Thursday, 22 August 2013

Nessie, Ogopogo and John Kirk





I recently tuned into Ken Gerhard's radio interview with cryptozoologist John Kirk to hear his views on the Loch Ness Monster as well as other freshwater cryptids. Imagine my surprise then when he came straight out and said there was no cryptid in Loch Ness and it was all a matter of misidentification and hoaxes. In the few minutes he spent on Nessie, he basically focused on the Surgeon's Photo and that was about it.

Disappointed with that assessment from someone who actually believes that large unknown creatures inhabit lakes, I consulted his chapter on Loch Ness in his 1998 book, "In the Domain of the Lake Monsters". It was a chapter which was inconclusive on Nessie and again spent large amounts of space on the recent research by Alastair Boyd and David Martin on the Wilson photograph. Overall, he wrote that he did not find the photographic or eyewitness evidence credible.

Okay, he is entitled to his opinion, as I am entitled to now respond as someone who is more familiar in the matter of the Loch Ness Monster (as he is undoubtedly more familiar with the Lake Okanagan Monster).

So, firstly in the matter of photographic evidence. I went to the website of his own British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club (of which he is a co-founder) and examined their page on Ogopogo. In the light of what John said about the quality of the Loch Ness Monster evidence, I was expecting to see images of a superior quality. Go to the page and judge the three images for yourself. If this was the banner page for Ogopogo, I would have expected something better.

John Kirk himself has claimed to have seen Ogopogo eleven times in total. A look across the net via Google did not seem to yield any photographs or videos taken by him on those occasions. I am not doubting his claims, but where can I see the images he recorded? In fact, a general search of the web for Ogopogo pictures, brings up a sequence of images that I would not consider superior to Loch Ness Monster images. Moreover, I could not find one image purporting to be the head and neck of the creature. Can somebody point me to some website? Either, these images do not exist or they are very well hidden.

John's dismissal of Loch Ness sightings as misidentifications needs to carefully said. The reason being the explanations he gives against a Loch Ness cryptid must of necessity be equally applied to all claimed Ogopogo sightings. In his book, John claimed there are more recorded Ogopogo sightings than Nessie ones. As I recall, Henry Bauer listed about 600 sightings in his 1988 book, "The Enigma of Loch Ness". A recent database update puts the figure over 1,000 while others claim more.

Are there more than 1,000 Ogopogo sightings on the record? I am not suggesting every Loch Ness Monster report is a bone fide monster, but I am pretty sure that assumption can be also applied to the list of Ogopogo sightings.

It should not surprise John that the Ogopogo sceptics apply the same arguments to his creature as he does to the Loch Ness Monster and come to the same conclusion about Ogopogo as he does about Nessie. Is this consistent?

Let me then sum up my opinion on the matter. John says he has seen Ogopogo eleven times and on those experiences he firmly grounds his convictions. But people at Loch Ness claim to have seen the Loch Ness Monster and sometimes in better circumstances than him. Should their conviction be any less than John Kirk's? I would say not.

I accept the idea of a cryptid in Lake Okanagan and I accept it on the same grounds I would for a creature in Loch Ness. I think John should accept the same for a creature in Loch Ness on the same grounds he would for a creature in Lake Okanagan.

As an aside, John also talked about his expeditions to Africa in search of the Mokele Mbembe cryptid. In the light of talk about close up sightings but no photos, may I make a suggestion? On the next expedition, leave the various tribes with digital cameras and a good supply of batteries. Come back in a year or two and see what they have come up with. Better still, leave your email or phone number and they can send the pictures by Internet without anyone needing to step on a plane.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me!










33 comments:

  1. You have a point there GB. I too have read his book a good number of years back.

    I think that mindset stems from the fact that Loch Ness is the worlds archetype for such creatures. Considering it's been rife with hoaxes, storytelling for tourism's sake, and decades upon decades of modern era scrutiny with virtually nothing to show, lake monster advocates have no choice but to focus onto other locations that still have potential for a creature. Nessie has been horribly tainted.

    These other lake legends like okanagan or champlain generally are more provincial and haven't suffered from being all 'played out'.

