PORT HENRY, N.Y. (WFFF) — Champ the Lake Monster is a famous sea creature rumored to lurk around Lake Champlain. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when the creature—also called “Champy” and “America’s Loch Ness Monster”—was allegedly first spotted.

Nina Ridhibhiny with the Echo Leahy Center said it was sometime in the 1800s. Some say the legend dates back to the 1600s!

“Champ was first documented in 1609 when Samuel D. Champlain was exploring Lake Champlain and talking to the local Indian tribe, the Abenaki Indian tribe and they noted that there was this creature and Samuel D. Champlain never saw it, but in his journal he wrote and described it and had a picture of it,” says Mike Shea, owner of the Spirit of Ethan Allen.

“This is the time that P.T Barnum puts out a ransom of $50,000 to bring back the carcass of Champ,” she said. “So, we have award seekers coming into the area chasing the legendary monster, and when you have that kind of publicity of course you hear a lot more stories and you have a lot more to talk about.”