Shown here is an early depiction of the mouth of the Cowichan River (on this side of McCallum’s Bridge) with the lake on the far side of the bridge. Today

Shown here is an early depiction of the mouth of the Cowichan River (on this side of McCallum’s Bridge) with the lake on the far side of the bridge. Today

The mystery of the Stin-Qua remains

1930: Reported the sighting of a serpent-like creature in the waters of Cowichan Lake

A 1930 issue of the Cowichan Leader reported the sighting by Cougar Charlie of a serpent-like creature in the waters of Cowichan Lake.  Dubbed Ogopogo by some and Stin-Qua by others, it wasn’t the first reported sighting but one of several over the years.

Youbou’s Charlie Caldwell, known as Cougar Charlie, maintained that the creature he’d spotted resembled a serpent. Caldwell said he and friend Fred Fillinger saw a mysterious creature,  “whitish” in colour, while fishing on Cowichan Lake.

This was the second sighting since 1928 when two friends, Jarvis and Hill were hunting and fishing in the area. While crossing Bear Lake (near Mesachie Lake) in the early morning of Sept. 17, 1928, they were very surprised by a strange sight, “Unusual for the lake of fish jumping out of the water everywhere as salmon do when the runs are in.” They noted the oddity then began fishing, hoping to catch their supper.

Moments later, “in the misty distance, they saw, what appeared to be a flock of ducks near the channel that joins Bear Lake with Cowichan Lake.” (Later they insisted that what they saw had been a serpent). Paying no more attention they again, set their sights on catching fish when one of the men “looked around and saw about eight feet of a tapering neck and serpent-like head standing straight out of the water.”

By then they were dumbstruck, although Hill had the presence of mind to reach for his gun. Apparently he had difficulty locating his ammunition which —  he reasoned — stopped him from “obtaining a tangible souvenir” (as proof of the sighting).

Jarvis and Hill described what they saw as a serpent-like creature holding it’s neck straight up in the air for about five seconds. It then moved it’s head back and forth before disappearing with a “serpentine motion” of the body. This action took another few seconds. They then noticed that no tail could be seen as the body wriggled out of sight.

Another sighting had taken place several months earlier when Riverside Inn proprietor Norman Thomas and his wife reported “having distinctly seen” (the mysterious monster) on a beautiful October morning when they were taking a run up the lake in their speedboat.

They noticed what appeared to be two logs ahead of them. Steering between the logs, they passed around the end of one log to within 60 feet of the other log when what they had thought was a log, suddenly bowed up in the middle and disappeared with great commotion.

They then realized that there were no logs nearby therefore concluded that it was the same serpent they had seen on previous occasions.

Thomas stated that in the past, when four tourists were also on board his boat, a long neck about ten or 12 feet above the water was sighted. He stopped the boat to get a better view of what looked like a large snake upwards of 30-feet-long.

On yet another occasion, Thomas had a glimpse of the Stin-Qua  while taking a party up the lake in his boat. Thomas reported that Victor Rundquist (owner of Lake Cowichan Boarding House) had also seen the serpent.

Reporting of the mysterious creature has continued for years but no evidence has ever been presented.

It remains uncertain that there is in fact a Stin-Qua in our waters and like any good mystery, it would cease to be of much interest once solved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Mariah Segee (centre) was named 2021 Lady of the Lake last Saturday, with Megan Rowbottom (left) as first princess, and Macey Anderson (right) as second princess. (Submitted)
Lady of the Lake returns to Lake Cowichan

Mariah Segee takes the crown in first pageant since 2018

Darren Campbell's truck was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch (pictured) on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
UPDATE: Cowichan Bay Good Samaritan’s stolen truck recovered

‘Very much appreciated the help from so many people. I hope the very best for all of you’

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

North Cowichan’s senior environment specialist Dr. Dave Preikshot (pictured) said there’s a wide spectrum of views on carbon credits. (File photo)
Carbon credits expected to be part of discussions around forest reserve

North Cowichan acknowledges wide range of views on issue

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Most Read