Continued from Part 1
Bigfoot and other beasts: A field guide to unproven animals
CBC News Online | May 5, 2005
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Ogopogo is a Nessie-like creature that lives in B.C.’s Lake Okanagan. The creature was supposedly first spotted by aboriginal residents in the 19th century. Variously described as a five-metre to 20-metre-long, greenish, snake-like creature, it is usually detected by its “humps” that break the water. It supposedly has a head like a horse or a goat. Some accounts have it with a beard. Skeptics scoff, saying people are just seeing an optical illusion caused by waves or wind effects or boat wakes. Ogopogo believers say hundreds of eyewitness accounts can’t be wrong.
Manipogo/Winnipogo/Igopogo/Sicopogo Name a deep, dark lake in Canada and chances are someone has seen something strange swimming in it. Western Canada has no fewer than 19 lakes with some kind of sea serpent dwelling therein. In central Saskatchewan, for instance, locals tell of something with the head of a seahorse that swims around Turtle Lake. It’s been called, simply, the Turtle Lake Monster.
Ogopogo’s famous moniker has, in fact, led to a school of similar names. Sicopogo lives in British Columbia’s Shuswap Lake. Ontario’s Lake Simcoe has been host to rare sightings of a large, sea lion-like creature that’s been dubbed Igopogo.
Manipogo has apparently made several appearances in Lake Manitoba. Winnipogo – you guessed it – prefers the waters of Manitoba’s Lake Winnipegosis.
And then there’s Memphre, the sea monster that has been spotted in Quebec’s Lake Memphramagog off and on for almost two centuries. It has been described as a dark animal, five to 15 metres in length, and is apparently a good swimmer.
Cadborosaurus (“Caddy” for short) is a flippered sea serpent that frequents the waters off B.C.’s Vancouver Island. It’s named after B.C.’s Cadboro Bay.
Kraken was a legendary sea monster of Newfoundland and Norwegian folklore. The myth terrified generations of mariners who heard tales of a giant creature with huge arms and tentacles that could embrace a ship and crush the hull. Before you scoff, some experts believe that what the sailors may have been seeing was a giant squid – a very real but rarely-seen marine creature that has arms up to 11 metres long.
In 1990, Canada Post issued a series of four stamps paying tribute to four of the country’s most persistent and best-known cryptids – the Kraken, Sasquatch, Ogopogo, and Loup Garou (the werewolf).
Huevelmans book " In Search of Unknown Animals" included other animal oddities such as giant squid and
octupus that I have documented here in my Cuthulu Talesand which the
CBC article refers to as Kraken. The Kraken or giant squid is a sea tale that has impacted
Canadian folk legends based more on Atlantic sightings than Pacific.
And it is the Gulf Stream that seems to be where these findings in the
last century have been most predominant. Again truth is stranger than
friction, and dead bodies of giant squid and octopus keep washing
ashore every few years just to confuse the doubters and skeptics.
THE MONSTER IN NORTH AMERICAN FRESH WATER LAKES IS AN ANCIENT FOSSIL FISH
We have a great deal of very deep glacial lakes in Western Canada and the adjoining American States, whether it is the Okanagan Lake in B.C. or Flathead Lake which borderd Montana and Idaho. And here we have a long history of sightings of fresh water monsters like Nessie in Scotland. And while Nessie has not been discovered, the real story behind the Ogopogo or the Flathead Lake monster or those in Manitoba and the Great Lakes must be treated with a deal more seriousness. I would contend that the sightings are a really living existing ancient dinosaur fish.
It is the sturgeon the ancient fossil fish. Now most folks think of
caviar when they think of sturgeon, but these fresh water fish are
pominant in Alberta and across the region. And they are elusive and
long lived and can way up to 200 lbs. These are big , ugly fish, with
teeth, and eyes deep as the abyss.
Most of the descriptions of the fresh water monsters seen in North America match the sturgeon. And they do have a horse like face, with teeth, and when covered in moss, freshwater polps and seaweed, they would look pretty frightening.
And the Alberta Fresh Water Sturgeon are now on the Endangered Species list for Canada which shows how rare they are.
