More Thoughts on Alaska Cadborosaurus Footage

Posted by: John Kirk on August 19th, 2010

Having read the comments on my earlier post regarding purported Cadborosaurus footage from Nushagak Bay, Alaska, I wish to address and clarify some of the points raised by readers of Cryptomundo.

It is not the greatest footage in the world and certainly not on a par with the Patterson/Gimlin film for clarity.  However, it is good enough to see the salient points that I have mentioned that Paul Leblond and I observed.

The final product is in the hands of the production company and I really hope they do it justice. They can choose to show whatever they wish and it may not be what we would have chosen to show to the viewers.

It is difficult to estimate the exact number of creatures in the footage. Ten to fifteen seems reasonable from what I could count, on and off, during my viewing of the footage. It could be less as what we may perceive to be two creatures might be humps of just one creature.

You can be obsessive and hold onto numbers as much as you want, but I want to make it clear that these are only estimates. I hope the company had the time and facilities to give us an accurate count of how many animals there were.

The enhancements and magnifications I looked at it were pretty good. I don’t know what the agenda of the production company is and how they intend to portray the incident. All I can say is that from what we were shown, Paul Leblond and I thought these animals were cryptids.

Paul went up to Alaska to be in this program and you will likely see him comment on the creatures in the show.  There is the slight possibility that we are mistaken, but that would be choosing the less-likely option as these animals really look like Cadborosaurus.

As for the comment that they were sturgeons, they were not despite the serrated backs. These were not sturgeon-type backs.

There is another action that I forgot to include which is spouting. It was hard to tell where the spouting came from as far as one of the creatures is concerned as the camera was a bit fuzzy at this time. It could have been from its mouth or elsewhere, but what is clear is that it originated from the animal. I have never heard of beluga whales hunting sturgeon, as was the case in this video.

When the production company elects to announce the program and the particular episode in which the footage will air, I am sure viewers will immediately recognize the program and the network as being reputable and scientific as opposed to sensationalist and idiotic. I have watched the program in question and watch teh channel fairly often and admire both.  I would be very, very surprised if they sensationalized this footage.

I would also like to clear up  my relationship with my dear friend Loren Coleman, with whom I am still a close cryptozoological colleague.  I used “erstwhile” in the sense of Cryptomundo. I have not been able to post here as often as I wished over the past few years and so I am sort of like an ex-colleague on this forum. My thanks to Craig Woolheater for so graciously allowing me to post on this forum whenever I have need to, such as on this occasion.

Be assured that I will advise the readership as soon as I have any news about the show.

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.

26 Responses to “More Thoughts on Alaska Cadborosaurus Footage”

  1. korollocke responds:

    So now the back peddling begins. I really had hopes this time.

  2. agbphone responds:

    Have the producers given any indication as to when the show might air?

    It is interesting to note that as many as 15 possibles were sighted. As opposed to yeti or nessie, where one and at most two to three are only ever sighted, this number gives rise to the reasonable conclusion that there could be a breeding “pod” large enough to sustain a species.

  3. John Kirk responds:

    This the latest I have got Don Bland from the show’s producers. The footage will be shown on Discovery Channel as part of the Deadliest Catch stable of shows. The air date and episode name have not been decided as yet.

    As for the backpeddling comment. Don’t you mean backpedaling? I added additional facts and clarification and that is backpedaling?

  4. proriter responds:

    It should occur to sensible people that authentic scientific discoveries are never handled in this manner. To allow a commercial network to buy rights to some purported “evidence” and then to edit it or do anything else to it makes it unworthy of even casual consideration. This is the same sort of shenaniganry that has rendered the “Minnesota Iceman” and the “Georgia Bigfoot” mere absurdities. If you wish cryptozoology to be treated as a science, then you yourself must treat it as a science, not as an inexhaustible wellspring of crap for late-night cable shows and amateurish youtube videos.

  5. mustWarnOthers responds:

    If I had valuable footage of a real animal I would sell it to the highest bidder. I don’t think you can discredit the footage based on the assumed sale to a network. I’m actually glad it’s being handled by the Discovery channel. I’d also like to thank John Kirk for coming on here to give us details of the footage, he didn’t have to do that and some of you people seem to be making comments that could potentially run him off. John, please know that the majority of readers appreciate the heads up and are excited to see the footage (whatever it is).

  6. springheeledjack responds:

    First, John thanks for the update. That is encouraging.

    Second, seriously, back pedaling? That’s a great example of making a conclusion before having any facts.

    Given the environments–namely, water, getting a solid photo or video footage in the water is only going to happen if someone is in the exact right place at the perfect time. It’s not like filming a 3-dimensional background like in the woods. We’re talking about taking footage on a two dimensional plane–the surface of the water, and trying to get a clear shot of something that is moving above and below the water.

