Stories of lake monsters have fascinated us throughout time. From the famous Loch Ness monster in England to "Champ" in Lake Champlain, Vermont, people love to talk about strange things in the water that they cannot explain.

But did you know that South Dakota has its very own lake monster? Its only a short drive from Sioux Falls. Lake Kampeska just outside of Watertown, South Dakota, is the third largest natural lake within the borders of South Dakota. Legend has it that deep within its waters lies a terrible beast. According to, the story goes:

In 1888, a group having a picnic at Lake Kampeska in eastern South Dakota, were surprised when a monster broke the surface of the water, and ruined a perfectly good lunch. The lizard-like creature was at least 200 feet long, according to the witnesses. The beast had a thirty-foot-long fluked tail, and a “crested head as large as a yearling calf,” they reported to the Watertown Public Opinion newspaper. The monster was covered in scales.

“Opening its awful jaws (it) uttered the most unearthly laugh that ever broke on mortal ears,” one witness told the Public Opinion. The picnickers, all well educated and sure of what they saw, left everything on the lakeshore and hurried home.

Although no recent sightings have been reported since then. Is the animal a myth or lurking in the depths below.

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