Yiren/Chinese Wildman

 

Is this the Chinese wildman? Copyright 1997.An anonymous informant of the BCSCC recalls that as a child growing up in Hong Kong, he had unusual neighbours who kept a strange animal in a cage which filled an entire room of their house. The wealthy neighbours were kindly in their own peculiar way and took immense pride in showing our informant the bizarre freak of nature called a Yiren – also variously spelt as Yeren, Yeh Ren and Yen Hsiung (man bear). Our informant says that he had only a morsel of courage to take more than a fleeting look at the strange creature as it sat in a corner of its cage. It appeared to be jet-black in colour and had a very oddly-shaped conical head. From what our informant could make out of the beast it looked like some sort of fantastic ape.

The witness is not alone. All over Asia villagers in remote areas have reported a strange animal that walks upright and appears to be the product of hybridization between man and ape. As ghastly as the prospect of such a union is to most people it seems more than likely that there is a species of bipedal ape wandering Asia that is seen as more mischievous than malevolent. From past gleanings researchers have deduced that there are two types of wildman lurking in the bush: the gigantic dark-furred ape-like beast closely resembling Gigantopithecus; and the shorter reddy-brown furred animal which walks upright, but looks more like a monkey.

There appear to be a proliferation of sightings from China hence our decision to classify the animal – at least temporarily – as the Chinese Wildman or Yiren as it is known in Chinese. Although it is readily apparent that there are two types of wildman only, local nicknames have meant that there are sometimes as many as five different types to be considered, but from local descriptions we can eliminate at least through of the types as known apes and monkeys.

In some cases eyewitnesses have described an animal that sound remarkably like the Orangutan, but they were adamant that what they had seen was not that particular member of the pongid family. The creatures described did not always walk upright and were observed to have dropped to a quadruped stance on a number of occasions making identification even more difficult. Some have posited the possibility of the Golden monkey as the real culprit, but once again witnesses have dispelled this notion by saying they could tell a golden monkey from a Yiren.

During the 1950s and sixties, Hong Kong movie makers used the Yiren as a sometimes benevolent and at other times malevolent part of the fabric of Chinese folklore. Several films depict the Yiren as a rather dense animal that is qucik to change allegiances when resoundingly taught a lesson in the fighting arts by some handsome hero of southern Chinese folklore. Our red-brown friend usually behaved as if it were a pet after its subjugation by the hero. Not the case with the larger black variety which required the services of a particularly gigantic Hong Kong actor known as the Frankenstein of Asia. The black monster which went by the name Xing Xing or Sing Sing in Cantonese – was a nasty piece of business whose destruction would culminate into its evaporation complete with some really awful rudimentary hand drawn special effects explosions.

In 1989 two North American members of the International Society of Cryptozoology: Secretary Richard Greenwell (the same Richard Greenwell who ventured after Mokele Mbembe) and Frank Poirier from the anthropology department at Ohio State University undertook an expedition to China in search of clues to the identity of the Yiren. They met with eyewitnesses – some of whom had seen the creature as close as six feet – and investigators such as Li Guo Hua who has spent 17 years – almost all fulltime – searching for the Chinese Wildman. During their visit to Shennongjia and Guangxi province they arrived at the conclusion that there was a better than 50% chance that there was some sort of wildman of indeterminate origin lurking on the peripheries of the Chinese woodlands.

Some hair specimens have been gathered and sent for analysis with the aid of high-tech equipment that measures the proportion of zinc to iron and it was discovered that these hair fibres contained 50 times that found in its human equivalent and seven times that found in primates. The Chinese scientist involved in the critical analysis has concluded that they belong to an unknown species of primate.

In the past other evidence presented included a pair of hand taken from a Yiren carcass, but upon proper inspection the hands turned out to be those of a known species of monkey. Piles of droppings have been analysed and in 1995 Chinese researchers actually offered cash rewards equivalent to US$1,000 for specimens of wildman manure. One wonders how the postal service reacted to the replies which must have been a nightmare to transport and pity the poor soul who had to carry out the analysis of what must have been a hotch-potch of known animal droppings and virtually none from the real McCoy.

Perhaps on your next visit to China you might want to take a bucket and spade with you. Today Shennongjia has become a national park and reserve for the Yiren and the Chinese government is banking on tourists with lots of Renminbi will venture to the area in the hopes of obtaining a glimpse of the elusive Yiren. Let us hope that they leave the area as pristine as it is today.

Of interest to those who follow the fates and fortunes of hairy hominids is the Nguoi Rung of Vietnam. A country which has produced a veritable abundance of newly-discovered animals like the Vu Quang ox, the giant and lesser Muntiaq, as well as new fish speciesin the last few years, Vietnam boasts a hairy hoimid which is said to closely resemble the Chinese version. Professor Do Van Tien and others have researched the animal and have found tracks and unusual hair which may belong to the elusive animal. From the descriptions of witnesses it can be said that Nguoi Rung or “forest people” in English is rather more ape-like than the Almas of Russia and Mongolia.

As research into Nguoi Rung is in its infancy it will be some time before a clearer picture wil arise of what it is that is haunting the forests of Vietnam. However, a clue to the identity of the Ngoui Rung may lie in a paper entitled:

A Diverse Hominoid Fauna From the Late Peistocene Breccia Cave of Tham Khuyen, Socialist Republic of Vietnam by Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Vu The Long, Nguyen Lan Cuong, Le Trung Kha and Ian Tattersall, Number 73, Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History , New York, 1994.

This team of American and Vietnamese scientists discovered the fossilised teeth of two previously unknown hominoid species could be distinguished from other dentition found in a cave at Tham Khuyen. These included nine specimens attributed to Homo erectus, three to Gigantopithecus blacki and others to Pongo pygmaeus or extant orangutan. The unknown dentition represent what appears to be a dentally primitive species of Pongo and includes two morphs which different in size indicating the likelihood that they represent males and females of the same species. The researchers conclusion was that there existed at least one further species of another large-bodied hominoid genus that has yet to be named and an unknowns species of Pongo. Are either likely candidates for the Nguoi Rung? Perhaps. We will just have to wait and see what further developments result from the Tham Khuyen excavations.

 

Yeti/Abominable Snowman/Meta Kangmal

 

Copyright Hammer Films.It is patently clear from the above movie poster that no other cryptid has suffered from such a negative reputation at the hands of humans than has the Yeti or the Abominable Snowman as it has unfortunately become known as. The Yeti is neither Abominable nor does it frequently inhabit the snowfields where its tracks are sometimes found. Instead it is found in the more wooded regions of the Himalayas where there is more abundant plant and animal life on which to feed.

Sherpas, Nepalis and Tibetans alike have actually described two different types of Yeti. The larger variety is described as being a hybrid of man and ape and standing well over two metres tall and having a fur of a dark brown to black colour. The other specimen of yeti is described as smaller than an average man with a reddish-brown pelt. Bothvarieties walk upright and are equally elusive. Contrary to popular belief, the Yetis are highly unlikely to dwell in the snowfields where food is scarce, but rather inhabit the jungle and forested areas where there are abundant plants and small animals on which they may feed.

