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When Those in Government Focus Their Attention on Cryptozoology and Monsters

Yep, that’s right: there’s no shortage of accounts of government agencies taking a deep (and sometimes secret) involvement in the likes of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and more – and for a variety of reasons. Let’s have a look at some examples. Situated in Idaho, Lake Pend Oreille is a huge expanse of water that extends in excess of forty miles in length and 1,000 feet in depth. And, it might accurately be said that the lake is the home to a creature not unlike Loch Ness, Scotland’s legendary Nessie. On the other hand, however, Lake Pen Oreille’s lake monster – known locally as Paddler – might be something even stranger. Sightings of the prehistoric-looking thing date back to the 1940s and continue to the present day. Patrick Huyghe is someone who has undertaken extensive research into the saga of Paddler and he has noted something that be of deep and relevant significance: “The very first mention of Paddler came straight from the Navy’s own Farragut Naval Training Station, established on the southwestern end of Lake Pend Oreille in 1942” Built in response to the terrible and tragic events at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the FNTS was created at Lake Pend Oreille and though which around 290,000 servicemen and women passed, as the hostilities with the Axis powers grew.

What is particularly interesting, however, is that in the post-war era – that’s to say, after 1945 – the Navy presence on the lake began to change. The one arm that began to play a more substantial role was the Navy’s Acoustic Research Department. The ARD says of its work: “Unique experimental hardware and floating platforms have been developed” at the naval facilities on Lake Pend Oreille, noting too that, “future plans include continuation of sonar dome development and submarine silencing and target strength reduction experiments using large-scaled models.” One has to wonder if some of these “unique experimental hardware,” “floating platforms,” and “large-scale models” may have been responsible for at least some sightings of what the witnesses believed was Paddler.

Centuries-old reports of sea serpents can be found in the U.K. National Archives. They tell of giant monsters seen by military Navy personnel encountering the giant things. One of the most notable reports of an encounter with such a beast can be found within the archives of the Admiralty. The documentation at issue details the remarkable encounter with a sea-serpent that was seen on May 9, 1830 by the crew of the Rob Roy: a British Royal Navy ship that was homeward bound after a lengthy sea-journey across the Atlantic Ocean. As the ship sailed by the island of St. Helena, something remarkable occurred, as the Rob Roy’s captain, James Stockdale, recorded in his official log the following: “About five p.m. all at once while I was walking on the poop my attention was drawn to the water on the port bow by a scuffling noise. Likewise all the watch on deck were drawn to it. Judge my amazement when what should stare us all in the face as if not knowing whether to come over the deck or to go around the stern – but the great big sea snake! Now I have heard of the fellow before – and I have killed snakes twenty-four feet long in the straits of Malacca, but they would go in his mouth.

Now, onto Loch Ness and the U.K. military. As well as being a persistent pursuer of the Nessies, David James was also a former member of the British Parliament. And as such, he had a lot of contacts and influence in the government, including personnel from what was called JARIC, the Joint Air Reconnaissance Center, based at Royal Air Force Brampton, Huntingdon, England. JARIC’s five hundred or so staff were experts at studying film-footage – and, sometimes, hazy and hard to define footage, which was, and still is, certainly a good way to describe Tim Dinsdale’s legendary film. Plus, studying film of an alleged Loch Ness Monster was a welcome break for the JARIC people, whose work was generally focused on analyzing footage of Russian fighter-planes, bombers, and missile bases.

Not only did JARIC carefully scrutinize Dinsdale’s footage, they also came to a remarkable conclusion. Noting that the object was likely “not a surface vessel,” such as a small boat, the team said that, “One can presumably rule out the idea that it is any sort of submarine vessel for various reasons which leaves the conclusion that it is probably an animate object.” Although critics, such as Dr. Maurice Burton, suggested the whole thing was a case of mistaken identity – of nothing more remarkable than a boat – the monster-hunting community was delighted. Roy P. Mackal said that: “The JARIC analysis is important as an independent and expert study, free of either pro or con monster bias.”

Just a handful of days before Christmas 1977, the United States’ Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a thought-provoking paper. It was focused on how, in theory, the world of officialdom might handle the situation if it was proved that Bigfoot really exists. And other mysterious animals too. The document had the following heading: Are We Ready For ‘Bigfoot’ Or The Loch Ness Monster? I have presented for you the contents, without interruption. It begins: “What if they really did find the Loch Ness monster or the legendary Bigfoot of the Pacific Northwest? Most scientists doubt that these creatures exist, but thoughts of the discovery of a new species that might be the closest living relative to man, or the possibility of finding a leftover dinosaur, excite the imagination of scientist and nonscientist alike. It also poses another question: Would such a creature be subjected to the same kind of exploitation as the giant movie ape, King Kong?” What, indeed!


Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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