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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.”

“Sad?”

“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.

Tim Clark

Author:

Tim Clark

Biography:

Tim Clark has been writing for Yankee Magazine and The Old Farmer's Almanac since 1975. Subjects of his many Yankee profiles have included filmmaker Ken Burns, historian Barbara Tuchman, pediatrician and political activist Dr. Benjamin Spock, and World War II General James Gavin. Tim left his job as Managing Editor in 1999 to teach English at ConVal High School in Peterborough, N.H. for 13 years, but since retiring from that demanding and rewarding profession in 2012, he has continued to contribute articles and book reviews. Tim lives in Dublin, N.H., two miles from the offices of Yankee Publishing, and serves as Town Moderator, a post previously occupied by Rob Sagendorph, the founder of Yankee Magazine.
Updated Monday, February 14th, 2011
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3 Responses to Yankee Classic: The Champ Believer

  1. Rosalie March 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    How old is this article? I thought it was recent until it mentioned sending a copy of the book to President Regan.

    • Aimee Seavey March 15, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

      Hi Rosalie. This article is what we now call a “Yankee Classic” — it originally ran in June, 1986. Thanks!

  2. Jeff Cooper July 10, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

    It’s interesting now to look back into the past with articles like this one
    and have the context that only the passage of years gives. Back in the
    70s and into the 80s, things like UFOs, Bigfoot, and the Loch Ness
    monster were riding a huge wave of popularity. When nothing came of them,
    the interest waned a bit, but it’s always there, kept alive by the believers.

    I can’t find anything very recent from Mr. Zarzynski. I wonder if,
    after 40 years, his belief has diminished. It would be something
    to sit down and talk with him about it. One’s perspective must change
    to some degree. Even if a public identity has been established and
    the assured stance is required to maintain that, I can’t help but think that
    an educated person like Mr. Zarzynski looks back at this article with a
    little rueful smile.

    Fun read!

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