Chapter One Hundred Seventeen
“Well, the human carcass is definitely that of the old woman, Ida Rhodes. According to the veterinarian’s report the decomposing body of the dog that washed ashore was most likely the pet that belonged to the deceased woman,” Dr. Marsha Mitchell answered.
“What will you officially declare as the cause of death?” Sheriff George Anderson asked.
“In my professional opinion, my most likely conclusion is that the elderly woman and her dog were the victims of a fatal attack by a very large marine predator. My assessment is based on the bite marks on the remaining flesh of the two victims. I have measured the length of the bite marks and they appear to indicate a very large mouth with sharp jagged teeth. They most closely resemble the type of distinct markings that would be left on a piece of fabric cut with sewing shears. They suggest that the attacking animal had at least two rows of very sharp jagged teeth,” the medical examiner replied.
“What species of large marine predator are we talking about?” Deputy Bill Rollins asked, wanting a more definitive answer from the doctor.
“At this time I cannot hazard a guess as to what kind of marine animal the predator might be. An expert in marine biology might be of more help in making a more precise determination,” Marsha answered. “My personal recommendation would be that you consult Dr. Lionel Hardy, the marine biology professor at The University of British Columbia.”
“Isn’t that the professor who believes in the possible existence of ufos, aliens, Bigfoot and the like?” Bill Rollins asked.
“Yes, Dr. Lionel Hardy does have a well-known interest in cryptozoology,” Dr. Mitchell said.
“What kind of zoology?” asked the sheriff.
“Cryptozoology, the study of unknown and undiscovered species,” was Dr. Mitchell’s answer.
Chapter One Hundred Eighteen:
“Well, at least you’re not telling us that the large marine predator is Ogopogo, as I’m sure Kelowna Daily Courier reporter, Bobby O’Connor is going to imply to his readers,” Sheriff George Anderson said with a sigh of relief.
“I’m sure that Dr. Hardy could provide a more educated opinion on whether or not the predator was Ogopogo,” Dr. Mitchell said.
“What? Are you saying that you believe in Ogopogo?” asked the Sheriff with a look of astonishment. “You’re pulling my leg now, aren’t you doc?”
“No, I’m a medical professional and a trained scientist. I’ve learned not to discount any possibility until it has been conclusively ruled out. My father used to spend a lot of time on Lake Okanagan and he claims to have seen Ogopogo upon two occasions,” Marsha answered, in an undoubtedly serious tone of voice.
“Oh great. Just wait until Bobby O’Connor asks you for an interview and you tell him that,” George said, shaking his head and looking down at the floor.
“I would simply tell Mr. O’Connor what I have told you. If he asks if Ogopogo could be the unknown predator in this case, I would tell the reporter that anything is possible, but that it would be unlikely in this case. We, presently, don’t have enough evidence to go on,” Marsha stated.
“I can guarantee that O’Connor will ask you if you believe in Ogopogo,” the sheriff said.
“Once again, I would be very professional and careful in what I would say to him. I wouldn’t want to help him sensationalize his newspaper reporting. On the other hand, I don’t have any idea what Dr. Hardy is going to say to him. It is very likely that Mr. O’Connor will want to interview the professor,” Marsha answered.
“Oh, I think that’s a given,” interjected Deputy Bill Rollins. “The media’s first stop is usually Dr. Hardy’s office when something controversial happens.”
“And I’m sure that Hardy will tell O’Connor that an Ogopogo encounter is a distinct possibility. The professor is quite biased in his interpretations of paranormal phenomena. The only thing that we can be happy about is that he is considered to be a weird bird by most of his colleagues,” George said.
“A bit eccentric for sure, but he is still a darling of the media and the public in general,” Bill added.
“Let’s face it,” the sheriff said. “There is something within human beings that is attracted by magic, the mysterious and the extraordinary. They want to believe that there is something out there in the world that has not yet been discovered.”
