Context, Cryptozoology and the Cadborosaurus

Cadborosaurus willsi, the famed Cadboro Bay sea monster, is a fascinating example of the strengths and failings of the “science” of cryptozoology. An ideal case study.


This image, culled from the public archives of the CBC, is of the Cadborosaurus, one of the most representative of a cryptozoological archetype — the sea beast. An ancient legend. From the Loch Ness Monster to Champy to endless other cases of things from the deep, it’s undeniable that mystery washes over the world’s oceans. And sometimes even laps up on quiet Vancouver Island shores…

To understand Cadborosaurus you have to understand the context of this area, and how culture and history mix. Cadboro Bay is located north of sleepy Oak Bay, a cozy community on the edge of the city of Victoria, and every bit the English country town…Fossilized into a rustic western landscape.

It’s easy to imagine seeing things in Cadboro Bay. Heck, it’s easy to imagine oddities by any shore. Perception is a strange thing. Especially when it comes to water and perspective. A case in point…


A sea monster? Or a rock?

Furthermore, there are a whole variety of species swimming along these shores. From otters to harbour seals to the occasional killer whale (Orca). And possibly stranger beasts. You can see all sorts of things moving around out there…


An otter, or a sea monster?

Who knows? This is the allure of cryptozoology. Beyond the many fine websites devoted to the subject, there are of course “hard facts”. We only know and have categorized a tiny (1/10th, perhaps) percentage of the species on earth, and new species, like the giant squid, are regularly discovered as we churn the ocean’s depths.

It’s tempting to think ancient dinosaurs still swim the mysterious abysses of earth, but is it really that likely we overlook so monstrous a beast? Perhaps…

One has to wonder at the convenient timing. Recall that Cadborosaurus was first spotted in the 1930s and popularized in the 1940s and 50s, when the community came into its own. Patterns of settlement matter here, as Scottish legends of mysterious monsters in the Loch could be easily transported to the sleepy Georgia Strait. More recent attempts to find and observe the Cadborosaurus have been made, as recorded in this CBC news piece from the 1990s.

Beyond mythology, when spending time sitting by Cadboro Bay, it becomes something else entirely — a natural space with a lively, vital aura. Add imagination, and one can easily envelop it in mystery. It has its own particular quality…Hopefully captured here…


That it’s also (possibly) home to a mythical beast only adds to the allure. A little more sparkle to this simple beauty.

Friendly or fearsome, Cadborosaurus is a fascinating and too little known example of a well-established cryptozoological mystery, and a local legend worthy of serious consideration. Worthy even of levity too…


And, most important of all, some good, clean fun! Science can be many things, but it’s at its best when you find the fun factor…


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8 Responses to “Context, Cryptozoology and the Cadborosaurus”

  1. nursemyra Says:

    If only my high school teachers had thought the same way.

  2. Skybluepink Says:

    I’ve been down to this great beach many times. There is something about the light over the water at certain times of the day…it plays tricks with your eyes…or maybe it doesn’t! Fun post. ;)

  3. The Necromancer Says:

    nursemyra: Yeah. High school teachers can be pretty lame…

    SBP: Thanks! It is definitely a place full of mystery and you always see “something” around Cadboro…Wherever you are, though, the sea plays tricks with your eyes.

  4. Dennis the Vizsla Says:

    How can there be any doubt it exists when there’s a petrified one right there on the beach?!

  5. The Necromancer Says:

    DtV: You make a persuasive argument… ;)

  6. In Maine, they call their sea beast, “Cassie” | Says:

    […] Context, Cryptozoology and the Cadborosaurus « The Necromancer. Tweet This Post Digg This Post Facebook Stumble This […]

  7. Metro Says:

    I used to drink on that sea monster. Nice to see it’s still there. I hope the octopus is as well.

  8. The Necromancer Says:

    Yup. In his garden in the shade these days…

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