Shuswaggi: Ancient Whale of the Shuswap

by Virginia Carraway Stark


The Shuswap Lake is located in Central British Columbia, Canada and is reputedly the home of a monster that could easily rival the Loch Ness Monster.

unnamed2A report from 1984 describes a woman’s encounter with the monster.  She unnamed4describes the water starting to suddenly turn and froth in front of her small boat and then greyish lumps moved out and above the surface of the water.  The humps moved in front of the prow of her boat in a straight line in vertical undulations.

This report is only one of many and all of the reports describe a similar monster. The color varies from gray to black but the size is always 20-25 feet and it always move in the same, undulations.  Although there are no modern reports of the mystery animal causing harm to peo

ple or animals the Indigenous people of the area who gave it the name ‘Shuswaggi’ reported that the beast was one to be extremely leery of.  It’s name means ‘water bear’ and reports were that it had eaten people and animals and would overturn boats in order to get at the people inside. To prevent Shuswaggi from attacking humans, the natives would resort to keeping poultry or other animals on their boats when they had to cross the Shuswap lakes a way to distract the monster.  They would throw the animal into the water and quickly make their escape while the sea serpent was busy.

unnamed3There is very little evidence that the monster still lives in the Shuswap although sightings are still reported.  There are few pictures to be found and no one has unnamed5ever tracked it with sonar.  The possibility in its continued existence, much like the Loch Ness monster lay in the nature of the lake itself.  The Shuswap lake is an ancient lake, formed from retreating glaciers. The lake is extremely deep, in places 528 feet or 161 meters.  It is a vast lake measuring 55 miles long and has four arms attached to it that make it difficult to do a thorough search.

Renowned Cryptozoologist, Dr. Karl Shukar, has investigated the case thoroughly and believes that there really is a monster in the Shuswap Lake.  He postulates that the animal is actually a rare surviving prehistoric whale called Zeuglodont or Basilosaurus which translates to ‘King Lizard’.  If he is correct, it is indeed a monster.  Basilosaurus in a predator with jaws that have an estimated strength to exert 1600 Kilograms of pressure.  They were widespread 34 to 40 million years ago in the late Eocene period.  They could grow to up to 65 feet although it could be argued that in a lake they might be forced to keep their size down to below 30 feet.  It was unique in that it moved in up and down undulations.

I myself have been swimming in the Shuswap lake many times and I have never seen Shuswaggi.  Sometimes when I’m water skiing and I’m waiting in the deep, deep water, I think I can feel an ominous presence watching me from the depths below.  It’s probably just my imagination, but maybe next time I’ll take a chicken with me when I go water skiing.