It was today in 2019 that a man standing next to a large, deep lake took a video of ripples in the water that he said was proof of a giant sea creature that many thought was only a myth.
You may have thought I was describing the Loch Ness Monster there, but in this case, it was another giant sea creature in another large, deep lake: this one is called the Ogopogo, and legend says it lives in Okanagan Lake in Canada’s British Columbia.
Some people have pegged it as 120 feet long; the statue near the waterfront is more like 15 feet, and gift shops have sold Ogopogo “eggs” to tourists.
Sightings peaked in the mid-1980s, when the tourist office offered a million bucks to anyone who could catch it – alive – and locals swear even the great underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau wanted to see the creature for himself.
But the story of the Ogopogo is complicated.
It’s what Europeans took out of beliefs from the Okanagan/syilx people, who first lived in the area.
They call it n ̓x̌ax̌aitkʷ (pronounced “n-ha-ha-it-koo”), which means “the sacred spirit of the lake.”
They believe that long ago, when they made an offering to the water spirit, Europeans thought they were trying to feed an actual creature.
The Europeans took the name Ogopogo from a folk song, and then people started reporting seeing those ripples in the water and the story grew and grew.
Local scientists will tell you that’s all caused by something called thermal stratification, multiple layers of water at different temperatures and different densities sort of sliding over one another and creating a rippling effect that’s seen in many lakes but is sometimes called an “Ogopogo wave.”
The spirit of Okanagan Lake in action, you might say.
People in Vilnius, Lithuania, found a clever way to connect with people in other parts of the world even when they couldn’t travel there: they built a large circular portal!
When you stand in front of it, you can see a live feed from Lublin, Poland, about 375 miles away.
And they have a portal, too, so they can see back into Vilnius.
You can’t travel through the portals though. Yet.
Photo by aa440 via Flickr/Creative Commons