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The "Granddaddy of all Ogopogos"


Was a giant (and I mean giant) aquatic monster spotted in the Harrison River in British Columbia in the 1930s?

The following account in its entirety first appeared in the Chilliwack Progress on August 26, 1936:

"Harrison River Ogopogo Dwarfs All Other Ogopogos
"An Ogopogo, thought on account of its enormous length to be the granddaddy of all its mysterious species in the British Columbia waters, made its appearance on the Harrison River above the rapids about 8o'clock Monday morning and caused much excitement among the river folk.
"Unlike the reputed, but elusive, monster of the same name reported to have been seen from time to time in Okanagan Lake and elsewhere along the coast of British Columbia, the Harrison River Ogopogo came down the river in three sections; about a hundred feet in length and about the same distance apart from each other. Old timers on the river who claim to know a little (?) about the whereabouts of Ogopogo and Ogopogology, declare that the creature disjoints itself always when exploring new territory for the first time, though this seeming precaution did not save it later in the near distance.
"The first or head section of the visiting monster was seen shortly before 8 o'clock at the mouth of Old Jim's slough where a number of us were taking our regular morning dip. It was first noticed by Maggie Mills, and Indian girl, when its long eel-like neck shot out of the water to a considerable height.  
"As it emerged dripping from the river and glittering in the sunlight, it resembled in appearance the telescope of a submarine, but on closer scrutiny, it was noticed it wore a sort of beard on its wolf-like face, something after the fashion among billy goats. The bathers scrambled pell mell, puffing and blowing out of the water and clambered for safety like hunted cats up some cottonwood trees that fringe the river bank. From this vantage point an excellent view of the mysterious creature was had as it lay motionless on the lap of the shimmering sun-kissed river. The head was about the size of a bloodhound's and seemed to be on some sort of pivot, swinging it around like an owl in every direction without moving its neck, which stood ten or twelve feet above the water surface. Every few seconds it emitted an eerie hissing whistle, which gave the bathers who had taken refuge in the trees, the shivers.
"Scarcely had the spectators taken their positions, when they were amazed to see a radiant silvery looking object  about a hundred feet in length and as this as 'round as a well developed log come wriggling along with the current and then unite with the head section of the creature. Then came another section and coupled onto the second. This last part, was no doubt, the tail as it tapered off like the tail-gradually to a point not much thicker than a lead pencil, which it raised now and again into the air to a height of twenty or twenty-five feet. Some of the spectators declared they had seen a large eye in the tail, while others no less empathetic, declared it to be a shiny scale. 
"Immediately after the parts became united, the huge creature moved slowly in a graceful curve like a question mark (?) out into mid-channel, turned upstream and breasted the swift sweep of the rive with its head showing six or eight feet above the water. As its tail swung around, it came into contact with a boom of fir logs, which got stranded near the head of Hatchery Island two weeks ago, and, which the combined power of two tugs had not been able to refloat. The rope-like tail of the Ogopogo, as it was swirled around by a whirlpool, got caught in one of the links of the boom chain.
"Finding itself entangled, the gigantic creature leaped its full length of three hundred feet into the air, where, for a second or two, it remained suspended, dazzling like a glorious beam of light above the foam-flecked water. It was a glorious sight-more, far more than enough to dwarf all rival Ogopogos into insignificance.
"Plunging like a flaming meteorite into the river, raising a shower of spray and foam, and with a loud hiss went quivering o'er the water, the stranded boom was seen to move, but only slightly, and an instant later the Ogopogo with the speed of lightning , went up the Harrison River, head and tail above the water, three hundred feet apart."

John Kirk notes in his book In the Domain of the Lake Monsters that the Chilliwack Progress was a small town paper not known for extravagant and fake news stories. But, I feel that this story is a hoax. The person who wrote it seems to have a good time making fun of the Ogopogo subject, saying the creature was the "granddaddy of all its mysterious species," and that "dwarfed all other Ogopogos into insignificance" when it jumped out of the water.

I find lots of other flaws with the account. First, the description is a little too perfect. Second, there were apparently tons of witnesses (who all climbed in trees when the Ogopogo appeared), and I've never seen anything about this story before reading about it in Kirk's book. And, thirdly, the creature is just too giant. A 300 foot Ogopogo? I've heard lots of reports of creatures in Okanagan Lake being up to 70 feet, but 300? And, when I read the account, it sounds to me like the writer is saying that the other sections of the body come through the water and up to the next part. How could they do that? There's also no names of any of the supposed witnesses, and the detail of an "eye" on the tail of the creature.

To me, this story of an encounter with a giant "Ogopogo" screams hoax. A 300 foot monster in the Harrison River? I don't think so.

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