Case File: Ogopgo
Location: Lake Okanagan near Kelowna, British Columbia
Date: 1937 to present
History: Ogopogo is the name of a mysterious creature of large size said to live in Canada's Lake Okanagan in the province of British Columbia. The local Indians called the beast Naitaka, or "lake demon" and often sacrificed small animals to appease the creature. Today, three hundred years later, many locals still believe that the sea monster is real. The creature has been seen or reported several times by locals Horace Simpson, Beverly Harder and Ernest Girou. In fact, hundreds of sightings of Ogopogo are reported every year, but no film footage was captured until 1968 when Art Folden and his wife were driving next to the lake and they noticed something strange on the lake. Their film shows a dark object diving, and reappearing from shallow water into deeper water. The dark mass in Art's film is estimated to be forty feet long.
In 1980, a group of vacationers also observed something they saw was Ogopogo. One of them, Larry Thal, had a home movie camera and filmed what he saw; his footage later examined by Arlene Gaal, an Ogo Pogo author and researcher. To her, Larry's footage revealed intriguing details:
"Larry's film shows how the animal swims. It shows the speed and the massive waves that it creates. It actually shows that it has some sort of appendage that seems to pop up every now and then, but the interesting thing is that the animal that Art Folden shot and the animal that Larry Thal shot are basically the same size. They're very large creatures. In Larry's film, we're seeing a creature at least forty to sixty feet from head to tail."
On July 18th, 1989, 78-year-old Clem Chaplin showed his son, Ken, an inlet where he thought he had seen Ogopogo. Ken took his video camera and staked out the area and eventually taped a creature that appeared to be hairless, greenish in color, spotted, and about fifteen feet long, less than half the size measured in the Folden and Thal films. Ken reports, "I saw its features as being snake or lizard-like. No fur or hair, and you can see the body thrashing behind it. It brought its tail section out of the water. Dad and I were stunned into silence. He turned to me and he said, 'You know if that tail hit a man it'd probably kill him.' and I agreed. That was our impression as to size. He had appeared swimming parallel to the shore and swam right past us, at maybe sixty to seventy five feet away."
Ken's video images made headlines in Time Magazine and many newspapers. However, many are skeptical that the video actually is of the mysterious creature. To this date, there is still debate on whether or not the Ogopogo exists.
Investigations: Experts were called in to analyze Ken Chaplin's video. One of them was regional wildlife biologist Robert Lincoln who believed the footage was not a hoax. His impression was that tape showed a live, living animal, likely, a river otter or a beaver. He compared a video frame from Ken's footage with a photograph of a beaver about to slap its tail on the surface of the water; the two are mirror images of each other. Ken Chaplin, however, believed the creature he saw was too large to be a beaver. Gaal speculates it could have been a miniature Ogopogo.
Extra Notes: This case originally ran on the February 7, 1990 episode.
Ogopogo has also been featured on "Destination Truth," "Monster Quest," and "Sightings."
- The Ogopogo on Unsolved.com
- The Ogopogo on Wikipedia
- Ogopogo - The Okanagan's Friendly Lake Monster
- Ogopogo on Kelowna tourism website
- Man Releases 18-Year-Old Pictures of ‘Ogopogo’, Canada’s Lake Monster
- Ogopogo: Canada's Loch Ness Monster