Fred Thompson of Port Alberni was part of a crew logging near Jennis Bay when he spied a face cut into a rockface that was ‘too perfect’ to be natural. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

QUINN’S QUIPS: Alberni man discovers a mystery in a rock face

Fred Thompson said ‘face’ revealed in rock after area was logged has to be man made

When veteran logger Fred Thompson agreed to drive a truck for a job in Drury Inlet on the central coast of British Columbia, finding a megalith was the last thing he figured he would be doing.

Thompson, 77, is a semi-retired logger from Port Alberni who picks up the odd job driving logging trucks for whoever needs the help. At the end of March he was working on a site in Jennis Bay—somewhere he had never been before. Jennis Bay is part of Drury Inlet, in Queen Charlotte Strait—near the Broughton Archipelago.

“My crew was driving by and one of them pointed to a rock formation and said ‘we call that guy Shawn, a nickname for the owner of the company,’” Thompson said. They dismissed the face in the rock as a natural anomaly of the cliff. After loading nine truckloads of logs throughout the day and staring at “Shawn,” Thompson said to himself, “no way—that is man made. If you put a plumb bob on it, I’ll bet it’s a perfect 90 degrees from the nose to the eyes.”

RELATED: Vancouver Island history unveiled in Broken Islands dig

RELATED: Are you ready to travel unprepared into the Great Unknown?

A plumb bob is a weighted string used as a vertical reference line. Thompson said the lines in this megalith, or large stone monument, were too straight to have been created by natural force. He was sitting in the truck about 75 metres away, and estimates the stone figure is eight metres (25 feet) high and two metres (six feet) wide at the top.

Thompson said the features revealed in the rock face look similar to the stone moai (sculptures) on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island. The moai are carved human-like figures with oversized heads that sit atop large stone bases.

Did he uncover a cultural treasure?

It’s a possibility, although the shape of the stone is not characteristic of the artwork typical of the Indigenous people from the area. Jennis Bay is in Kwakwaka’wakw territory, and the Gwawaenuk First Nation lived and visited the Bay and Drury Inlet. There is evidence of a shell midden in the centre of Jennis Bay’s community, according to a local history of the area, and there are petroglyphs, middens and clam terraces in Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park close by.

In researching Indigenous history of the area I read an interesting article by Rick Hudson for Pacific Yachting on the clam terraces, which were a modern-day mystery only solved in 2003. They were unique to the Broughtons, which before contact were a large gathering place for tribes. More than 350 clam terraces, or gardens, were created by moving rock by hand into lines at the low tide mark on beaches in the area.

Jennis Bay was also the site of several substantial logging operations, and again according to local lore, there are almost-forgotten logging structures visible around the area from the early 1900s. So two possibilities of how the structure could have been made by man, and perhaps the story is now lost.

Thompson said the area has been logged previously, he thought around the time of the First World War, but this particular rock face had been hidden behind trees until late March 2020. He admitted there have been numerous slips or rockslides in the area, “but there’s no darn way that piece of rock in nature came that way…some intelligent being did that.

“It just stands out like a big, sore thumb.”

Thompson wonders what else might be in the area. “Is there more of it buried? What’s the deal?”

Susie Quinn is the Alberni Valley News editor. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictFirst NationsforestryPORT ALBERNIvancouverisland

 

Fred Thompson of Port Alberni was part of a crew logging near Jennis Bay when he spied a face cut into a rockface that was ‘too perfect’ to be natural. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Just Posted

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site at Duke Point

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

First storm of the season expected to hit Vancouver Island tonight

Environment Canada has issued a storm warning with wind, and rain that could last into the weekend

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley seeks reelection

Routley has served as MLA for the area since 2005.

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

B.C. ELECTION: Island MLA Adam Olsen says NDP is sacrificing health for politics

Olsen acknowledges situation of a snap election is not ideal for BC Greens,

Babchuk nominated as NDP candidate

Seeks to replace outgoing MLA Claire Trevena

Most Read