21st Century Thetis Lake Monster Encounters?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 5th, 2012

Harry Trumbore’s drawing of the Thetis Lake Monster in The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates. This cryptid case is puzzling.

Daniel Loxton’s debunking was carried in this issue of Junior Skeptic.

Two sightings in 1972 were debunked by Loxton and demoted by him to hoax status because one man years later claimed what occurred was a prank.

As John Green has noted regarding Bigfoot incidents, there usually is someone around who wants to tell whomever will listen that such and such an event was a hoax to get their fifteen minutes of fame. It is remarkable that debunkers often totally “believe” the stories of the hoax claimers, while routinely dismissing sightings of eyewitnesses as mere “stories.”

Even Wikipedia has changed their entry (back and forth) on the “Thetis Lake Creature” to “Thetis Lake Monster Hoax,” with the thinnest of logic.

Recently, it became known that a new incident that might be a Thetis Lake Creature encounter has occurred. Jesse Martin has stepped forward to share his account:

The Thetis Lake Monster – A First-Hand Encounter

Five summers ago [2006], I got a job with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. teaching people how to fish on Vancouver Island. I lived out of Duncan, about an hour north of Victoria. I spent my summer teaching people to fish and my time off chasing rainbow and brown trout in the Cowichan River and smallmouth bass in other area lakes.

One day in August I decided to try out Thetis Lake just north of Victoria. I didn’t have a boat at the time but heard that it had pretty good shore access, so I decided to give it a try.

Sure enough, there was a great walking path around the lake, and the action was pretty steady including one solid 3+ pounder on a tube bait. I was having a blast exploring this new lake when I came to the realization that daylight was fading fast. After a few more casts, and more than one “last cast” I hustled back to the parking lot.

It was completely deserted. My mustang was the last car there. As an experienced urban fisherman, being the last guy in the parking lot was nothing new at all but just as I was entertaining myself with this thought, I heard something moving through the bushes behind the car. Being the scaredy cat I am, I rushed into the car, shoved my rods into the passenger seat and fumbled for my keys. As I did this I happened to glance into my rearview mirror where I saw a man running towards me.

Now, if this were a horror movie, this would’ve been the part where the car didn’t start.

Thankfully it did, and not a moment too soon as the figure was rapidly catching up. As I put it into gear, he made one last lunge for the passenger side door, where his hand smacked against the handle.

I peeled out of the parking lot and didn’t check the rearview until I was on the Malahat highway. I tried to calm myself during the ride home, but I was definitely rattled thinking about what had just happened.

When I got back to the place I was staying in Duncan, I pulled into the driveway and was about to go inside when I decided to take a look at the spot on my car where the man had struck it.

As I walked towards it I stared dumbfounded at what I saw. Five scratch-marks with patches of fish scales strewn throughout.

I didn’t sleep well that night, and when I went into work the next morning I just had to tell somebody what happened. That somebody was my co-worker. For the sake of anonymity let’s call her V. V listened patiently to my entire story, but I was taken aback when she didn’t even seem surprised at the ending.

The following dialogue went something like this:

Me: This doesn’t surprise you?
V: No, not really.
Me: Wow, you must think I’m really full of crap then?
V: Ha, no. Just a little. Actually, I’ve heard stories like this before. It was the Thetis Lake Monster.
Me: You’re kidding.
V: Not at all. It’s a real thing.
Me: There’s an actual monster that lives there and terrorizes people?
V: Go look it up.

And I did. And after doing so, I had to admit, it sounded a lot like what I encountered that August night on Vancouver Island.

And I haven’t been back to Thetis Lake since.

Posted On November 01, 2011 by Jesse Martin.

Jesse Martin grew up fishing for trout and salmon in British Columbia, but discovered a new love in bass fishing in his teen years. He currently works as both a seminarist and fishing guide in the South Okanagan area of B.C.

