Mysteries of Lake Baikal

In Siberia, Russia, there is a lake that has become known worldwide both for its immense size and its impact on the local culture. Lake Baikal as it is known, is hugely important for scientists because of its wildlife and climate, but like other important areas has its share of strange and paranormal history.

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Map showing Lake Baikal’s location

There are many aspects of Lake Baikal that make it a unique body of water. For example, the sheer size of the lake allows it have its own microclimate, or a climate that is separate from the surrounding area. More than half of all the organisms that live in Lake Baikal are only found there, more than three hundred rivers feed into the lake yet there is only one outlet, and contains over twenty-seven islands, most of which are uninhabited. And the nerpa, the world’s only freshwater seal, resides in Lake Baikal, although researchers are unsure of how a subspecies of seal could have originated so far from the oceans.

The lake, which is 636 km long, 79 km wide, and possesses a coastline 2100 km long (making it more of a sea than a lake), is also 1,632 meters deep, making it the deepest lake in the world. Thus, it is also the largest body of freshwater in the world, containing over 20% of the entire world’s freshwater. However, unlike other lakes such as Loch Ness, Lake Baikal’s water is extraordinarily clear, and in ideal conditions people can see up to 40 meters into the water.

sturgeonLake Baikal was first formed 20-25 million years ago, making it the world’s oldest lake, and has had strange stories told about it for just about its entire history. Some local legends claim that Jesus made a trip to the lake at one point when not journeying throughout the desert. Another legend claims that the leader of the Mongol empire Genghis Khan was born on the island of Olkhon (a fact historians disprove). Another more popular legend is that of the “Lake Baikal Monster,” a creature described by locals as being physically similar to either a sturgeon or an extremely large pinniped (or seal), suggesting the possibility that there are actually two potential Lake Baikal Monsters. It has been theorized that if these creatures do exist, it could be the result of either an ancient creature that has become confined to the massive lake or a preexisting creature that was mutated by the large amounts of pollution dumped into the lake.

What stands out about the lake the most is not its uniqueness or local association with Jesus, but rather the modern association by locals, Russians and experts worldwide between Lake Baikal and UFO activity.

For years, people have reported seeing a multitude of strange phenomena in and around Lake Baikal, including strange sea creatures, disappearing ships, UFO’s flying around and into the lake, strange objects appearing out of the water, cigar-shaped UFO’s, and even strange humanoid creatures being spotted underwater with diving gear more similar to astronaut suits. The sightings have become so common in fact that most people, ufologist and local alike believe that Lake Baikal is home to some kind of secret underwater alien base due to the amount of UFO and USO (Unidentified Submerged Object) activity.

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A Spetsnaz combat diver

Perhaps the most circulated story of strange, underwater extraterrestrials is an encounter from 1982. According to Vladimir Azhazha, a former officer in the Soviet Navy, declassified documents from the end of the Cold War state that in 1982 seven military officers were training underwater in Lake Baikal. As they were training, the officers saw strangely shaped vehicles traveling much faster than anything the Soviet Navy had available. As the officers continued diving, at a depth of 150 feet they encountered a group of humanoid entities. While non-human, the entities were described as wearing silver suits with helmets yet not any familiar kind of diving equipment. The officers then attempted to capture these strange entities, which resulted in three of the officers being brutally killed while the four survivors were heavily injured.

While this story seems a little fantastic, it is important to point out that the Soviets were very wary of strange, underwater phenomena. The unexplained “Quackers” phenomena went totally unheard of during the Cold War, but the problem of USO’s bothering Soviet submarines throughout the Atlantic Ocean was apparently widespread and something of a myth throughout the Soviet Navy.

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NASA photograph showing the circle in the ice

With so many colorful stories surrounding Lake Baikal, one can only wonder what, if any, evidence there is to prove such activity. Ironically, there is evidence in the form of photographs taken by NASA on the International Space Station. Beginning on April 5th and last observed April 27th, 2009, ISS astronauts photographed a pair of circles that appeared in Lake Baikal’s ice. The circles are believed to have been caused by upwelling, or convection, when hot water is brought to the surface by hydro-thermal activity which causes the ice to melt, then freeze over again after roughly a day. However, one of the circles appeared over very deep water, which has so far puzzled NASA experts.

Today, Lake Baikal continues to be a treasure for the Russian Federation. Its amazing collection of wildlife and beautiful scenery are of huge value to the locals and the scientific community. However, the lake’s strange history and the many strange phenomena reported there have secured Lake Baikal’s place among those who believe in aliens and UFO’s.

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