Less than a day into their stay at a home on Shuswap Lake, the McRae family found reason to believe in the legend of a local lake monster.
On Sunday night, June 18, the McRaes, including Jake McRae, spouse Britney McRae and their children, arrived with Jake’s brother Kenton McRae, his spouse Tiffany and their children at the lakeside home in Eagle Bay where they’d arranged to stay through a vacation house swap. For Jake, Tiffany and their kids, from Austin, Texas, the stop was part of a month-long road trip. Kenton, Britney and their family, from Hawaii, joined Jake and Tiffany in Banff, and they all continued on together to Eagle Bay.
On Monday, with the weather being cool and cloudy, the McRaes said they were having a dull day indoors. That was until shortly after 3 p.m., when Kenton looked down at the lake and saw something that grabbed his attention.
“I saw, what I first thought looked like… a whale had surfaced or something, just this big old thing in the water, and then it went underwater,”said Kenton, who turned to tell everyone else what he had seen. “You could still see where this thing was under water – there were these massive ripples coming from it.”
Kenton said he then went outside and did not see any boats nearby.
Tiffany and Jake said they too saw ripples originating from a spot about 300 metres from shore, the wake moving rapidly towards the shore.
At this point, cell phones were out for video, and soon after, at 3:26 p.m., more massive ripples/wake began at another spot on the lake.
“I think what was interesting was originally (Kenton) had seen it about 300 to 400 metres out, and then it came significantly closer, probably 150 metres is where we saw the rippling,” said Kenton. “And then the third video, which we took two minutes after that, was probably another 100 to 200 metres this way… so it covered at least 150 or 200 metres probably in anywhere from a minute to two minutes based on what we saw.”
This prompted Kenton to do a Google search using the words “large,” “creature” and “Shuswap Lake.” The top response was a 2019 Observer story about the legend of the Shuswaggi.
Suddenly, all the McRaes were very excited about the activity in the lake.
“Then it was like our Bigfoot adventure begins,” laughed Jake.
Outside, the McRaes captured another video, this time of a series of dark humps surfacing and submerging in a line.
“We were so sad we missed the first really big one that he saw and we didn’t have it on video… we were super bummed,” said Tiffany. “So when we started seeing those little humps coming out, and we were like, ‘Oh my God!’”
Jake explained what was captured in the video doesn’t compare to what they were able to see in person.
“In the video you see these little mysterious looking grey blobs… but if you were standing where we were standing, the best way to describe it, have you ever seen dolphins travelling out of the water together?” Jake explained. “They kind of come up in a rhythm next to each other and you can see little humps going, but they’re side by side. Whereas this one almost looked like a circle, as if a circle was spinning in the water, one hump after another, in a perfect line. And, you could see it with your eyes significantly better than you could with a camera… a greyish undertone of something moving.”
Later that day a large motor boat showed up nearby on the lake. The McRaes said the wake it created was incomparable in size, and duration, to what they witnessed earlier.
“The first ripple was the biggest I’d ever seen,” said Tiffany of the earlier sighting. “It went forever…”
“It almost looked like there was some churning going on in the middle,” added Jake.
Asked if they believed in things like the Shuswaggi prior to their experience Monday, the McRaes began to laugh, recalling a conversation they had just the other day.
“Before we got here I was talking to my brother, I said if you saw Bigfoot, would you tell anybody? You saw him as clear as day, you didn’t get a picture of it but you saw it. Would you tell anyone?” said Jake.
“I said, ‘No, no way!’” replied Kenton.
“You’d be that crazy Bigfoot person!” laughed Jake.
“I’d have to think of an alternate explanation for it,” said Kenton.
“So it’s hilarious this happened and I’m so glad I got it on film,” said Jake, stressing that while he doesn’t necessarily believe there’s a prehistoric creature living in Shuswap Lake, he is open to the idea there are creatures on earth not yet known to man.
“Do I think there are creatures that we don’t know about? Yes. Do I think it looks like a magical dragon? No,” said Jake. “I’m not going to go as far as to say that. But we discover new species every year. It’s not crazy to think that something could be just like long-term, lives underwater forever, stationary. There are those eels in Africa that are in the dried mud that don’t come out except for once every five to six years when it rains. It’s possible that there’s some kind of animal like that, but to say I believe in, like, there’s a straight-up dinosaur, Loch Ness Monster? Probably not.”
Shuswaggi or not, what the McRaes saw gave them a lasting memory of their stay in the Shuswap.
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