Although very much a part of Himalayan folklore and considered by the indigenous peoples to be very much part of the local fauna, not much was known about the Yeti, other than from sporadic reports by outsiders, until British climber Eric Shipton discovered and photographed unusual tracks in the snow in Nepal. The photographs caused a sensation in the United Kingdom and inspired the Daily Mail to mount expeditions to find these denizens of the Himalayas. Known to the indigenous Sherpa population of the Himalayas, the Yeti was said to be fond of Yak meat and was known to attack untended cattle.

Its tendency toward being carnivorous was partly responsible – as was a mistranslation of its Sherpa name – for giving rise to its “abominable” nickname, but the larger yeti was merely indicating its dietary preferences like any other animal. We do not call lions or tigers “abominable” because of their carnivorous habits, so it is patently unfair to brand the Yeti thus for the same reason. In the years of searching and expeditions by numerous groups and individuals, none has actually obtained even a fleeting glimpse of the animal. However, for those who have been in the Himalayas for other purposes, Yeti has been somewhat more forthcoming about putting in a personal appearance. Reinhold Messner , mountain climber extraordinaire and the first man to conquer Everest without the aid of oxygen tanks, had a chance encounter with a Yeti while at his base camp.

Messner was out in the moonlight stretching his legs when he noticed a strange animal covered in reddish-brown hair not fifty metres away. It was about the same size as an average man and appeared to be searching the snows for something to eat. A Sherpa guide joined Messner in witnessing the animal’s antics before it sprang away and bounded off into the darkness. Messner now claims that Yeti is nothing more than evry large brown bear, a somewhat contradictory statement to his earlier claim to have seen the enigmatic unknown animal of the Himalayas.

Although there have been relics of the Yeti on display in monasteries in Nepal and Tibet these have been discounted as genuine artifacts relating to the creature also known as Meta Kangmai in some regions. A finger bone from the mummified hand of one of the creatures was smuggled out of Nepal by the late American actor Jimmy Stewart at the behest of Peter Byrne who obtained the relic from a Nepali monk who he had supplied with copious amounts of a local alcoholic beverage before taking the finger bone into his possession. Subsequent identification of the remains by Dr W.C. Osman-Hill who identified the finger bone as being something less than human. Further reading on this subject is available in Loren Coleman’s book Tom Slick and the Search For the Yeti, Faber and Faber 1989. What has happened to the bone is as great a mystery as the yeti itself. It seemingly has been lost and we will not know for certain whether it was indeed a relic from a cryptid or the remains of dead Nepali.

Renowned Sasquatch investigator Peter Byrne was also one of the original searchers on the 1950s expeditions to find the Yeti. Byrne recounts his experiences in his book, The Search For Bigfoot , Pocket Books, 1975 and includes references to his discovery of what appeared to be beds constructed by Yeti in a number of caves. This would make Yeti a possible relation of Sasquatch in that they both seem to have the ability to assemble rudimentary constructions.

With so many expeditions on the waiting list to climb the mountains of the Himalayas it is a wonder that few have reported seeing a Yeti or its traces the past few years. Perhaps Yeti has retreated into more hospitable climes where he no longer needs to awake to the sight of human pollution in the form of the rubbish left behind by some environmentally unfriendly expeditions. Or perhaps he has ventured off to the Tien Shans to look for his friend the Almas who is featured in the next section.

In 1998 two yetis were sighted by an American climber and his Sherpa porters, thus raising the hope of the yeti research fraternity that the species has not gone over the brink of extinction as a result of the large-scale encroachment on its territory by the human race.

 

Sasquatch/Bigfoot

 

Photos:
Photos: Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin. Copyright Martin and Erik Dahinden. No use of any material from the Patterson film in the form of stills is permitted without expressed written permission from Mr. Dahinden. Violators will face legal action.

British Columbia has been a fertile location for sightings of a bipedal hirsute hominid known colloquially as sasquatch. The name “sasquatch” was coined by J.W. Burns,an American schoolteacher living in BC, and is derived from a Chehalis word meaning wild man. Burns showed a tremendous interest in sasquatch starting from the 1920’s, but he was not alone in his pursuit of date and information regarding this animal. Journalist Bruce McKelvie, whose personal papers on the subject reside in the BC Archives, was keenly interested in the subject as was the late former Mayor of North Vancouver, Charles Cates. They were joined in the 1950s by newspaper publisher John Green and Swiss immigrant Rene Dahinden.

Green and Dahinden – until his death in 2001 – have spent 40 years in active investigation and research into the sasquatch phenomenon. Green is considered the elder statesman of the sasquatch field and whilst he is less active in the field today he has researched a wide range of sasquatch sightings and has visited sites such as the Bluff Creek/Onion Mountain site in 1958, The Bluff Creek/Blue Mountain site in 1967 and also the site of the Patterson film many times in a long and distinguished career as a sasquatch filed work investigator. John Green today continues to be active in the sasquatch realm and is generous in offering advice and information ot all who enquire of him. Whilst he was not an actual investogator in the sasquatch realm as such, Nuxalk First Nations Chief Clayton Mack was instrumental in offering some fascinating insights into the sasquatch from a native perspective. His data can be found in two books Grizzlies and White Guys (Heritage House, 1996) and Bella Coola Man (Harbour Publishing, 2002).

The sasquatch is depicted in both male and female forms on a variety of totem poles of a host of First Nations bands. It is viewed as a biological animal and is often avoided by some bands who feel that to see a sasquatch means one faces a premature death.

It is in BC that we find reports of the shootings of several sasquatches despitethe fact that it is illegal to do so. The earliest occurrence was in 1905 at Gardner Canal which is the longest fjord in BC at 114 kilometres in length. A sasquatch was reportedly killed here, but there are no details in regard to this event.

John Green records that Bob Titmus interviewed two witnesses who shot at a sasquatch at Hartley Bay on an island near Bella Coola in 1967. The creature is said to have screamed and then fled. The witnesses were unable to find a the body of the creature.

In February, 1969 at Khutze Inlet east of Graham Reach, three hunters were involved in an incident in which a sasquatch was shot at. Like the incident in 1967, the sasquatch screamed and ran into the woods. No trace of the creature was ever found after it fled. Whilst the violence done to a sasquatch has been recorded for posterity, there is little indication they are violent themselves with the excpetion of an incident that tookplace near Kitimat.

Two generations ago, a Kitimat native shot a sasquatch. Several other sasquatches appeared and gave the impression thatthey were about to attack the man as he attempted to drag the body out He ultimately fled to his canoe and it says much aboutthe powers of restraint of the BC sasquatch that none of them attempted to pursue the man any further (Source: British Columbia Digest, 1963).