That this fish can live for 100 TO 200 years is awesome and fascinating, that it lives at the bottom rarely to surface is the reason they are hard to find and live long. They also are hard to catch and when you do in some cases fishermen have had to use trucks and winches to hall them ashore, and not without significant struggle.
This fish is a fresh water monster, and is seen so rarely that vacationers may only spot the serpert like wake it leaves on the surface giving rise to the lake monster legends.
Is this the solution to these fresh water sightings? Scientists early on dismissed these sightings as being 'just the common sturgeon". There is nothing common about the sturgeon and to dismiss the fact their may be really old large, monster sturgeon in our fresh water lakes is enough to give credence to what people have seen. Check out the section below on sturgeon.
Another theory has it that the fresh lake monsters are long necked seals, itself a whole other catagory of cryptozological creature. And while an interesting hypothesis, I will stick to my theory that what people have seen is the rare occasional sighting of an ancient dinosaur fish, the sturgeon.
Finally dragons of course were considered non existant until the
discovery of fossils, and now we equate them with dinosaurs. In fact
like the legend of the Kraken, now known as the Giant Squid, dragons may
have been the remnants of some yet undetermined 'great lizard'. Or as one
wag has written; crocodiles, in England.
Cryptozoology is a science founded by dissident, or heretic if you like, scientists, who deal with these legends on an empirical basis.Heuvelmans and Velikovsky both came from the Free Univeristy of Berlin, a unique university that early on based their teaching of science on a humanistic philosophy of interdepartemental studies. Thus the creative thinking in science, radical science if you like, is not the scientism of the skeptic or the techologist, but the little heresies of Cryptozoology and Catastrophism of Heuvelmans and Velikovsky.
ANCIENT SURVIVORS OF THE DEEP"
"If you've ever had a chance
to look into the eyes of a sturgeon, there are unfathomable depths
there that take you back millennia; they take you back ages and ages
ago. And having looked into the eyes of a sturgeon, you can fully
understand that these animals swam practically unchanged from the way
they are today when dinosaurs walked the earth."
Sturgeon A living "dinosaur" of the fish world, this unusual species is torpedo-shaped and armor-plated. Instead of scales, the sturgeon's large brown or grey body is covered with tough, leather-like tissue and five rows of bony plates. It has a shark-like, upturned tail and a pointed snout with four barbels, or tissue filaments.
These leathery giants can live up to 100 years, the longest life span of Alberta's cool-water fishes. The biggest sturgeon reported in Alberta weighed 48 kg (105 lbs) and was 155 cm (61 inches) in length. Despite its name, the lake sturgeon is strictly a river fish in Alberta. It occurs in the North and South Saskatchewan river systems.
Sturgeon do not spawn until they are about 15 years old. Spawning then takes place in late spring, every five years or so. Large females produce up to 500 000 eggs.
The sturgeon is mostly a bottom feeder. Its varied diet includes tiny organisms such as insect larvae, plant material, clams and some fish and fish eggs.
Sturgeon fishing is very restricted to preserve this unusual and interesting species. See the Sturgeon Management Plan for an explanation of current management strategies.
Scientists eager to learn about big fish
They hope to track the path of the 40-year-old: a rare sturgeon found washed up Friday.
|[Times photo: Lara Cerri]
Monday’s necropsy did not reveal the cause of the sturgeon’s death, but scientists hope tissue samples will help determine its origin.
By LEANORA MINAI, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 19, 2002
ST. PETERSBURG -- To the untrained eye, it is a large and strange-looking fish.
To scientists, it is a gem.
Marine biologists and others are dazzled over the discovery of the largest sturgeon found in the Tampa Bay area since 1897, and one of only a handful found here in the last century.
"It's truly a living relic," said Daniel Roberts, a research scientist at the Florida Marine Research Institute in St. Petersburg, where a necropsy was performed Monday on the sturgeon. "Most people have never seen any of these fish. They're very rare."
Now researchers are trying to learn how the fish got here. Did it take an incredibly bad turn, or are the prehistoric-looking creatures making a comeback in this region?
Biologists do not know what killed the sturgeon, which washed up Friday in a Shore Acres neighborhood.
The fish, a 40-year-old female, was plump with 10 pounds of ripe, black eggs -- high-quality caviar, which would have brought an estimated $6,500.
