Lake Norman Monster Sighting

Lake Norman – 1980-08-17

Sighting Reported By:
Clemmons, NC


In the late 1970’s, when my grandfather was still alive, he used to tell the grandkids about how he was a foreman in the 1930’s for a mobile lumber camp that had the job of clearing trees from the valley that is now Lake Norman. Mom grew up as a cook for the camp and she always swore that when they flooded the valley, several settlements, complete with houses, barns etc…were just left on the bottom when the lake was filled. I didn’t think much about it, but mom said that when they started flooding the lake, people started dumping buckets of fish into the lake so that the lake wouldn’t be bare of fish. Truly, because I went SCUBA diving in the lake looking for the old buildings in hopes of bringing back some old bottles and such. After consulting old 1920’s maps from the library, we picked a few sites to dive on, and loaded up our equipment and RHIB, and set up camp at the lake. On the 3rd dive, we found a small group of 3 buildings, one of which was a house, still with glass in the windows and a collapsed front porch at about 80 feet down. We thought we might get lucky and spotted a big hole in the side of the small house and decided to go in the hole instead of risking collapse of the front porch on us. We never made it in. We had Krypton underwater lights and while the water clarity was near perfect, it was dark, and black inside the hole, so we shone our lights into the big hole and to our complete astonishment, we saw a huge fish. It was enormous, bigger than a diver in full SCUBA, at least 8 feet long and 3 feet across the mouth. We hovered in the water for a good 5 minutes with our lights on it, not believing what we were seeing. I’ve never seen a freshwater fish that big. We were both a bit alarmed by what we saw, and still talk about it from time to time, but because neither of us had a camera on the trip, we didn’t get that all-important photo proof. Anyway, as we watched the fish for a good 5 minutes the only thing it did was to pump it’s gills and open and shut it’s mouth slowly, like it didn’t even see us. To guess at the species of fish, I’d have to say it was a catfish. A damn big, scary one too. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to dive Lake Norman again after that, not that the old house might still be standing, but that the fish might be a lot bigger in the 20 odd years since.