From the calm surface, you would never know what’s happening below. Sifting through sediment and peeking under boulders, a solitary being scours the lake’s murky depths for the glimmer of treasure. But he doesn’t do it for personal gain. He’s the Human Magnet and he’s here to get your stuff back.
Jeremy Macdonald is guided by intuition and insights gleaned from a cabal of silver-haired oracles who gather on Saturday mornings in a floating coffee shop on Yellowknife Bay. Here, they share secrets of the deep: what went down, where and when.
Macdonald discovered his powers under a Fredericton bridge in 1999. Thieves had broken into a woman’s van, stolen her purse, taken what they wanted and tossed the bag into a flowing river.
Decked out in his black spandex suit, Macdonald was diving at the river bottom when something caught the glow of his arm-mounted flashlight. He plucked the purse from the muck and tracked down its owner using intel gathered from the bag’s contents.
When he presented his find to the woman, she was beyond thankful, particularly after seeing a dollar bill that was folded up between a birth certificate and social security card. “When her dad was dying, he said: ‘Keep this as a memento and think of me when you see it,’” says Macdonald. He soon learned the woman was undergoing chemotherapy treatment when her van was burglarized. The bill meant everything to her. “She found it when she needed it the most.”
It was then that Macdonald knew he would use his powers for good.
After moving to Yellowknife to work with the military in 2015, he began to hone his talents and reunite people with their lost treasures. The Human Magnet, equipped with an oxygen tank, flippers and mask, now swoops in to make rescues. He’s come to the aid of a distraught bride whose wedding ring sank to the bottom of Madeline Lake, outside Yellowknife.
But still some treasures elude him. A mining bigwig lost a phone containing top secret info when it fell out of his pocket while taxiing in a floatplane. Macdonald made 19 dives to no avail. But if the Human Magnet can't find it, no one can.
He uses jackstays—a series of ropes and weights laid out in a grid on the bottom of the lake—and sweeps or spirals out from one point to cover his search area. He sees things that no others can. “You get better,” says Macdonald. “You let your mind identify that there’s something there. You surprise yourself when you pay attention to your thoughts.”
As his abilities grow stronger, he seeks answers to long forgotten mysteries—the site of sunken CANOL trail construction equipment, plane wrecks and post-WWII vintage cars that are said to have rolled off a barge. “You look at this area, how many lakes we have and how much water there is up here. It’s only been explored by a few people,” he says. “Who knows what’s out there?”
Area (north of) 61
The Human Magnet’s inside source with the RCMP tells of an unidentified object that crashed into Great Slave Lake in the 1960s about 50 kilometres from Yellowknife. RCMP investigated and confirmed there was a trough in the mud, nearby reeds were burnt and torn up and something had made impact at a strange trajectory.
They planned to search the area using a magnetometer once the lake was frozen over. But by then, the guy with the magnetometer had moved to Morocco. “The case, as far as I can tell, was never followed up on,” says Macdonald. There were no downed planes reported at the time and the crash area wasn’t large enough to be a meteor. It was classified by the RCMP as a UFO.
He’s tracked down one of the now-retired RCMP officers from the ‘60s and he’s narrowed the search area to an X on a map. This winter, Macdonald will head out with his magnetometer to mark the site of his next—and most mysterious—dive yet. The truth is out there.