exists.
Recently, he may have had his own encounter. He claims to have momentarily caught a glimpse of a large dark creature as it broke the water. There is no way for him to know what he saw, but he believes it may have been the monster. His belief is strengthened by another incident that occurred in September—his fishing nets were torn apart by something. His nets were torn to shreds and he found holes meters in diameter; an impossibility for any known animal in the lake.
A History of Sightings
Tales of a monster in Lake Labynkyr have been passed down for generations among the locals. A description of the beast has been obtained from eyewitness reports: it has dark gray coloring; it is 30 feet long and 4 feet wide; the monster has a massive jaw full of razor-sharp teeth—the jaw is about a third the size of its body; the beast has a bony protrusion on its head, almost like a horn; the animal is also said to be very aggressive and has been heard emitting a “primeval cry.”
There is a chilling story of a dog who disappeared at the hands of the Labynkyr Devil. The dog swam out into the lake to retrieve a duck that its owner had shot and was suddenly attacked by a monster. The hunter saw a pair of huge jaws suddenly appear out of the water and his dog simply disappeared into them.
There is another report that indicates something might be preying on the seagull population in the lake. There is an island in the middle of the lake where many destroyed seagull nests were found. The nests were crushed with birds inside. Many of the birds were apparently eaten, while others lay dead.
Many monster sighting accounts come from fisherman on the lake who occasionally see a massive, dark gray creature briefly come to the surface. There are several instances in which the boats of anglers are lifted or rocked by large waves that are created when the monster comes to the surface. In one instance, a boat sank after it was capsized by a sudden large wave—believed to have been caused by the Labynkyr Devil.
Recently, a group of geologists were fishing in the lake when they noticed the head of a massive creature in the water. There were several onlookers on shore who saw the creature as well; they began shooting guns to scare the beast away.
The creature(s) in Lake Labynkyr have been detected on sonar many times both by amateurs and scientists conducting research at the lake. Dr. Lyudmila Emiliyanova of Moscow State University in one such researcher. “The object was very dense, of homogenous structure, surely not a fish, nor a shoal of fish, and it was above the bottom.” She went on to say that she could not offer an explanation for the identity of the object.
During a separate expedition in 2008, large objects were detected on a fish-finder. One such object was over 21 feet long. An expedition member, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It was pretty clear that it was not a fish and not a tree. There cannot be fish that big, and a log would have registered in a different way. How can it swim under water?”
In 2013, a diving team claimed to have captured evidence of mysterious, large jaws and a skeleton using an underwater scanner.
There is a tale of a local who found a large jaw that when stood up, it formed an arch large enough for a horse to pass underneath.
Dr. Emiliyanova, who has been to the region twelve times, believes in the validity of the monster reports from Lake Labynkyr. “Personally, I do believe that when the information about something strange circulates among local people for so many years, it just can’t be groundless, it means something is there.” She is also impressed with the character and honesty of the local people and claims, “they do not lie.”
Some Closing Thoughts
Something that stands out in the lore surrounding the Labynkyr Devil are rumors that Lake Labynkyr is connected to another lake, Lake Vorota, which is about 12 miles away. The water level in Lake Vorota is nearly identical to that in Lake Labynkyr—Lake Vorota has also had many reports of a similar creature in its waters. Dr. Emilyanova said, “some scientists believe that this lake is connected with other lakes on the same plateau, at least with Vorota, via some underground tunnel system.”
Lake monsters and rumors of underwater tunnels that connect various lakes go hand in hand. Lake Tahoe, home to “Tessie,” is rumored to have a connection to other lakes in the region—most notably, Pyramid Lake where monster sightings have occurred. Lake Pohenegamook, in Quebec, is home to a monster known as Ponik. Lake Pohenegamook is rumored to have a subterranean connection with nearby Lake Temiscouata where monster sightings occasionally take place. The Obojoki, in Iowa, is rumored to travel between the “Iowa Great Lakes” using a system of underwater tunnels. Some believe that the tunnel network may extend as far as the Gulf of Mexico!
If a monster exists in Lake Labynkyr (and Lake Vorota), what could it be?
Speculation abounds as to the identity of the Labynkyr Devil. One controversial theory suggests that the monster is a killer whale—part of a “landlocked” remnant population that adapted to fresh water after the plateau on which Lake Labynkyr sits was cut off from the Sea of Okhotsk.
There are other theories as well. Perhaps a surviving remnant of ichthyosaurs somehow survived into the present day. Maybe a small group of plesiosaurs defied the odds and are alive today in the cold Siberian waters.
At any rate, whatever the truth may be, there are those who are dedicated to finding it. This is a refreshing departure from the normal mockery of the lake monster phenomenon.
The Siberian Times has a number of online articles that can be accessed by the following link: http://siberiantimes.com/search/?text=lake%20Labynkyr&tag=1