    Bottom line, unless you can get within say 10-20 yards of something above the surface of the water and can get a substantial amount of footage, we’re never going to get a solid home movie. BF is really the only place we’re ever going to get that high level quality of footage and look what we’ve managed to get since the P/G film.

    Unless we get somebody underwater who happens upon these things and gets the perfect images.

    So have a little faith in our cryptozoologists and see what’s what before we start the naysaying.

  7. vodkaferret responds:

    Thats a bit harsh really proriter. Firstly, if we take this at face value, since when is an Alaskan fishermen ordained to follow the rules of “authentic scientific discovery”? He got some film, saw a chance to make some cash and took it. Good luck to him.

    Secondly, you don’t know at all how this will be treated, or what analysis they are doing on the film, or what individuals/institutions they may be involving in the process. I think prejudging blindly also does not constitute authentic science, but that didn’t seem to stop you.

    Thirdly, this is not science per se. This is camera footage. If you want a species to be formally recognised you want a holotype, and a bit of shaky footage will not provide that. Ever. If it looks so much like the Naden Harbour carcass that those who have tried to use that (now non-existent specimen) as the holotype, well it may give them some encouragement, but it will probably not be enough for widespread scientific acceptance.

    But given that, if this footage looks authentic, and if it can be reasonably well validated and checked by professionals who know how to fake footage, then it’s a step in the right direction.

    I have my fears – if nothing else it’s August, the season for monsters and beasties to emerge from their woodlands and plastic coolers, only to vanish in the bright light of summer, the sun glinting off the cheap zipper of the suit.

    But to say this deserves no consideration because someone saw the chance to make a buck or two is to disregard how the world really works. For your rant about scientific principles while throwing out the evidence without even seeing it strikes me as a tad hypocritical to say the least.

    I have my doubts, but I’m at least willing to see the evidence before I dismiss it out of hand.

  8. mefine responds:

    Mr. Kirk, perhaps you are back paddling. These are water monsters after all. 😉

    Proriter, I don’t disagree with what you are saying but it seems like that would be hard to accomplish in this case. From what was reported here it wasn’t Joe Monster Hunter who took the film. A private citizen, who may or may not be into cryptozoology, films something unusual. He decides to sell the footage to an entity he knows (Discovery) and make some money. Not many people would know who to call in a case like this (or maybe even care) and might fear ridicule if they call some mainstream scientist. If I found a bigfoot body or had good film I’d probably try getting in touch with Loren Coleman or Jeff Meldrum but that is only because I know those two names due to previous interest. My point is that you can’t expect scientific protocol when the “evidence” is owned by a non scientist.

  9. korollocke responds:

    What I mean Mr. Kirk is the story, which is all it is a story, is rapidly falling apart and now the spin and cover is in effect. A scientific discovery of this magnitude if truly real wouldn’t be handled in such a sideshow/carnival barker manner. A quick buck is made and a man’s gotta eat right? Wonder if this will be the next Asylum/SyFy channel collaboration Cadborsaurus Swarm! In all seriousness I wish this was for real as I have waited decades for a real sea monster.

  10. John Kirk responds:

    While I appreciate the concerns of some readers, I must ask what story it is that some are saying is falling apart? People haven’t even seen the footage yet, so how can they offer sensible comment? I suggest you wait until you see the footage and then if you don’t agree with our assessment that these animals could be Cadborosauruses, that’s fine.

    This is a scientific discovery, but unfortunately the man who owned the footage is not a scientist. He’s a fisherman and he was that confident in what he shot that he immediately brought myself and Paul Leblond in to see the footage.

    We pleaded with him to let this be further studied by scientific professionals. He wanted to sell the footage and have a professional production company work on the footage and see if they could do slo-mos, enhancements and magnifications.

    What were Paul and I supposed to do? Rip the footage out of his hands and hightail it back over the Canadian border?

    By selling the footage to Discovery Channel the previous owner of the footage has allowed a credible TV network with a huge bent toward science to work with this footage. He could have sold it to some other less than credible channel, but he didn’t.

    As mustWarnOthers wrote I did not have to come on this forum. I chose to because readers needed to have some background information on this footage to avoid frivolous speculation.

    I did not come on this forum to defend the footage. It speaks for itself. Also, I was not under any obligation to go to all this trouble to help readers get a sense of what Jason Walton was talking about in the earlier Cryptomundo story 15 Cadborosauruses.

