Arlene Gaal,
In Search of Ogopogo:
Sacred Creature of the Okanagan Waters

(Hancock House, 2001)

Ever since time has been recorded, there have been reports of a huge, serpent/dragon-type creature in Okanagan Lake in central British Columbia, Canada. The natives knew him as the sacred, but feared, N'ha-a-itk. Today, he is called Ogopogo. Is he only a myth -- folklore created by elders to scare the younger ones into staying away from the water -- or is there some ancient lifeform inhabiting these otherwise tranquil waters?

Arlene Gaal became fascinated with Ogopogo when she moved to the area in 1968. She has spent the years researching, documenting, interviewing witnesses and archiving records, photos and films. She has become the unofficial expert and consultant on Ogopogo. In this book, she pulls it all together and gives us the latest information on the activities involving the beast.

Gaal's writing style is conversational, even chatty, and it leaves you feeling as if she is sitting beside you telling the story. Her exuberance with the subject matter clearly shines through, making this a stimulating read that you cannot put down until you reach the end. As sure as you find a stopping point, you will flip right on to the next page and delve into more sightings and eyewitness accounts.

In Search of Ogopogo is a heavily illustrated book. It contains many copies of illustrations that were submitted with eyewitness accounts. There are copies of newspaper articles and complete pages, numerous black-and-white photographs and a center section of glossy photographs.

Gaal knows exactly how to feed your craving for mystery. She has included a chapter titled "Other Known Unidentified Swimming Animals." She certainly makes a strong, thorough case for Ogopogo by resorting to passages from the Bible that talk about the "gliding serpent" and the "monster of the sea." In this chapter, you will learn about similar creatures in Scotland, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Britain, Japan, Iceland, U.S.A. and Canada.

The chapter of eyewitness accounts is breathtaking, with a few comical points tossed in. You have to read about the man who decided, ever so briefly, to get the $5,000 reward for "Ogo" by lassoing the creature as it ate. Isn't there always a cowboy with a rope hanging around when anything happens?

The chronology at the end takes us from the 1700s to January 2001. By the time you finish reading, you will be absolutely, positively convinced that Ogopogo is not just a piece of folklore, but a living, breathing specimen from an ancient time that should be protected for future generations.

In Search of Ogopogo is a must-read for the curious. If you have ever wondered about the mysteries of other lifeforms, get this book. If you love a good mystery, order a copy right away. You will not be disappointed. It is a great book for pleasure reading, but is equally important as a research tool about Ogopogo.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 24 January 2004

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