Legends of water-dwelling beasts seem never-ending. One such aquatic monster found in the legends is the Diablo Ballena which means “Devil whale”. It is more commonly known as Monster of Lake Tota named after Lake Tota. Lake Tota is the biggest lake in Colombia thought to be home to a monster that lurks in the depths of the lake.
Since 16th-century tales of the monster roam the world. Lake Tota held religious importance to the Musica culture and they believed in the existence of the monster.
In the Muisca civilization, also known as Chibcha civilization, there is folklore which tells of ‘Moneta’ name given to a wise priest who carried out an exorcism with an extensive and powerful Musica Confederation to lure out the ghastly and vicious spirit of Busiraco, giant black snake. The ceremony was originally held in a large cavity to alleviate the shortage of water and to bring an end to the sufferings of the scorching summer heat. Busarico haunted the Musica civilization and brought distress to the people. At night, it used to slither to the mouth of the cave and wait for the giant fireball. In the ceremony, Siramena danced gracefully in front of the shrine of the wáter goddess and suddenly hurled a golden disc at the black snake. The disc penetrated deep inside the snake and killed it. Moneta retrieved a green valuable gem from the breast of the snake and threw it into the cavity where it landed on top of the snake and gave rise to brilliant blue wáters of the Lake Tota.
The Earliest sighting of the lake monster was reported by the Spanish conqueror and explorer Gonzalo. The natives narrated to Gonzalo tales of the wáter Demon which had rendered the wáters of the Lake untraversable. They also believed that the Lake was impossible to be navigated. Colombian priest and historian Lucas Fernandez described it as a fish bigger than a whale with an ox-sue blackhead. It has also been described in various words; as a monstrous fish, a Dragon, and as a divine animal archetype. In 1653 an alleged report of a sighting of the Monster was made. Records of Monster of Lake Tota are found in many books.
Lake Tota is now a famous tourist spot where tourists come for sightseeing and mountaineering with their eyes always vigilant to catch a glimpse of the famous Monster of Lake Tota.