By SERINA PARSONS Special to The Daily Courier
A video showing a long, writhing shape in Okanagan Lake is being investigated as a possible Ogopogo sighting.
Photo: Canada's Beautiful Lake Okanagan at sunset.
John Casorso and his family rented a houseboat to spend some quiet time on the lake, but ended up with intriguing video footage of something mysterious in the water.
On Aug. 9, at 7:30 a.m., he said the houseboat started rocking back and forth fiercely. The rocking woke up the family, who ventured to the top deck to see what was happening. When Casorso reached the deck, he said he was shocked to see something swimming away from the boat.
"The only reason we noticed it is because it passed underneath the houseboat," said Casorso. "We could really feel the power and size of what it was." Casorso acted quickly, retrieving his video camera to get footage of the creature.
He has a total of approximately 15 minutes of video footage that clearly shows a calm lake, no boat movement and a long, dark hump rising above the water.
Casorso said what he saw looked to be about 15 metres long, and there may have been more than one.
"It seemed like, on one occasion, there was at least one parallel to the larger one and at least one behind it," he said. "It couldn't have been a wave because it wasn't dissipating. It remained in the same area for over 10 minutes."
Asked why he decided to wait so long to let the public know about his sighting, Casorso said he took the advice of local Ogopogo expert Arlene Gaal.
Photo Copyright Edward Fletcher. All rights reserved.
The above photograph was taken by Ed Fletcher of North Vancouver while on a skiing excursion on the lake with his family. In the space of an hour Fletcher and his companions followed the monster around the lake and reportedly sighted the animal a dozen times.
Fletcher is adamant that the monster was attracted to his vessel because of electrode emissions emanating from his boat.
BCSCC President John Kirk has also sighted the monster almost as frequently over a period of three years from 1987 - 1990, but the record belongs to Jake Heppner who has reportedly had sightings in the dozens over a 40 year period and a native Indian known only as "Joe" who has also encountered Ogopogo on many occasions in his 80+ plus years of life.
Fletcher, Kirk and Heppner are among thousands who have sighted an animal they have variously described as serpentine; with a horse or sheep-like head; black or dark green in colour; able to appear in the shape of logs and in the form of humps - single or many, coiled or arched or like some great snake.
Measuring in length from 12 to over 70 feet long, Ogopogos have been seen as individuals or in groups of as many as three animals at a time.
"I showed her, and she said we should take it slow," said Casorso. "I also 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."
Gaal, a chronicler of Ogopogo sightings and an author on the subject, said she believes Casorso has an interesting video and has caught on tape what many people believe to be Ogopogo.
"I feel that John has some really good footage that adds to solving the puzzle and mystery of Ogopogo," said Gaal. According to Gaal, there have been nine reported sightings this year, and she suspects there have been more that were not reported due to the ridicule factor surrounding such a story.
Casorso also followed Gall's advice to copyright the video.
He showed it to a few friends first, to get their opinion, and said he enjoyed seeing their reactions. "One thing I like about the video is that it's poor quality at first, but then it gets very clear and people always say, `Wow, what is that?' when they realize there is more there than just wave," Casorso said.
Janet Courtney was one of the people to see the video, and she says it's convincing.
"I believe anything is possible," said Courtney. "But after seeing the video, I'm convinced that there is something there, for sure." Daily Courier news editor Jon Manchester said he's usually skeptical about Ogopogo sightings, but was perplexed after viewing Casorso's video.
"I don't know how to describe it . . . I know I saw something, I don't know what, and it was more than a log floating in the water. It's by far the most convincing Ogopogo evidence I've ever seen."
Casorso has lived in the Okanagan all his life and always thought there was some merit to the Ogopogo legend.
"I would always carry on with my kids that we would see Ogopogo," said Casorso. "We were pretty excited when something actually happened because you never expect to actually see it."
Ogopogo is the subject of the Sci-Fi channel's Proof Positive on Dec. 1 at 8 p.m.