The BC sasquatch is also known to be able to swim. At Butedale in July, 1965, Jack Taylor was fishing when he saw two sasquatches on shore and a third in the water which was swimming very strongly. He reported his sighting to veteran investigator Bob Titmus.

The village of Klemtu in the Great Bear Rainforest had a report of a sasquatch seen swimming off a beach in the area. Further details are not available at this time. Reports of swimming sasquatches have come from Tofino on the west coast of the province. Sasquatches have been seen swimming from Tofino to Meares Island on a number of occasions, the most recent being in 2002.

A report of a swimming sasquatch was also received by investigator Tom Steenburg. One was seen swimming in Harrison Lake and when it came ashore, the creature shook the water off its fur much as a dog would do.

Sasquatch research today is carried out by individuals such as Tom Steenburg (who is also a member of the BCSCC), John Bindernagel, Adrian Dorst, Gavin Joth, Jason Walton, John Kirk, Sebastian Wang, Robert Milner, Christopher Murphy, Gerry Matthews, Brian Vike, Rob Nowatschka, Graham Conway and many others. Perhaps the best footage of an unknown animal is the film of a female Sasquatch which was shot at Bluff Creek, Northern California in 1967. Investigators Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin had the good fortune of sighting the creature as it paused in a clearing in the Bluff Creek area. The film shows an upright walking female Sasquatch estimated to be between six foot five and six foot nine inches inch tall as it looks at the humans and then turns to walk away from them into a strand of trees.

Patterson and Gimlin are among the many who have seen these quasi-human, hair covered, tall – in some cases nearly 15 feet in height, powerfully built creatures both far from and close to human habitats. Basically, shy creatures, the Sasquatch tends to avoid human contact and has on occasion frightened humans away with a display of territorial assertion. Although usually nocturnal, Sasquatches have been seen at a variety of times and in different modes of behaviour. Some have been seen seeking out animals for food, fishing with their hands, piling rocks, swimming and just casually observing the habits of that queer breed of animals – humans.

Numerous skeptics have attempted to discredit the film, but none have offered a plausible explanation for what it is seen striding around the California forest with a gait humans would simply not be able to replicate. Some have said that it is merely a human in an ape costume, but some of the finest costumiers in the film and theatre business have said it would be impossible to make an outfit that performs in the way the creature in the Patterson film does. All one has to do is to view the Planet of the Apes films – the first in the series was released a year after the Patterson-Gimlin film was obtained – to see that Hollywood did not even possess the technological skills to make a form fitting costume which shows massive muscle movement under the layer of fur. Experts in human locomotion and biomechanics, particularly Dr Dmitry Donskoy of the Instate of Physical Culture and specialists of the Institute of Prosthetics and Artificial Limb Construction of Moscow, have said that no human could walk with the type of sophisticated leg and foot flexure displayed by the Sasquatch in Patterson’s mini movie.

What is extraordinary about the film is that it shows a female of the species with pendulous breasts and broader hips than would be expected in a male of the species. In virtually every single Sasquatch hoax, the perpetrators have always used a flat-chested male gorilla suit, but in the Patterson film we see a female with all the attributes one would expect from that gender. Either Patterson and Gimlin were fooled by the finest and most technically advanced hoaxer in history or they encountered the real thing. The evidence is heavily weighted in favour of the latter.

The physical evidence does not rest solely on Patterson and Gimlin’s film and testimony. Numerous tracks of the animals have been found across the United States and Canada, particularly in British Columbia and the Cascade Mountains of the United States. Hundreds of witnesses have testified to seeing the animals and in Skamania county, Washington so many sightings have taken place that there is a local ordinance which prohibits any endangerment of the Sasquatch population. In recent years Florida has experienced an increase in sightings of Sasquatch-type creature known rather odiously as the “Skunk Ape” for its foul smell. Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio have all become hotbeds of Sasquatch activity as have Arkansas, Texas and parts of Louisiana.

Over the years dedicated investigators such as John Green, the late Rene Dahinden, the late Grover Krantz and Peter Byrne have spent tens of thousands of hours in active field work researching sightings and traces of the creatures. None of these dedicated researchers has obtained a sighting despite the time and effort put in by them. However, they have all found tracks and traces of the animals in a variety of locations across the Pacific Northwest, scant reward, though, for over 30 years of investigation.

The North American Science Institute (NASI) has used sophisticated, sensing and photographic devices in a bid to obtain photos of a Sasquatch at close range. NASI also released their findings regarding the physical dimensions of such a creature and their estimates indicate a chest measurement of 82 inches, a height of 7 Feet 3 inches and weight in excess of 1,900 lbs. There will be tremendous debate and discussion for a long time over the results of NASI investigation.

Although the height concurs with Roger Patterson’s estimate it does not do so with Bob Gimlin’s. He estimated the height at 6 feet 6 inches and investigators such as Grover Krantz and John Green have reached the same conclusion with their own calculations. However, David Daegling and Daniel O. Schmitt claim in the May/June 1999 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer that it is impossible to gauge accurately the height of the creature in the film because of a myriad variables and lack of data from the site.

As to what Sasquatch actually is there is still much debate. There are essentially two camps with vastly differing theories. On the one hand there are those who believe that Sasquatch is a humanoid creature which has developed more slowly than the human race has in the area of evolution. The other camp believes that Sasquatch is plainly and simply an upright walking ape related to Gigantopithecus, an extinct species known for its gargantuan stature, whose scant fossil remains of a few mandibles and teeth have been found in China and India.

A huge ethical and moral dilemma arises out of the question of Sasquatch’s true identity. To some investigators it is an imperative that physical evidence be obtained so that the creatures’ existence can be confirmed once and for all. Therefore, they explain, if it is necessary to kill one to prove the species exists it must be done at all costs. Others argue that as there are seemingly so few Sasquatch animals about today it would imperil the survival of the species if even a single specimen was killed in the name of science.

Yet another argument is that if Sasquatch is a genetically mutated type of human, would not killing one constitute homicide – for which the penalties are most severe, particularly in the United States. The prospect of killing an animal or human for the sake of science is one of revulsion and patent disgust for many in the field of Sasquatch investigation. It would seem those who would kill a Sasquatch for the sake of proving its existence are in the minority. The Russians believe that there “Bigfoot” is possibly related to the Neanderthal hominid grouping. For more on this matter, visit the Almasti page.

Several individuals in the United States claimed to have been the the so-called “man-in-the-ape-suit” in the Patterson film. Newspapers and Tv networks carried these stories and have erroneously given the public the impression that the film was a hoax. Nothing could be further from the truth. None of the individuals has been able to produce the suit or any other evidence that links them to the film.

Another researcher claims to have found a “buckle” or man-made artifact in Frame 352 of the film. However, when the methods of enlargement of the image employed by this individual were scrutinised we discovered his methodology was faulty in the extreme and that the effect could only be found in a particular copy of the photo which was originally derived from a 3rd generation poor copy of the film and SCREEN printed in Halpin and Ames’ book, “Manlike Monsters on Trial”.

