Posted by: John Kirk on May 18th, 2006
A lot of people who read Cryptomundo often ask me about the BCSCC and what is exactly that we do. I am always happy to let people know about the club I founded in 1989 along with Paul Leblond and the late Jim Clark. Paul and Jim had the original vision of a club where people could meet and discuss cryptozoology. I read an ad in the paper asking for anyone with an interest in cryptozoology to meet with Jim and Paul about forming a club. Having sighted Ogopogo two years earlier, and becoming an enthusiastic field investigator, I was keen to meet up with Paul and Jim.
We met at Jim’s cryptozoology book-crammed apartment and hit it off from the outset. Between us we came up with a club for field investigators and armchair researchers. We had our first meeting in May 1989 and our first club expedition at the end of July, and what an expedition that turned out to be. We had decided to investigate Ogopogo of Okanagan Lake, Canada’s best known aquatic cryptid. I had seen this creature twice in one evening in 1987, but had not sighted it again despite return visits to the lake so we really did not expect to see anything when set up our observation post at Peach Orchard Beach in Summerland.
We had a 40X telescope, binoculars, video and still cameras on hand that day, but did not expect to have to use them, so infrequent are Ogopogo sightings. It was a brilliant day with all the conditions being ideal for a day at the beach. At about 3:15 in the afternoon, I was looking southward toward a small point that juts out into the lake when I could see something pushing large amounts of water in front of it about 150 – 200 metres away. I realized that it was an animal and so I grabbed the Bushnell telescope and zeroed in on the object and I was stunned to see that it was an animal with five humps out of the water to a height of about 3 feet. It had skin like a killer whale and I could see tubercles under the skin.
When other people on the beach saw what I was looking at, they all rushed over in my direction to get a better look for themselves. There were about 50 people in all and most were flabbergasted to realize that Ogopogo was a real animal and not just the stuff of legend. I should have been able to get good footage of this creature, but due to excitement and inexperience I left the lens cap on and did not capture the creature for posterity.
Having been successful on that occasion in getting a sighting of a cryptid, the BCSCC staged another expedition in August that year with similar good results. Since then we have diversified into searching for sasquatch and our membership has found no less than a dozen unknown bipedal hominid tracks and had several more sightings of Ogopogo. We also investigate mysterious giant black salamanders said to inhabit lakes and rivers in our province, as well as the oddly-named “Beaver Eater” (not the best name is it!!) inhabiting the Yukon. We have travelled all over North America and trotted the globe in search of cryptids. We encourage our members to do field work in their own locales. We are the type of cryptozoological organization that gets excited about the discovery of a new rodent or fish just as much as we would with the discovery of some of the better-known cryptids.
As I write this, the BCSCC is just about to publish its 60th issue of the club flagship publication, the BCSCC Quarterly. No other cryptozoological group that we can recall has ever maintained such a consistent record of publishing. The Quarterly contains local and international cryptozoological news and is widely read. Even the Vancouver Public Library has a subscription to our publication.
This year we have undertaken a quite considerable amount of work in the sasquatch field. You may recall that I posted here at Cryptomundo that the first possible sasquatch vocalizations in British Columbia were thought to have been obtained. We did a huge amount of follow-up on this with our buddies at Westcoast Sasquatch and thanks to the efforts of Thomas Steenburg and Gerry Matthews, we have now ascertained that the vocalizations where actually made by coyotes, but these cries were so far removed from the usual howls and yelps that no one would have known coyotes could have made such sounds. Thomas and Gerry actually watched the coyotes make this noise and were stunned by the sheer volume of noise that their lungs and larynx could produce.
It’s tough when a group like ours makes what we believed to be a breakthrough like what occurred with the purported sasquatch vocalizations, but when you discover there is a more mundane explanation to cryptozoological occurrences then you just have to suck it in and carry on in a different direction. That’s the BCSCC spirit.
We have locally based membership get-togethers in addition to fieldwork, and in true British Columbia tradition this is usually over a pint. Very frequently, we will travel and meet up with other members at sasquatch conferences all over Canada and the States. We’re a friendly bunch and welcome new members to join our club.
The BCSCC is taking this opportunity to invite you to join people like Jason Walton, Ed Bousfield, Andreas Trottmann, Loren Coleman, Scott Norman, Craig Woolheater, Jon Downes, Eric Joye, Thomas Steenburg, Gerry Matthews, Ken Kristian and Seb Wang as members of our club. You can go to our website here and learn more about the club and to find out how to join us.
I’m looking forward to hearing from prospective new members wanting to join our club, so do get in touch.
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.