MARCH 26th, 2017
By LANA CARBON & JOHN LILIES
Being Canadian, it has recently come to our attention that we have our very own mysterious cryptid roaming around our backyard, so to speak. When you think of these unknown species, you often think of forested areas or in deep lakes and oceans but not usually do these reports come from suburban centres. The Credit River stretches 90 km from north of Orangeville, Ontario flowing south into Lake Ontario at Mississauga.
Over the years, multiple sightings of a strange creature have been reported not far from the river’s banks, mostly at the southern half of the water system. It has come to be known as the Creature of Credit Valley.
Witnesses describe the being as having a lean, wiry but muscular frame with a long ringed prehensile tail that it uses to wrap around its prey so it cannot escape. It is bipedal, standing between 4½ and 5 feet tall. Fur covers its shoulders, forearms, shins, pelvis, and chest while the rest of its torso is bare flesh. Its head is similar to that of a lemur with large ears, eyes and snout. The fine hair covering its face is patterned almost like a mask. The creature is an omnivore, eating berries as well as any small animals it can catch; nearly every report seems to catch it in the act of eating. It is believed that in this suburban setting, it is responsible for many missing pets as well as ridding the streets of strays and rodents. Fish is a delicacy and the majority of the sightings are in parks around the river (especially Meadowvale Conservation Area). It is unknown if the creature would ever attack a human but we would caution parents to be wary of allowing their children to play near the rivers alone after dark (that is probably good advice anyways).
While most sightings are fleeting glimpses of movement in the trees or of glowing eyes in the darkness, through our research we did dig up a couple of more detailed interactions to share with you.
“I was out for a walk in the park after work as usual. I enjoy walking by the river. This particular evening, just after the sun had went down and I was returning to my car, I heard some splashing at the river’s edge just around the bend in the path. I thought maybe someone had caught a fish at first…there were often people fishing in the more quick running waters. As I came around the bend though, I saw something I had never seen before. It was about 5 feet tall, muscular and wiry and had this long-ringed tail. It must have heard me because it looked up from the fish it was tearing into with its long sharp teeth and claws and snarled before taking off across the river into the brush on the other side. That was enough for me. I raced back to my car and have never went back to walk there again.”
“About 20 years ago I think… I was living with my parents and their backyard had a deck with this beautiful wooden trellis with built-in sections of latticework. They had grapes growing up and along the roof of the trellis… A number of vines and A LOT of grapes.
Every summer, as the grapes would ripen, the raccoons would appear and we normally wouldn’t even hear them out there; in the mornings, we would find the grape skins on the floor of the deck and know the raccoons had been around.
One night though, when I was alone at home with our dog, I went to let our dog out in the backyard and as I was opening the back door I realized the raccoons were above us on the top of the trellis, munching on the grapes. I quickly closed the door because I didn’t want our dog to have an encounter with the raccoons. I went up to my parents’ room because their bedroom window was in line with the top of the trellis, and I thought maybe if I sprayed some water through the window screen at the raccoons, they would take off.
I went to the window and opened it, started spraying through the screen and making noise to try to scare off the raccoons. I realized there was only one raccoon… I could see its ringed tail but thought it was much skinnier than I’d ever seen on a raccoon. Its back was to me and I thought it must have been sick because it had hardly any hair on it. Its form was strange too and as I was staring at it, trying to figure out what to do and why this raccoon looked so odd, it turned towards me; I think it was annoyed by the water spray.
As I saw its face and body form, I wanted to scream but was too scared. I honestly thought I was seeing the figure of a man… but he had a tail and patches of fur… and his face. His face was not human nor was it raccoon. As I stared and quickly closed the window, I realized he had this animal face! Like a lemur or something!! I watched a lot of The Crocodile Hunter back then and he would show lemurs a lot. I loved them and I swear this creature’s face was like a lemur! Which would explained why the tail was skinnier than I’d expected when I thought it was a raccoon at first… but it was ringed like a raccoon.
The lemur/person-creature started making these loud noises I could hear through the glass but I have no idea how to describe the sound. Unlike any animal or human I’d ever heard. Clicking mixed with… what? Oh, I don’t know. It was so strange it just gave me goosebumps. I felt like I was frozen in place.
The creature finally started to move off but not before eating some more grapes. I waited for maybe 5 minutes after it left, before leaving the window and going outside with my dog. I was terrified to be out there and made my dog hurry. After running him back inside, I was pacing in the kitchen, trying to figure out what to do. I didn’t know if I should call Animal Control, to report…what? In my head I was replaying what I saw and I suddenly remembered being a kid and hearing about this strange creature. Our parents would tell us this story about this ‘thing’ that would eat our pets if we weren’t vigilant and if we went into the woods alone or down to the river alone, we would find this gangly man with a ringed tail and animal face, with claws and fur…
We all thought it was nonsense. Stories our parents told us to keep us from doing stupid things in the woods; the same way they’d use Sasquatch to scare us when we went camping. So if I call Animal Control, what do I say? Some mythical creature from my parents’ folk tales was in my backyard eating grapes? I decided not to do anything. I figured no one would believe me and I didn’t even know if I believed myself, honestly. We’d had coyotes in the area a number of times and someone had even spotted a wolf at one point, but this? What was THIS?
I never told anyone about that until now and though I’ve never forgotten it, I still don’t know if I believe it and yet… I know what I saw.”
Roughly a month ago, our friends The Hunters of the Unknown were holding one of their fantastic contests, which I (Lana) usually enter (if you haven’t yet checked out their page or found them on Facebook, you really should). This particular competition was to come up with an idea for their next contest. My idea (which was the winner) was to put everyone’s creativity to the test and come up with an original cryptid, including a back story and/or eyewitness accounts to flesh out the story. Of course, we wanted to take part but we also didn’t want to vie for a win in our own contest idea. We decided instead, to design our own cryptid but to leave the results here in the pages of our blog and not as a part of the contest. The above tale was our creation and we do hope that you enjoyed it.