Experts from Adobe and Pegasus have both said that the enlargement tolerances used by the researcher well exceeded the maximum allowable tolerances before any imaging becomes visual “noise”. In other words there is no “buckle” and the Patterson film remains unscathed. In addition, Kodak, who manufactured the film used by Roger Patterson, indicate in the leaflet which accompanies the film, that the maximum allowable enlargement value is 100X. The so-called “buckle” can only be seen at enlargement scales of 400X which is well outside the maximum enlargement capacity.

In the past few years sightings have become far less frequent and the number of hoaxes far too many. It appears there are some who are determined to make a name for themselves by claiming to have encountered as Sasquatch. Most of the evidence produced is patently false and of rather amateurish construction. Nonetheless, there are still those who have recently encountered Sasquatch who continue to say as others have in the past, how much they marvelled at the strange animal so docile for one so huge and daunting.

Recommended Reading:

Sasquatch by Don Hunter and Rene Dahinden

Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us by John Green

Meet the Sasquatch By Chris Murphy, John Green and Tom Steenburg.

Recommended Documentaries:

Sasquatch Odyssey Directed and written by Peter von Putkammer

Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science Directed and Produced by Doug Haijcek.

The contents of this page are the respective copyright of Rene Dahinden, Erik Dahinden, Martin Dahinden, John Williston Green, John Kirk and the BCSCC, 1967, 1978, 1993, 1996, 2005.

 

Ogopogo (Lake Okanagan)

 

Copyright

Over the years the BCSCC has carried out an extensive investigation into what sort of monstrous animal of gigantic proportions inhabits Okanagan Lake in south-central British Columbia as has been reported by several thousand credible eyewitnesses. Since 1989 the BCSCC has carried out no less than five expeditions to Okanagan Lake and members of the investigative team have had several sightings of the mystery animal known commonly as Ogopogo and have also captured the monster’s image on videotape.

Copyright Edward Fletcher. All rights reserved.This photograph (left) was taken by Ed Fletcher of North Vancouver while on a skiing excursion on the lake with his family. In the space of an hour Fletcher and his companions followed the monster around the lake and reportedly sighted the animal a dozen times. Fletcher is adamant that the monster was attracted to his vessel because of electrode emissions emanating

BCSCC President John Kirk has also sighted the monster almost as frequently over a period of three years from 1987 – 1990, but the record belongs to Jake Heppner who has reportedly had sightings in the dozens over a 40 year period and a native Indian known only as “Joe” who has also encountered Ogopogo on many occasions in his 80+ plus years of life.

Fletcher, Kirk and Heppner are among thousands who have sighted an animal they have variously described as serpentine; with a horse or sheep-like head; black or dark green in colour; able to appear in the shape of logs and in the form of humps – single or many, coiled or arched or like some great snake. Measuring in length from 12 to over 70 feet long, Ogopogos have been seen as individuals or in groups of as many as three animals at a time.

Ogopogo’s original name was Naitaka or N’ha-ha-itq which is of interior Salish Indian origin. The local Indians have a long oral tradition of the animal and were always careful never to venture on the lake without some small animal they could throw to the animal in event that the monster might attack the canoe. Petroglyphs in the Powers Creek area show a serpentine animal which one can safely say represents Ogopogo. Other petroglyphs once adorned rock outcroppings on the lake front, but have since been difficult to locate.

Copyright Arlene B. Gaal. Used with permission.Arthur Folden of Chase, B.C. was the first to have filmed the creature in 1968 (ringed above). His film, which has appeared on Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World, clearly shows a huge creature breaking the surface of Okanagan Lake, much as a submarine would. It is in the region of 70 feet long and dwarfs the pine trees in the foreground of the film. Folden’s film is strong evidence that Ogopogo is not merely an optical illusion caused by wind, waves or known animals and identifiable objects on the water. In addition to Folden, Larry Thal (1981), Eugene Boiselle (1982), Dr Rod Simmons (1989), Paul DeMara (1993) and John Kirk (1987,1989) have all obtained video footage of an unusual animal ploughing through the waters.

In 1989, a car salesman claimed to have shot the clearest footage of Ogopogo to date, and on first inspection to a limited audience it appeared he had. However, subsequent analysis by fish and game officials and various members of the scientific fraternity revealed the animal to be either a beaver or an otter. For two months Kelowna, the largest city on the shores of Okanagan Lake, was ablaze with excitement as the salesman offered to sell his videotape to the highest bidder. After spending nearly all of his money on the project, the salesman sold his footage to the American television program Unsolved Mysteries for a rumoured US$30,000.

Copyright Arlene B. Gaal. Used with permission.Ogopogo appearances have been sporadic into the nineties and it is feared that greater encroachment on its habitat by an ever-increasing human population is driving the animals to extinction. Further fears for the creatures’ safety were raised in the summer of 1996 when it was announced that powerboat races would be held off Kelowna. Fortunately, there have been no reports of Ogopogo collisions with racing boats in the three years of racing on thelake. . It seems the creatures had the good sense to avoid humans careening around one of Ogopogo’s favourite parts of its local pond.

Ogopogo, like the Lake Champlain creature enjoys protected wildlife status as a result of legislation enacted by the Province of British Columbia in 1989. It is illegal to harm, kill, capture or disturb the creature and is one of the most enlightened pieces of legislation ever written in the defence and protection of endangered animals.

Suggested reading on the subject includes:

In Search of Ogopogo is a profusely-illustrated and fascinating account of the sightings and witnesses of the mystery denizen of Okanagan Lake.Arlene Gaal has penned an excellent account of the search for Canada’s most famous aquatic cryptid, including a comprehensive sightings list that gives the reader a very clear picture of what the Ogopogo looks like.

This volume is on the BCSCC list of recommended reading. Available fromhttp://www.hancockhouse.com/products/seaogo.htm

    • In The Domain of the Lake Monsters by John Kirk
    • Ogopogo – The Million Dollar Lake Monster by Arlene Gaal, Hancock House

 

  • Ogopogo by Mary Moon, J.J. Douglas.

Ogopogo has also been featured on the following television programs:

Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World
Unsolved Mysteries
Inside Edition
Inside Report
A Current Affair
and most recently on The Learning Channel (TLC) series
Strange Science: Bizarre Phenomena.

Several of these programs contain actual footage of the creature.

A feature film about an Ogopogo-like creature “Magic in the Water” starring Mark Harmon and filmed at Okanagan Lake has enjoyed a big screen and video release.

