April 10, 2009 Features & Images » Feature Story

So… Ogopogo 

Or at least, here be something that feeds our collective appetite for big scary monsters. Belief sold separately

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The MacLeans' experience is a blueprint for the bulk of sightings, which more often than not are made from a boat-before and after happy hour. There's the preternatural calm, sudden rocking, sometimes a thumping sound, undulating dark shapes. Such was the case when John Casorso, scion of a prominent Okanagan family, made a celebrated sighting in August 2004.

Casorso and family were on a houseboat one morning when he heard thumping and thrashing beneath the boat, which then tilted sharply and rocked for several seconds. The lake was dead calm and there were no other boats. He saw what looked like a black, standing wave 30 feet away, picked up his camcorder and for about 15 minutes videotaped a "long writhing shape" submerging and surfacing. The video clearly shows a series of low humps. At times it looks like two parallel objects. To believers, it's the best video yet of Ogopogo.

"The only reason we noticed it is because it passed underneath the houseboat," Casorso told the Kelowna Daily Courier . "We could really feel the power and size of what it was."

And what , exactly, was it? Casorso was unsure enough that he didn't report the sighting until October. Asked why, his answer signals that we've entered a modern age of monster-marketing savvy. He'd shown the video to local Ogopogo expert Arlene Gaal, author of several books on the subject. Her advice had been to sit on it, take it slow, copyright the video. Maybe he retained a lawyer.

Casorso told the Courier he didn't want to rush into it too quickly "...because over the years lots of people have gotten pictures or footage and the response is not always favourable." Whether he was simply mindful of potential scorn and ridicule, or wanted to get his ducks in a row before cashing in with big-time media outlets, one thing is clear: Casorso wasn't the first to keep a sighting to himself. Gaal is certain that the nine other reported sightings that summer were part of a chronic underestimate. The experience of other locals bears her out.

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