Tracking monsters in the world of man - Metro US

Tracking monsters in the world of man

Throughout his career, John Kirk has made a living as a journalist and working for the government.

His other occupation doesn’t make him much money — in fact it costs him — but he still can’t give up the hunt for undiscovered wildlife.

It all began when Kirk first emigrated from Hong Kong in 1987. As a new resident to Canada, he went in a tour of B.C. He was passing by Sproat Lake on the way to Nanaimo when he saw two humps coming out of the water.

A month later, he saw a massive reptile head in Okanagan Lake. It seemed it was Ogopogo, the lake’s famous, and yet to be proven, sea monster.

Kirk took a job in Ontario, but visited B.C. again a year later, hoping for another glimpse of these rare animals. In 1989, he moved to the city of Richmond in the province.

“I wanted to investigate this mystery, so I moved out there. Twenty-two years later, the mystery still hasn’t been solved.” While Kirk experienced 11 sightings on B.C. waters over a two-year period, he hasn’t seen anything since 1990.

Kirk soon met up with others in the area who were interested in cryptozoology too. While some were laymen, the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club also included university professors.

The club organizes outings. Sometimes they take boats onto B.C. lakes with equipment to try to see and document creatures.

As well, there have been numerous Sasquatch sightings in B.C. forests, so Kirk and others look for these creatures on days off too. They put out cameras and do night outings with infrared cameras.

It’s a time consuming and often expensive passion. Kirk has seen it break up families. Not him though: He met his wife at a Sasquatch conference.

Kirk’s second career has taken him all over the world: He’s looked for living dinosaurs in Africa and visited Loch Ness in Scotland several times.

When he’s not out on the bush or on a lake, he’s writing up the association’s newsletter and looking at evidence of sightings (his colleagues do the same and they talk later to determine if photos or videos have been faked, or if there’s really something there).

It’s a sometimes frustrating passion. “Some people are nuts about this,” says Kirk, and become obsessive and competitive. And the academic mainstream looks down on professors who dabble in the field.

But the existence of the gorilla was only confirmed in 1902. The Okapi in 1912. Creatures are being discovered all the time. In the thick forests and deep lakes of B.C., Kirk thinks is a wealth of rare animals that inevitably will be formally discovered.

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