Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology

The Champagne types depicted on the smaller ends of their scales, drawn by Cameron McCormick (Used with Permossion), and modified by 'Ictoon'.

The Champagne system is a system of categorising sea serpent sightings developed by Bruce A. Champagne in 2001, and finalised in 2007.[1][2][3] After examining 1,247 sightings, he concluded that there were only 351 credible observations, and classified the animals into nine categories, some of which have their own sub-categories. While Champagne's preliminary study recognised three types, the long-necked, eel-like, and multiple-humped,[2] the final Champagne types are the long-necked I, long-necked II, eel-like I, eel-like II, eel-like III, multiple-humped, sail-finned I, sail-finned II, carapaced, saurian, segmented, digited, and snake-like.[3][4]

In 2016, Champagne published an analysis of lake monster reports, in which he concluded that his multi-humped sea serpent, the "classic" undulating sea serpent, could explain several lake monsters,[5] making the Champagne system the only sea serpent classification system besides the Coleman-Huyghe system to comprehensively incorporate lake monsters.


The Champagne system has been published over three articles and papers: a preliminary study of three major types in Crypto (2001), full descriptions of all nine types in Elementum Bestia (2007), and an argument that the multiple-humped sea serpent may enter fresh water in The Journal of Cryptozoology (2016).

Champagne began his work with 1,247 alleged sea serpent sightings, compared to the 587 used in the Heuvelmans system. These data were gathered from "over 118 sources ... personal communcations, texts, journal articles, field reports, television/news accounts, newspapers, and the worldwide web." However, as a form of quality control, Champagne rated the accuracy and quality of each observation, adding points if: the case had been reviewed by a competent investigator; the witness was qualified or experienced; the account was exceptionally detailed; the witness had a reputation for veracity; more than one witness was present; the sighting occurred at relatively close distance; the sighting lasted for longer than one minute; physical evidence had been retrieved; a photograph, film, or sonar recording had been taken; or the animal had left behind other signs of its presence. Following this quality control, Champagne eliminated all sightings with less than five credibility points, leaving him with only 351 publicly-unspecified observations. Consequently, the number of sightings on which his types were ultumately built did not far exceed Heuvelmans, who was similarly left with 308 credible sightings.[3]

Possible zoological identities for each type were provisionally proposed using a "marine vertebrate classification matrix" developed by Paul H. LeBlond and Edward Bousfield, in which an animal's characteristics are scored on several points, and the final rating is compared to various large taxa, including amphibians, reptiles, plesiosaurs, "primitive mammals," and mammals. However, the bulk of Champagne's descriptive work was to develop an "abbreviated natural history" for each type, describing their possible distribution, behaviour, and ecology.[3]


Image Name Range Champagne's identity Equivalents in other systems
Long-necked sea serpent I Cosmopolitan Long-necked pinniped
Long-necked sea serpent II North Sea Long-necked pinniped
Eel-like I, Cameron McCormick.png
Eel-like sea serpent I North Atlantic Ocean Reptile
Eel-like sea serpent II Atlantic and Pacific Oceans Beaked whale
Eel-like III, Cameron McCormick.png
Eel-like sea serpent III Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, South China Sea Reptile
Multiple-humped, Cameron McCormick.png
Multiple-humped sea serpent Atlantic and Pacific Oceans Possible reptile
Sail-finned sea serpent I North Atlantic Ocean Beaked whale
Sail-finned sea serpent II Cosmopolitan Possible reptile or mammal
Carapaced sea serpent Cosmopolitan Possible mammal or mammal-like reptile
Saurian sea serpent.png
Saurian sea serpent North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea Crocodile or crocodile-like reptile
Segmented sea serpent Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans Mammal
Digited sea serpent, Cameron McCormick.png
Digited sea serpent North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans Possible amphibian or reptile
Snake-like sea serpent Atlantic Ocean Reptile

Notes and references[]

  1. Eberhart, George M. (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, ABC-CLIO, Inc., ISBN 1576072835
  2. 2.0 2.1 Champagne, Bruce A. "A Preliminary Evaluation of the Study of the Morphology, Behaviour, Autoecology, and Habitat of Large, Unidentified Marine Animals, Based on Recorded Field Observations," Crypto, Dracontology Special (November 2001)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Champagne, Bruce A. "A Classification System for Large, Unidentified Marine Animals Based on the Examination of Reported Observations," Elementum Bestia: Being an Examination of Unknown Animals of the Air, Earth, Fire and Water (2007), Lulu Press, ASIN B001DSIB2W
  4. "Bruce A. Champagne," The Haunted Sea with Scott Mardis, Monster X Radio (2019) — Online
  5. Champagne, Bruce A. "A Preliminary, Comparative Type Proposal For Large, Unidentified Marine and Freshwater Animals," The Journal of Cryptozoology Vol. 4 (December 2016)