Cryptozoology: noun: cryp·to·zo·ol·o·gy \ˌkrip-tə-zō-ˈä-lə-jē, -zə-ˈwä-\
A pseudoscience. The study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence
I’ve always been intrigued with folkloric creatures like Loch Ness, Sasquatch, Chupacabra, Abominable Snowman, Kraken, Sea Serpents, The Mothman, Thunderbirds and Jersey Devil, just to name a few.
Today I am an acting cryptozoologist! I’ve watched show, after documentary, after movie on these interestingly mythical creatures. It’s safe to say that I have more than a passing interest in these folkloric, mystical, unusual and surreal beings.
We live in an ideal location – nestled between the Riding Mountains and the Duck Mountains. We are also surrounded by plenty of lakes, most notably Lakes Manitoba, Winnipeg and Winnipegosis.
Loch Ness isn’t the only lake with a reputation for a Monster. In North America many large, deep, cold water lakes have stories about sea monsters. These lakes were formed over ten thousand years ago, during the last ice age.
In Canadian folklore, Manipogo is the lake monster said to live in Lake Manitoba.
Today, in search of this elusive sea creature I decided to head out to Manipogo Provincial Park (aptly named after the sea creature).
Lake Manitoba is Canada’s thirteenth largest lake (4,624 km2) and the world’s 33rd largest freshwater lake. There is also a Lake Winnipegosis sea monster called Winnepogo, thought possibly to be the same creature as the lakes are connected. Manipogo is said to travel through inner-channel rivers between lakes Winnipeg, Winnipegosis and Manitoba.
One of the most well-known sightings of Manipogo dates back to August of 1962. Two sport fishermen: Dick Vincent of KCND Television (now Global) and his television colleague, John Konefell, spotted a serpent-like creature about 300 metres from their boat.
It was around 4:00 P.M. when the two men began heading back to their camp, suddenly they came along a thin animal, its body bobbing up and down as it advanced. Vincent grabbed his camera and took three pictures of it. They watched for about 5 minutes before the creature dove back down below the surface. They were able to take a blurred photograph (see photo above). In subsequent years, Vincent denied that he saw Manipogo, and claimed to have just seen “something in the lake”.
Since the late 1800s, people have claimed to see the creature, but no conclusive evidence of the monster’s existence has ever been found. The local native population has legends of serpent-like creatures in Lake Manitoba dating back hundreds of years.
Today I explore the lake, maybe I can finally prove the legend of Manipogo, Lake Manitoba’s serpentine sea monster! *I don’t actually expect to see a creature*
And I’m off – on my way to Manipogo Provincial Park in Toutes Aides, Manitoba – distance 101 kms, 1h 10 mins away.
I’ve arrived! Let the monster searching begin … I’m coming for you Mani!
� Classification: Lake Monster
� Size: Reports indicate between 12 – 50 feet in length
� Weight: Unknown
� Diet: Unknown
� Location: Lake Manitoba, however similar reports have come from near by lakes
� Movement: Swimming
� Environment: Glacier Lake
According to research we’re looking for a creature that fits this general description (I’ve culminated descriptions of the documented sightings):
- Muddy coloured creature that has many humps
- Has a sheep-like head
- Anywhere from 12 feet to 50 feet long
- On its head has a single horn, its head is small and flat – looks very much like a dinosaur.
- Giant serpent-like creature; large creature like a serpent or giant snake; reptile-like beast
Not to be confused with:
- A floating log
- A large surgeon
- A wave
- Boat wake
Since the majority of Manipogo sightings happen around Toutes Aides, the Manitoba government decided to name the area’s provincial park after the mythical beast. The park sits on the far north-western shore of Lake Manitoba, close to where the lake almost meets Lake Winnipegosis. I explored the lake, in the hopes that I may have been able to confirm the legend of Manipogo. My youngest daughter and dog, Ellie came along.
It was an absolutely beautiful day out, sunny, 27°, a little bit of a breeze. My search didn’t include on water searches, we watched from ashore – and waded into up to about just over my knees.
The beach wasn’t overly packed for a Canada Day long weekend. There were families playing in the public beach area at the East bay area. Since we had Ellie with us, we set up at the dog beach area, on the north bay area of the lake.
We stayed for about 3.5 hours. Unfortunately we had no such luck on our search for Manipogo today, perhaps next time? In all honesty, I have no expectation of running into Mani – for now, the only sighting I’m going to see is of this artist rendering …
Although there are believers who have no doubt in their minds that something lives in the depths of Lake Manitoba. Skeptics like to remind us that these lakes are known for large sturgeon which can grow up to 2.5 metres, weigh over 140 kg and can live for over 150 years (average life span is 50 to 80 years).
Next, I’d like to travel to Scotland to Loch Ness – if I had no luck with Mani, maybe I’ll have some with Nessie?!?!?