Jul. 10th, 2008 at 7:32 PM- From creatures of the deep to massive mountain monsters, legends of shy prehistoric forms of wildlife persist throughout European culture and history.
The legend of Scotland's Loch Ness monster is easily the most popular but Norway has a rival to the famed creature - "Selma," a fabled serpent which has caught the attention of an international team of monster hunters. Reports of a beast in the lake first surfaced around 1750, and most accounts agree it looks like a serpent with the head of an elk or a horse.
But despite perpetual reports of sightings and a number of attempts to scientifically prove their existence, the mysteries of Loch Ness and Selma remain just that. Swedish monster spotters have been kept busy in recent years with a rush of stories about a similar strain of serpent.
Thirteen years ago, a new legend was born in Lake Van, Turkey. Authorities recorded witness accounts of a monster-like dinosaur in the country's largest lake. In 1997, pictures claimed to be of the reclusive lake snake were sent to England's Cambridge University and to renowned marine biologist Jacques Cousteau for analysis amid accusations of a bid by the nearby community to attract more tourists to the region.
Whether it is that factor or similar enduring folklore, lake creatures are also becoming more regularly spotted throughout Europe.
But perhaps a lesson to nonbelievers comes from the South Pacific, where a giant race of squid, mythologized for centuries, turned out to be real.
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