Only March 5, 2012, I received an answer to my question to Jesse Martin, what do you say to debunkers who dismiss your report. He replied: “My response to the debunkers is simple: It’s easy to deny the existence of something if it doesn’t fit into our concept of what is real and what isn’t. It’s difficult to come forward and admit you’ve actually had an encounter with an unknown creature knowing you’ll be in the position to be attacked.”

Furthermore, comments on the Internet tell of a variety of incidents of cryptid encounters in British Columbia, similar to the Thetis Lake Monster, in recent times:
Moss Street, in Fairfield, on a porch eating cat food,
At the Esquimalt Lagoon, in an old building, at Royal Road,
At Lost Lake [Blenkinsop Lake?] in Blenkinsop Valley,
In the Nanimo [sp?] River, caught on fishing line, and
In the lakes [including Goodacre Lake?] at Beacon Hill Park.

[Appreciation to Thylo for location spelling corrections.]

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

21 Responses to “21st Century Thetis Lake Monster Encounters?”

  1. Carlos Eulefi via Facebook responds:

    Looks like a Psammed, or Sand Fairy from “Five Childrens and IT”

  2. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Wow. I’m impressed that something called a “monster” would know to reach for the door handle.

  3. Hapa responds:

    It’s hard for me to believe that an eyewitness to an alleged Cryptid would say it was a hoax even though he or she knew it wasn’t, just to get 15 minutes of fame. Sounds almost impossible. A new sighting sounds more like an effort to keep extra tourism in the region by debunking the Thetis Lake Monster debunking, therefore bringing more people to vacation there to see if they might catch a glimpse of a “Lake Monster”.

    However, if it was someone that wasn’t an eyewitness, then they need to provide the proof that they did hoax it (I Think the confessor was an eyewitness, but I need to do some more researching), and that is a suit, and confirmation from the original eyewitnesses that the suit was what they saw.

    Until then, it is unsubstantiated.

  4. Loren Coleman responds:

    PoeticsOfBigfoot, ha ha, you’re kidding, right?

    My son’s cat, Zoey, opens doors around his home by using the old farmhouse-style door handles.

  5. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    That’s not really the same thing, is it? If it is, I’d like to see a video of her trying to open a car door on YouTube. Forgive me for being skeptical, but I just can’t see a non-human thing trying to open a car door on the run like Mannix or Barnaby Jones.

  6. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Same thing happened just recently with the famous Belgian triangle photo –sorry to bring an off-topic, but it’s the only one I can think of right now– a guy claims he faked the photo with a piece of Styrofoam, and all the media took him by his word no questions asked –specially the professional skeptics 😉

  7. Loren Coleman responds:

    Okay, PoeticsOfBigfoot, let us calmly take some time to see how details, and then arguments can move far beyond the facts.

    PoeticsOfBigfoot, you say in your last comment, “Forgive me for being skeptical, but I just can’t see a non-human thing trying to open a car door on the run like Mannix or Barnaby Jones.”

    You earlier said: “I’m impressed that something called a ‘monster’ would know to reach for the door handle.”

    To put this within context, with a little humor, I mentioned my son’s cat can open doors with her paws. I was not comparing that cat to a monster, but merely making the point that non-human animals can open doors, if that’s what we needed to talk about. But it was not, so I want to backtrack to make a broader point.

    This eyewitness did not say this alleged creature reached for the door handle or tried to open a car door.

    Looking at the exact wording, the named eyewitness, Mr. Jesse Martin said he saw this creature merely “made one last lunge for the passenger side door, where his hand smacked against the handle.”

    A “lunge.” Its hand “smacked against the handle.”

    Humans make up so much. Humans put motives on monsters and other humans.

    The data only tells us that a human-like creature’s body came in the direction of a vehicle door, and part of the body, a “hand” hit the handle. No intent can be assumed in that description. No attempt to open a car door was seen.

    I thought it might be important to look as this more closely so I don’t have to hear about this encounter on Wikipedia in the next few days in terms of a “Lizardman tried to get inside a car at Thetis Lake.” That did not happen. By a long stretch.

