Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/23/19
Primary Language: English
Context: The informant is a Canadian-American who has family from the regions surrounding the Okanogan lake, reportedly the home to the “Ogopogo,” a monster treading the waters.
[Speaking face to face]
“So it’s like… Ogopogo, and it lives in… yeah I think it’s the Okanoga. But, um, yeah right so Ogopogo is basically Lochness Monster for Canada and it says like… it’s to live in Okanogan Lake in British Columbia. And it was, according to Wikipedia, it was allegedly seen by the first nation peoples in the 19th century. Um… so it was like… as far as Canadian folklore goes, it kind of all I know.”
KA: How did you hear about that?
“My mom, I think, yeah. Um… but like, everyone knows about Ogopogo in my family, ’cause like, most of my family is from British Columbia. I mean, the Okanogan- like my family lives in the Okanogan, so wait… where is Okanogan Lake because I might’ve actually been there. Oh right, I’m actually closer to this lore than I thought. Um, my aunt lives in Colona, and it’s IN Colona, where the Okanogan Lake is. It’s a very big lake, but… yeah. I think even if you go to the… I think there’s like some mini golf type thing there in Colona, and they have like, an Ogopogo monster… like… in the place. It’s like a family fun center”
Introduced: The informant knows of the legend due to it being socially constructed around them, having family from British Columbia. It was primarily introduced through Informant, (LG)’s mother.
Analysis & Interpretation: The Ogopogo is clearly comparable to the infamous Loch Ness Monster of Scottish folklore. I find it interesting how though it is perceived as such a prevalent part of Scottish culture and identity, particularly regarding inhabitants of areas directly surrounding Loch Ness, it is such an internationally recognized legend. As someone from the U.S., I grew up hearing of Loch Ness and not necessarily attributing that to a specific region; Essentially, anywhere you went with a body of water could potentially be home the infamous Nessie. I’ve found that many children may tend to generalize it and attribute it to their own location. But beyond this, the Ogopogo, very far from reported Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) sitings, has exemplified the globalization of a multi-version mysterious lake creature.
For similar renditions of the hidden lake monster tale in other regions, refer to the Scottish based “Loch Ness Monster” legend at:
History.com. (2019). Loch Ness Monster [Video file] https://www.history.com/topics/folklore/loch-ness-monster-video