SEATTLE– A man says he has “positively identified” the Ogopogo creature as a plesiosaur and that he has the evidence to prove it.
Michael Zaiser, a 41-year-old Canadian expatriate living in Seattle, claims he has been in possession of the photographs for 18 years. He says he has long kept the evidence inside of what he calls the “Zaiser binder”, stored away in a safety deposit box.
“The photos were all captured in a single sighting in the winter of 1996, in which four film photographs were taken,” he told Cryptozoology News in an exclusive interview. “The boat images are from 2001 were when I returned to the sighting location for documentation and analysis evidence as I was moving to the USA as part of a new job. The 2001 images were taken via the same exact camera, lens, and sighting location.”
The Ogopogo, also known as Naitaka by the Natives, is a cryptid purported to inhabit the Okanagan Lake in British Columbia. The first documented sighting reportedly took place in 1926 when over thirty witnesses claimed to have seen the creature at the Okanagan Mission beach.
Zaiser claims nobody was present at the lake when he snapped the pictures of the alleged monster.
“It was late winter, it is too remote an area, no homes, for people to be in that area the lake let alone out on the water,” he explained. “Its proportions were gigantic with respect to everything known to man. I immediately snapped a couple of photos in rapid succession as that was Ogopogo! I zoomed out and snapped one more photo even. It was moving,” he continued.
The never-seen-before series of photographs show what he believes to be a plesiosaur, a type of marine reptile from the Triassic Period known to have become extinct about 66 million years ago. He likes to call it Ogosiosaur.
“Probably the best photographic images ever captured on film,” he says. “I think the 1996 photo evidence still applies today as nobody has seen it. It’s my analysis and brand new.”
According to the man, the negatives were “drum scanned at a resolution of 250MB”.
“Identifiable data to me upon image examination, is that it clearly has a long neck, obvious head, two eyes, some flippers, and a large appendage or tail and is feeding on a fish which to me represents a plesiosaur,” Zaiser said about the zoomed-in picture.
He believes the creature was feeding on rainbow trout by using his appendage as a “propulsion source”.
The sighting, he says, was “very out of the ordinary”, but since it took place too far from him, he claims he wasn’t able to determine certain physical details. He couldn’t hear any sounds either.
“It was way far off in the lake center, rather the creature was very far off and I was unable to ‘hear’ it. Seeing it was a different story but silence was in the woods; the obvious thing that struck me was its shear size,” he said. “It generated a huge disturbance something like a powerboat, yet it wasn’t a boat, in a ‘mirror calm’ lake and much far too out of the ordinary to be a rolling wave. I personally have seen hundreds of boat wakes and rolling waves in Lake Okanagan, but this was no wave phenomena. From my vantage point I could not describe the creatures color, if its skin had scales, whether there was one Ogopogo or a family, nor the creatures gender.”
Zaiser doesn’t believe the water anomaly could have been a wave or a boat. He is sure that “it wasn’t human made” and definitely not a flock of geese or a large sturgeon.
But in an age where digital pictures can be easily doctored and most of them turn out to be hoaxes, Zaiser believes his old camera holds the key to the truth of the Okanagan lake monster mystery.
“I took the images with a film camera and today’s digital cameras add too much doubt…or disbelief. Would such clear evidence of a Plesiosaur actually be real – were it I’d shot it in a digital SLR camera. In my case the Ogopogo proof exists on the photo negative,” explains the veteran researcher.
He currently documents his research on his 1-month-old website, Ogosiosaur, where he painstakingly analyzes his photographic evidence.
“The decades of time past does not change what I think and evidence in the binder needs to be released. I have sketches, size calculations, mass, etc. I have done speed of creatures travel…and so on,” he said.
His respect for the elusive creature is evident from the start, and with this “new discovery”, he says, whatever comes next should be focused on figuring out a way to protect Ogopogo.
“I spoke to a book publisher once and they told me flatly we believe nobody is interested in your photo proof of lake monsters. Unless you catch it and kill it and show it off for all the world to see nobody will think it is real. Killing it? now that’s a different story. With those statements coming from a local book publisher, I suggest contrary goals; my goal is to simply raise awareness of Plesiosaurs and the Ogopogo Plesiosaur, and to show thatevidence exists to prove it has been alive and what it is, a plesiousaur.”
As for what comes next for him, Zaiser plans on drum scanning his highly regarded negatives at a higher resolution and hopes to be able “to join a team” and spend some time back in Okanagan Lake.
“I’ll get a vessel and ideally I’d find it, tag it and track it, but not attempt to kill it,” he said.