Canadian Geographic Magazine Looks at Cryptozoology in Canada – Sort Of

Posted by: John Kirk on June 23rd, 2006

Canadian Geographic is one of the most prestigious societies in Canada and is our country’s equivalent to National Geographic in the USA. It is very pleasing for Canadian cryptozoology investigators and researchers to see that an article on cryptozoology in Canada is included in the July/August edition of this eminent publication.

However, I wish the writer had done some homework on this as she incorrectly spells Cadborosaurus’ nickname and Ogopogo researcher Arlene Gaal’s surname is spelt as “Gael” throughout. The article is mainly about Cadborosaurus and Ogopogo and barely touches on Sasquatch – it is mentioned just once in passing. There is no mention of East Coast sea serpents, giant salamanders, the Yukon Beaver Eater (yes, that’s what it is called) or the Yukon Cameloid known as the Ur Chow.

Here’s the article:


Long of neck, "Caddy" is thought to resemble Elasmosaur (ABOVE), recently discovered near Comox, B.C. This sculpture is part of the Cryptozoology display at BC Experience, in Victoria.

Keepers of the crypt
Ambiguity is the bailiwick of cryptozoologists – people who study unproven species

By Jackie Wallace

Dark rings break through the surface of the lake, moving forward at an alarmingly fast pace. A fleeting glimpse of a bobbing head reveals a mane, and then it is gone, leaving only a wake and a stunned observer.

Such sightings of the sea creature that has come to be know as Cadborosaurus have been recorded around Victoria since the 1930s. It has piqued the imaginations of many and created enthusiasts such as Jason Walton, a contract illustrator who has been gathering evidence and sightings of Cady, as he affectionately calls the sea creature, since 1994.

"The facts [on Cadborosaurus] are good," says Walton. "Unfortunately they are all formed from sightings, but the sightings are very consistent and convincing."

Walton’s experience with Cady is typical of cryptozoologists — people who study unknown species, which are known as cryptids. From Sasquatchs and Yeti, to the Loch Ness Monster and the wide variety of birds, reptiles and cat-like or bear-like animals that people claim are out there, cryptozoologists take on the challenge of bringing science together with the unknown, and work tireless to obtain solid, irrefutable evidence of these alleged species.

Walton has teamed up with oceanographers and marine biologists who invest their time and resources into proving Cady’s existence and finding out more about the creature. "We’ve got high resolution cameras on motion sensors," he says. "Unfortunately, we have never had a photo sighting, but we are getting close."

But Cady isn’t the only cryptid in Canada. Arlene Gael has been studying Ogopogo, the renowned sea creature said to inhabit Okanogan Lake near Kelowna, B.C. since she moved to the area in the 1970s. As a journalist with the Kelowna Daily Courier, her professional interest in getting to the bottom of a story was the driving force behind her insatiable curiosity of Ogopogo’s existence.

"I have the most updated database on Ogopogo in the world. Ninety-nine percent of all the data is here in my home, which includes still photos, film footage, video footage and firsthand accounts of sightings from the mid 1800s to the present time," says Gael. She has written three books on Ogopogo, the first was published in 1976 and the most recent in 2001.

"Having had at least six personal experiences on the lake left no doubt in my mind that we were indeed dealing with an unidentified animal," says Gael. "These sightings were enough to convince me to continue on."

Both Gael and Walton investigate sightings that people report. The cryptozoologists have found that most sightings are credible and many of the descriptions are consistent. "They have nothing to gain by coming forward and everything to lose," says Walton. "Some people coming forward have scientific degrees. Other people are relieved when you can explain to them what they have seen," he says

Gael agrees that there is a certain stigma attached to admitting to having seen something that cannot be proven to exist. For Walton, the possibility of discovering a new species would be an exciting discovery for biology. "We don’t know whether Cady is reptilian or mammalian," he says. His scientific partners believe it to be a deep-water animal, but do not know how it breathes or interacts with and effects the rest of the underwater world in which it lives.

"It is no easy task," says Gael. "We don’t have a carcass or DNA evidence that would land us a seat in a scientific institute. However, I believe that those who have seen it will never be convinced otherwise."

For Gael and Walton, seeing truly is believing.

My good buddy Jason Walton talked about photographic evidence for Caddy and said that he hadn’t obtained any, but even though Jason does not have any, there exist three excellent photographs of a Cadborosaurus taken from the belly of a whale at Naden Harbour, Queen Charlotte Islands in October, 1937 which clearly show and unknown animal. It is a pity that these were not published in the article as they strengthen the case for Caddy’s existence.

This article is supposed to be about Cryptozoology in Canada, but in my opinion a better name for it should be "British Columbia Water Cryptids."

I must say that I was disappointed by the article as I found it lacking in details and does not really go very deep – pardon the pun – in regard to what these cryptids might be nor doe sit examine any of the evidence brought forward so far in the respective investigations.

What do you think?

You can visit the Canadian Geographic website and see the article in its original form here. 

John Kirk About John Kirk
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.

5 Responses to “Canadian Geographic Magazine Looks at Cryptozoology in Canada – Sort Of”

  1. Ole Bub responds:

    Good morning John….

    Nice to hear from you….

    I’m rather wobbly on the Lake Monster issue…any cracks in my skepticism resulted from your personal observations and discussion…on the National Geographic “Monsters of the Deep documentary…

    Cady and ocean dwelling sea critters are a different matter entirely…IMHO

    We don’t hear very much about Canadian sasquatchery efforts….looking forward to your comments…

    seeing is believing…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  2. aastra responds:

    “Dark rings break through the surface of the LAKE, moving forward at an alarmingly fast pace…Such sightings of the sea creature that has come to be know as Cadborosaurus have been recorded around Victoria since the 1930s.”

    Cadborosaurus is being sighted in lakes now?

  3. twblack responds:

    Unknown sea creatures yes. I am with Ole Bud on the lake monsters just a little more unsure or skepticism in me on that subject. Just a little more doubt on the lake monster stuff! I hope I am wrong though.

  4. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Where can one view these photos of a Cadborosaurus taken from the belly of a whale? What kind of whale was it?

  5. John Kirk responds:

    Jeremy and everyone,

    You can see some of the the Cadborosaurus photos at the BCSCC site here.

    These are on a reduced scale, but I hope to post a larger image on site soon.

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