Yankee Classic: The Champ Believer
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.”
“Yes, the mystery will be gone. This is the good part, the search. Any day could be The Day.”
“You sound almost as if you don’t want to find Champ.”
“Well, I wouldn’t throw away my camera,” he said. “But for a cryptozoologist, finding the animal means losing it. It’s not hidden anymore. Then it belongs to the zoologists.
“The mystery is gone for me already, in a way. I believe in the animal. But to someone like Ann Koch or Peg McGeoch, those sightings will become their little crusades for the rest of their lives, to try to persuade others.”
We watched the lake. A breeze came up, blowing away the last wisps of fog and cross-hatching the water with ripples. There seemed to be rivers on the surface, coiling up sluggishly from deep within, moving south.