Lake Tahoe is 1645 feet deep, 22 miles long, and 12 miles in diameter. It was also the first home to the Washoe and Paiute Indians. These tribes were hunters, and gatherers, often harvesting pine nuts and fishing in the lake. They were quite skilled in basket weaving and have been described as a peaceful tribe.

During this time, the members of these tribes began telling the new settlers that they had spotted a large creature emerging from the lake. These legends were told for years, until the mid-1970s when oceanographer Jacques Cousteau led an expedition to explore the actual depths of Lake Tahoe. Cousteau stated that he encountered something so terrifying that he did not want to release details to the public. 

In recent years, the tale has moved forward into a more sinister legend. Some claim that the TRPA, which is the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, wanted to attract more tourism and genetically engineered Tessie with the help of a lab called InGen. 

These new legends state that InGen and TRPA had a facility near Cave Rock, which is where Tessie went through her stages of growth before ultimately escaping into the waters of Lake Tahoe.

There isn’t any evidence as to when this occurred but once the monster escaped, the legend goes on to say that 911 was inundated with calls about a monster in the lake or as some described a Loch Ness-like monster. 

The extreme believers will tell anyone who will listen that Tessie is connected to a total of 37 deaths. They even include an entire family from the Bay Area. Some will also say the fish population has decreased with Tessie’s presence. 

In 2005, Beth Douglas of Sacramento, California was visiting her friend Ron Talmage in Tahoe City. Beth believed the Tessie legend believed locals must have seen her a million times. However, when the pair saw a dark shape at the lake’s surface, her friend Ron was shocked. 

They spotted something that didn’t look solid, but yet had three to five humps along its back, 100 yards off Tahoe Park Beach. 

In 1982, Gene St. Denis and his friend were out looking across the Lake near Cave Rock. They saw what appeared to be a gray creature about 10 to 15 feet in length.