    Everyone could have languished in limbo and not knowing what show, what channel and what content Jason was referring to. I went to great lengths to find the show’s producer and get his permission to give Cryptomundo readers a heads-up on this. This a great forum, but I am vexed and disappointed by the few who come on and jump to conclusions and indulge in wild negative speculation before they have seen anything so that they can intelligently comment on it.

    Let me say that I have no personal vested interest in this footage, I’m not getting paid by anyone to talk about it. I have done this entirely on my own as I believe it is footage of an unknown animal and Cryptomundo readers might be interested in it.

    Now I think I will back-paddle to my underwater cave and resume my conversation with Ogopogo.

  11. mefine responds:

    I guess it is true what they say…no good deed goes unpunished. 😉

    Mr. Kirk, I am a nobody in the grand scheme of Cryptomundo, but I appreciate you giving us a head’s up about the footage. I look forward to seeing the program and hearing everyone’s thoughts after it airs.

  12. WightSpider responds:

    Amen Mr. Kirk. I am anxiously awaiting the airing of this footage and will wait until then to make any judgments. Thanks for providing us with even this much information so far.

  13. jerrywayne responds:

    Actually, this seems like a very credible, fascinating development.

    I do have some questions: First, why is this event being linked to cadborosaurus? Mr. Kirk says one cryptid in the footage appears to have a head reminiscent of the camel-like head of the 1937 Naden Harbour carcass. If we ignore the fact that the Naden Harbour remains photos are highly disputable concerning species identification (it has been suggested by some that the photos show a decomposing basking shark), are we to infer that the cryptid in the Discovery footage raises its head above the water in “Caddy” fashion, so as to remind one of the Naden Harbour animal in profile?

    Second, the footage apparently shows a group of cryptids pursued by beluga whales. Belugas are not very large and they eat fish, squid, crab, etc. I think we can rule out the idea that the belugas were in chase of a food source, unless the cryptids were indeed a school of fish, and smallish fish at that; else, we may infer that the belugas were chasing off possible predators (the cryptids). The question is: How large were the cryptids? Were they small enough to be a beluga food source, or large enough to be a threat to a pod of belugas?

    And lastly, the very word cadborosaurus implies a reptilian identity behind the “Caddy” phenomena. In fact, Bousfield and LeBlond have argued that the Naden Harbour carcass may be that of a plesiosaur. Does the new footage support a reptilian identity and thus link it possibly to cadborosaurus? If not, why IS the footage being linked to cadborosaurus?

  14. Cryptidcrazy responds:

    “Deadliest Catch”? What does a reality show have to do with a possibly significant cryptozoological find? I had high hopes, but if I have to sit through some reality TV garbage to see 5 minutes of a Caddy film, that I really wanted to see, I’ll pass. I thought this was going to be on a good show like “Destination Truth”, “Fact or Faked” or even a possible special episode of the now defunct, “Monsterquest”? Not some worthless reality show!

  15. Kopite responds:

    I’ll dip my oar in as well. Yes, why not WAIT UNTIL THE FOOTAGE IS SHOWN before getting snipey? I’ll reserve judgment until I see it. For now, it at least sounds ‘interesting’. Yes we’ve all been burned by high anticipation over the years with a number of crypto ‘finds’ ending up as damp squibs or worse, hoaxes, but on the face of it this particular piece of footage does sound a little different in my opinion. Only time will tell if it is or isn’t. For now, enough with the finger pointing and accusations. The bloody footage hasn’t even aired yet.

  16. Lorenzo Rossi responds:

    Dear John,

    I still remember well an our email conversation took place years ago, in which you said me that you filmed Ogopogo with e tele lens… After years I still waiting to see something… so I hope that this footage from Alaska will not be a “Johor Bigfoot, the revenge”.

  17. valst responds:

    I continue to be amazed by crypto type forum denizens. If anything I would have expected people interested in this topic to be a tad gullible if there was a bias–but instead as a group they are more “negative” and suspicious and petulant than is typical of a “sceptics” forum.

    Any photo or media is instantly derided as fake by “experts” here no matter the source and now the same verbal assault occurs before the footage is even viewed.

    And just how does a Reality show sink so far below “real shows” like Destination Truth–which is a “scientific” show? Classic!

    I also note that all who think this should be handled scientifically overestimate science. What scientist concerned about his reputation is going to show up to examine evidence of a “seamonster”/ History shows that this number is close to zero!

    Note:The ancient Romans and the American Moundbuilders were familiar with a caddy-like creature.

