Are giant octopi eating swimmers of Oklahoma lakes?

Lake Thunderbird offers 6,000 acres of water just perfect for boating, skiing, fishing, swimming and a horrific death at the tentacles of the giant, man-eating octopus.

Well, at least according to some "¦ without hard evidence.

A new book, "Monster Spotter's Guide to North America," claims that several Oklahoma lakes are inhabited by carnivorous freshwater octopi, appearing reddish-brown with leathery skin and measuring more than 20 feet long.

"Lakes in Oklahoma rate high in instances of drowning. Some believe that drowning victims actually fall prey to the giant octopi living in the lakes," reads the entry, written by the book's author, Scott Francis. "Several of Oklahoma's lakes, including Lake Thunderbird, Lake Oologah and Lake Tenkiller, are said to be home to these monstrous creatures that are thought to be responsible for dragging swimmers and fishermen to their watery deaths."

Reports and speculation run rampant online, as well, singling out Sooner State bodies of water as hotbeds of tentacled doom. But to those who live and work there, it's a different story.

"Not out here. And I've been here for 27 years," said Susan Hendon, manager of Lake Thunderbird State Park. "No one has ever (mentioned that) " I swim in this lake every weekend, I'm here, I live here " nothing."

At Lake Tenkiller in Vian, park manager Steve Williams said news of the killer octopus is news to him.

"I've never heard of that," he said. "Nothing to my knowledge. You can hear just about anything at any time." "Rod Lott