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
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.