  18. korollocke responds:

    I still say if this were real the Discovery Channel would be promoting it bigtime and we would have heard about it on the real news, like CNN. Not some one just dropping a hint on a cryptosite, (seems more like viral marketing) not to say that major and real news more often than not isn’t presented here, because it is do to the hard work and diligence of Loren Coleman and other notable cryptozoologists, researchers and scientists. But we also get a healthy amount of hucksters, hoaxers and attention seekers or just out right kooks trying to push various scams and frauds for whatever reason or attempts to gain fortune and fame at the expense of cryptozoology. This reminds me of the dead baby Champ tease that got a lot of us to tune in just to see a dead fishie. You have no idea how much I want this to be legit. Call me negative if you want, I’m just tired of the sideshow gaffs and want something real to savor and marvel over.

  19. praetorian responds:

    John Kirk has been involved in cryptozoology for twenty years. He is associated with the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club and under its auspices has participated in a great deal of field work. He has written an excellent book on lake monsters and frequently appears on crypto-related TV programs. Why? Because he is one of a handful of people in the world who can legitimately call himself “expert” in the field. He has a family and a job. He has seen the film and generously devoted his time to give forum members a heads-up on what could be an important piece of new evidence. He has provided as much information as someone who neither owns the film nor is involved in its production could possibly be expected to provide. He can access inside information that few others can because he has contacts in the television industry and is very highly regarded.

    If John Kirk says this is legitimate, it’s legitimate.

  20. gridbug responds:

    “Paul Leblond and the Hillstrand brothers from Deadliest Catch discussed this creature for the program. Paul then told them to go and catch these animals if they could for the sake of science. I hope this makes it into the program.” Now THAT’S an intriguing concept, and it actually sorta validates premiering the footage on Deadliest Catch instead of some other “strictly crypto/paranormal” program. A salty crew of no-nonsense professional hardcore fishermen set out to prove/disprove the existence of these beasties = a welcome shot in the arm for crypto reality TV.

    Thanks for the continued updates, John! And don’t let the naysayers get to you. 🙂

  21. proriter responds:

    Here is the same old pattern once again: someone claims to have evidence of something that is reportedly this or that, yet it is not generally available for some good reason — but never fear, it soon will be on some commercial medium, whether that be in a sideshow tent or a shopping mall or on a cable TV program. I repeat my point and ask if ANY genuine scientific discovery has EVER been handled in this manner. Anyone? You there, in the back. No? Yet I can show you through numerous examples that this is the way hoaxes are generally handled: the initial announcement, then the teaser, then the controversy, then the reveal, and finally the collapse and the half-hearted explanations. But you go ahead and keep your “open mind.” We’ll sit back and wait for the air to go out of this thing as you prepare to explain how THIS TIME you were sure it would all be different. Right.

  22. praetorian responds:

    Cryptozoology is not a science. There are no supportive university faculties or research grants available to researchers. You can’t earn a PhD in it. That is because paranormal subjects lie beyond the purview of scientific inquiry. Until mainstream science is willing to look at things like sea serpents as a natural phenomenon (meaning once they can examine a body), the subject will be relegated to the fringe.

    This leaves the work of finding cryptids to amateurs who, one hopes, try to employ scientific reasoning even though their investigations technically fall within the realm of pseudo-science.

    It’s unfair for to disparage cryptozoologists for failing to employ proper scientific methodologies since mainstream science denies them the tools required to conduct rigorous scientific research. Cryptozoological inquiry will be messy and imperfect as long as this situation persists and researchers will of course turn to the media for funding and publicity. The resources simply aren’t coming from anywhere else.

  23. alcalde responds:

    @Valst:”Any photo or media is instantly derided as fake by ‘experts’ here no matter the source and now the same verbal assault occurs before the footage is even viewed.”

    That’s because 100% of the time the photo/video/other evidence either turns out to be fake or blurry/questionable enough that it won’t convince anyone who doesn’t already believe. That’s why there’s still a “crypto” in cryptozoology. It would be disappointing if the “experts” here ignored all that’s come before and treated a new claim as if it was a near certainty or at worst a 50/50 chance of being true. Statistically speaking, it’s far more likely to not be smoking gun evidence, and all that’s available to go on before seeing the footage are past results. It would be no different if I told a physicist I’d discovered the secret to free energy or a mathematician that I’d proved Fermat’s Last Theorem with algebra. Thousands have claimed to do each, but all have failed the appropriate tests, so shouldn’t an expert, self-appointed or otherwise, be skeptical of any new claim?

    “I also note that all who think this should be handled scientifically overestimate science. What scientist concerned about his reputation is going to show up to examine evidence of a “seamonster”/ History shows that this number is close to zero!”

