The Monster of Partridge Creek

Did a relict creature from prehistory stalk the 19th-century Yukon?

Brown Lotus
The Mystery Box

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(Photo courtesy of Timo Wielink on Unsplash)

Stately mountains, sparkling turquoise rivers, and meandering valleys with exquisite grace are just a fraction of the appeal that applies to the Klondike region of Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Indigenous First Nation peoples account for approximately 20 percent of the Yukon’s demographics. Together with the descendants of Canada’s first immigrants, they contribute to a rich culture involving sled dog races, hiking, hunting, and natural food cultivation (maple syrup, anyone?).

Camping within the country’s frost-tipped forests invigorates the blood. A natural spring tends to supplement one’s step during the exploration of Canada’s bountiful ecology; spelunkers and explorers scale its narrow crags and winding courses with eager companion dogs weaving in and out between tall trees. As a result of the steep temperatures, each breath appears as a swirling trace of condensation, one after the other as the lungs expand and contract in perfect, anatomical unison.

(Photo courtesy of Maya Tani on Unsplash)

The wildlife in the Yukon’s subarctic climate is no less exotic. Winter foxes, sheep, bears, elk, muskoxen, (avian) raptors, and goats pepper the landscape. But it would be a creature described by a Mr. George Dupuy in 1903 that would introduce a new sort of fear into the hearts of the Canadian populace.

The Monster of Partridge Creek, as it would come to be known, garnered official inquiry after being featured in French magazine ‘Je Sais Tout’, which published a very interesting article in April of 1908. Written by Dupuy, the content was an anthology of encounters civilians and farmers had with a frightening beast beginning in the early aughts.

Most prominent in the collection was an encounter involving Canadian hunters James Butler and Tom Leemore.

As was typical for the time, Butler and Leemore had been out in the bush tracking large moose near a place called Partridge Creek. As they progressed into swampy territory, the two men eventually came across a large disturbance in the brush, but it was clear to their hunters’ discipline that it wasn’t left by any moose.

Both men could see where an enormous animal had pressed itself into the mire of the swampy ground. Having the presence of mind to measure this impression, they found that there was a 30-foot furrow, which was twelve feet wide, two feet deep, and what seemed to be clawed foot-prints about two-and-a-half feet wide. There also appeared to be drag marks from what was presumed to be the creature’s tail; these marks were registered as 10 feet long and sixteen inches wide.

At the next deep gully, the peculiar tracks ended. Perhaps understandably, Butler and Leemore had lost any enthusiasm they’d had about snagging a moose. What remained now was to find out whether anyone else in the region had stumbled upon this creature; the welfare of families was at stake. Who knew what might happen to women and children in remote areas who unwittingly crossed paths with this monster?

The two hunters decided to check in with a trading post on Armstrong Creek, where Butler had previously arranged to meet George Dupuy for a hunting expedition.

Initially upon hearing their story Dupuy was reportedly skeptical, but the men were adamant. The trio quickly formulated their solution: to form a larger posse that would include both hunters, Mr. Dupuy, a Reverend Pierre Lavagneux, and some First Nation guides. Together, the party assembled weapons and made plans to travel back to Partridge Creek. Whatever this creature was, it was colossal and therefore likely dangerous. Many settlements dotted the wintery Yukon slopes, and no-one wanted to risk the safety of their wives and children.

Once back in the field near the furrows, camp was made and the men settled in for a lengthy wait. Then, after a long stretch of strained preparation, they heard it: a marrow-curdling bellow that sent the posse diving for their rifles.

What would emerge from the freezing brush could have never been imagined. An onyx-colored, 50-foot long creature with grey bristles in its hide and a single horn on its snout waded into view.

With hearts as frozen as the arctic wind, the party watched, shivering, as the horned creature milled about on four stocky limbs. Then, sensing it was being tracked, the animal rose up onto two limbs and uttered a second furious roar. By this time I imagine the hunting party must have emptied their bowels in fright, but fortunately for them the monster decided not to charge. Instead it opted to retreat into a near-by ravine, where it disappeared. Fortunately for the posse, they would not encounter it again.

Aside from a few other brief reports, little more was seen or heard of the monster. Without photographs, a body, or tissue samples there’s no way of shedding any light on what, exactly, this creature really was. There aren’t even any sketches for reference, but the good Reverend Pierre Lavagneux left us a clue. When shown a text with illustrations of both living reptilians and extinct ones, he pointed to a Ceratosaurus, which fell into extinction more than 140 million years ago.

(Photo courtesy of Jurassic Outpost)

George Dupuy did not intend to go forward with this admittedly-bizarre encounter. Nor did any of the other party members. Only when the Reverend sent him a personal letter with details of the creature’s last known sighting did Dupuy change his mind.

The letter was dated December, 1907, and revealed the Reverend’s claim that he and ten of his parishioners had seen the same creature streaking through the landscape again, this time with a full caribou in its jaws.

There would be more than enough healthy skepticism to go round. The temperatures in the Yukon being what they were (down to -40 degrees) should have made the environment fatal to such a creature, even given its size. If it were a lake-dwelling reptile, in which lake could the creature have made its home? The waters surely would have been frozen over. Could the beast have been a surviving relic of prehistoric times? The depth and breadth of the Canadian landscape would have made for many secure hiding places. But why were no nests or egg clutches ever found? Even given the vastness of the Yukon, wouldn’t there have been at least a trickle of other encounters?

After the Reverend’s letter, dated around Christmas Eve of 1907, it appeared that the Monster of Partridge Creek was no more, but it did leave George Dupuy with one helluva story.

As long as the winters of Canada’s Yukon kiss the wilderness with frost, the mystery endures.

Sources: Cryptozoology A-Z, Wikipedia, Jurassic Outpost, Dark League Paranormal

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Brown Lotus
The Mystery Box

I am Misbaa: mom, polyglot, & multiracial upasikha. I am a woman of all homelands and all people; I’ve made my peace with it. Cryptozoology enthusiast🐺