 

Nessie (Loch Ness)

 


The rare full version of the so-called “Surgeon’s photo” showing Christian Spurling’s toy monster constructed from plastic wood and a toy metal submarine. Placed at Loch Ness by Maramduke Wetherell and photographed by Ian Wetherell. Photo revealed to the world by Lt-Col. Robert Kenneth Wilson, FRCS, Territorial Army, in April 1934. Copyright Associated Papers 1934.
Of all the mystery animals in the world the Loch Ness monster (LNM) is not only the most famous, it is also the most controversial. Since 1994 the existence of the creature has been placed deeper into doubt as the best known photograph of the elusive beast of northern Scotland has proven to be a hoax. Serious Nessie believers have reacted fiercely to the notion that the photo was of nothing more than a toy submarine with a plastic/wood monster built atop by sensationalist Marmaduke Wetherall in a bid to get even with those who had earlier perpetrated an embarrassing hoax on the self-proclaimed big game hunter.

The BCSCC was among those who initially rejected the hoax story, but in light of a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Surgeon’s photo we are now of the opinion that it is a hoax and there is no merit to the claims that this is a picture of a genuine cryptid living in Loch Ness. There is scant evidence of a film or photographic nature to support the existence of a large unknown creature inhabiting the Loch, however the eyewitness testimony of nearly 10,000 people carries considerable weight in the quest to determine the reality of the monster.

The witnesses range from the sister-in-law of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to a member of the Dutch nobility and to simple highland dwellers who have no desire to be ridiculed because they simply elected to tell the truth about encounters with a supposed anomalous beast of Scottish folklore. Author G.K. Chesterton wrote that many a man had been hanged on less evidence than has been amassed to support the belief that the Loch Ness monster is a reality.

Many have put forward numerous suggests as to the identity of the Loch Ness monster and perhaps the most popular theory is that the animal is a plesiosaur. This theory does not sit well with what is known about the plesiosaur. It was ill-equipped for spending prolonged periods of time underwater and was prone to spend most of its life on the surface. Other have posited that Nessie is a salamander or some other gigantic amphibian, a theory which may account for the fact that no monstrous body has vere washed up onthe shores of the Loch. Amphibians dintegrate underwater and their remains are unlikely to surface. However amphibia lay there gelatinous eggs on the surface and these would be seen more frequently were this the case.

The Loch Ness Investigation Bureau mounted a ten year search for the animal from 1962-72 without obtaining any significant evidence in the quest to obtain Nessie’s identity. Similar efforts by Operation Deepscan which used a sonar blanket to cover the loch, did obtain several tantalising contacts with large objects underwater, but the objects moved out of the range of sonar so no further investigation into what was causing the sonar images was possible.

Alastair Boyd the expositor of the hoax, has categorically stated that in spite of what was unveiled regarding the Surgeon’s photo fakery, he is still as an ardent believer in the creature’s existence simply because he has seen the beastie at close quarters. By exposing the hoaxes, Boyd has not ruled out the remainder of the evidence amassed from eyewitness accounts, but has merely discarded a single piece of supposed evidence of dubious origins.

Sightings have continued unabated at Loch Ness since the hoax story came to light so evidence continues to accumulate to prove the case that there is a large unknown animal of indeterminate origin making frequent appearances to stunned witnesses. To emphasise the point Alastair Boyd, himself, spent three weeks in 1996 observing the Loch, although he was not fortunate enough to obtain a sighting. However, 16 other people at the Craigdarroch Hotel did, much to their delight.

In 1997 there were at least 12 sightings with which the BCSCC is familiar. One sighting in particular involved an American TV crew who were advised by the BCSCC to have a camera ready at all times when in sight of the Loch. After dinner two members of the crews took a walk by the lochside – sans camera – when a mysterious object manifested itself in the middle of the loch. The Americans kicked themselves afterwards for not having had a camera handy to record the event!

In 1999 there have been several sightings of which three may be considered likely encounters with the LNM. Three photographs were taken, two of which are likely birds, and a third by the BCSCC which shows a large dark wake in the Loch which – although indistinct – is very unlikely to be that of a boat.

Nessie will continue to bemuse all who seek her and delight those who happen to have a chance sighting. The European premiere of the film LOCH NESS brought thousands to Inverness and a veritable horde of Nessie associated enthusiasts to the cinemas. Television ad campaigns in Britain featured no less than three commercials depicting a Nessie as a principal character. Her popularity continues undiminished and her reign as the jewel of Loch Ness continues.

 

Nahuelito (Lago Nahuel Huapi)

 

For more information and an Argentinian perspective on Patagonian lake cryptids please visit Austin Whittall’s web site at: http://patagoniamonsters.blogspot.com

Barloche the largest town on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi.Jessica Campbell and Paula Jacarbe are two young women who have had an encounter with a cryptid dwelling in the Argentine Andes. The beast is known as Nahuelito and inhabits a lake known as Lago Nahuel Huapi or the “Lake of the Tiger’s Island in the Mapuche Indian dialect. Christian Muller of a conservancy society in the region sent us this story of a notable sighting.

“It was in the summer of 1994 (winter for those living in the Northern Hemisphere) with two women relaxing at the beach by the shores of Nahuel Huapi, in an area known as the Peninsula de San Pedro. There was no wind and the lake was as a sea of oil (this is common during the summer) Suddenly they saw this creature swimming near the shoreat about 18:00hrs.

One of them shouted to the other people to see if anybody had a camera handy to take some shots of the creature. They described Nahuelito as being as big as a whale with it’s back showing many humps(like this ~~~) This is something that many people who have seen it agree it is like. She saw small fins it used to swim,and she also remember its breathing. She told me she would never forget this.

Neither of the young women saw the head (the fact is, none of the people who have seen it, have seen the beast’s head, unlike in photos of Nessie). After this nerve-wracking experience Jessica sat on a rock by the shore, and 45 minutes later the creature appeared again swimming towards the spot where she was sitting, this time, she told me “I decided to run…”. This was her experience, and now I’m going to tell you mine.

It happened 7 years ago. I was working in a place by the lakeshore, 11 kilometres from the centre of Bariloche (Bariloche is the city in the southern part of the lake N.H.). It was almost the beginning of the summer. The day was covered with clouds, low pressure, and no wind. It was the beginning of the fishing season, when the rod and reel fanatics use to wake up early to go fishing (I’m talking of 7:00 A.M. approx.).I was going to my job in a bus which travels along the road by the lake.

In those days I used to sail, and what I took to be a ship on the lake grabbed my attention. I say that it grabbed my attention because it seemed to belong to the Nautical Club, (the wake looked as if it came from a vessel originating from the Club) but what I noticed was the dark color. At that moment I thought: What ship from the club is dark in colour? There were absolutely none I could remember.

So, the bus was traveling in the same direction as the “ship” (until that moment). We were getting nearer, but some trees between the road and the lake didn’t permit us to see the lake for a few moments. Suddenly the “ship” disappeared under the water, the driver was also watching this and abruptly stopped the bus and opened the door, someone in the bus shouted Nahuelito, Nahuelito!

That was all, I didn’t see fins, head or anything but a big dark object which sunk in the water before our very eyes.”

