Posted by: John Kirk on August 20th, 2006
One of the strangest cases the RCMP has been called upon to investigate was the Gillman of Thetis Lake on Vancouver Island. Situated near the community of Cottonwood, Thetis Lake is not really much of a lake, but in reality is more of a glorified pond. On August 19, 1972 two young men, Robin Flewellyn and Gordon Pike, were traumatized by a creature resembling a sci-fi horror film beastie which emerged from the lake and attacked them. The beast was silvery grey in colour and possessed webbed hands and feet. It used sharp protrusions on its hands to slash one of the boys who sustained a relatively nasty cut. The creature pursued the boys almost as far as their car, before they were able to speed away to the nearest RCMP detachment.
Curious Encounters (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1985) by Loren Coleman
The boys related their fantastic tale to the RCMP members on duty that day and impressed by the sincerity and honesty of the boys, the detachment launched a full investigation into the occurrence. They searched the lakeshore for footprints and other telltale signs of the creature’s presence, but nothing was found to support Pike and Flewellyn’s story.
As it seemed the investigation would wind down for lack of evidence, pandemonium broke loose at 3:30 in the afternoon on August 23. Two different young men, Russell van Nice and Michael Gold witnessed the emergence from Thetis Lake of a silvery, scaly, monstrous abomination. They described it as having huge ears, sharp projections on its head and a monstrous face. Despite its aggressive appearance, the monstrosity did not attack the two youths.
Once more, the RCMP was called in and more investigative work took place, but again there was nothing to indicate that the Thetis Lake Gillman existed other than the mystery wound on Robin Flewellyn’s hand. As quickly as the Gillman had grabbed the headlines, it equally rapidly disappeared from them when no further activity from the aquatic anomaly was reported. The RCMP closed the files on this case and I don’t ever expect it will be reinvestigated – except by cryptozoology researchers.
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.