Mystery surrounds creature found in Ont. creek
Published Friday, May 21, 2010 6:10PM EDT
Aboriginal elders are calling a dead creature that washed up on the shores of their remote community a bad omen of things to come -- although nobody seems to be able to identify the water-logged carcass from photos.
Not that there's a lack of opinion on the matter. Some think it may be kin to a mythical creature like Ogopogo. But most theories on the Internet, including on CTV.ca, peg it as a beaver, a muskrat, a possum, or any other rodent-like animal that may have been diseased or misshapen by decomposition.
The photos went viral after an Ontario First Nations community south of Hudson Bay released pictures of the rat-like creature that a dog sniffed out from a local creek earlier this month.
Pictures posted to the website of the Big Trout Lake community show a long and skinny creature with brown fur and a bald, pale face. The animal is about "a foot long" according to the official community website.
The creature was found when two nurses were hiking near a local creek. Their dog Sam saw something in the water and dragged the creature out.
Darryl Sainnawap, a First Nations council member for Big Trout Lake, said he can't confirm stories by some community members -- including his great uncle -- about sightings of a strange animal roaming swampy areas and feeding on beavers.
"Keep in mind that was about 60 years ago," Sainnawap told CTV News Channel from Big Trout Lake, adding: "I've never seen the creature myself, nor has my grandfather or most of the community."
Sainnawap did say, however, that this creature's appearance is being interpreted by some elders as a "bad omen" for the community.
The community website states: "No one knows what it is but our ancestors used to call it the Ugly One. Rarely seen but when seen, it's a bad omen. Something bad will happen according to our ancestors."
Sainnawap said one of the two nurses – who aren't from the area -- described a "foul odour" emanating from the creature's carcass. The pair did not attempt to move the creature because they believed it was an animal common to the area.
The nurses eventually realized they had taken photos of an unfamiliar, possibly rare animal. But when they returned to the rocky shoreline it was gone. And their photos are the only evidence left of the mystery creature.
The story of the creature found in the Oji-Cree community of 1,200 has started to be picked up by news organizations and websites across the world including The Herald Sun in Australia, China's Xinhua News Agency and The Sun in London.
Online commenters have suggested the mystery creature could be either a water-logged bear cub or an otter.