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“Ogopogo Photos” Update

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 9th, 2009

Another photograph has been released from the “Ogopogo” series taken in August 2008. Click to increase viewing size.

Ogopogo researcher and filmmaker Sean Viloria earlier released his MonsterQuest embargoed photographs taken in the context of an Ogopogo investigation. Critical comments were received here.

Sean Viloria responses:

-I am open to any and all interpretations of these photographs.
-I have not taken any monetary compensation for anything I have done in regards to my sightings/evidence.
-Art is a hobby for me. Creating a new Ogopogo sculpture in Kelowna would be a way for me to give back to what has certainly been an incredibly alluring and enthralling mystery for many witnesses and researchers over the years.
-My personal belief is that the surplus of evidence (not only my own) has almost certainly proven the existence of something unkown here and if I can contribute in any way,on any level to the path that leads to the discovery of an entirely new species or a prehistoric animal still living…I will have achieved something amazing in my lifetime.
-The object I witnessed on August 23rd was there for a few moments and then gone, it was this that made me think twice about what I had initially perceived to be a windsurfer/parasurfer.
-In my opinion from what I saw, the object was absolutely in the water and not a kite.
-The creature’s reddish hue seemed very strange to me but I have since then seen other witnesses photographs and heard their stories of similar looking creatures in the lake leading myself and others to believe that this is a recent development in the species and may be related to water pollution and or the maturity/mating season.

I understand that people are going to always be skeptical of everything offered as evidence for the existence of any such creature and that is fine.

I can’t easily explain the experiences I had or the images I captured but I am not calling them definitive proof of Ogopogo nor are any of the researchers I mentioned.

A dead or live specimen will be proof and until then, whatever evidence we are able to collect is all we have.

If you have an open mind and are reading Cryptomundo and posting on Cryptomundo, perhaps you could sit back for a second and take a positive, objective look at what people offer as evidence as it all ultimately adds to the mystery that collectively brings us here in the first place.

Thank-you,
Sean Viloria

Photo of Jessica Weigers (Sean’s girlfriend), MonsterQuest director Joshua Dorsey, and Sean Viloria.

BTW, for a blogger named Scott Hamilton over at “My God, It’s Full of Nerds: Random Thoughts on Pop Culture,” I must ask, “Are you for real?”

In the midst of talking about the Lake Champlain video (which I think he incorrectly says is of a deer, but that’s for another time), Hamilton writes: “Loren Coleman of Crytomundo fame…Hell, recently he mistook a kite for Ogogpogo.” [Yes, "Ogogpogo" is how he spelled "Ogopogo," although he might correct it by the time you go there.]

Duh, I didn’t know I had to say such things outloud, but just because I report news items here doesn’t mean I endorse the linkages that might appear in someone else’s cosmos. I must inquiry, does Hamilton feel that merely because, let’s say, for example, if the New York Times prints that the Carradine family says that maybe the Triads killed David Carradine that means the story’s writers are backing that theory? Seeing something at Cryptomundo does not mean that I have accepted new photographs released as an unknown named cryptozoological creature, or taken them as either factual or fiction, without further investigation and my specific statements on what I think.

This is the whole nature of working with cryptids.

For those few (e.g. Mr. Hamilton) who need to be reminded of what “cryptid” means, here is my broad summary of what the term encompasses: “A cryptid is an unknown species of animal, or a supposedly extinct animal, or a misidentification, or anything more than myth until evidence is gathered and accepted one way or another. Until that proof is found, the supposed animal carries the label cryptid, regardless of the potential outcome and regardless of various debates concerning its true identity. When it is precisely identified, it is no longer a cryptid, because it is no longer hidden.”

Out of respect for Sean Viloria’s release and in the style of initial news posted here, I did not take a stance on what might be behind the identity of these images. If anyone wanted to ask me straightforwardly what I thought the following photograph taken by Viloria at Okanagan Lake, British Columbia, might be…

I would have answered, “probably a long-distance photograph of a windsurfer” (especially using a rig similar to what is shown below on the right).

As long time readers know, part of the exercise here is for you to flex your investigative skills, and not merely read and parrot what I think.

Enjoy the day.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


20 Responses to ““Ogopogo Photos” Update”

  1. DWA responds:

    I might tend to go with the sailboarder interpretation.

    And Scott needs to read some, if he’s going to comment on anything (even pop culture, which don’t require much of that). And switch to decaf.

    Two sightings of Jessica Weigers. Both cluster around a mean. I’m going hmmmmm.

  2. graybear responds:

    I can’t tell what it is, not even what it might be. There is simply not enough resolution in the photos to make any sort of determination of what it might be. There is something there, but what it is is and unfortunately will remain, unknown. Almost anything could be plausible. Let’s move on.

  3. Atticus responds:

    I have seen similar views of wind surfers while hiking around Lake Tahoe.