Icthyosaur fossil found near Bariloche. Is this Nahuelito's relation?Nahuelito is known to the loacls by a variety of other names such as “El Cuero” – “the leathery one” and “El Manto” – “the cloaked one. Although Christian Muller saw it on a somewhat cloudy day, Nahuelito is generally seen on clear and sunny days at the height of the Argentine summer. Paula Jacarbe also heard the strange breathing of the animal and is fortunate to have a brother who is something of a wiz with electronics. Using his professional quality synthesizer, Mr Jacarbe managed to modulate and imitate the breathing noises and each time he plays this without warning it gives his sister a fright!

In 2006, investigator Scott Corrales shared with Cryptomundo.com a number of photos that were supposedly of the Nahuelito creature and had been left at the front desk of a Bariloche newspaper. The pictures are quite spectacular, so good, in fact, that they appear to be hoaxed. If one looks at the photos as compared to hoaxed pictures staged and taken by Frank Searle in the 1960’s, one can only come to the conclusion that someone has either discovered unpublished Searle photos or has fashioned a model after the Searle fakes. There are also two other false photos of Nahuelito circulating around the internet.

Because Bariloche is in an area where icthyosaur fossils have been uncovered there is speculation that Nahuelito may be one of these animals. However, as there are precious few confirmed reports of sightings of the animal’s head there is no way this hypothesis can be proven at this time. In the past officials from the Buenos Aires zoo have launched expeditions to find the creature, but on all occasions were unsuccessful. Today Nahuelito is seemingly unperturbed by the stream of visitors to his habitat which has become Argentina’s most popular mountain resort with some of the finest skiing areas in all of South America. Bariloche is also famous for producing some of the finest chocolates in South America and one wonders if a few of these tossed into the lake might attract Nahuelito.

 

Mokele Mbembe

 

The Cryptosafari/BCSCC Team in Cameroon, march 2001, from left to right Scott Norman, Dr Bill Gibbons, John Kirk III and Robert A. Mullin. Their objective: Mokele-mbembe. photo copyright 2001, John Kirk, all rights reserved, any usage without proper licensing in writing will incur legal action.

While it is understood that the Likouala-aux-Herbes River and Lake Tele are well known as potential habitats for the creature know as Mokele-mbembe, there are believed to be other locales in which animals bearing a close resemblance to a sauropod may be found. These include Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Cameroon.

In the past the Congo had been the prime target for Mokele-mbembe investigators such as Dr. Roy P. Mackal and James Powell, Herman and Kia Regusters, Dr. Bill Gibbons and his two operation Congo teams, and Adam Davies. Because of the unstable situation in the Congo, there was no possibility for a team of researchers to be able to safely find it’s way to the Likouala and Lake Tele regions, so the safer confines of Cameroon seemed ripe for investigation, particularly because so many reports of sightings were filtering through.

In February, 2001, a newly founded organization dubbed Cryptosafari put together a team of investigators and researchers sent them on a mission to follow up reports emanating from Cameroon of an animal which was not supposed to exist today. Missionaries in southern Cameroon were bringing back reports from pygmies of a large animal with a long neck, bulbous body and strong short legs which was inhabiting rivers and swamps close to pygmy habitations.

The team comprising computer whiz Scott Norman, Congo explorer and Mokele-mbembe investigator Dr. Bill Gibbons, writer Robert Mullin and John Kirk, author and president of the BCSCC teamed up with Cameroon researcher Pierre Sima and a team of hand-picked pygmy trackers to search the southern part of the country for clues to what it was that had the pygmies concerned.

After an arduous cross country journey over rutted washboard like roads the team reached a major river in the south of the country where base camp was set up. After spending time in the bush searching for clues to the animal it was decided that this course of action would be time consuming and difficult, so a plan based heavily on navigating little travelled rivers was implemented using a native pirogue, or hollowed out log canoe, equipped with an outboard motor.

In addition to river and swamp searches the team was to find and interview eyewitnesses who had seen any unusual wildlife in the area. While washing up after the first day of searching, Robert Mullin casually mentioned the search to a local Bantu boy who became excited. It transpired that the boy’s father, grandfather and uncle had seen a creature they called Mokele-mbembe. Fortuitously, the boy’s father and uncle showed up on the scene and consented to an interview with the Cryptosafari team. The witnesses described a huge creature with a long neck, massive body and a rather indignant temperament which manifested itself when the beast was disturbed.

Having brought a manual of illustrations of a variety of wildlife from around the globe, the team asked the interviewees to identify the animals they had seen should they be depicted in the manual. By now there was a crowd of individuals from a nearby village completing their evening ablutions by the river. The villagers gathered around to see what was going on, the Cryptosafari team separated the witnesses and asked the villagers to wait as they had some animals they wanted to have identified. As the witnesses thumbed through the pages, they correctly identified african animals, but were completely baffled by pictures of north american animals. The investigators were rather surprised to see that the witnesses completely overlooked the illustration in Dr. Roy P. Mackal’s book which depicts a size comparison between a small sauropod and a pygmy, but said nothing. When the witnesses saw illustrations of brachiosaurs and diplodocuses they became excited and cried out “Mokele-mbembe, Mokele-mbembe.”

The villagers had not seen the manual and when the researchers called over small groups of two or three villagers, they were asked to identify the animal known as Mokele-mbembe. Again, they bypassed Mackal’s illustration and consistently identified the brachiosaur and diplodocus as the Mokele-mbembe. After rigorous questioning and a variety of controlled tests and questions, the witnesses and villagers remained unshaken in their belief that two animals which had been supposedly extinct for 65 million years best depicted the creature they called the Mokele-mbembe.

During their sojourn in southern Cameroon, the investigators spoke to dozens of individuals from pygmy villages who identified the two large dinosaurs as either the Mokele-mbembe in the Lingala language or Le Kela-bembe in the Baka pygmy language.

The most recent sighting was made in April, 2000 when two security men at a primitive ferry operation in the middle of nowhere fled the river banks when a huge aquatic creature with a long neck made it’s way down stream. The two men were utterly terrified by the size of the creature as it was rainy season and for the neck of the creature to be as high as it was in the swollen river the neck had to be at least four metres long. One witness was so disturbed by the encounter that he fled across the border to the Congo.

Despite traversing segments of three rivers the team was unable to locate the creature, but they did continue to run into many individuals and groups who had had sightings of the mystery animal which was so awesome that crocodiles and hippopotamuses stayed well away from its territory. In all of their time in Cameroon the Cryptosafari crew did not see a single hippo or croc despite being in areas where these animals used to abound. The locals attributed this phenomenon to the presence of the Mokele-mbembe in the vicinity.

Cryptosafari and the BCSCC are expecting to return to Cameroon and are looking for sponsors, benefactors and supporters who would be willing to supply finances, equipment and services needed by the team.

 

Memphre (Lake Memphremagog)

 

Lake Memphremagog with Newport, Vermont in the foreground. Copyright 1997.Not far down the road from Lake Champlain is Lake Memphremagog another elongated body of water bisected by the U.S.-Canada boundary. Like its more famous cousin in Lake Champlain, the monster of Lake Memphremagog is making a rather famous name for itself.

