Being British I was always under the impression that Nessie ruled the roost when it came to mysterious lake monsters – I was wrong! The Ogopogo sea monster came into the public eye long before the Loch Ness monster in 1926…
The Canadian Cousin
The Ogopogo sea monster is known to many as “Nessie’s Canadian Cousin”. It resides in Lake Okanagan, Canada and has many myths and legends surrounding it.
The stories were passed down through generation to generation over the years and are thought to have started off with the native Indians.
The Indians were very aware of the lake monster which they called N’ha-a-itk as it lived nearby in a cave close to Kelowna.
The Indians would refrain from using a canoe over this part of the water due to the threat of N’ha-a-itk dragging them down into the deep. It is said that if it was necessary to canoe over this section of the lake they would take a small animal to act as a decoy/sacrifice for the monster.
There are quite literally thousands of sightings of the Ogopogo sea monster over the years and they all seem to center around the same characteristics.
It is reported to have the long body of a snake that reaches up to about 70 feet in length. It has a certain dark green tinge to its scaly skin and sports two humps which protrude out of the water.
To begin with the monster was considered nothing more than a danger to humanity. Armed men used to patrol the lake in fear of the beast coming to shore and attacking their families.
Of course this was a long time ago now and the views on the creature have changed significantly. It is considered a much more peaceful part of mother nature now!
The John Allison family
Before the turn of the century the Allison’s settled at a small community near Kelowna named Westbank. It was the head of the family ( John ) who had to travel across the Okanagan Lake to keep the supplies coming in.
On one of his trips a ferocious storm hit the area and stopped him from returning with the supplies to his family. After a period of time his wife became very anxious due to him not returning.
She braved the storm and traveled to the lake’s edge to see if she could spot her husband returning from his trip. As she scanned the waters she noticed a large, motionless object in the middle of the lake.
She didn’t think that much of it at first until it decided to move against the storm at a shocking speed! It crashed through the waves as if they were not there and it seemed to take on the bad weather without any problems at all.
After a short time the creature submerged and the stunned woman returned to the family home. When John Allison finally arrived home he found his wife in a state of shock by what she had seen.
Mr Allison was lucky enough to have found a good friend in an earlier settler named John McDougall.
He worked in the area as a guide due to the fact he was part Indian and he also settled in the Kelowna area.
One fateful day he was contacted by Allison to help out with the haying on his property so he decided to swim two fine horses across to aid him with the task. He usually stuck to the regime of bringing a small sacrifice with him to offer to the Ogopogo sea monster but on this particular day he was rushed so he forgot!
He carefully towed the horses behind his boat across the lake until they were suddenly pulled down into the depths of the lake. It all happened very quickly and all of a sudden John’s canoe was going under with the horses. He pulled out a knife and cut the line to the horses to save himself.
He paddled to shore in a complete panic – nothing was ever seen of the two horses again!
In 1925 a news report was released on the subject of enormous bones being found in the lake and then being sent on to Victoria.
The fisheries in Victoria tested the bones and came to the conclusion that they were actually whale bones.
Another similar story covered the discovery of a 20-foot hammerhead shark corpse found in the lake. Both Whale and shark are NOT freshwater animals and are always found in the ocean – could this be a sign that the lake has connecting tunnels to the ocean?
What’s more fascinating is the similarities between Okanagan Lake and the Loch Ness in Scotland. They are extremely long and narrow and very, very deep. The temperature of the water in each is near enough exactly the same and both share the same aquatic life.
So are Nessie in Loch Ness and Ogopogo in Lake Okanagan distant cousins? Do they indeed exist and continue to thwart man’s attempts to locate them?
What do you think?