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Colossal Claude: the Columbia River’s fish-eating sea serpent

Bigfoot steals all the cryptid limelight. It’s time to give Oregon’s own Colossal Claude the credit it’s due.

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If Colossal Claude is as friendly as Mike Bennett makes it out to be, we’d like to be friends.

We the media have a responsibility to acknowledge when we misuse our power, deliberately or accidentally, to mislead the public. So we want you to know that we’re sorry for contributing to a major misconception: Bigfoot isn’t Oregon’s most famous mythical creature.

According to the authors of an online American bestiary, that accolade goes to Colossal Claude.

Who the what?

Colossal Claude was a sea monster allegedly seen by multiple different people in the Columbia River throughout the 1930s. The crew of the Columbia River Lightship reported the first sighting in 1934, describing a 40-ft creature with a “neck some eight feet long, a big round body, a mean-looking tail, and an evil, snaky look to its head.”

Others who claimed to see Colossal Claude said it was hairy and like an “aquatic giraffe.” The last reported sighting claimed it was stealing fish from nets in 1939.

Was Colossal Claude a big fish story, a surviving plesiosaur with an affinity for salmon, or just a well-planned beer marketing ploy? Let us know what you think.

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