Between August 2000 and September 2001 three companies from around Lake Okanegan promised $2 million to anyone who could find definitive, living proof that the fabled Ogopogo monster did exist. The crime the creature committed is hard to say, although there are stories of it seizing and murdering helpless native people out on the lake. It cannot be denied that the Ogopogo is a serial offender at causing civil unrest. Lake Okanegan is in British Columbia, Canada. It is around 100 miles long and has areas almost 1000 feet deep. The native Salish tribe believed in a terrible serpent, which they called ‘N’ha-a-tik’, the ‘Lake Demon’. They said the beast had a cave dwelling near the middle of the lake, and they would often make sacrifices to please the monster. European settlers initially scoffed at the legends, but over the years the Ogopogo has established itself in the minds of many who live nearby.
From the mid 1800s white immigrants started seeing strange phenomena in the lake. One of the first stories told of a man crossing the lake with his two tethered horses swimming behind. Some strange force pulled the animals under, and the man only saved himself by cutting the horses loose. Witnesses say the creature is anything up to 50 feet long, with green skin, several humps and a huge horse-like head. Some people have managed to closely view it as it ate water vegetation; they said the Ogopogo also had small feet or fins.
Some cryptozoologists, individuals who study the possibility of such creatures as sea and lake monsters truly existing, have theorized that plesiosaurs, one of the giant reptiles of the Mesozoic Age, which ended about 70 million years ago, could have survived in the depths of the relatively unchanged environment of Earthl’s oceans. Because some sea monster sightings occur in cold waters, other researchers favor the survival of an ancient species of mammals, such as the ancestor of the whale known as Zeuglodon or Basilosaurus. The Basilosaurus had a slim, elongated, snakelike body measuring more than 70 feet in length which the huge creature propelled by means of a single pair of fins at its forward end. British cryptozoologist Dr. Karl Shuker has categorized the Ogopogo as a ‘many hump’ variety of lake monster, and suggested it may be a kind of primitive serpentine whale such as Basilosaurus. However, because the physical evidence for the beast is limited to unclear photographs and film, it has also been suggested that the sightings are misidentifications of common animals, such as otters, and inanimate objects, such as floating logs.
Another suggestion is that the Ogopogo is a lake sturgeon. It could be the North American cousin of the Loch Ness Monster. Most sightings have come from around the city of Kelowna, near the centre of the lake, and many monster watchers now agree that it seems to live in the area originally indicated in native legend.
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