Marine biologists are curious about the origin of this particular fish. They have long believed the sturgeon, plentiful in the Gulf of Mexico before 1900, disappeared from the Tampa Bay area.
"We have been assuming that the Tampa Bay stocks are gone," said Roberts, 52, also director of a sturgeon habitat study by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "We just thought there weren't any more, that they couldn't live here anymore, and to find one, especially a big ripe female, is exciting."
In the late 1800s, more flesh and caviar from sturgeon was harvested in Tampa Bay than any other fishery port in the Gulf of Mexico, including New Orleans. Since then, the sturgeon has been threatened with extinction, killed off by overfishing, dams and pollution.
Sturgeon are known to migrate from January to April and spawn in freshwater -- the Mississippi, Pearl, Escambia, Yellow, Choctawhatchee, Apalachicola and Suwannee rivers.
Biologists have tagged and monitored sturgeon to determine where the fish go when they leave freshwater spawning grounds.
"We've never found a spawner in a river that flows into Tampa Bay," Roberts said.
That makes Roberts wonder whether this fish was headed to reproduce at a river that feeds Tampa Bay -- the Alafia or Hillsborough. That would be a first.
"I think it would add a renewed significance and be a measure of sorts of environmental protection," Roberts said. "It would give us some hope that the things we're doing to protect our environment may actually be working to some small degree."
Roberts also said this particular fish might have strayed, taken a wrong turn and gotten lost on her way to spawn in the Suwannee River, where a healthy population of sturgeon exists. Sturgeon are docile and swim and feed on the bottom in water 3-feet to hundreds of feet deep.
After Monday's necropsy, Roberts still does not know why the fish died but hopes that after studying tissue samples, he will be able to determine whether it is from the Suwannee River species.
"We would like to know the history of this fish," Roberts said. "Where did it come from? And why is it in Tampa Bay during the spawning season?"
Part of an old monitoring tag was found on the 40-year-old fish, suggesting it was being tracked by scientists at one time. The fish also had a small hole under its belly. "It could have been a spear," Roberts said.
Still, Roberts does not believe a fisherman tried to kill the sturgeon for its flesh and caviar.
"Maybe it got hooked up or tied up in a fish net," Roberts said. "It didn't look like it had been hit by a boat. It didn't have any shark bites on it. . . . It's a fish tale."
Sturgeon are the oldest living species of fish, dating back more than 250-million years. They existed at the same time as the dinosaurs and have been described as "living fossils."
The Society of Vertebrate
Founded in 1940 by thirty-four paleontologists, the Society now has almost 2,000 members representing professionals, students, artists, preparators, and others interested in VP. It is organized exclusively for educational and scientific purposes, with the object of advancing the science of vertebrate paleontology.
ect Flathead Lake
Before roads and railroads, there was the lake. Boats, canoes, steamers and barges plied the waters of Flathead Lake, transporting goods and people. Today, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi has changed from a water route to a water playground.
At 28 miles long and up to 15 miles wide, Flathead Lake's sparkling waters and miles of tree-lined shore offer unlimited recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat.
Swimming below the surface are trophy-size trout, yellow perch and whitefish. But take care! The locals say this deep lake (up to 386 feet deep in some areas) has its own monster. While not as well publicized as its Scottish cousin, the monster has been sighted regularly since 1889.
Strangers in a Strange Land
Monster Body of Water Landmark State Country Manipogo Lk Manitoba Manitoba Canada Caddy (cadborosaurus) Cadboro Bay Vancouver Island British Columbia Canada Cape Bonavista Newfoundland Canada Ogopogo Lk Okanagan British Columbia Canada Charlie Lk Charleston Kingston Ontario Canada Old Ned Lk Utopia New Brunswick Canada Cressie (cressiteras agnulouida) Crescent Lake Newfoundland Canada Memphre Lk Memphremagog Vermont/Quebec USA/Can Tizherak (Pal Rai Yuk) Key Island Alaska USA Paint River Michigan USA Ponik Lk Pohenegamock Quebec/Maine Can/USA Lk Leelanau Michigan USA Gloucester Massachusetts USA Flathead Monster Flathead Lake Montana USA Champ Lk Champlain New York/Vermont USA Altamaha-Ha Darien Georgia USA South Bay Bessie Lk Erie Ohio USA White River Monster White River Newport Arkansas USA Illie Illamna Lake Alaska USA Tessie Lk Tahoe California USA Capital Lake* Olympia Washington USA San Francisco Bay Stinson Beach California USA Kessingland Sea Serpent Lowestoft, Norfolk England GB Morag Loch Morar Scotland GB Nessie Loch Ness Scotland GB Nahuelito Nahuel Huapi Lake Bariloche Argentina Selma Lk Seljordsvatnet Norway Nyami Lk Kariba/Zambezi River Africa Vancanavar Lk Van Turkey Trunko Margate South Africa Incanyamba Umgeni River Kwazulu-Natal South Africa Storsie Lk Storsjon Sweden Gryttie Lk Gryttjen Sweden
* The Capital Lake monster was purported a large fish
Strange things in the water.