  8. Daniel Loxton responds:

    To be clear, the man who said it was “just a big lie” was the only surviving member from the first documented sighting of a lizardman-like creature at Thetis Lake; but this recantation of the single most important eyewitness account merely puts a cherry on top of the other reasons to doubt the monster story—including the artificial nature of cute little Thetis Lake, which Loren has correctly described as “a small manmade reservoir.”

    Compared to the “lakes at Beacon Hill Park” mentioned in the post above, however, Thetis looks downright vast: Beacon Hill Park’s little decorative duck ponds are barely a couple of feet deep.

  9. corrick responds:

    Loren wrote: “This cryptid case is puzzling.”

    No it’s not. The Thetis Lake Creature from the get go was an obvious hoax.

    It’s just a matter of simple science.

    On Earth today, and in all the yesterdays until 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs walked the planet, only two types of animals have EVER been shown to habitually walk bipedally. Humans and their most recent ancestors (from about 5 mya) and birds. That’s it. Nothing else. Bipedal lizardmen or fishmen just don’t exist and all reports, even the truthful ones, mean the witness reports were in error. And I don’t have the time to list all the reasons why.

    Yes, I’ve read the Loxton article in Skeptic Magazine. What more can you ask for than when one of the two original teen-age witnesses declares it was all just a prank? And fully explains the how and the why?

    As far as Jesse Martin’s account goes, I’m surprised he didn’t claim to have found fishHOOKS hanging from his car doorhandle. His story is basically recycled urban legends. And please note the overly dramatic writing style.

    Which really gets me around to the true gist of this post.

    Speculation, imagining what might be out there and forming your own theories. These are the “fun” things about cryptozoology. The “crypto” half. But the other half is “zoology” which means learning about science. Not so much fun for most of us. But without a knowledge of science and zoology some of what is speculated here and elsewhere is imho a waste of bandwith.

    Just a simple example.

    On February 16th, 2012 about Champ video, champ_is_real wrote on this site: “I am an avid fisherman…When looking at something erwater. In general, the water gives the optical illusion of whatever subject you are looking at is smaller then the subject really is. This illusion also seems to appear on pictures and video as well. Countless times I have seen fish underwater that don’t look so big but when you pull them out of the water they are a lot bigger then they appeared underwater.”

    Yet, in 39 further posts by others, not a single person corrected him. Actually due to water refraction, objects look MUCH larger under the surface than they are, about 33% larger. And also aren’t exactly where they appear to be. Even when underwater wearing goggles objects appear 33% bigger and 25% closer than they actually are. So much for his credibility. On anything.

    Guess my point is that if you’re interested in cryptozoology, just remember, knowing the science (zoology) part is just as important as knowing the (crypto) part.

    Understand, I believe in the existence of unknown animals and I’m not trying to offend anyone. But let’s not hang on to obvious hoaxes.

    Let’s just move on.

  10. thylo responds:

    I live in Victoria and would like to have such an exciting cryptid here at our doorstep, apologies to Caddie of course. That said, I am a tad underwhelmed and skeptical.

    but i do like to poke holes in things, or play devil’s advocate at other times, so here are a few brief observations and edits:

    “… in recent times:
    Moss Street, in Fairfield, on a porch eating cat food,
    At the Esquamult Lagoon, in an old building, at Royal Road,
    At Lost Lake in Blinksop Valley,
    In the Nanimo River, caught on fishing line, and
    In the lakes at Beacon Hill Park.”

    I live about 100m from Moss Street in Fairfield. This is an urban residential zone. not rural or semi-rural. This neighbourhood is packed with older homes on small lots, and it has a constant flow of pedestrian activity. it is in no way isolated and apt to be a corridor for a monster on a lark (eating cat food, or even a cat). although there are some residential green areas, such as the cemetery and Moss Rocks, the nearest truly wild areas are the Highlands/ Sooke Hills (and Mt. Doug Park to a lesser degree) and they are removed by many kilometres, municipalities and even the heart of downtown itself. The ocean does bound the southern portion of Fairfield, so perhaps “two if by sea”, as they say.

