A photo taken by the Indian army showing mysterious footprints they say belong to the Yeti. (AFP photo)

Do fantastic beasts lurk in the uncharted depths of Vancouver Island?

Indian army ‘yeti’ photos reignite debate: Could monsters in traditional folklore stories be real?

Is Bigfoot real and living in a ravine in the remote reaches of Strathcona Park?

Does a scaly, horse-headed creature lurk in the deep waters of Georgia Strait off the Saanich Peninsula?

Members of the Indian Army recently reignited the debate of whether “mythical” creatures actually exist, by posting photos online they claim proves the existence of the Abominable Snowman.

The army said they found Yeti footprints in the snow close to Makalu Base Camp in the Himlalayas on April 9. They held on to the “photographic evidence” while they conducted further research, before tweeting them Tuesday, saying they have now been passed on for expert verification.

The soldiers who made the discovery are part of the Indian Army’s elite Mountaineering Expedition Team and claim they found a series of footprints measuring 32 x 15 inches (81 x 38 cm) that were spaced out at intervals of over a metre.

The Yeti has previously been dismissed as a myth originating in the Himalayas and animal parts, sightings, footprints and other “evidence” crops up every few years purporting to prove its existence, often as far away as Russia.

Communities around the world have traditional stories of mystical creatures and while most have been confined to the annals of history or the pages of folklore books, some beasts have caught the public imagination enough that “sightings” continue to the present day.

From the Loch Ness monster in Scotland to the Sasquatch in North America, tall stories, theories and shaky video clips persist, trying to prove the plausibility of the monsters’ existences.

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Sometimes a “Yeti bone” turns out to be a human finger, as in 2011, or a sea monster sighting is proven to be a bloated whale carcass.

Other times however, creatures already known to science grow to a prolifically unusual size that fools witnesses into thinking they saw a monster. The long running Animal Planet TV show River Monsters has spent 10 seasons investigating local mythology and then trying to catch the creatures described, often finding prodigiously big creatures of known species such as a 150 pound Amazonian Arapaima fish, over 7 feet in length, or a 400 pound stingray in Borneo.

B.C. is no different in having its own imaginative stories, such as the Cadborosaurus, a creature said to have a long horse-like head, flippers and the body of a serpent. “Caddy” as it is affectionately known, has been the subject of numerous sightings in Cadboro Bay down the years, with the indigenous Alaskan Manhousat people saying it is actually their local creature, hiyitl’iik, who annually migrates to B.C. waters.

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Another traditional creature is Stin’qua, a serpent-like monster thought to reside in the depths of Cowichan Lake. A 1930 issue of the Cowichan Leader reported a sighting, by local man Cougar Charlie, who described it as huge and “whitish.” Other sightings over the last 120 years have described a 30 foot long creature snaking through the water, with fish leaping above the surface to avoid it.

Cryptozoologists wait with bated breath for the further analysis of whether the Yeti is perhaps real.

Anyone interested in learning more about mystical native beasts can visit bcscc.ca home to Canada’s Cryptozoology Organization.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

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