An image of The Lake Van Monster, from a video shot in 1997 by then 26-year-old Unal Kozak, of Van, Turkey. The image shows the creature's head partly submerged, with a single black eye staring at the camera. Note the upper jaw of the creature's mouth, which appears to be beaklike in nature. Highlights of Kozak's video are available courtesy of

Sightings of the Lake Van monster in Van, Turkey were first reported about two years ago, but further evidence was offered on Tuesday 10 June 1997 when Unal Kozak took bad quality amateur pictures of something long and dark moving in the middle of the lake. Kozak says the creature is about 15 meters (49.5 feet) long.

The subject became an obsession for 26-year-old Unal Kozak, a Van University teaching assistant who has been talking to eyewitnesses since the first sightings. Stationing himself at spots where most of the sightings were reported, Kozak says he saw and filmed the so-called monster on three occasions. Kozak also wrote a book on the creature, including drawings of the monster based on the descriptions of some 1,000 witnesses. The pictures have been sent to Cambridge University for examination, and Jacques Cousteau, the world-famous marine biologist, was expected to visit and examine the lake, but sadly died two weeks after the event.
After each sighting, professional camera crews have rented boats to try to capture the alleged beast clearly on film, but were unsuccessful each time. Public opinion is divided over whether the Lake Van monster is a clever hoax to attract visitors to a region that could use some tourist revenue. The city of Van is in an underdeveloped area of eastern Turkey that for years has lost out to holiday resorts in the west of the country.