Como Lake monster: the legend of Lariosauro

December 21, 2012

Como Lake is one of the deepest European lakes, at about 410 meters (1200 feet) at the deepest location. That's why the legend of the cryptid Lariosauro actually seems to be plausible.

On November 18, 1946 two hunters near Colico, the north shore of Como Lake, claim to have met a creature with very harsh reddish scales for a length of ten to twelve meters near the shore. The two hunters took their rifles and fired in the direction of the "thing" that quickly gained the center of the lake disappearing with a sharp hissing sound. This strange animal was called Lariosauro, the same name used a century before to name a prehistoric reptile (Lariosaurus balsami) whose fossilized remains were found by the lake in 1830. The fossils of this and other species were found later and now they can be found behind the windows of the museums of Lecco and Munich of Bavaria.

Other similar sightings not far from this area gave baptism to the legendary Lariosauro, that regularly recurred in subsequent years: in 1954 a couple, father and son, spotted something with a rounded snout and webbed feet swimming on the water. It was long only eighty centimeters (perhaps a rare otter). Three years after a bathysphere, which submerged ninety meters deep off the coast of Dervio, met an animal with a crocodile-like head and a body length of about two meters.

The last sighting happened in 2003: a giant eel, about 10-12 meters long, was seen in Lecco. Skeptical researcher Giorgio Castiglioni, who studied these cases, thinks that it was actually a group of fish swimming together.

Popular tradition, a pinch of truth and a few drops of fantasy are the perfect ingredients for a legend.

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