Thetis Lake Monster
The Thetis Lake monster is a reptilian humanoid cryptid claimed by many proponents of cryptozoology to have been seen in 1972 by Thetis Lake, outside of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. A local man attempted to explain the phenomenon with reports of misplacing a domesticated Tegu lizard near the area a year prior, but experts claim that in addition to the fact that a Tegu lizard would not survive a Canadian winter, the original description differs too greatly from the lizard in size and attributes. Two of the original four witnesses of this monster recently came forward and admitted that they had fabricated the encounter.
Thetis Lake was the first regional conservation area in Canada, and was established in 1958. It spans approximately 831 hectares of protected forest and parkland. Approximately 20 minutes from Victoria, and located next to the Old Island Highway and a regional trail, it is a popular spot for hiking, swimming, fishing, and boating. Thetis is encountered in Greek mythology mostly as a sea nymph or known as the goddess of water, one of the fifty Nereids, daughters of the ancient sea god Nereus.
However, on 22 August 1972, the Victoria Daily Times reported that two local teens claimed to have been chased from the beach at Thetis lake by a creature which roughly resembled Gill-man from the Creature from the Black Lagoon. One of the teens claimed to have been slashed on the hand by the creature, which displayed three webbed toes and fingers along with barbed fins on its skull, arms, and legs, prompting an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was described to be "roughly triangular in shape, about five feet (~1.5 m) tall and five feet across the base". At the time, the officer stated that "the boys seem sincere, and until we determine otherwise we have no alternative but to continue our investigation." Four days after the story was reported, two men claimed to have spotted the creature on the opposite side of the lake from its first appearance. According to one, "it came out of the water and looked around. Then it went back into the water. Then we ran!" The boys described the creature as "shaped like an ordinary body, like a human being body but it had a monster face, and it was scaly [with] a point sticking out of its head [and] great big ears." They believed the creature had a humanlike face, although it appeared to have scaly and silvery-blue colored skin.
Similar creatures have been reported from places such as Ohio, Delaware, Louisiana, and North Carolina, for at least the last century. They are said to be related to another cryptozoological creature, the chupacabra. Also, lake monsters like this one, are said to exist all over the world. Haida mythology from the Queen Charlotte Islands describes a similar creature, with a humanlike face, two tails, and often wears a hat. This creature is often feared by Haida canoeists.
On 26 August 1972, The Province received a call from a man claiming to have lost a pet Tegu lizard in the area the previous year. Tegus, indigenous to Latin America and mostly carnivorous, can grow up to four feet in length. They are commonly kept as pets. The investigating police officers did not believe the lizard matched the description of the creature.
The sightings have been repeated in some cryptozoology literature which portray it as a genuine cryptid and relative of the Loveland Frog, no other sightings have been reported since leading the monster sighting to be "a fact widely unknown among swimmers." Local historian Ross Crockford remarks that the advice given in Haden Blackman's 1998 Field Guide to North American Monsters to carry a flaming torch to defend oneself from the monster is probably more dangerous than any monster, given the tinder-dry nature of the park.
One of the original "witnesses," Russell Van Nice has said, "it was just a big lie," his friend [Mike Gold] was, "trying to get attention." According to Van Nice, his friend was "famous" for being a habitual liar.
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- Loxton, Daniel. "Junior Skeptic #35: The Shocking Secret of Thetis Lake". Skeptic Vol. 15, No. 2. (Altadena: Skeptics Society, 2009) pp. 74-81