    Esquamult Lagoon [sic]… should be Esquimalt*. the old building down on the lagoon is some sort of an old utility building i think. it appears to be of the vintage of the early 20th century, and therefore could have inpsired some imaginations to imagine it as an abode of spirits or monsters, I suppose. But if we are dealing with a creature, as opposed to a demon, then an association with a building rubs me the wrong way.

    “Lost Lake in Blinksop Valley”… the Blenkinsop* Valley has one lake, the aptly named Blenkinsop Lake. It lies in the middle of fantastic farmlands and has even been used, in the past, as a landing for floatplanes. The ruins of a small dam used to retain water levels, presumably for irrigation, can still be seen from a parking lot at the trail access. Many farms remain in the area, but the lake has become a park with walking trails about it. It is a small lake, but it is very popular with the birds. Very scenic. It is a natural body of water, which is in its favour I suppose. And the area was never built up as heavy residential, like Fairfield. But there is a LOT of foot and bike traffic along its trail every day. Perhaps reports from this lake come from the era before parks and trails, when it was purely an agricultural area?

    “the lakes at Beacon Hill Park”… as mentioned by Daniel Loxton, are duck ponds. Apart from “Goodacre Lake”, they are all small, shallow, and regularly drained for maintenance in the offseason. Goodacre Lake is large in terms of surface area, but it remains a shallow duck pond with highly spurious abilities to nurture any creature larger than a swan, duck or turtle as has been reliably seen there. and yes, these “lakes” do make Thetis look vast, hehe.

    Thetis Lake may have been created by damming, but it was a natural watercourse and, compared to these other highly residential locations, it is a far more suitable candidate for housing a large creature. in addition to its size, it is located out of the city at the foot of the hilly country. it is surrounded by a large protected greenspace (Thetis Lake Park), which is close to others such as Prospect Lake and the Gowlland-Tod Park. who knows. For my part I am not very optimistic about this cryptid though. 🙂


    “only two types of animals have EVER been shown to habitually walk bipedally. Humans and their most recent ancestors (from about 5 mya) and birds. That’s it. Nothing else.”

    I have to be the devil’s advocate here because of your emphatic absolutism. absolutes are very dangerous…
    Genus Basiliscus, commonly called the Jesus Christ Lizard. check it out… this little guy walks on water, on his two hind feet. bipedally.

    There are likely other non-endothermic examples we could muster if we think tanked on it, and that is not to mention all the species that passed in prehistory without leaving a fossil record (remember, leaving a fossil is a freak circumstance, and the majority of dead organisms do not leave any remnant that persists through millions of years), or that did, but did not leave a youtube clip showing us their behaviour (such as walking on hind legs).

    enjoy! 🙂

  11. Loren Coleman responds:

    Thylo = I appreciate all the corrections of typos from the info I received on the various lakes. Quite helpful. I will change the text above to reflect the right data, so those copying here for Wikipedia and term papers will get it right (not because CM is trying to hide any earlier errors; constant updating of blog entries occurs if new changes come to admin or writers’ attention).

    Regarding bipedal non-human animals, yes, we should all be careful about absolutes, saying such things as only birds are bipedal, besides humans. It is shocking to hear that cockroaches run bipedally!

