Yankee Classic: The Champ Believer
He chuckled. “Don’t hold your breath. The Vermont State Lottery ran a ‘Search for Champ’ contest, where you win if you find a picture of the monster under one of those scratch-off things. I never won.”
He spoke of one Loch Ness monster hunter whose tactics were to loudly announce his intention to go one place to observe, then go to a different spot to fool his prey. Another, a minister, believed in meditating to draw the creatures close. “I wish I was that positive,” he said wistfully.
“You’re the most positive person I know,” Pat retorted.
They fell into an old argument. Pat takes the pragmatic position that more publicity would help raise money for a more thorough search for Champ. She’d like to see the Mansi photo on postcards, for example. Zarr doesn’t want to appear to be exploiting the animal for personal or commercial gain.
“My hero in all this is Tim Dinsdale,” Zarr said, naming one of the Loch Ness investigators. “He claims that his search at Loch Ness is like looking for a unicorn in the water — a myth made real.
“There’s a purity there. We look at unicorn legends as a kind of last hope that there is some part of the human character that is pure. Here, we’ve associated these creatures with monsters, with the dark side of ourselves. If we can find one of these — Champ, Nessie, the Sasquatch — and see them as part of nature, not monsters, it might inspire us to achieve other things — find a cure for cancer.”
“We should send a copy of your book to President Reagan,” Pat said.
“We already did,” Zarr replied.
“It will be sad if they prove Nessie exists,” he went on, “but it will make a lot of people feel good.”