    Jon

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    1. Yes, Loch Ness has acquired a lot of unwanted baggage being the "pin-up" for aquatic cryptids. Even the recent Spanish carcass is being referred to as a Loch Ness Monster.

      I don't know the level of research at Okanagan, but I would certainly welcome more sonar and surface work at such places.

      If a cryptid is ever found in such places, it boosts all lake monsters in general, including Nessie.

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    2. If I recall my facts correctly, america apparently enjoyed quite a heyday with the whole new england sea serpert sightings in the 1800's and I believe lake champlain's monster enjoyed a similar fad around the same era. However it all dropped off the map in the 20th century hence a place like lake champlain again regaining a certain status of 'virgin' territory.

      I wasn't aware myself of a lake champlain monster till I had opened up the science section of the NY Times, and there on the front page was Sandra Mansi's infamous head and neck photo back in the late 70's IIRC.

      One 'problem' that really irks me with these things..... that any photo evidence always...ALWAYS.... winds up being tainted as suspicious for one reason or another.
      Example Mansi's photo. Destroy a negative for fear of ridicule. Really? How about just leaving your film strips in the paper pouch you got from the drug store developer and leaving it forgotten at the bottom of some drawer along with all your other vacation photos like every other family does with theirs, lol.

      Agree with the whole John Kirk thing where he witnessed ogopogo numerous times "desporting itself" upon the lake and yet no photos or footage. Having listened last night to Kirk's interview (thanks to GB's link), I find myself getting peeved that Kirk says he manages to get to see all these 'full footages' of cadborosaurus and ogogpogo, but yet are denied the public for some reason

      I live in NY state but haven't been up by lake champlain since I was little and years before seeing Mansi's photo in the Times. But I too am holding out for an unknown champlain, okanagan, etc, type animal even though I have pretty much given up on Loch Ness.

      As a matter of fact, I'm looking to retire somewhere in the area of perhaps lake champlain or lake memphremagog in northern vermont. However property taxes are rather high in the northeast even in the boonies apparently so my next choice is out to maybe the north Idaho panhandle. I'd be within a reasonable days driving distance of montana's flathead lake, which has a monster tradition, as well as lake okanagan.
      Heck, I'd even be a days drive out from washington state's pacific coast in order to get in some cadborosaurus hunting!

      Jon

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    3. Yup, seems easy to taint any picture. I am also peeved that we still have not seen the whole of the caddy footage. Why sit on something so allegedly sensational (e.g. John Kirk saying he nearly had a heart attack when he privately saw the caddy turning its head to look at the witnesses)?

      Must admit I would like to retire to Loch Ness myself ....

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  2. His book was a disappointment. No photos, but lots of talk about incredible pictures and sightings. It even featured a picture of the famous "Champ" lake creature on the cover. He couldn't even put his pet lake monster on the cover! I don't think the book had any pictures! He doesn't know what he's talking about.

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    1. There are no pictures in my edition.

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  3. If I had seen a lake monster 11 times I would start wearing a head mounted video camera whilst on the water; these are now cheap and easy to use. I question why Mr Kirk is waiting so long to do something similar.

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    1. To be fair, I think John filmed something in 1987 and perhaps more .. I just can't seem to find them online.

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    2. Its on you tube a Canadian good morning America short interview.

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  4. Hello GB,
    I didn’t hear John Kirk’s interview – Ken Gerhard you need to get your IT guy to clean up site’s menu if not page. One thing you are correct about GB is the lack of a “Head Shot” concerning Ogopogo. There are lots of videos and pictures that show the back of the creature but only about two which show a head. The first is the Clem Chapin video - http://www.mysterycasebook.com/lakemonsterphotographs.html
    Third up from the bottom; however, this thing which is slapping its tail seems to be a beaver. The other video that showed a creature swimming along left to right but no reference points to get an actual size. I think people were saying it was an otter but it did look rather long for an otter – and I’ve seen a lot of California Sea Otters. I think both video clips were on Unsolved Mysteries.
    One other interesting picture that has popped up that probably creates more questions –

    http://ogopogoquest.com/beliveau_sighting.html

    Lyall

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    1. Thanks, is it possible to see the videos rather than stills?

