Although Nessie is the most famous lake-based monster, there are plenty of others – as this edition of Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World demonstrates. The delightfully named Ogopogo is one such creature, although his fame hasn’t really spread outside of Canada.
He, and presumably his ancestors, have been swimming around Okanagan Lake in British Columbia since at least the middle of the 19th century. We open by observing a call-in show at the local radio station, where anyone who’s spotted the Ogopogo is invited to ring in. I have to confess to being somewhat amused by the second caller – she declined to give her name on air (for fear of being ridiculed) but it does seem that she then appears on camera to explain her story in a little more depth. If you wish to retain your anonymity then appearing on television probably isn’t the wisest move! According to this article, Ogopogo is the world’s most documented lake monster.
Whilst many of those who claim to have seen a monster rising from a lake are credible witnesses, it does remain easy to dismiss their sightings as either hoaxes or cases of mistaken identity. But when three men of the cloth claim to have seen a monster, it’s harder to accept that they’re lying. Lough Ree in Ireland, back in 1960, was the place where Father Burke, Father Murray and Monseigneur Quigly had their strange encounter. Wonderfully, the program puts them back in their boat in the middle of the lake to tell their tale. It’s a tad disappointing the beast of Lough Ree didn’t make another appearance when the cameras were rolling though.
The Loch Ness Monster remains far and away the best known of all the lake monsters. We hear a little more from Alex Campbell (briefly featured in the first programme) who claims to have seen the monster eighteen times. Next up is Peter McNabb, who back in 1951 took a famous picture of what he believes to be Nessie. This pro-Nessie blog is certainly convinced. It’s no surprise that Arthur remains much more skeptical though.
One of the most famous Nessie hunters, Tim Dinsdale, is interviewed. In 1960 he caught what he considered to be monster on film. As he returned countless times to Loch Ness over the decades it’s hard to imagine that he was involved in a deliberate fraud – if he was, then surely one visit would have been enough? More recent research indicates that his film may have captured something as prosaic as a boat. See here for further information.
Arthur gives the notion of lake monsters a big thumbs down, but as with all these mysteries there’s still plenty of people about who wish to believe, so the legends will continue.