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According to legend from natives of Canada, there was once a man possessed by a demon. The possessed man killed Old Kan-He-Kan, a respected local man. To pay for his sins, the gods changed the murderer into a lake serpent so he would be forever at the scene of the crime and suffer eternal remorse. The lake serpent was named N’ha-A-Itk by the natives, a name that roughly translates to water demon. Lake Okanagan was named in memory of Old Kan-He-Kan.]
N'ha-a-itk which translates to " Water Demon " or " Lake Monster " would demand a toll from travellers for a safe passage through the waters it called home. Its home was said to be the waters near Squally Point near Rattlesnake Island (also known as Monster Island). The fee for safe passage was a live sacrifice. Whenever the Natives who lived around the lake would venture out on the water they would sacrifice a small animal to appease the Monster. They would drop the animal into the water, it would drown and sink to the depths of the lake. This would ensure a protected journey. It was told that the shore of Rattlesnake Island was littered with the gory remnants of the travellers who did not make a sacrifice. N'ha-a-itk would use its mighty tail to whip up the lakes water into a fierce storm that would drown its victims. The white settlers also followed the Natives warnings. Yet the Whiteman also lapsed at times and had to be reminded of the Monsters wrath.
Timbasket was a Chief of a visiting tribe. He was a cynic and declared his disbelief in the existence of N'ha-a-itk. He was told that the West bank Natives intended to sacrifice a live dog to the Monster as they passed Squally Point. Timbasket was unimpressed. He knew far to much of the world to concern himself with such a foolish custom. While crossing the lake Timbasket defiantly chose to travel close to the shore near Squally Point. Suddenly N'ha-a-itk arose from the water and whipped the surface with his powerful tail. Timbasket and his family were sucked under by the great swirl of angry water, never to be seen again.
Perhaps the earliest mention of the Ogopogo was the story of a man in 1860 leading horses that were swimming across the lake near Rattlesnake Island. They were pulled under by some unseen and unknown force later attributed to the then common native myth of the Ogopogo.
In 1926 a sighting is claimed to have occurred at an Okanagan Mission beach. This event was supposedly witnessed by about thirty cars of people who all claimed to have seen the same thing. It was also in this year that the editor of the Vancouver Sun, Bobby Carter, wrote, "Too many reputable people have seen [the monster] to ignore the seriousness of actual facts."
In 1968, the very first video film of Ogopogo was taken by sawmill worker Art Folden. He was driving along Okanagan, and glancing at the lake, he noticed something strange in the water. What Folden saw was near the shore, and he pointed out his sighting to his wife. He stopped his car, and got out to take film of the disturbance.
The creature would dive under the water and then reappear. Upon each reappearance, Folden shot his film. The video shows the creature moving from shore into the deeper waters of the lake, finally diving under for good.
By estimating the height of the trees on shore, it can calculated the the length of the animal that Foley filmed was about 40 feet, approximately the same size as the monster of Loch Ness. The film has been enhanced by investigators, and clearly shows a "dark object" moving through the waters. The film has become known as one of the classics of lake monster lore.
In 1976, Ed Fletcher from Vancouver was with a group of friends on the lake when they saw Ogopogo. The creature remained in view for several hours while the party pursued it back and forth along the shoreline taking pictures. Fletcher turned over to investigators five photographs of a multi-humped creature. They claimed it had two erect ears on its head.
CKIQ and Harv’s put up a cool $10,000 in cash for anyone who could prove that Ogopogo was a sturgeon. I fail to see how anyone could have picked up the cash as how do ‘prove’ that a sturgeon and Ogopogo are the same things. There is just no reasonable methodology for doing this, so I guess from the way the competition was worded nobody could have won the prize.
However, that did not stop people from attempting to fish for sturgeon in Okanagan Lake. I heard of people going out on boats with huge block and tackle in a bid to win the prize money, but despite a fair bit of activity, the $10,000 went unclaimed because not one person was able to pull a sturgeon out of the depths of the lake.