    I dont think this is anything of a Cryptid nature.

  4. cliff responds:

    I like the windsurfer theory for now. I’ve taken a close look at all of the photographs and no part of any one photo shows anything to suggest that it couldn’t possibly be a windsurfer. I’m not 100% convinced though, I still enjoy looking at the photos hoping something will jump out at me that suggests cryptid.

    But I would really like to see the other witness photos that Sean mentioned that also show the “reddish hue”. That particular comment that he made is interesting, and if there are indeed several other witness photos that show a “creature” with that same reddish hue, then those should be brought forward for cryptomundo readers to analyze. Maybe those photos could lend credibility to, or dispute, the windsurfer theory??

    Also, in regards to Scott Hamilton and his blog, I can’t remember ever seeing an instance where Loren made any particular claims on here. He basically reports cryptid news in a very objective manner and leaves it to the readers to discuss, debate, and draw our own conclusions. Scott Hamilton could take a lesson from that.

    Anyway, Sean, if you’re reading this, is there any chance that we can see the other photos of Ogopogo that show the reddish hue that you mentioned? Or is it a case where the witnesses don’t wish to come forward?

    Sean also mentioned that the “object” was there for a moment and then gone, and that’s why he dismissed the wind surfer theory himself initially, so that’s something to think about. I would like to know the specifics around the object’s disappearance. Did it seem to submerge? How long after the object disappeared did Sean hang around? If it was a windsurfer and he/she wiped-out, how long would it take to get back on the board and become visible again? Did the boat in the photo ever approach the area where the object was last seen? Sean seems very certain that this wasn’t a windsurfer that he saw, so I would like to hear all of the reasoning that he used to rule this out.

    I’m really enjoying all of the lake cryptid sightings, good times at Cryptomundo :)

  5. quasi responds:

    “Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”

    ~Adam Smith, 1776

  6. ownerzmcown responds:

    I think it is either a wind surfer in the back and a boat in the front or the real thing.

  7. alcalde responds:

    Regarding “but I have since then seen other witnesses photographs and heard their stories of similar looking creatures in the lake”, I’ve read of a show in the 1970′s in which an experiment was performed. Completely ficticious details were made up regarding a ghost haunting a particular public property. There were no former accounts regarding said apparition. After the experimenters publicized their story, people began to come forward and claim that they had seen the exact same entity on the property, and new vistors began reporting the same entity!

    Besides this psychological aspect, there’s one other explanation which I would have thought would be obvious: if windsurfing occurs on this lake and windsurfers from a distance can be mistaken as lake monsters, then other people are likely to have also mistaken windsurfers for lake monsters and have pictures which show a similar illusion. That other people have made the same misidentification as Mr. Viloria speaks to his sincerity but not to the accuracy of his identification.

    “…if I can contribute in any way … to the discovery of an entirely new species or a prehistoric animal still living…I will have achieved something amazing in my lifetime.”

    I’m sure I can speak for everyone here when I wish you success on that endeavor. I’d add that amazing achievements can come on a much smaller scale as well and many are never known by the public at large. Also, a lifetime of amazement is something we can all shoot for.

    Lastly, “My personal belief is that the surplus of evidence (not only my own) has almost certainly proven the existence of something unkown here” – I really wish Mr. Viloria and DWA would forward said surplus of evidence to James Randi, so they could get that one million dollars and make a substantial donation to the Crypto Museum! :-)

  8. cliff responds:

    alcalde – I didn’t necessarily mean that the other photographs that depict the “reddish hue” would be any kind of conclusive proof. I just meant that I would like to see those photos to see if it is possible that those are also misidentified windsurfer photos, as I suspect Sean’s photos may be, or if the other alleged Ogopogo photos with the reddish hue maybe suggest something other than a windsurfer.

    If there are other similar photos out there that are being called Ogopogo evidence, I would like to see them, and would like to see if they could be simply nothing more than windsurfer photos as well (possibly). Sean is using the mention of these other photos as a way to justify or back-up his claims, and as such I think those photos should really be posted here as well for analysis, right?

  9. PhotoExpert responds:

    I agree with graybear. There is not enough digital information here to tell us what “it” is. There is an object in the photo. What it is, is left up to interpretation or left up to pixelation. “It” could be anything!

    The jury is still out on this one. The photographs show nothing definitive here.

    Sean, keep on shooting! And if you can afford one, get a longer lens. At least you are out there trying. Hopefully, if you spend enough time there, by chance, you will get another opportunity to capture a shot of whatever it is.

  10. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Regardless of the pictures, I sure would like to read some of those other testimonies where a reddish color (in Ogopogo) has been reported. While I don’t think it’s appropriate to jump into conclusions —mating display or pollution result— it’s always important to be updated with the latest observations re. cryptids.