“I didn’t know that you were so philosophical, Boss. Oh, there are so many things that you still don’t know about me Bill,” George Anderson replied with a chuckle.
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Eight:
“I believe there is still room on the couch for you Ms. Richards,” Winston said.
“You can just call me Susan,”
“Then that’s how it shall be, Winston and Susan.”
“That works for me,” Susan said.
“Mom, what are you doing in Kelowna?” Stephanie asked.
“I have had a couple of telephone conversations with your father that have made me very worried about you and Ryan. Your father told me that you and Ryan are going on separate expeditions to search for Ogopogo. I am very concerned about your safety,” Susan said.
“I can appreciate your concern, Susan, but I can assure you that Ryan and Stephanie will be well taken care of,” Winston said.
“First of all, I am taking my grandson and his friend with me. If I didn’t believe that they would be safe I wouldn’t take them. Secondly, I own a very large vessel. Even a very large creature would have a very difficult time over powering it,” Winston explained hoping to reassure Susan.
“I take it that you believe that Ogopogo is real,” Susan said.
“Absolutely, I’ve seen it with my own eyes and so have Wally and Garry. We managed to get some excellent pictures and video footage of it two days ago,” Winston said.
“Wow! How close did the creature get to your boat?”
“I would estimate it was within fifty yards of us.”
“Did any of you get injured?”
“No, the animal didn’t get close enough to my boat. Even if it did, or made any attempt to attack us, I would not hesitate to shoot it. I own some high powered weaponry aboard,” Winston said.
“I don’t know if that makes me feel any better. The mere fact that you got so close to Ogopogo freaks me out,” Susan said. “And what about Ryan’s safety? I heard that he and his father will be going with a different expedition.”
“I don’t think that there is any serious reason for concern there either,” Winston answered. “The other expedition is sponsored by The University of British Columbia. There are several university students going on that expedition and I know one of the marine biologists who will be helping to direct the project. His name is Dr. Lionel Hardy and he has an excellent reputation as a marine biologist. Their expedition is co-sponsored by the entrepreneur, Blake Riley. Mr. Riley has an even larger and more elaborate boat than I have and he can afford to hire the best crew on the planet. He has will have at his disposal nothing but state of the art equipment for his voyage. Would you consider joining my expedition, Susan?”
Bill Hainsey was a few feet from the door to his apartment door. He was in a hurry to find his key as he could hear the phone in his apartment ringing. His son was probably calling him to see if his dad could take him to the next WWE live wrestling show. As Bill fumbled for his keys he was startled by an odd looking man that had come up behind him. The man looked very old with his long white hair and beard. He was very short and his face was deeply etched with the wrinkles left by a hard life and his clothes looked like they were obtained from the Salvation Army or a thrift store. Maybe this strange little man had found his wardrobe in a dumpster.
Bill turned towards the man and said,” Look old man. I’m kind of in a hurry. The phone is ringing in my apartment and I need to answer the call.”
“I understand sir. This will only take a couple of seconds. I’m giving you a present, a new piece of technology that you will never wish to part with.”
Bill grabbed the object from the strange man’s hand and unlocked the door to his apartment.
When he got inside his apartment his phone had stopped ringing. All his attention was now focused on what he was holding in his left hand. The object appeared to be an eight inch Android tablet that did not have any logo or brand name. The borders of the tablet were florescent and changed color every two seconds. The colors were bold and beautiful. Bill was sure that he did not recognize some of the colors. Bill watched in amazement when the borders of the tablet turned translucent. The touch screen contained many apps with icons preinstalled. Bill was startled when he heard his phone start to ring again. He stumbled over a pile of books on the orange, threadbare carpet as he attempted to find his red mobile phone on his old, well worn coffee table. The mobile phone was buried under a haphazard pile of magazines.
Pastor David Noble shook hands with the young, attractive social worker as she was leaving his humble, cluttered office. He was planning to return to his tattered and torn executive chair when his phone started to ring. The pastor answered the phone while standing up. When he picked up the receiver all he could hear from the other end of the line was loud wailing. David Noble recognized the mournful sounds as coming from his son, Dexter.