In 1816 a local inhabitant named Perry sighted the animal as it swam past the settler and his wife. Merry described a creature much like a sheep shorn of its wool and possessing 12 to 15 pairs of legs!This sighting is definitely at odds with the general description of the animal seen hundreds of times since. Most observers agree that the animal is dark-grey or black and measures between 15 and 45 feet-long, possesses a horse-like head and is a very swift swimmer often overhauling the motorboats of a significant number of witnesses.

Barbara Malloy has the distinction of photographing the animal on two occasions and in each depiction the animal is represented by a single mountainous hump above the water. Mrs Malloy has seen the animal on three different occasions and is the first female dracontologist in the world. Dracontology is a term coined by a monk at the monastery of St Benoit-du-Lac in response to a request by Jacques Boisvert, a Quebec monster enthusiast who needed a name for the specific study of lake monsters. Boisvert became the first dracontologist and also hold sthe record for sub-aqua investigation of any monster with over 4,900 dives to his distinguished credit. Although Boisvert has never seen the animal, he believes he may have stepped on it while scuba-diving. With his son beside him Boisvert thought he was making a landing on a log at the bottom of the lake, when suddenly, the log sprang to life at his touch and vanished in a haze of silt and air bubbles.

Mrs Malloy and Boisvert nicknamed their local monster Memphre and hold the respective copyrights to the name on both sides of the border. Memphre may yet be a valuable commodity as interest in the animal surged after 10 sightings were reported in 1996. The Lake Memphremagog monster has shown an odd propensity for showing off on the surface with a frequency unmatched since 1926 when Ogopogo was making almost daily visits to areas frequented by the humans. In 1996 the Lake Memphremagog phenomenon has frolicked vigourously in front of dozens of witnesses. Although its habitat seems to be relatively clean for a North American lake, it may be that the visits to the surface are connected with a need to feed and no one is absolutely certain of the quantity of the fish stocks therein. Could a food shortage be forcing the phenomenon to hunt closer to the surface for prey?

Jacques Boisvert and Barbara Malloy continue the search for Memphre as they have styled this monstrous craver of human attention, in the hope that one day they will know definitively what it is that has been mystifying and bemusing Quebeckers and Vermonters for 180 years.The search has been aided somewhat by a video obtained by Patricia de Broin Fournier who captured the image of a strange animal creating waves as it frolicked in the lake in the summer of 1997. The object in the video is certainly animate, but rather than being a serpentine form seen so often over the last one hundred and seventy five years at Lake Memphremagog, it could just as well be a wave.

In Decemeber, 1997 Patricia was accorded a rare winter sighting as Memphre surfaced near a pier in full view of Mrs Fournier and her sister Aline.

 

Manipogo (Lake Manitoba)

 

The Manitoba lake systems and communities.Copyright Hammersmith Books.In 1997 a hoax was perpetrated claiming that Manipogo the monster of the Manitoba lake system had been captured and killed by a local farmer who saw the creature out of water and promptly shot it. The farmer was alleged to have hidden the creature in barn near the sandy point native reservation and was offering it for sale at a price of $200,000.

The Royal Canadian Mounted police Detachment at the resevation were supposed to have seen the creature, but the story began to unravel when the RCMP officer-in-charge denied that any such creature had been apprehended. That did not stop major Canadian newspapers and news services from running the story as if it were acknowledged fact, but thanks to the efforts of contacts of noted Fortean author Loren Coleman and the Manitoba UFO Research Association it was discovered that the story was utterly false and had been the work of a practical joker.

While the “Manipogo” flap was quite fictional, there remains the fact that animals of unclassified type inhabit lakes Winnipeg, Winnipegosis, Manitoba, Dauphin, Cedar and Dirty. Since the early 1900s Manipogo has made sporadic appearances in the lakes which are all quite shallow and interlinked through amzae of rivers and streams. It is no surprise that so many lakes should boast this snakey creature as it is so very easy to swim through this natural waterway.

Variously described as black or muddy brown in colour, Manipogo is an elongated creature with its body frequently showing as a series of arches above the surface. Most witnesses have described being able to see under the arches meaning that the back sections rise well out of the water. Measuring from 12 to over 50 feet in length, Manipogos are reluctant to show their heads, but when they have been seen they have always been regarded by thos epresent to be rather like a snake or sheep in shape.

In 1962 the animal was apparently photographed by two recreational fishermen who spotted the cryptid crossing the lake in front of their boat (above). Richard Vincent, operations manager for TV station CKND and an American television commentator by the name of John Konefell first sighted something in the water 300 yards infront of their boat. They believed it to be Manipogo and were fortunate enough to have a camera handy, so they availed themselves of the opportunity an promptly snapped a photo of the creature afterthey had moved closer to it. The original uncropped photograph includes the gunwhale of the boat which can be used for comparison purposes when attempting to determine the size of the object and it can be determined that the object is about two feet out of the water. At least 12 feet of the creature’s length was visible above the surface and it appeared to be approximately 12 inches in diameter. The men claimed to have watched the creature for more than 5 minutes before it vanished. Their ten horsepower boat was unable to keep up with the speedy creature so they were always behind the animal.

In 1974 Vincent was asked about his experience with the strange thing in his photo, but cryptically he refused to say that he had seen Manipogo, but preferred to say that he witnessed and photographed “something” in the lake. A number of investigators have posited that the object bears a strong resemblance to nothing so ordinary as a log with a bent branch arching over. This is a perfectly plausible explanation and is more likely than Manipogo. There is also the absence of a discernible wake in the photo which must have been created by an animal which was allegedly swimming faster than a 10 HP motorboat. Interesting as the Vincent/Konefell may be it is not acceptable evidence of a creature living in the Manitoba Lakes.

Veteran researcher and writer, Gary Mangiacopra has theorised that Manipogo may well be a left over population of zeuglodons (basilosaurus) which were thought to have died out tens of millions of years ago. This theory is also held by Dr. Roy Mackal of Loch Ness fame, but a problem arises with Mangiacopra and Mackal’s identification. The Manitoba lakes are usually frozen in winter and as zeuglodons were air breathers, they would, of necessity be forced to migrate via the Nelson River to Hudson’s Bay where large sections remain free of ice. Even if they were able to reach the Nelson River they would have to overcome numerous manmade and natural obstructions which would prevent them from even arriving at the starting point of their voyage to Hudson’s Bay.

Manipogo has been seen frequently in one particular location since the beginning of summer, 1999. As investigations of a spate of sightings is presently underway, we are unable to divulge the location until our investigators have completed their research and return with their pertinent findings.

The content of this page are the respective copyright of Orbis Books, Richard Vincent and John Kirk, 1987, 1962, 1996.

 

Irish Lake Monsters

 

Artist's depiction of the monster of Lough Ree. Copyright Orbis Books.