  11. cryptidsrus responds:

    I tend to agree with Greybear and PhotosExpert in the sense that this could indeed be “anything.” Too indistinct. It still does not totally looks like a windsurfer. Viloria’s statement that he saw the thing surface and then submerge does add somewhat to his crediblity but not absolutely. I will say it does not look like kite to me. But that’s me.

    Still worth discussing here. And I would not necessarily say “let’s move on.” If there are more photographs that Viloria has availbale, then he should share them as well so they can be
    evaluated pro/con. Viloria does not sound like a guy who would stick his neck out for possible ridicule unless he was PRETTY sure this was not a kite or windsurfer. Great post, Loren.

    Yep—Ms. Weigers is worth looking at!!! Viloria IS a very lucky dog!!!

  12. springheeledjack responds:

    Concerning the “critical comments” received here, I see it is a good thing. Critical doesn’t always mean negative (even though we do get boisterous on this here website), but it is a facet of cryptozoology.

    In this day and age of enhanced hoaxing, photo-shopping, and the usual chicanery, cryptozoologists have to always be on the lookout for some idiot trying to dupe us, the public or the like.

    It is sad to me, but you have to take a negative stance at the get go, trying to figure out what photos and accounts and video footage could be that is “normal” and then back track from there. Like I said, with increasing technology it’s getting much harder to decipher solid photo evidence from hacked stuff, and you cannot take any photograph or even video with more than a grain of salt until you can scour and scan it over and over to rule out any possibility of fakery.

    AND then there are the scoftics: the ones who love to point out every time that a hoaxed photo or piece of evidence fools someone…like it refutes any other real evidence and like it totally negates anyone who falls for a hoax or faking. That one bugs me…like I said, in this day and age it ticks me off that if someone makes an honest mistake, the scoftics come riding in trying to refute every other piece of evidence for a cryptid because one instance happened to be hoaxed. Give it a rest–everyone makes mistakes, and even the bestest-est of us get taken in from time to time.

    And so, if we here at Cryptomundo seem harsh and critical of everything that crosses this site, it’s because we have to. We are skeptics, and we have to weed out the real evidence from the crap in the bottom of the bucket, and some days it’s a tough job and hard not to be overly critical…especially at the get go.

  13. graybear responds:

    The “Let’s move on” part of my comment was simply a realization that, unless photos exist that are better and far more detailed than this blobsplash, there is simply nothing more to be gained from rehashing the statements made about it. If the pictures exist, and they are more than more blurry streaks of color, then let’s see them. If not, then all has been said about this that needs to be said; something is there but you can’t tell what it might be. Either more and better information is needed, or the subject has exhausted it’s potential and we should move on.

  14. Richard888 responds:

    Does Lake Okanagan have large fish that exhibit breaching behavior? Can sturgeon be white and pink and leap out of the water? I see that as a more likely possibility than a windsurfer. If this was a windsurfer, the water wouldn’t be so calm around the surf board…

  15. jocen79 responds:

    OMGoodness everybody it clearly looks like the side view of a kite obviously being flown from that boat down there. There is not even turbulence to suggest that it is touching the water.

  16. Doug responds:

    What is it? I do not know. I do not think Sean was out to hoodwink anyone, and he certainly hasn’t made a ton of money off of it. I think any criticism of him is not warranted. This I do know. The young man should be commended in his efforts in trying to catch a cryptid on film.
    His taste in women isn’t bad either.

    Doug

  17. DWA responds:

    Springheeledjack:

    Good post. That scoffers don’t recognize true skepticism when they see it – and that cryptozoology is an essentially skeptical pastime – is just our cross to bear. [sigh] ;-)

  18. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Our cross to bear… with mange :-P

  19. cryptidsrus responds:

    We have to watch it or these PHOTOS will become our “cross to bear,” Red_Pill_Junkie and DWA. :) This could become (if it hasn’t already) one of the great “what could it have beens” in Cryptomundo history. I admit I tend to believe Viloria but I also admit this might be nothing. Let’s not drag this out, Ok???

  20. mystery_man responds:

    Richard888- Sturgeon are primarily benthic fish, which means they spend most of their time on the bottom. However, they have been known to breach. The exact reasons for why they do so is not well understood, perhaps it is to attract mates or remove parasites.

    There are still problems with the sturgeon explanation though. First of all, contrary to leaving a calm surface, a large fish like a sturgeon leaves a huge splash when it breaches, which is not evident in these pics.

    Second, there is no indication that sturgeon are even present in Lake Okanagan. I have also never seen a sturgeon with coloration like what we see here.

    On the other hand, we do know that windsurfers are in the lake, and we do know that they can be the color we see here.

    These are facts. So which is more likely? That we have here windsurfer on a windsurfing lake with colors typical of a windsurfing rig, or we are seeing a sturgeon which are not known to be in the lake and which leave behind a noticeable water disturbance when breaching (which is a rare behavior anyway)?

    No cooking of data is required to see that it is apparent where the probability lies here.



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