Meet the characters

Ellen MarsdenEllen Marsden is an associate professor of biology at The University of Vermont. She teaches in the university’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Having logged many hours on the lake, she is no stranger to questions about Lake Champlain’s cryptid, “Champ.” Marsden appeared in a recent MonsterQuest television show, “America’s Loch Ness Monster,” in which she explained the improbability of there being a breeding population of plesiosaurs in Lake Champlain.

Though Marsden is skeptical of the prospect of a plesiosaur inhabiting the sometimes frigid lake, she maintains that when done right, cryptozoology can have value.

“Cryptozoology like any science can be an objective science,” the biologist said. “It can be a good science.”

Our innate curiosity about the world makes cryptozoology an attractive science for some, Marsden said.

“I think we have a natural desire for something mysterious, something that is unexplained…so what cryptozoology will do if it’s successful, is explain the unexplainable, and take some of the mystery away,” she said. “For some people, that would be disappointing.”