Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Tahoe Tessie

Map Lake Tahoe, California

Much like Loch Ness, Lake Tahoe has its own water monster and it's called Tahoe Tessie. About half a dozen sightings occur every year. This has led to a museum and even a phone hot line to be established in the area. Local Indian legends have long spoke of monsters in the lake and some other theories point to a giant sturgeon perhaps inhabiting the dark areas of the water.

Lake Tahoe is an extremely deep body of water, getting to 1,645 feet, thus making it the perfect place for sea monsters to lurk and hide. The reports of Tessie are mostly of the sixty foot serpentine variety although several claim Tessie to be a giant fish, hence the sturgeon theory. The first rumors of the sea creature came from the Indians that lived in the area - the Washoe and Paiute Tribes.

It is said on the internet that Jacques Cousteau, French Oceanographer, explored the depths of Lake Tahoe in the 1970s. Cousteau apparently encountered something so horrible, that he claimed the world was not ready for what was at the bottom of the lake. He subsequently refused to release any of his underwater footage or any of his data. There has been no credible source or evidence to lend credence to this fact, and the bit of urban legend could originate entirely from the internet.

Cave Rock is a large rock formation along the southeastern shore of the lake. It is easily visible from most of the lake. Once part of a volcanic vent, the caves were created by the constant pounding of the lake's shoreline crashing against the rock walls. This happened about three million years ago when the lake was much higher in elevation of course. Cave Rock has been reported to be sacred to the Washoe Indians. Rumors of the tribe throwing their deceased off the rock have circulated and this has led to ghost stories about Cave Rock mostly concerning several spirits performing tribal rituals. Supposedly you can also see a lady pictured in the rock formation. Called the Lady of the Lake she is gazing out at the lake and is best viewed from north of the rock, in the morning or early afternoon hours. Lastly Cave Rock is suppose to be situated above the underwater lair of Tahoe Tessie.

Lake Tahoe seems to have its share of ghosts. Periodically, there are even reports of a young woman dressed in fine clothing from the late 1800's floating just below the surface of the water. Additionally, the only island in the lake, Fannette Island is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a hermit named Captain Dick Barter.

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Last Edited: 2006-06-12


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