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    2. Lyall wrote: "I didn’t hear John Kirk’s interview – Ken Gerhard you need to get your IT guy to clean up site’s menu if not page."

      Ain't that right. Most of these paranormal type websites are absolutely atrocious. Everything and the kitchen sink, all in mind numbing clashing neon colors, vomited all over one page. Links that lead to more colorful dead end spew.
      Geez, lol

      Jon

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    3. Links to UNSOLVED MYSTERIES (featuring the Folden and Chaplin Ogopogo films, as well as curiously flipped versions of Mr. Dinsdale's and Mr. Raynor's films) can be seen here, in two parts:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXMIVpHGm-c&feature=youtube_gdata_player

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyb-hpDh-7M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

      (And I have this episode on VHS from its U.S. premiere. Didn't believe in the Chaplin video then; sure as hell don't believe in it now!)

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    4. Ken was paid 30,000+$$ by the TV shows producer.they won't pay that for a beaver,lol!

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  5. In this interview, Kirk talks about his, 2 iirc, mokele mbembe expeditions. Again, they had both visual and auditory contacts but, oops, we should've been ready but succumbed to that deer caught in headlights effect. *facepalm*

    Really.... all that trouble, time and expense to get to those places all boils down to, "oops, we forgot to grab a camera and/or audio recorder"? lol

    It's mind boggling these consistent recurring patterns of incompetence.

    Jon

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  6. the sad thing about the crypto-field competition /jealousy ..in every crytid field

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  7. GB this seems to be an almost universal syndrome.

    Many a twitcher'll claim their lesser spotted jam jar juggling Ooziphat Bird spotted on the slopes of Upper Alabama was superior to anyone else's.

    Some'll even refuse to believe anyone but them ever saw the very rare Banjo Plucker Billycan Humping Bird of Lower Lowestoft.

    Even amongst us mystical experiencing nutcases it's amazing how many're mortally impugned if anyone dares imply the particular Buddha they saw on the road and killed was just as run of the mill and mundane as everyone else's yet think nothing of witheringly implying other undergoers of mysticalness're barefaced liars or even on the make.

    Ditto UFOs ghosts Sasquatch blah blah blah.

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  8. John Kirk is not a scientis,just a fan.He should learn from Dick Raynor and Paul H Le Blonde.

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  9. How can anyone not see these photos are only boat wakes or waves. In the mcnab photo you can see the lines above it showing it is wakes coming from the far shore.

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    1. A random photo of Uruqhart Bay on a sunny Summer afternoon would also show such lines from boat traffic. Doesn't prove anything.

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    2. Talk to marathon swimmer Darryl Ellis who had two ogopogos swim underneath him for hours.scared him.plus one popped its head out of the water to get a closer look at him with grapefruit sized eyes..well??

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  10. I think it does GB. It shows a boat has passed and it is clearly a boat wake. i cant see how you cant see this.

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    1. Tom, even sceptics like Dick Raynor do not accept that. They add the necessity to paint in the humps.

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  11. Roland i spend my life in and around lochs fishing. These are boat waves nothing more. I cant believe people are still talking about this photograph nearly 60 years on. I have seen some interesting photos from loch ness but this isnt one of them .

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  12. I agree with Tom's assessment. As someone who works on Loch Ness, I identify these as waves made by boats. If other evidence appears I will be happy to change my mind.

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  13. Dont get me wrong i do think there is something to this mystery, 2 of my fishing friends have seen something they cant explain. But alas there isnt many photos that cant be explained. There is one or two but these here are boat wakes.

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  14. Speaking of boat wakes and painted humps (and Godzilla), I still await Roland's acceptance of my challenge to show me a copy of the MacNab photo with the rest of the theoretical animal(s) filled in.

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    1. I accepted this? Okay, well I plan a follow up MacNab article so I will see what I can do.

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  15. I AWAIT the acceptance. ;)

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  16. I saw a humped serpent swimming in the river going from Missoula to Clinton, Montana, in 2000....

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  17. He's talking through his arse.

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    1. Perhaps more a case of oneupmanship in the competition for best lake cryptid.

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    2. Well, I'm sure it would be better for all who accept a tangible unknown to stand together.

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