Lake Monster of Canada
Credit: Benjamin Radford.
Modern searches and sightings
Lake Okanagan is in British Columbia, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) east of Vancouver. The lake is 84 miles (135 km) long and between 2.5 and 3 miles (4 and 5 km) wide, with an average depth of 249 feet (76 m). The lake has been searched several times, most thoroughly in a 1991 expedition that looked for the monster with high-tech devices, including a remotely operated vehicle and a miniature submarine. The pilot took the vehicle to a depth of 840 feet along the lake bottom at the deepest part of the lake, but no Ogopogos were sighted, nor did the submarine discover any of the creatures' carcasses or bones.
The best film evidence of Ogopogo is about a minute of footage shot in 1968 by a man named Arthur Folden. Folden noticed "something large and lifelike" in the distance out on the calm water and pulled out his home movie camera to capture the object. An investigation I designed and conducted with John Kirk for the National Geographic Channel TV show "Is It Real?" in 2005 revealed that the object Folden filmed was indeed a real animal but its size had been greatly overestimated. It was probably a waterfowl or beaver too far away to be identified, but still leaving an impressive wake in the calm water.
What are eyewitnesses seeing? As with all lake monsters, there is no one specific explanation that accounts for all sightings. There are animals that might be mistaken for a strange creature when seen at or near the water's surface. If Ogopogo is real and exists, what is it? Explanations range from the plausible (manatee, sturgeon or oarfish) to the exotic (a dinosaur or a type of prehistoric whale called the zeuglodon).
Many sightings of the lake monster may not be of any living thing. Lake Okanagan's geological features create long, unusual waves that can look exactly like the monster, down to Ogopogo's signature...
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