    The answer is not zero, but near 100%. Scientists would love to find a sea monster. But they’re not going to believe in the existence of sea monsters without conclusive evidence of sea monsters. Scientists have examined many strange washed-up carcasses in the past, and have determined them to be the decayed remains of known creatures, so history does not support your close to zero claim. Science is not the villain because it doesn’t have “faith” in something that has yet to be proven. That’s what protects us from believing in untrue things.

    “Note:The ancient Romans and the American Moundbuilders were familiar with a caddy-like creature.”

    The ancient Romans were also familiar with centaurs, unicorns and cyclops, but that’s not evidence of their existence. 🙂

    @praetorian: “If John Kirk says this is legitimate, it’s legitimate.” My mantra is, “If James Randi says this is legitimate, it sure as heck is legitimate and he’s a million dollars poorer.” 🙂 I’m more inclined to take the word of those who have something to lose rather than something to gain, if I have to take the word of anyone at all.

    “That is because paranormal subjects lie beyond the purview of scientific inquiry. ”

    Cryptozoologists don’t claim what they do is in the realm of the “paranormal”. Also, anything that deals with our world is most assuredly within the purview of scientific inquiry. If it exists in or affects our world, it can be tested and measured and falls under the realm of science. If it doesn’t exist in or affect our world, it doesn’t matter whether it exists or not. Consequently, most any “paranormal” claim and all cryptozoological claims fall under the purview of the scientific method.

    “It’s unfair for to disparage cryptozoologists for failing to employ proper scientific methodologies since mainstream science denies them the tools required to conduct rigorous scientific research.”

    What tools exist that are in the sole possession of mainstream science and are denied to cryptozoologists? I can think of one dissident astronomer who was denied telescope time in America forcing a move to Europe, but cryptozoology needs neither telescopes nor particle smashers to conduct their research, probably the only scientific tools large and expensive enough to be rare and under the control of “mainstream science”. Not having access to a tool also has nothing to do with employing the scientific method or not.

    “Cryptozoological inquiry will be messy and imperfect as long as this situation persists and researchers will of course turn to the media for funding and publicity. The resources simply aren’t coming from anywhere else.”

    We get into a chicken-and-egg problem at this point with the possibility of arguing that there isn’t enough hard evidence to warrant funding. I know this subject has been debated before, but it seems that all the creatures cryptozoologists are seeking have evidence stacked against them for existing in the first place (many have evidence to indicate they are extinct or long extinct, many have no evidence or relatives in the fossil record, etc.) Cryptozoology, in my opinion, can never be integrated with mainstream science because seemingly all the creatures it seeks are believed to be dead or never having existed by mainstream science, and finding any would overturn many established theories. It’s “fringe” by definition. Mainstream science would need more than the normal amount of evidence in these cases to fund expeditions than, say, looking for a new subspecies of lizard.

  24. wuffing responds:

    Alcalde – I agree with everything you wrote in the post above. Thank you for saving my time in duplicating your effort.

    I am completely open to the possibility of finding new creatures, but statistically the chances are tiny. If I found something unusual in my own neck of the woods I would be liasing with my zoologist and photographic friends and collaborating on a paper for a peer reviewed journal.

    I have rarely found a tv production company with more than $200 to spare. I hope these fishermen got a bit more.

  25. praetorian responds:


    “Cryptozoologists don’t claim what they do is in the realm of the “paranormal”. Also, anything that deals with our world is most assuredly within the purview of scientific inquiry. If it exists in or affects our world, it can be tested and measured and falls under the realm of science. If it doesn’t exist in or affect our world, it doesn’t matter whether it exists or not. Consequently, most any “paranormal” claim and all cryptozoological claims fall under the purview of the scientific method”.

    The scientific method generates theories based on reproducible results. Natural phenomenon can consistently be reproduced in the laboratory or in the field. While lake monsters may well be flesh and blood components of the natural world, for them to fall within the purview of mainstream scientific inquiry would require an ability to reproduce eyewitness sightings and photographic evidence. The problem for would-be cryptozoologists is that their quarry is remarkably elusive, so far yielding only inconclusive photographic and anecdotal evidence. Encounters with cryptids generally seem to be happenstance and attempts to re-create them have not been terribly effective. If someone reports an encounter with a lake monster, it’s at best an intriguing story as far as science is concerned. In order to generate a theory, scientists would need to be able to go to the same location and be able to reliably obtain the same results.

    “What tools exist that are in the sole possession of mainstream science and are denied to cryptozoologists?”

    Well, money for one. Thoroughly searching a large body of water for a mobile target is a difficult and expensive task for navies to perform. The sort of field expedition required to prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, for example, would require large-scale institutional funding. In the absence of a carcass, that will never come.

  26. Kris responds:

    Well I am very excited to see this footage! Thanks Mr. Kirk for your update!

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