Loch Ness isn't the only lake with a reputation for a Monster. In North America many large, deep, cold water lakes have stories about monsters that go back to before the arrival of Europeans:
"Champ" of Lake Champlain - Lake Champlain is a large lake that defines much of the border between the State of Vermont and the State of New York. This body of water is over a hundred miles long and at times thirteen miles wide offering excellent cover for a monster. .
The most interesting modern report of Champ was in 1977 by Sandra Mansi. Using her Kodak Instamatic she snapped a picture of a long necked creature emerging from the water. While the photo appears to be authentic the negative was lost limiting the amount of analysis that can be done.
For more information on this phenomena, check out our "Champ of Lake Champlain" page..
"Ogopogo" of Okanagan Lake - Stories of Ogopogo go back to before white men settled this section of British Columbia, Canada. The Native Americans called it "Natiaka" meaning "The Lake Monster." The current name comes form a song parody written in 1926.
Modern reports of the monster seem to have surged in the 1920's. One, in November 1926, involved 50 to 60 people viewing the monster when they'd come to the lake edge for a baptism ceremony.
In addition to scores of reports, there have been alleged photos of the monster, but most of them were of poor quality. No scientific investigation of the monster has been made. The lake, itself, is very much like Loch Ness. Cold, deep water (800 feet) some 79 miles long and 2 1/2 miles wide.
"Manipogo" of Lake Manitoba - The name here is a derivative of the better known "Ogopogo." As with Ogopogo there were early Native American sightings and some reports by settlers. Then in 1962 two men in a boat got a picture. Looking like a snake in the water the picture isn't clear enough to prove the existence of the monster. The appearance does match up with other eye-witness reports of the creature: A long tubular body at least a foot in diameter.
In the early 60's Professor James A. McLeod of Manitoba University investigated the creature by trying to locate it's remains. If there is a breeding population in the lake they should be leaving carcasses and bones when they die. McLeod found none.
There have been occasional sightings of monsters at other lakes and rivers in North America including Flathead Lake, Montana and the White River in Arkansas. (Some authorities believe the Arkansas sighting was a lost elephant seal.) A monster reported in the late 1800's in Silver Lake, New York, turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by a local hotel owner who profited from the resulting tourist dollar.
What Are Your Chances of Sighting the Monster?
Sighting Data-Collection Project
SURREAL SEAL CAMPAIGN
The theory of a Seal with a long neck was proposed in its modern form by Dr Bernard Heuvelmans, a zoologist, in the late 1950s as an attempt to explain sightings of long necked `Sea Serpents` that typically described some mammalian and very seal like characteristics. These included descriptions of hair, fur and even whiskers, accounts which could have been describing seals except for the fact that these creatures appeared to have longer necks than presently known Pinnipeds.
Strangers in a Strange Land relates the discovery of crocodiles in England.The animal was found in 1856 or 1857, on a farm at Over-Norton. How several crocodiles came to be found in the north of Oxfordshire and in Staffordshire over a number of years early in the last century remains unanswered, unless a small number of invaders had established a colony in Britain. The other possibility would seem more preposterous than Prof. Owen's explanation, that these strange crocodiles were not strangers to Britain at all and had lived there as native fauna. Perhaps, the last specimens of British dragons were killed by stick, stone, and pickaxe by commoners, and not by St. George.