    Humans, birds and (occasionally) apes walk bipedally. Humans, birds, many lizards and (at their highest speeds) cockroaches run bipedally. Kangaroos, some rodents and many birds hop bipedally, and jerboas and crows use a skipping gait. This paper deals only with walking and running bipeds. Chimpanzees walk with their knees bent and their backs sloping forward. Most birds walk and run with their backs and femurs sloping at small angles to the horizontal, and with their knees bent. These differences from humans make meaningful comparisons of stride length, duty factor, etc., difficult, even with the aid of dimensionless parameters that would take account of size differences, if dynamic similarity were preserved. Lizards and cockroaches use wide trackways. Humans exert a two-peaked pattern of force on the ground when walking, and an essentially single-peaked pattern when running. The patterns of force exerted by apes and birds are never as markedly two-peaked as in fast human walking. Comparisons with quadrupedal mammals of the same body mass show that human walking is relatively economical of metabolic energy, and human running is expensive. Bipedal locomotion is remarkably economical for wading birds, and expensive for geese and penguins.Bipedal animals, and their differences from humans,” by R McN Alexander, Journal of Anatomy, 2004 May; 204(5): 321–330.

  12. Hapa responds:


    Hello. Yes, humans, birds, fossilized bipedal primates, they all indeed walked upright. But so did some Dinosaurs (T-Rex). However, it could be debated as to what we mean by bipedal walking to “walking upright”. T Rex did habitually walk in a bipedal fashion, but not fully erect. Therizinosaurus, however, walked in a bipedal fashion and upright, along with its kin (See “The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life” by Paul Chambers and Tim Haines, pages 122-23 (Notice the more upright stance depicted on page 122, in upper right part of the page), and also look at “The World Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures, pages 312-313, to see Therizinosaurus and other Therizinosaurids).
    And then you get into the tricky Dinosaur/Reptile/Bird situation (some see birds as “avian Dinosaurs” as opposed to the “Non-Avian Dinosaurs” that are now extinct. Others might say that Birds are descended from Dinosaurs but are not dinosaurs, just as mammals are not the same as Proto-mammals/Mammal-like Reptiles but are said to have descended from them.)
    But I think Mr Coleman and Thylo have brought up other wild bidepal walkers/hoppers/runners to show that humans and birds/Avian Dinosaurs are not the only kings of Bipedal walking.

    Another odd (though unnatural) example: dogs who have lost or were not born with forelimbs; they learn to walk upright. An odd, sad sight.

  13. Hapa responds:

    Now, having said that; is a humanoid reptile possible. Of course it is, but there is no fossil evidence for a primate-like reptile, or reptiod if you will, and it seems far, far less likely than a Plesiosaurid Nessie, Bipedal Gigantopithecus, or bipedal running Brown Bear/Dzu-teh Yeti of Nepal.

    I am deeply skeptical. I won’t rule out such possible beasts entirely, but I would like a body before I give it credence.

  14. mastermagus71 responds:

    Hi Loren, first time on here. It’s a pleasure. Not sure what to make of these sightings. It all sounds so unbelievable. I’ve been interested in cryptozoology since I was a kid, read a lot on the subject including many of your books. The subject of creatures, monsters, or what have you will always intrigue me i think. People seem to have a need to believe in monsters. Is this Thetis Lake sighting a hoax? What do you think of the Finding Bigfoot show? Do you think these guys are legit or just making a buck?

  15. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Okay Loren, just to be clear- are you saying you believe there is a possibility this guy was chased out of a parking lot by a fish-man?

  16. corrick responds:

    What I wrote was:
    “On Earth today, and in all the yesterdays until 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs walked the planet, only two types of animals have EVER been shown to habitually walk bipedally.”

    habitually, adv. by habit; regularly; custimarily.

    So, Basiliscus does not qualify. Nor do apes, bears or even cockroaches. And no dinosaur has existed in 65 million years. What I’m saying is that whenever anyone describes a creature as running after them or walking bipedally for any extended period of time, we can be certain of four things; the witness account was in error, it was a hoax or the creature described was either a human or it’s close kin, or it was a bird. And nothing else.

    Unless you think accepted zoological science is wrong. And can prove it.

    On a different note. The museum looks absolutely wonderful, Loren. Need to figure out some excuse to come to Maine so I can see it.

