Caddie (sometimes Caddy) is the nickname of the sea creature that has continued to mystify folk who live along the coast of British Columbia—or its descendants have, anyway. It takes its name from the nonce word cadborosaurus, saurus from the Greek saura, lizard, and cadboro from Cadboro Bay, which lies within the provincial capital Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Sightings of a strange animal living in the straits and sounds of this region of western Canada apparently go back to prehistoric times, since they are recorded in the myths and legends of the Salish Indians who have occupied British Columbia and the northwestern United States for a considerable period. The coastal Salish speak of a friendly beast known by the Sechelt Indian name of T’chain-ko, said to have been seen at a number of places along this coast but particularly in the straits between the British Columbian mainland and the many offshore islands.
There have been sightings of a strange sea creature as recently as the late 1970s, but Caddie’s credibility seems to be founded on a series of sightings made on the coast of the lower mainland between 1932 and 1934. (The Salish of the British Columbian interior may also be responsible for the story of Ogopogo, the monster or serpent that is claimed to inhabit the otherwise entirely beautiful and innocent Lake Okanagan in the British Columbian interior; if not the Salish, then the British Columbian government tourist authority may be responsible. A report in a local paper in Victoria, British Columbia, suggests that Caddie and Ogopogo are related species.)
On October 8, 1933, Major W. H. Langley, a well-known barrister and at that time clerk of the British Columbia legislature, while sailing off Cadboro Bay in the early afternoon with his wife, saw a large creature “nearly eighty feet long and as wide as the average automobile” wallowing around in the water. It was as large as a whale, but its serrated back and greenish-brown color precluded that beast as a possibility; anyway, said Major Langley, he’d once spent time on a whaling ship and could therefore be relied on to know his whales. A report of Langley’s sighting was published in the Victoria Times Colonist, which encouraged one F. W. Kemp to admit that he, too, only a year earlier and in the same location, had seen what was very likely the same monster, but had—probably sensibly, since he was an otherwise reliable employee in the provincial archives—kept quiet about it for fear of ridicule. Kemp and his wife saw the creature’s serrated back, which closer to the tail “resembled the cutting edge of a saw”; its color was greenish-brown.
During the next two years there were reports of dozens of sightings up and down the coast by fishermen, steamer captains, quarry owners, an accountant with the Canadian Pacific Railway, and a gaggle of important folk on a steam yacht. All agreed on the animal’s appearance: a long looped body with a slender neck, perched on top of which sat a head much like that of a cow or a camel. In February 1950 no less a personage than Chief Justice James T. Brown of the King’s Bench, Saskatchewan, laid his professionally doubting eyes upon what had come to be known as Caddie, and was convinced. Readers who have checked other accounts of sea serpents and monsters in this collection will be impressed with the number and undoubted probity of many of the witnesses who happened to be in the right place at the right time. Perhaps Democritus (about 460–370 B.C., Greek philosopher) knew more than he was letting on when he said, “Nature has buried truth at the bottom of the sea.”
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