Wanted: Canada's Loch Ness monster

British Columbia's mysterious "Ogopogo" has a price on its slippery head.

Published May 16, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Loch Ness, eat your heart out -- Canada has its very own, equally elusive lake beast.

"Ogopogo" is the creature's name, and it is rumored to live in Okanagan Lake, in southern British Columbia. For decades, residents of the area have reported sightings of the giant water monster; the area's original Native American inhabitants, according to a Reuters report, called it N'Ha-a-itk, or "The Lake Demon."

Unfortunately, nobody has been able to prove that the mythical lake dweller exists. Okanagan Lake is 97 miles long and 1,800 feet deep, providing Ogopogo with plenty of places to hide. Several years ago, Japanese researchers attempted to locate the beast using radar, but their funding ran out before they could spot a ridged back, red eyes or spiked tail.

Now, however, everybody has a chance to prove there really is an Ogopogo. The Penticton Chamber of Commerce has put a Can$2 million (about U.S.$1.3 million) price on the monster's head. Anyone who can come up with scientific proof that the monster exists -- and is not just an oversized sturgeon -- will take home the money.

"There has to be something out there," said Chamber of Commerce manager John Singleton to the Canadian Press. "There's too many people who have seen something."

Sound familiar?

By J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to DailyPlanet@salon.com.

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