Adam Louis, editor of the Agassiz-Harrison Observer. (Submitted photo)

Adam Louis, editor of the Agassiz-Harrison Observer. (Submitted photo)

EDITORIAL: Tales from the Crypt(id) Keeper

Editor Adam Louis goes on a mini-safari through B.C.’s cryptids

There are few things that feed my inner journalist like a good mystery.

Urban legends, scary stories, tales of alien abduction or visits to another world – it’s all fascinating. While all appropriate to Halloween, we’re not talking about those. In the spirit – pun intended – of the season, I want to check out some of the seldom-seen neighbours of our beloved Sasquatch – cryptids.

Cryptids are defined as animals that have been claimed to but never proven to exist. I hesitate to count the Sasquatch among them as The Sasquatch Museum in Harrison and several people who have visited our local forests clearly have some evidence hinting toward the tangibility of the Pacific Northwest’s favourite primate.

I wish I could say I was gearing up for a cross-country documentary exploring Canada’s unexplored regions in hopes of stumbling on the yet-unseen. I had to instead settle for consulting the Wayback Machine to check out an online archive of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club. Founded in 1989, the BCSCC is committed to archiving a database of cryptids from B.C. and beyond.

And so my research began.

RELATED: How Killer Bunnies helped save my life

Among the more famous cryptids is the gigantic Ogopogo. Not to be mistaken for its Manitoban cousin the Manipogo or its relative on the east coast, Champ, the Ogopogo swims the depths of Okanagan Lake near Kelowna. It’s often described as serpentine, perhaps black or dark green with a head resembling a horse or a sheep. It’s been sighted individually and in groups.

A Chase man by the name of Arthur Folden captured footage of a huge creature apparently surfacing on the lake while a car salesman from Kelowna sold his 1989 footage – the clearest image of the beloved Ogopogo as of 2014 – to Unsolved Mysteries for $30,000.

Though humans are thought to be a threat to Ogopogo’s habitat, it doesn’t seem to have any ill will toward people.

Serpentine cryptids seem to have a penchant for our humble province. Followers of Black Press publications might remember Cammie, the elusive creature that lurked in Cameron Lake near Parksville. Then-BCSCC vice president Adam McGirr came to Cameron Lake at least twice to follow up on rumours of a serpentine, scaly monster deep within its waves; roots of Cammie sightings have gone back to the 1980s. In 2012, the Parksville Qualicum Beach News reported on one of the clearest photos of what appeared to be long, scaly remains floating in the lake, which turned out not to be Cammie after all; McGirr’s subsequent investigation identified it as a water lily root.

RELATED: Won’t somebody think of the chickens?

I’m not one to discredit a fellow Adam, but does Mr. McGirr’s most recent debunking dismiss Cammie’s existence altogether? Not necessarily. Cammie could still be out there.

There are thousands of cryptids out there; several more in B.C. alone, I’m sure. From the silly jackalope of my former Wyoming home to the terrifying but seemingly benign Jersey Devil to the eldritch, modern horror of the Slender Man, North America – and well beyond its borders – is filled with creatures of legend and lore that may yet walk among us.

What is it about these lake monsters and these elusive hairy men and hybrid beasties that keeps us talking about them year after year?

The appeal of cryptids is not only the chase to find a long-sought and legendary species, though that notion of important discovery is undoubtedly enticing. It’s the lore, the stories that capture the child-like imagination within and tap into a primal, human excitement that there’s still so much on the God’s green earth left to discover.

Personally, I like the way Harrison Hot Springs’ own Sasquatch expert, the charismatic Thomas Steenburg, puts it during an episode of “B.C. Was Awesome”: “If the Sasquatch exists, it will be a major scientific discovery. If it doesn’t exist, I’ve done my part to record a great piece of Western Canadian folklore and mythology.”

Happy Halloween, everyone. Stay curious and keep the dream alive.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Adam Louis writes for the Agassiz-Harrison Observer


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP don’t want to see you having your vehicle towed away after an aggressive driving infraction. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP hand out more than 500 tickets in aggressive driving crackdown

Police say they’ll continue to focus on speeding, aggressive and distracted driving

Home sales for November in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board were profitable for sellers because of historically low supply. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)
Historically low supply leads to higher prices in Chilliwack real estate market

City dwellers want to relocate to the eastern Fraser Valley and are willing to pay a high price

Riders will need to don face coverings to ski and snowboard at Manning this winter. (Manning Park Resort photo)
Manning Park slopes open early

Early season snowfall allowed for opening this weekend, 56 centimetre snow base recorded Nov. 30

Mr. Bergen, a statue of a working man, was stolen from a porch in Popkum on Nov. 18, along with a marble statue. (Submitted photo)
Heavy statue and fountain thieved off porch in Popkum

Rightful owner has had statue for 27 years and wants it returned

The winning home of the 2019 Hope Christmas Lights contest was on Cypress Street. Residents have until Dec. 5 to sign their street up for this year’s contest. (Submitted photo)
Holiday cheer, even in a pandemic year

Here’s what is happening in Hope and area as the holiday season kicks off

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Most Read