Novinite has published a report that compares Bulgaria’s Rabisha Lake Water Bull with arguably the single most famous aquatic cryptid in history — the LOCH NESS MONSTER.

Even though the Bulgarian Water Bull would seem to be a very different species from Nessie — as it is likely more akin to the British Isle’s KELPIE and more specifically the nefarious Scottish creature known as the TARBH-UISGE, which literally translates as “water bull” — Emil Tsankov, Mayor of the town of Belogradchik, believes that the Water Bull of their very own Rabisha Lake is set to conquer the world.

Lake Rabisha is an endorheic lake, which means no rivers flow out of it, located between the villages of Tolovitsa and Rabisha, in the northwest of Sofia. It is the largest lake in Bulgaria’s interior even though it is not nearly as large as Loch Ness.

The locals surrounding the lake used to believe that it was bottomless and that its murky depths provided a home for and untold amount of  monstrosities. Although the lake is almost 3 million years old, Mayor Tsankov confirmed that it has never been fully explored.

“The lake has never been explored in detail so it is not unknown exactly what sorts of species from previous periods it is the home of.”

While most might assume that this creature is of prehistoric or (more likely) folkloric origins, Tsankov insists that the creature is more like something from BEYOND MYTHOLOGY, in that it is actually a masculine, humanoid figure with a MERMAID-like tail and a MINOTAUR-like head.

According to Tsankov, the most “credible” accounts of the creature dates all the way back to the 18th century, when, legend states, natives of the region would appease the Water Bull’s rapacious hunger by offering the beast a sacrifice of the most beautiful young girl in the entire region.

The superstitious locals would hold a sacrificial procession escorting the (ostensibly unenthusiastic) girl to the Rabisha Lake, at which point they would place her on a boat, along with other gifts and tributes, and send her off into the mist shrouded darkness where she would would presumably fall pray to the monster’s appetite.

Tsankov has proposed to revive this old world tradition — including all the accoutrement of a gorgeous young girl, lavish gifts, songs, dances pageantry (excluding the untimely demise of the girl one would hope) — in an effort to revive the Rabisha Lake legend and increase tourism to the region. Tourists will, of course, be invited to participate in the sacrificial process.

Wary of the proceeding becoming to grim, Tsankov explained the the legends of the Water Bull and the virgins does end on an optimistic tone:

“The terrible story of the annual sacrifices to the Water Bull actually has a happy ending. The most gorgeous girl in the world was born one day in the village of Rabisha. When she grew up and the time came to offer her as sacrifice, she was placed in a boat and taken to the middle of the lake. However, when the Water Bull saw her, he was so enchanted by her that instead of killing her, he fell in love. He asked his sister, who was a sorceress, for help, and with her powers she made the beautiful girl immortal. The Water Bull took his young wife to the bottom of the Lake, and never came back for more prey. The two of them are still believed to live happily down there.”

While the mayor (and local inn keepers) are happy to thrive on the classic tales of the water Bull, there are some who have proposed that the long-horned, fish-tailed AQUATIC ENIGMA that gave rise to such a legend might actually be a very real water monster – the gigantic, and notoriously predatory, wels catfish.

The catfish — which have been known to attack humans and even eat small children– have been caught in Rabisha.The largest wels have reached almost 17-feet in length and weigh in at an astounding 772 lbs!

The Belogradchik Mayor says there are also various reports of spotting these fish monsters near the surface of the Rabisha Lake –- mostly in the months of April and May –- even though the wels catfish usually spend most of their time on the bottom of the lake. Tsankov has even conceded that this colossal catfish may well be the origin of the legends:

“This huge fish — a real monster — might have been the cause of the Water Bull legend in the first place.”

Whether or not the legend is cryptozoological, folkloric or a known animal, the Belogradchik Municipality has already announced a competition open to the public for the best photo of the Rabisha Lake Monster — or the “the Bulgarian Nessie” as some have dubbed it.

While the revival of these legends is clearly the result of an effort to boost tourism, one cannot discount the possibility of something anomalous lurking in the lake. Perhaps a new species of wels or other creature that evolved in a unique fashion due to the isolation of its endorheic environment.