  17. thylo responds:

    ok Corrick, you got me on the “habitual” aspect, lol. 🙂

    but! i still am leary of using the absolutes that only near-humans and birds can be amongst the culprits of observed bipedal behaviour simply because I do not feel that we _know_ everything just yet.
    yes, statistically your reasoning is sound and dictates a probability, but not an absolute.

    for the record, my gut instinct reading the report was that it was a human, crazy or mugger or other, running at his car. I cannot explain the fish scale smear on the door, but it is not necessarily the result of the antagonist bumping the car, just coincidental placement perhaps. The person reporting the incident was a very active fisherman and perhaps had left a scaly residue that day or a previous day when opening the door with dirty hands after an excursion. it is all just conjecture.

    although it is not habitual, it is great to hear about other quirks of nature inducing (limited) bipedalism, especially in the cockroaches- thanks, Loren!

  18. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    It sounds just like a scene out of a 1950s cheesy monster movie, doesn’t it? Just imagine it in black and white, and it could be on the local TV channel late at night (if they still showed great movies like that).

  19. Mibs responds:

    I’m not sure about Jesse Martin’s story being about a “monster” per se. He did specify that he saw a man running towards him and his car and can be argued that the same man was noodling around with his passenger car door handle earlier in the day. Man or beast, this person obviously was waiting or anticipated Jesse’s return to his car, and imo it doesn’t sound like some random encounter in a public place. I’m leaning towards the idea that it was a vagrant or feral person living off the land (in this case the lake fish) and it can be argued that he his hands and forearms were covered in fish scales from a days worth of fish mongering. Otherwise, we’re talking about an upright humanoid who has fish scales. That right there contends that we have a hybrid species never before discovered.

  20. alan borky responds:

    Loren what I like about Jesse Martin’s account’re the two bookmark moments in it.

    The first goes unnoticed by him because he explains away his sudden spasm of irrational fear as being down to him being a ‘scaredy-cat’ (though if he were really that jumpy he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on his own fishing never mind teaching others).

    The second is that grab for the handle at the last moment because but for the claw marks and fish scales he’d’ve driven off able to convince himself his attacker’d been human (no matter how odd ‘it’ might’ve subsequently looked in the ‘rearview mirror’ of memory).

    To be precise the whole thing looks engineered to create mental ripples in far wider audiences than just its experiencer (which’s why I’m slightly bemused by PoeticsOfBigfoot’s attitude because the name implies an awareness of the more surreal if not supposedly ‘absurd’ aspects of the whole Bigfoot – and ‘monsters’ in general – extravaganza).

    Even the name of the ‘lake”s symptomatic of that ‘engineering’ because no one seems quite sure where ‘Thetis’ sprang from other than to attribute it to a ship which turned up there circa the 1850s.

    Yet Thetis of course’s the EXTREMELY ancient Greek goddess who not only ‘transformed’ her son Achilles via the extremely torrid experience of dipping him in the fiery WATERS of the Styx (which sounds like the very ‘sticks’ the event took place) but is herself a water goddess who in between shape changing episodes (especially as her alter ego Metis) demiurgically presides over the path through primoridal chaos and the primeval darkness one plunges into by stepping off that path.

    Personally the whole thing smacks of a boundary event ie the border created by the ‘lake’ and the land disrupting each other’s continuity facilitating the intervention of ‘non-normal’ possibilities.

    In the days of the Ancient Greeks for instance individuals who underwent experiences like Jesse’s often felt themselves compelled to take up bronze swords to protect golden boughs and the likes.

    So if he doesn’t fancy a career on the borders of the Twilight Zone he’d be wise to keep staying away from Thetis.

  21. revellyre responds:

    “It is remarkable that debunkers often totally “believe” the stories of the hoax claimers, while routinely dismissing sightings of eyewitnesses as mere “stories.”

    It’s because a hoax “admitter” helps explain the relative dearth of physical evidence in the average cryptid case, supporting their suspicious regarding cryptozoology as a valid field of study. The inverse is true with bigfoot reporters, alien abductees, etc. Pretty easy to explain. I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s fair or not. But for those who make amazing claims…

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