Ogopogo is a legendary lake monster said to inhabit the waters of Okanagan Lake in Canada.
Description of Ogopogo
Ogopogo’s legend stems from the indigenous Canadians’ belief in a bloodthirsty beast called N'ha-a-itk (Naitaka), which would demand a live sacrifice from travelers in exchange for safe passage across Okanagan Lake.
These stories, however, referred to a water spirit, not a physical monster. This legend was replaced by the more modern Ogopogo legend, that of a benign sea serpent which calls Okanagan Lake home.
Similarities, of course, can be drawn with other lake monsters like Scotland's famous Loch Ness Monster.
Although descriptions differ, Ogopogo has often been described as being multi-humped and dark in color — green, brown, gray or black — and is thought to be around 20 feet long.
Its head has been variously documented as looking like a snake’s, a sheep’s, a horse’s, a seal’s or an alligator’s. Some say it has ears and horns, while others disagree.
Interestingly, the first media report of Ogopogo preceded that of the more famous Loch Ness Monster by a good seven years. Roy Brown, the editor of the Vancouver Sun, published an article in 1926 about the reputed sightings of the monster.
In 1914 some Nicola Valley and Westbank Indians found the body of a creature across from Rattlesnake Island, a small island in Okanagan Lake.
The body was somewhat decomposed, but it was around 6 feet long and had flippers and a tail. An amateur naturalist in the area believed it might be a manatee, but no one could work out how such a creature could have found its way into the lake.
A group of boaters may have seen Ogopogo in 1947. One witness, a Mr. Kray, described the creature’s body as having about five undulations and a forked tail. He said the body was about 30 feet long and was very sinuous.
Another group of boaters saw a strange-looking creature in 1959. Mr. and Mrs. Miller and Mr. and Mrs. Marten were followed by something with a snake-like head and a blunt nose. The animal swam behind their boat, maintaining a distance of about 250 feet, before disappearing beneath the water.
The best film evidence of Ogopogo is arguably Arthur Folden’s 1968 footage. Spotting something large and lifelike in the distance, he pulled out his home movie camera and began to record. An investigation in 2005 revealed that the subject of the video was indeed an animal of some kind, although the investigators could not identify it.
Two separate sightings at the same location were reported in 1989. Hunting guide Ernie Giroux and his wife were standing on a bank of Okanagan Lake when they saw something emerge from underneath the water.
They say it was 15 feet long, swam very quickly and gracefully, and had a round head shaped like a football.
In July of the same year, in exactly the same place, Ken Chaplin recorded a video of what he says was a 15-foot-long, snake-like creature.
A thorough investigation of the lake was undertaken in 1991. The expedition used a remotely operated vehicle and a submarine to try to find evidence of Ogopogo. The deepest parts of the lake were searched, but no evidence of Ogopogo could be found.
It is possible that some Ogopogo sightings can be attributed to logs in the water. There are thousands of logs in Okanagan Lake, harvested by the timber industry and floating just under the water’s surface.
In fact, a significant number of people have described Ogopogo as being similar to a straight, featureless log.
On top of that, Lake Okanagan’s geological features create long, unusual waves that can resemble the features of Ogopogo.
Many of the Ogopogo witnesses, however, are credible people such as police officers and surgeons — these sightings actually now number over 200.
On top of that, photos of what is purported to be Ogopogo are numerous, including the 1976 Fletcher photo, the 1978, 1979 and 1981 Gaal photos, and the 1984 Svensson photo.
livescience.com, “Ogopogo: Canada’s Loch Ness Monster
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strangemag.com, “NESSIE and Other Lake Monsters
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ogopogoquest.com, “THE LEGEND HUNTERS The search for Ogopogo continues
”, accessed September 05 2017.
Julian Cheatle updated Ogopogo on 12 Sep , 2017.