James McLeod founded one of the earliest university-based cryptozoology organizations, the now-defunct North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club (NICCC), located at Coeur d’Alene. He created the NICCC in 1983, when he began investigating his local Lake Monster after he found it noted in an appendix to Loren Coleman’s Mysterious America (1983). The NICCC’s “Cryptoquest” received national attention in 1984 when it searched Lake Pend Oreille for the monster Paddler.
Soon afterward McLeod wrote a limited-edition report, Mysterious Lake Pend Oreille and Its “Monster,” regarded as a model for cryptozoological investigations. From his examination of the material, McLeod said, “We concluded that about 98 percent of the sightings could be [of] sturgeon.” Articles by Patrick Huyghe about his collection of Pend Oreille Paddler lore have been published in Omni and The Anomalist.
A Spokane native, McLeod earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 1964, and a graduate degree from Eastern Washington University in 1969. He has been a professor at North Idaho College since 1970, teaching English, literature, folklore, and religion. He directed NIC’s highly respected Scottish Studies Program in Idaho and Scotland for many years, traveling to Loch Ness several times to look into Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, as well as conduct more mainstream scholarly inquiries. McLeod has also taught at the University of Idaho and has won teaching and leadership awards.
The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark