Sketch of creature based on artist’s rendition which accompanied the original Toronto Sun article.
It was a warm summer’s day in August of 1978 when a Toronto area man had an experience with a strange creature that would forever change his life.
Ernest (he would only allow his first name to be used) was a soft-spoken 51 year old at the time of his harrowing experience. He and his wife of 19 years had been raising a litter of kittens. One of the kittens apparently disappeared and Ernest decided to search for it in the vicinity of their Parliament St. apartment. Closeby he stumbled upon the opening to a dark “cave” and crawled approx.10ft inwards. This is where he said, “I saw a living nightmare that I’ll never forget.”
Armed only with a flashlight Ernest encountered a creature of unknown origin. He described the monster as “long and thin, almost like a monkey, three ft long, large teeth, weighing maybe 30lbs with slate-grey fur.” However it was the eyes that truly stood out, “orange and red, slanted.”
Ernest spoke reluctantly with reporters as to what occurred next. The creature spoke to him. “I’ll never forget it,” he said. “It said, ‘Go away, go away,’ in a hissing voice. Then it took off down a long tunnel off to the side. I got out of there as fast as I could. I was shaking with fear.”
Ernest never approached the media with his story. He was afraid that people would think that he was “drunk” or worse “crazy” and felt that no one would ever believe him. “The (Toronto area newspaper) Sun found him after hearing about his experience from a reliable contact who worked with a relative of Ernest’s, one of the handful of people to whom he had confided the experience. He would agree to talk only if his last name was not revealed.”
“I believe Ernie saw exactly what he says he did”, said Barbara (Ernest’s wife). “He was terrified when he came back to the apartment and he doesn’t scare easily. Look, he’s been known to to have a drink in the past - like most people, and to occasionally tie one on, but he’s not a drunk and he wasn’t drinking at all that day.”
The Toronto Sun did question some of Ernest’s relatives and neighbourhood aquaintances. They found that all agreed with and supported Barabara’s evaluation of her husband.
Ernest accompanied by Sun staff returned to the location of his strange sighting in March of 1979. The cave’s entrance was located at the bottom of a narrow passageway between the building where he lived and the one next door. Together they found the corpse of a cat, which was “half-buried in the tunnel.” The sad discovery reminded Ernest of ‘strange noises, like animals in pain,” that he had heard emanating from the tunnel prior to his frightening encounter.
Ernest showed the Sun reporter exactly where he saw the strange being. He stated, “ The last I saw the creature it was heading off into the dark.” The passage seemed to drop down very quickly and go a long way back.
It was speculated that the the tunnel in fact led to the sewer system and that the entranceway beside Ernest’s apartment was “an access point used by the creature to the surface.” Safety concerns promoted Toronto’s Sewer Department to thoroughly inspect the tunnel as it was feared that area children may in fact try to enter it.
Ernest’s story was very strange, however sewage employees did not ridicule or scoff at it according to the report made by The Toronto Sun at that time. One worker who was quoted in the paper stated, “People who work on the surface just don’t know what it’s like down there. It’s a whole different world. Who would have thought a few years ago that people would live in sewers, and yet that’s what they found in New York a few years back. Another was quoted as saying, “I don’t know what he (Ernest) saw down there.” He also stated, “I’ll tell you one thing. If we could get in there, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to go down alone.”
It’s is interesting to note that the description of the creature provided by Ernest and an artist’s rendering which was included in the original Toronto Sun article resemble some current reports of another strange creature - the South American Chupacabara.
The Sunday Sun - March 25th, 1979
Our personal thank you to Larry Fenwick founder of CUFORN who generously provided us with a copy of the newspaper article.