Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 26th, 2008
I’ve written before about the mixing of Yeti expeditions and spy missions by Nazis, Tom Slick, Edmund Hillary, and as hidden in other links. If by land, such covert cover missions also happen in the water, as well.
The Times of London revealed over the weekend that Bob Ballard has come forth to tell that he was really on a secret mission to find two American nuclear submarines when he told the media he was searching for the Titanic.
“Dr. Ballard, an oceanographer, has admitted that he located and inspected the wrecks for the US Navy in top secret missions before he was allowed to search for the Titanic. Only once he had used his new underwater robot craft to map the submarine wreck sites was he able to use it to crisscross the North Atlantic seabed to pinpoint the last resting place of the luxury liner. It meant he had only 12 days to find the Titanic,” reported The Times.
I couldn’t tell anybody. There was a lot of pressure on me. It was a secret mission. I felt it was a fair exchange for getting a chance to look for the Titanic. We handed the data to the experts. They never told us what they concluded – our job was to collect the data. I can only talk about it now because it has been declassified. Bob Ballard
This instantly reminded me of what occurred in Lake Pend Oreille as mentioned in an article researched over a dozen years ago by science writer Patrick Huyghe.
As North Idaho College Prof. James R. McLeod told Huyghe (“Deep Secrets,” The Anomalist 5, 1997), the Navy used reports of a Lake Monster, locally called Paddler, in Lake Pend Oreille for decades, as a cover story.
In 1984, McLeod and his college-based cryptozoological research group conducted a much-publicized investigation, “Crypto Quest 84,” concluding that a majority of the sightings could have been of a huge, prehistoric-looking sturgeon — not native to the lake but possibly an occasional visitor. (McLeod kindly donated the expedition’s flag to the International Cryptozoology Museum, several years ago.)
McLeod would learn, “Every once in a while we would get someone who also saw a submarine, and the word nuclear kept coming up. That started bothering me.”
It bothered McLeod because no nuclear subs are ever supposed to be in an American lake.
Idaho anthropologist Duke Snyder said, “I’m inclined to think that a lot of events that occurred on the lake are really the result of Navy activity of one kind or another…. If somebody begins a story about a monster in the lake, then that’s a pretty handy explanation for strange things that go on. Of course, that raises the question [of] what the heck is the Navy doing in the lake.”
For years, the Navy denied it has ever used manned submarines or minisubs in the lake, but in the 1960s two Navy contractors, Vickers and the International Submarine Engineering (ISE) groups of Canada, did use a minisub, Pisces I, to train personnel in torpedo-recovery in some American lakes. The very deep Lake Pend Oreille appears to have been one of them. McLeod was able to confirm that the Pisces I was at Pend Oreille in 1965.
Finally, the truth came out. In Spring 2001, the US Navy, in an article authored by one of their own personnel in Vol. 3, No. 3 of Undersea Warfare (“The Official Magazine of the U.S. Submarine Force”), made it clear that submarine models were being used in the lake. See the Navy’s article, now online at: “Small Subs Provide Big Payoffs For Submarine Stealth.”
For more information on the reports of the cryptid Paddler, see the book I coauthored with Patrick Huyghe, The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (NY: Tarcher/Penguin, 2003).
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