Ogopogo is the name given to a lake monster reported to live in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada.
Early myth Edit
The Ogopogo, known under the Salish name of N'ha·a·itk, or Naitaka, has existed in local myth for an unknown period of time and pre-dates western settlement of the area, as do native references to the "Great-beast-in-the-lake" and the "Snake-in-the-lake" and Petroglyphs, or pictographs found near the headwaters of Powers Creek, showing a serpent-like beast, which that may represent the earliest evidence of legend's existence.
Tribes in Okanagan were always wary of traveling across the lake and often carried animals that could be sacrificed in the event that the creature was sighted, and it was documented in the history of Okanagan Mission that none of the local populace were willing to fish near Squally Point, where they believed the entrance to Ogopogo's cave was located.
The first documented sightings of the Ogopogo by European settlers date back as far as 1860 and occur as the area was being colonized by the first, though the first clear sighting, witnessed by a large group of people, occurred in 1926 at an Okanagan Mission Beach. There were about thirty cars of people who all claimed to have witnessed the same event. It was also in this year that Bobby Carter, then editor of the Vancouver Sun, wrote, "Too many reputable people have seen [the monster] to ignore the seriousness of actual facts."
The first film of the alleged creature is Art Folden Film, filmed in 1968 by Art Folden, which shows a dark object propelling itself through shallow water near the shore . The film was shot from on a hill above the shore. The film was once enhanced, and showed a solid 3D object.
Ogopogo was filmed again in 1989 by Ken Chaplin, who was with his father Clem Chaplin and who was talking about where he saw the Ogopogo when suddenly both of them saw a snake like animal swimming the lake, the animal is seen doing turns and even flicked its tail creating a splash. Some believe it is simply a beaver because of the tail splashing being similar. However, Ken saw the animal slap its tail while its head was sticking out from the water, while a beaver's head would be either be level to the water or already diving prior to a tail slap. Also, the animal Ken saw was 15 feet, not 4 feet like a beaver. A few weeks later, Ken came back with his father and his daughter Corry and filmed a similar animal .
British zoologist Dr. Karl Shuker has suggested it is a kind of primitive serpentine whale such as Zeuglodon. Other sightings have suggested that the Lake Okanagan beast is of the 'many hump' variety rather than the 'long neck' type. However, because the physical evidence for the beast is limited to unclear photographs and film, it has also been suggested that the sightings were really of otters and logs (Nickell, 2006). Another theory is that the Ogopogo is a lake sturgeon.
Canadian Aboriginals had named the supposed beast "Niataka" or "N'ha-aitk", each of which translate to "sacred creature of the water." In 1926, non-Aboriginals in Vernon, British Columbia jokingly renamed it the Ogopogo. The (palindromic) name comes from a 1920s comic song:
- I'm looking for the Ogopogo,
- His mother was a mutton,
- His father was a whale.
- I'm going to put a little bit of salt on his tail.
- ↑ Joseph Brean, "Natives in two nations spear the elusive Ogopogo: Moviemakers give in to demands," National Post, Don Mills, Ontario, March 8, 2002, p. A.1.FRO.
- Gaal, Arlene. 1986. Ogopogo: The True Story of The Okanagan Lake Million Dollar Monster. Hancock House, Surrey, BC.
- Moon, Mary. 1977. Ogoppogo. Douglas Ltd., North Vancouver, Canada.
- Nickell, Joe. 2006. Ogopogo: The Lake Okangan Monster. Skeptical Inquirer, 30(1): 16-19.
- Radford, Benjamin. 2006. Ogopogo the Chameleon. Skeptical Inquirer, 30(1): 41-46.
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