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DolphinEAR Sound Library

Sea Serpent?

Is this the sound of a Sea Serprent?
HUNTING REAL 'SEA' SERPENTS: 
Is there a MONSTER in my lake?                  HEAR IT! 

For centuries people have reported strange sightings in lakes. Dark shapes with seemingly long necks that poke above the surface at unpredictable times. We have all heard of 'Nessie' the Lock Ness Monster. But, similar sightings have been made in lakes around the world. Is it real? Or hoax?

Lacking 'hard evidence' you might be justified in dismissing these sightings with a 'snicker'. Enter the CRYPTOzoologists - a group of dedicated researchers and adventurers who look for evidence of mysterious animals. One such group, Global Underwater Search Team (GUST) is run by Jan-Ove Sundberg in Sweden. GUST has been researching the strange reports of an unknown animal that inhabits the depths of Lake Seljordsvatnet in Norway. This lake is 14 km. long, nearly 2 km. wide and about 150m deep.

Reports of strange sightings on Lake Seljordsvatnet date back to the 1700's (long before the invention of the jet-setting tourist industry). Eyewitnesses report a serpent-like animal with a length of about 10 metres. Hundreds of sightings seem to agree on this point. But the creature, if it really exists, is extremely shy. There has never been direct evidence that it exists.

LATEST SEARCH:
In August 1999, just a few weeks ago, GUST again deployed a team on Lake Seljordsvatnet to search for clues. They also conducted an expedition last year with mixed results. For the first time, they deployed a sensitive hydrophone (underwater microphone) to listen passively for any sounds in the vicinity of a place where many reported sightings have occurred. Some team members were assigned to visual/photographic searches of the lake surface. They even had an ultralight aircraft to investigate any sightings from the air.

During past expeditions, they have used a variety of searching apparatus including: Remotely Operated Submarines, Sidescan Sonar, divers, surface search vessels, and ultralight aircraft for aerial searches. All of which can be classified as 'active' methods - all of which might frighten off the target of the search before it comes within detection range.

PASSIVE SEARCHING WITH HYDROPHONES YIELDS RESULTS:
It was the hydrophone that provided the first clues at 10.39 PM on Friday, 20 August 1999 when unusual sounds started to be heard and recorded. Sundberg, leader of the team, said "the sounds came and went, as they were to do in the days to come, and sometimes they seemed very close, sometimes further away. It was regular because we recorded a certain amount each day, and irregular because we never knew when the sounds would be there. At some point we heard one large sound and a little later two faint ones, one after the other." Team member and sound engineer Eele Jansma said: "you could count on hearing them at least 5-8 times a day. When I heard the sound for the first time, I went outside and studied our buoy (where the hydrophone was located) in the field-binoculars ... but neither that time nor later I saw as much as a ripple on the water by the buoy and therefore it could hardly be a sea-lion". There had been speculation that the 'monster in the lake' might have been nothing more than a seal-lion, but the absence of any surface breathing tends to rule that possibility out.

Another interesting observation was made by Sundberg: "Passing boats were a nuisance and when there was a lot of propeller noise in the water, the sounds could not be heard. This was both due to the strong propeller noise and, it seemed, because whatever was making the sound was frighted away for at least an hour and a half before we could hear and record it again." Which seems to rule out the possibility that the sound was caused by some natural phenomenon - like the sudden release of trapped gases from the bottom of the lake.

HEAR IT YOURSELF!
The sound recordings are still being analyzed and compared to known sounds (natural and biological) as we write this in at the end of October. We'll bring you more details as they become available. Click Here to Listen! The spectrogram of this sound is shown at the top of the page.

SCIENCE or PARANORMAL?
The GUST team operates in a gray world between science and paranormal occurrences. As such, they can be assured of incurring the wrath of both! Yet, they are developing and refining techniques that will be useful to researchers in other areas of the world. This is an ongoing story and we will bring you updates as more information becomes available.

DOLPHINEAR HYDROPHONES JOIN GUST2000:

In February and August 2000, our DolphinEAR hydrophone system will be used in the search at Lake Seljordsvatnet. This is the same hydrophone system used by NATO and available 'over the counter' to the public. Being extremely rugged and portable DolphinEAR will be used by mobile teams trying to pinpoint other sound 'hotspots' within the lake.

Passive monitoring of a body of water with a hydrophone produces results that other detection systems don't equal - simply because it emits no signal to scare off the 'target' of a search. As land creatures, we human folks are at a great disadvantage when it comes to exploring the underwater world. We rely on our eyes - which is only natural - but places us at a great disadvantage. Underwater it's a world of darkness where creatures use SOUND to navigate, hunt and communicate. Sounds travel long distances in water - much like light travels long distances in air - so it's natural that water creatures would use sound for their own needs.

REPRINTED FROM 'EAR on the SEA' E-zine.
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