Paddler is the name given to the sea monster that supposedly inhabits Lake Pend Oreille just outside Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The Paddler, while an uncreative name for a lake monster, has been seen intermittently since the early 1940’s in this mountain lake. Most witnesses describe a large, difficult to see object moving through the water at a quick pace. Some witnesses have described the beast to be over 20 feet long, and others have said that it tends to move up and down in the water as it swims.
While the possibility of a population of large sea monsters living in the lake is quite minimal it is worth noting that the lake is both larger and deeper than Loch Ness which is also supposed to be home to a population of Nessies.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s, when a serious investigation of the “Pend Oreille Paddler” was undertaken. In 1984, a cryptozoological expedition headed by a North Idaho College professor by the name of James R. McLeod concluded that the reports most likely were a giant sturgeon, noting that it makes occasional visits to the lake and can appear prehistoric. There was no sea monster in the lake; however, the weirdness did not stop there. While conducting the investigation McLeod noted that, many people had seen other weird things on the lake: submarines, nuclear submarines.
What the Navy had to do with the “Paddler”
The US Navy denied for many years that they had conducted experiments in the lake. Today they no longer deny it, admitting to using the deep end of the lake for submarine research. In addition, the International Submarine Engineering group (ISE) of Canada admitted to testing the Pisces I minisub in the lake in the 1960’s.
This alone is not very controversial. The navy used the lake to test submarines. What is controversial is the evidence that the Navy created the story of the Pend Oreille Paddler to cover up their tests…
The Navy has never admitted to doing anything more than testing submarines in Lake Pend Oreille; however, many people feel that the best explanation for the weird beasts in the lake stems not from an actual beast, but from some phony reports put out by the navy to make sure that anyone who saw anything would think it was a monster, and not your friendly national government hard at work.
Cryptozoology from A to Z by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark
Vacationville North Idaho Tourist Site (www.vacationville.com)