Reviewed by Gary S. Mangiacopra
Among the numerous books published in the last 25 years on the classic mystery of the sea, the Great Sea-Serpent, almost all derived their material from Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans massive 1968 tome, In The Wake Of The Sea-Serpent. It is refreshing to read a book by two Canadian authors whose 20-plus years investigating sightings of the North American West Coast sea-serpentknown as Caddyhave added to our cryptozoological knowledge. LeBlond and Bousfield must be commended for their willingness to take on a controversial project of such magnitude.
In their compact book, the authors cram 178 reputed sightings and 11 strandings/captures of Caddy, dating from 1881 to 1994. Though relying largely on regional newspaper accounts of Caddy, the authors also personally acquired many firsthand accounts. An important bonus is the inclusion of eyewitness sketches.
The authors begin their historical perspective with the legends of the British Columbian Indians whose native petroglyphs imply that they were familiar with these marine cryptids and move on to the 19th century white settlers who also encountered unknown creatures.
Yet it was not until the Depression year of 1933and through the efforts of newspaper managing editor Archie Willisthat Caddy became nationally known, helped by the reports that were originating half a world away at Loch Ness. Since that year, these Canadian cryptids have constantly graced the British Columbian newspaper.
The authors diverge from previous writers who have tackled the Caddy phenomenon in taking the heretical position that in 1937 a young Caddy specimen was recovered, then neglected and finally lost by scientists.
Photographs taken at the Naden Harbor whaling station at Queen Charlotte Islands show a well-preserved 10-foot baby Caddy taken from the stomach of a sperm whale that had recently swallowed it before the whale was killed by hunters. The authors interpret the creature in the photographs as a serpentine animal with the classic camel-like head and a tail region having two hind flippers.
The authors believe that this immature Caddy may be a new species representative of an unnamed subcategory of reptilia. What this implies to the layman is that Caddy (named Cadborosaurus willsi in honor of Archie Wills), may be closely related to the extinct marine reptiles from the Age of the Dinosaurs.
While all may not agree with the authors conclusions on Caddy, their data is unique and important from a cryptozoological standpoint. And many potential cryptozoologists can well follow their examples of investigative methodology.
This book will soon become a classic and an oft-quoted source for future researchers to draw upon.
Review originally published in Strange Magazine 16, Fall 1995.