New Canadian Lake Monster on Vancouver Island?

September 27, 2009

John Kirk, co-founder of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, believes that there may be a monster living in a small lake on Vancouver Island. John, Joe Nickell, and I worked together searching for Canada's most famous lake monster, Ogopogo, in British Columbia's Lake Okanagan. The search was filmed for National Geographic Television, and appeared on the "Is It Real?" series. We wrote articles on the monster for Skeptical Inquirer , and the search is detailed in our book Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures .

"Witnesses have been describing what looks like a dark creature in the lake," Kirk said. He spent one day aboard a boat searching the lake, courtesy of the local tourism board. Using a fish finder, Kirk's team found what he believes was a giant object amid a school of fish about 60 feet below the surface. Yet sonar images provided by fish finders are inherently ambiguous and give very little information. Unfortunately, the promise of better evidence vanished in the cold lake when the investigative team lost its underwater camera.

As with all such unknown animals, there is little consensus on what they might be: perhaps a known fish, a decidedly un-extinct dinosaur-like plesiosaur, or eyewitnesses' mistaken perceptions.Kirk suggested the animal it is probably a known creature such as a giant eel or a large sturgeon. Indeed, the recent vintage of the Lake Cameron monster sightings argues against the existence of a large, unknown creature living there. Why, for example, would the first report only date back less than a decade? Did the creature (or creatures) suddenly migrate into the lake from somewhere else? Or are people simply misinterpreting ordinary fauna?