Bigfoot, Mothman, The Jersey Devil – cryptids have both fascinated and terrified humans for centuries. Merriam-Webster defines a cryptid as, “an animal that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist.” In America, countless cryptozoologists have dedicated their lives to discovering (or exposing, depending on the person and/or conspiracy theory) these creatures and proving their existence. Cree Lighting, an LED lighting pioneer, was curious to see which of the legendary creatures was the most beloved in each state based on Google Trends search data from over the past 12 months. Can you guess which of them has become Pennsylvania’s favorite? The Loch Ness Monster!
“As it turns out, the most popular urban legend in 12 U.S. states is actually of Scottish origin,” reads the study. “The Loch Ness Monster is a supposed marine creature that inhabits Lake Loch Ness in Scotland. Since 1993, numerous sightings of the sea monster have been reported, igniting the collective imaginations of locals and tourists alike.” The Keystone States love of Nessie possibly stems from the legend of its very own lake monster: Raystown Ray.
“…Raystown Ray was first reported in 1962 in the old Raystown Dam,” wrote PennLive’s outdoor expert, Marcus Schneck, in 2015. “That dam, built in 1905, was destroyed in 1971 to make way for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers creation of today’s Raystown Lake, with depths as great as 185 feet.” There have been numerous sightings over the years, with everyday life in the area being temporarily disrupted at times. Organizers of the annual Raystown Ski Club Water Show once almost canceled the event after the creature was reported to be lurking near the jump ramps that would soon be frequented by the skiers. Luckily, however, by the time of the show’s start, Raystown Ray seemed to have moved elsewhere in the lake.
The most common description of Ray seems to be a large serpent-like creature – or an even larger creature, possibly 50-60 feet long – with a body that remains submerged and a serpent-like neck topped by a reptilian head that occasionally appears above the water. The description often echoes the reports of Scotland’s more famous Nessie, which is believed to resemble a plesiosaur-like creature.
Despite sightings lessening in the 21st century, plenty of paranormal investigators continue their search for the many creatures supposedly lurking in the shadows. Who knows, maybe – just maybe, one day we’ll be given real proof as to their existence. (But don’t hold your breath *wink*).