The well-known Champ Lake Monsters researcher Scott Mardis, 57, has reportedly died of an infection, with his wife at his side. The seriousness of his medical condition was only recently discovered. The cryptozoology community is shocked by his death, and condolences are flooding in on social media.
Scott Mardis was born on December 28, 1963. He grew up in Gadsden, Alabama, and studied electronics at Wallace Community College, Dothan, Alabama (1984).
Scott moved from Alabama to work at Tower Records in Philadelphia, from 1988-1991. He was living in Bradenton, Florida, when he passed away. (For more details on the early days, see below.)
For some time, Scott had been interested in studying Champ, the cryptids reported from Lake Champlain.
Scott showed an appreciation for the scientific study of Champ, with his publication of academic level papers online and his popular culture photography of Champ sites published on Facebook and other locations.
Scott’s brother passed this along to share here:
Thank you so much for creating an obituary for him. He loved cryptozoology more than anything else and devoted his entire life to it. It is definitely my goal to make sure his cryptozoological accomplishments are recognized, so thank you so very much for that. We are definitely heartbroken to lose such a unique and brilliant person and I will always miss my big brother.
Scott passed away late Wednesday night, 7/28/2021, in a hospital in Bradenton, FL. I’m not sure about the exact time. Scott had apparently gotten an infection in one of his legs and had it for a while. The amount of time is unknown. His mother said he complained about having some leg pain when she saw him at the Atlanta airport as he returned from his last trip to Vermont, so at least a month as far as we can tell. He was very stubborn and likely thought it would go away or was no big deal. His mother said she encouraged him to go to the doctor but that he wouldn’t go. (Also, just to clarify any confusion, Scott and I had the same father but different mothers).
Sandy said that he got up around 2 in the morning a week before and said that he was going for a walk. I’d normally think that was strange, but Scott kept weird hours. Apparently, he got to a nearby park and asked someone if they could take him to the hospital, so I’m guessing that he must have suddenly started having some sort of severe pain/symptoms from his infection. Once at the hospital, he was admitted and advised that his infection was serious.
They advised that they would need to amputate his leg, which they then did. He was apparently there for a week. None of his family in Alabama were notified that he was in the hospital. I can only presume that Sandy did not think this was as serious as it was or she would have let us know sooner. He made it through surgery ok as I understand it and was at least somewhat responsive during the initial recovery. As he was there for a week, Sandy was returning home to sleep each night. When she returned to the hospital on 7/28, Scott had become unresponsive. She held his hand and spoke to him but said he didn’t show signs that he could hear her. He passed away shortly after. (He thus died of ”complications from an infection”.)
Scott is going to be cremated and his remains will be transported to his mother in Alabama. We are still discussing what to do with his remains. There is a burial plot beside our father in Gadsden, AL that is a potential resting place but I have suggested that we at least try to work through the logistics of having his ashes spread in Lake Champlain. At present, we don’t have a great idea of how we could accomplish this, but I know deep down in my heart that is where he belongs. He always longed to be there when he was away from it. His mother expressed a desire to have a small, intimate memorial somewhere in the Gadsden, AL area regardless of what is decided about his remains.
Thank you again for reaching out to me. It is important to us that his cryptozoology work be celebrated, so I’m very thankful for your correspondence. He loved the research so much and I was afraid that I wouldn’t successfully make contact with anyone in the community as I had no idea who to reach out to.
It’s a silly anecdote, but I wanted to share. When I was around 13 circa 1993, Scott had stacks of copied papers in his room that were almost as tall as I was, composed of diagrams and scientific papers all copied at the local library. He would spend hours at the library and return with a manila folder full of new documents almost every day. I remember being informed about the “New Zealand Carcass” by way of a blurry photocopy long before I was old enough to appreciate exactly what I was looking at. Before there was an internet, Scott had already created a 5 1/2 foot tall cryptozoology wikipedia in our house. Somehow, he could navigate this tower of papers quickly, pulling out the exact pages he needed on command, almost like Google, but in person. What’s funny to me now is that he didn’t even need the 5 foot stack of data. Scott was a living database of knowledge and he didn’t even need the reference materials, he just had them. I know all that is a little silly, but that’s how I remember my brother. Extreme dedication, supreme curiosity, and doing it his own way.
I miss my brother and I hope that the cryptozoology community is able to honor him in some way. He would have been very happy to know that he was beloved and appreciated by the community he engaged in so much.
My sincere thanks,
Scott would give presentations on Champ, do radio programs, and appear on reality television. He also was often mentioned in recent cryptozoology books, such as Monster Hunters by Tea Krulos and Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide by Kelly Milner Halls, illustrated by Rick Spears. He appeared in 2017 at Creature Weekend.
Scott also started a Champ online investigative group on Facebook.
Remembrances of Scott Mardis from Ted Krulos and Kelly Milner Halls give more information to ponder on how dedicated the man was to his passion for cryptozoology.
Tea Krulos has given me permission to share some insightful extracts on Scott Mardis from his book, Monster Hunters (2015):
For the book Cryptid Creatures (2019), author Kelly Milner Halls conducted an interview with Scott Mardis. Her publisher did not include it with the book, but she has shared it with me for this remembrance of Scott.
Halls’ interview is published here for the first time:
Scott’s most recent appearance was On The Trail Of…Champ from director Aleksander Petakov.
Scott Mardis appeared on other radio and reality television programs, including the following listed on IMDb:
Cryptid Hunt (Video documentary short) 2008Self – Champ Researcher
Monsterquest (TV Series documentary) 2007Self – Champ Researcher
Our condolences to his wife Sandy, his entire loving family.
Scott Mardis spent as much time as he could on the shores of and on Lake Champlain in Vermont/New York. He tried to re-visit the lake at least annually. Photographs of Scott Mardis often have Lake Champlain as the background.
Scott is seen here (at the right end) in the Champ Camp 2013 group photo. William Dranginis, 59, shown second from the left, died on December 3, 2018.
Thanks to Jesse Mardis, Paul Bartholomew, Katy Elizabeth, and Mike Playfair for their news of and confirmation of Scott’s passing.
Source: The Anomalist