By Tim Kalinowski
For years now I have been engaging in my own campaign to try to entice “River Monsters” Jeremy Wade to come to southern Alberta, and base one of the episodes of his popular show in and around our very own local rivers, lakes and dams.
Two years ago I made contact with his people, and the response was actually quite encouraging. Wade might be interested, but there would have to be some dramatic local premise to hang an episode on. Did we have any local incidents or stories which might fit the bill?
For those who have never watched “River Monsters” it is by far the best fishing adventure show in the world. You don’t have to care about fishing even; you just have to be fascinated by a good mystery.
Each episode unfolds almost like a CSI case where Wade tracks down the truth behind various unsolved freshwater (and sometimes ocean) attacks in the world. He talks with the survivors, officials and medical personnel who dealt with the incident and speaks to those with local knowledge about the types of underwater species who might be responsible to begin narrowing down his suspect list. He also engages with local cultures by exploring their water-based myths and legends and showcasing their traditional fishing techniques.
He ends each episode by going out and catching what he thinks is the most likely suspect responsible based on the information he has collected. On the show, he has battled with some truly terrifying, strange and epic real-life water monsters.
In my ongoing efforts to bring Wade to the region, I began to research fish species living in our waters which might fit the description of a river monster, (some quite surprising even to me a dedicated fisherman), and also stories, myths and legends about strange river creatures as told by local First Nations. I also searched for newspaper accounts about strange sightings, of which there were several notable instances within the past 50 years.
I continue to delve into this subject whenever I can, but I am hoping my readers out there, with a longer experience of living alongside the South Saskatchewan, the Bow, the Red Deer, the Sounding, the Oldman and the Milk might be able to help me discover even more.
Are there any myths, legends, reports of strange water disappearances, attacks or sightings of unknown creatures living in our river systems and water bodies out there? If so, I would be extremely interested in hearing about them. My discretion is assured for those not wanting to be publicly identified. I want to hear your story no matter how strange it might be. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-528-8633.