Eugene Plawiuk (plawiuk) wrote,
Eugene Plawiuk

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Cryptozoology Part 2


Continued from Part 1

Bigfoot and other beasts: A field guide to unproven animals
CBC News Online | May 5, 2005


Photograph of what some believe to be of the Loch Ness Monster taken in 1961. (AP Photo)
The Loch Ness Monster supposedly swims in the inky depths of northern Scotland’s Loch Ness. The most famous “evidence” for her existence, a 1934 photo that shows a head and neck slicing through the dark waters, was later exposed as a hoax – a plastic and wood model built atop a toy submarine. Not to worry. There are other photos. And Nessie lives still, through tourist sightings and a vibrant Nessie industry that nourishes the legend and the many jobs it provides.

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.


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.



"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."

Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)

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 Paleontology
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.

Sturgeon's Law /prov./ "Ninety percent of everything is crap". Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, who once said, "Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That's because 90% of everything is crud."

ect Flathead Lake
Sparkling Playground

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.

A Not-Quite-Official Flathead Monster
Sighting Data-Collection Project

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



(Lost Worlds Exhibition)

Lake Monsters of North America

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?

By Laney Hanzel
From the Flathead Lake Monitor, July, 1995

Sighting Data-Collection Project


A web site dedicated to the possible existence of a Seal with a long neck.......


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
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.

Strange Science:

Dinosaurs and Dragons

Despised in the West and revered in the East, dragons have a long history in human mythology. "Dragon" bones appeared throughout the world. We now know that those bones really belonged to animals long extinct. Starting in the early 19th century, scientists began to find a new kind of monster, extinct for tens of millions of years before the first humans evolved, but able to be resuscitated by science fiction writers — and Hollywood.

Many Other Mysterious Creatures

Tags: canada, cryptozology, endagered species, lake monsters, sea serpents, sturgeon
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