The "Monster of Tianchi Lake" in the Changbai Mountains in Jilin Province, northeast China, is back in the news after several recent sightings were reported.
It was spotted twice by hundreds of people in different parts of the lake, according to Meng Fanying, director of a Songjiang District Tourism Bureau.
Meng said the monster, which seems to be black in color, was 10 meters from the bank during the most recent sighting, and jumped out of the water from time to time like a seal.
"That lasted for about 10 minutes, and 200-some sightseers on Changbai's western peak said they saw it," he said.
Although no one really got a clear look at the mysterious creature that afternoon, Xue Junlin, a local photographer, claimed that it looked just like the Tianchi Lake monster on display at the Changbai Mountain Natural History Museum.
"They both have horse-like heads," explained Xue. He and another local man, Liu Bo, are the only two people to have seen the monster previously.
The 9.8-square-kilometre Tianchi Lake is 373 metres deep in its deepest part and is China's deepest volcanic lake. The legend of some sort of monster has been around for more than a hundred years.
Scientists have dismissed it as pure fiction not least of all because of volcanic eruptions, the last of which was 300 years ago.
But the reports of sightings have never died out.
In fact, some of the more interested local people have organized the Tianchi Monster Society and persist in their attempts to trace the animal as true believers.
(China Daily July 31, 2002)