Testimonies from priests and other members of the cloth regarding an unknown water creature have been legion at Loch Ness, but the great Scottish loch is not alone when it comes to sightings by men of God. In 1960 three priests were indulging in a bit of relaxation at Lough Ree in County Meath, Ireland when their enjoyable afternoon of fishing and stimulating conversation came to an abrupt end. Fathers Richard Quigly, Matthew Burke and Daniel Murray almost dropped their rods in shock when one of the priests spotted a large black animal swimming up the lough a mere 100 yards away. For a second the creature sank below the surface then rose again in the form of a loop. A quick approximate measurement by the priests left them with the impression that the animal was six feet long from its head to the end of the coil.

The head and neck were only 18 inches long compared to some of the other animals in lakes elsewhere. Hardly a giant, but unusual enough to be distinguished from known local inhabitants like otters, the animal was certainly something the priests were completely unfamiliar with. The subsequent testimony of the three men of the cloth was covered in the Irish newspapers and treated with a fair degree of respect in view of their lucid and straightforward retelling of the event. After their sighting the priests went to visit long-time lough resident Colonel Harry Rice who had written about the possibility of a monster in the local rivers in his book Thanks for the Memory. Sir Harry thought of the monster as a legend until he was confronted by the most convincing accounts from the priests’ own lips.

The sighting was a catalyst for others to come forward with their own stories of beastly encounters in Lough Ree. In rapid succession a postman, a recreational fisherman, two English tourists and two net fishermen came forward to describe the anomaly that was making its presence felt in Lough Ree. Precedence for there being a monster in Lough Ree was already well established from ancient times. St Mochua of Balla’s biography contains a reference to a stag, which took refuge from a group of hunters on an island in the lough, and describes how none of the hunters dared follow for fear of being devoured by a fierce monster said to live therein. The Saint himself is supposed to have emulated his Scottish counterpart St Columba by bringing a monster in one of the Connaught loughs to submission.

Further accounts of the monsters known as Pooka and Piaste have surfaced and several have been the objects of attempts to capture the beasts. Enter the dashing Captain Lionel Leslie the head of two expeditions which set out to secure a specimen. Captain Leslie and his team set five pounds of gelignite in Loch Fadda in October 1965, the site of an incident of monster surfacing in 1954. Miss Georgina Carberry and several companions were out fishing when a long-necked monstrosity swam at them with an open mouth which appeared to be white on the inside. Wisely stepping back, the observers watched as the animal dived, then resurfaced and displayed two humps behind the head and neck. The experience so distressed Miss Carberry that the poor woman suffered from nightmares for weeks after. In a bid to bring the creature to the surface Captain Leslie and his crew detonated the gelignite and within seconds a large blackish object rose from the depths making a terrific disturbance on the lough. The enthusiastic splashing meant it was impossible to make out details from the object, but there was no doubt it was very real indeed.

Two years later Captain Leslie’s team stretched a net across the lough in a bid to snare the beastie, but nothing was caught. They expedition moved onto Lough Nahooin where another monster had appeared weeks earlier to farmer Stephen Coyne. The lough is really nothing more than a pond approximately the size of a soccer field, so it would seem catching a beast there should have been a piece of cake.

Two members of this team were experienced monster hunters from the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau. David James who founded the Bureau and Dr Roy Mackal who had helped to raise funds for the Bureau as well as inventing the famed biopsy dart for extracting monster tissue samples were recruited to lend their expertise. Despite this aggregation of distinguished hunters and a variety of very useful pieces of monster attracting equipment the beast refused to show and the affair was a failure. More Loch Ness researchers were invited to join the 1969 expedition which covered three loughs: Nahooin, Shanakeever and Auna in a curtain of netting. The nets were constantly catching on water plants as they were being dragged and the weather began to play up so once again the mission was not accomplished.

In the summer of 2006 a BCSCC field trip took place at Loughs Shanakeever and Auna, in Connemara, County Galway. Having read of the efforts of Captain Leslie, James and Mackal, our investigators elected to look at the practicalities of how a classic lake monster could possibly survive in these lakes. We had been apprised of the relatively small sizes of the loughs which are less than half a mile apart. However, nothing prepared us for just how small the loughs were when we arrived. To be generous, these loughs are nothing more than glorified ponds and how it could be conceived that a classic lake monster lived in them is imponderable.


Lough Shanakeever

When we arrived, the loughs were being fished by anglers who seemed completely oblivious to the monster legend. A grayish object had been seen in Lough Shanakeever by a farmer named Tommy Joyce, sometime in the 1960’s and Air Commodore Kort of the Royal Netherlands Air Force had claimed to have seen a creature with a pointed back in Lough Auna in 1969. Coyne’s described his creature as looking like the back of a foal and on having seen how small Lough Shanakeever is, that is probably what he actually saw. In assessing the opinions of the other witnesses to Air Commodore Kort’s sighting in 1969, we note that some witnesses thought the object might have been a fish while others said they thought the object was a female otter swimming with two of its young on its chest.

Some have argued that Lough Auna is too far away from the sea for large otters to have made their way into its waters, but it actually is not a huge distance from the town of Clifden which happens to be located right by the sea. Clifden is just ten minutes or less from the loughs and it is perfectly conceivable that a mammal that is adapted to living on land could easily have to come to live for a time in this lough. From perusing the sightings record, it is possible to deduce that the creatures inhabiting Loughs Auna and Shanakeever were no more than otters in transit. In fact the sightings in the entire Connemara area – including Loughs Nahooin and Fadda – tend toward a mammalian animal rather than a classic serpentine creature that is reported from many lakes the world over.


Lough Auna

The otter theory is a plausible one and an oversized otter may also be the animal behind the legend of the Dobhar-chu which is said to be an aquatic animal like a sleek hound. A dobhar-chu was alleged to responsible for the death of Grace McLoughlin in the 18th century and the dispatching of this beast by the poor woman’s husband makes for exciting reading. McLoughlin’s grave actually depicts an image of the dobhar-chu, thus adding a dash of credibility to the legend.

The BCSCC also investigated another nameless lough by the village of Renvyle which is adjacent to the sea. We came to know about this lough from a conversation we had with the owners of a guesthouse in Tully. They said that some years ago, visitors had claimed to have seen an unknown creature in the lough, but no one had seen it since. The guesthouse owners were like many Irish people we met on our travels who expressed incredulity at the notion of there being unknown lake creatures in Ireland. They looked at us as if we had just told them that the moon was made of green cheese. We ultimately investigated the nameless lough and concluded that as it was just mere yards from the sea, anything from a seal to an otter could have gotten into the lough and if one was not familiar with the animals, one could easily mistake them for an unknown creature. There was certainly nothing stirring in the lough when we examined it.

The BCSCC has only just scratched the surface of the Irish Lake monster mystery, but like our own intrepid member Nick Sucik – who has also explored bodies of water in Ireland – we will return to Ireland to take on the larger Loughs such as Ree, Muckross, Derg and Brin who have their own very interesting lake cryptid legends.