Ogopogo is not an Indian name for the world-famous, friendliest inland sea monster. The name is derived from a music hall song that was popular in the 1920's. Indians referred to Ogopogo as N'HA-A-ITK which when translated means "Lake Demon". Legend explains that the creature was actually a demon-possessed man who had murdered a local known as Old Kan-He-K. (Lake Okanagan was named in his honor). As punishment, the native gods turned the murderer into the giant sea serpent so he would remain at the scene of the crime for all eternity. Hence Ogopogo's longevity. To appease the monster N'HA-A-ITK (Ogopogo), the Indians offered small animals at it's legendary lair/submarine caves off Squally Point near Rattlesnake Island. Ogopogo frequents the waters between his favorite island and Mission Valley and has made journeys to both ends of the lake. Recorded sightings date as far back as the early 1800's. In 1860, John McDougal lost his team of horses when they were pulled under as he was swimming them across the lake in a canoe....never to be seen again.

Ogopogo is dark green in colour, estimated at one to two feet in diameter with a length ranging between 15 to 50 feet. Ogopogo's head is said to resemble that of a horse or goat head with a beard. Ogopogo has been mistaken for a log, boat wake, large sturgeon and other floating mysteries.

The government, in 1926 announced that the new ferry being built for travel across the Okanagan Lake would also be equipped with special "monster repelling devices". Since the construction of the floating bridge, it is assumed that the bridge has enough support and strength to withstand any nuzzling or advances of Ogopogo. Travelers safety while crossing the floating bridge is assured as maintenance crews are often checking for and repairing any damage.

The name Ogopogo was first coined in 1912.Under the name Ogopogo the creature of legend is now the popular tourist mascot of Kelowna.

At points the lake is 1,000 feet deep and Ogie is believed to reside in an underwater cave off Squally Point, a turbulent stretch of lake near Rattlesnake Island across from Peachland. Scientists believe Ogopogo could be a giant serpent, an aquatic dinosaur left over from the Ice Age. The Okanagan Lake mystery is believed to be one of up to 36 other marine phenomena that inhabit our world.

Ogopogo has been sighted by literally hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals who have remained firm in their belief despite the ridicule from legions of nonbelievers. Both sides in the endearing and enduring debate seem to be divided into equal camps. The majority of sightings have been consistently similar. The "fearsome thing" is generally described as having a snake-like body about 20 feet long, dark green skin, with a bearded horse or goat shaped head.

Over the years the excitement surrounding the latest sightings have turned the monster into a worldwide celebrity, rivaling the recognition afforded its Scottish cousin Nessie, the Loch Ness monster. An intensive search and international interest was sparked by the one million dollar reward offered by Lloyd's of London for proof of Ogie's existence.

Despite the renewed frenzy no one could produce undisputed proof to claim the bounty. A few people professed to have captured Ogie on video and in photos, however, this evidence has gone the way of UFO "proof".

The throngs of lookie-loos prompted the local federal politician to call for a bill to protect the monster as an endangered species. The lack of hard evidence has failed to stem the annual pilgrimage of curiosity seekers and media speculators to the area to continue the vigil. Film crews from the Japanese television show "The World's Supernatural Phenomena" and from the US programs "Unsolved Mysteries" and "Inside Edition" have managed to turn the tranquil setting into something resembling an action hero movie. The media invasions have included barges loaded with sonic-detection devices, underwater cameras and frogmen, helicopters and even a one-person submarine. Tantalizing tid-bits and curious clues have been offered, but as yet we have nothing conclusive.

I would like to hear from anyone who is interested in Ogopogo and any other sea monsters, Bigfoot, Chupacabras and Loch Ness. My name is Michael and I am 11 years old. I would like to thank my Uncle, who is an anthropologist in Ontario Canada, for all his help.