“Calm down Dexter. Why are you so upset?”
Dexter was able to regain just enough of his composure to answer, “Mom’s dead!”
“What!” David managed to stammer as he grabbed onto his desk for support. He was afraid that he was about to faint. His ex -wife, Melissa, had divorced David three years ago. While they had been married David Noble was the well respected pastor of a local church in Fargo, North Dakota.
To say that the last three years of his life had been tumultuous was a great understatement. David’s life had quickly begun to unravel. Melissa had exhausted all of her emotional resources by the time their marriage had finally collapsed.
“Gramps, did you read in the paper about the old woman and her dog who disappeared recently?” The article said that they were last seen close to the lake,” said Wally.
“Yeah, I remember reading about that. I doubt that she and her dog were eaten by Ogopogo, Maybe the poor lady has Alzheimer’s and simply got lost,” said Winston.
“But her dog would have been able to lead her home,” asserted Wally.
“That’s a good point but the old lady may have waded in the water until the water covered her head. She could have drowned,” said Winston.
“But her dog can swim. He could have saved her,” said Wally.
“You won’t give up. Will you Wally? Okay, it is possible that the old woman and her dog were eaten by Ogopogo,” chuckled his grandfather.
“I just heard on the radio that two bodies washed ashore. They could be the bodies of the old lady and her dog,” said Garry. “The Sheriff and the Deputy are at the scene now, conducting an official investigation.”
“Oh, man. You two guys sure stick together, don’t you?,” Winston responded. “The Sheriff’s office is required to do an investigation any time there are fatalities in their jurisdiction.”
“This discussion is starting to freak me out,” said Wally. “Can we change the topic of this conversation?” asked Wally with a pale look on his face.
“Don’t worry, Wally. I was just about to change the topic, anyway,” reassured Winston putting his hand on Wally’s shoulder.
First of all, I would like to relieve you all by telling you that I am not going to give you a long, scientific lecture on Ogopogo. For those who are interested there are a few authors who have written about Ogopogo in their books and have proposed their theories on the existence or non -existence of this phenomena. These books are very likely available in your public library or, alternatively, may be ordered through Amazon.ca. There are also numerous blogs on the internet that debate this topic.
Furthermore, there is much debate upon what kind of species this animal might be. Presently, some of my students are working on intensive research upon both primary and secondary sources on the subject of Ogopogo.
There is some scientific speculation that Ogopogo may be a surviving member of a species of primitive whale that was thought to move in a serpentine manner. Many of our modern day sightings have indeed reported that what these individuals saw was a very large serpent like creature that moves along the water in an undulating manner often exhibiting hump like shapes.
Unfortunately, the few purported pictures of Ogopogo that have been professionally analyzed are very inconclusive. The photos are usually taken from quite a distance and have a grainy appearance making any kind of conclusive identification of the object in the water to be impossible. And as Dean Sanderson has already noted there are always those individuals who try to perpetuate hoaxes. Also, as the dean has pointed out the Ogopogo is also a historical phenomenon that was first reported in the legends and stories of what our First Nations peoples called the Lake Demon.
“I must apologize for my somewhat impaired vision. Last year I, unfortunately, required emergency surgery on my left eye as a result of a detached retina. As I did not get to the surgeon’s within the recommended window of time, he was unable to save much of the vision in my left eye, This being the case, I now require enhanced lighting and increased magnification when I am required to read or to refer to my notes. This is why I have the large round magnification device around my neck. I will be using it whenever I have difficulty reading my own notes,” explained the professor.
As many of you know I have had a particular interest in what is known as crypytozoology for a long time. I like to think of myself as a scientist who keeps an open mind about things we don’t yet fully understand. Simply put, cryptozoology is a science that studies the possibility of undiscovered, unknown species whose existence has not as yet been scientifically proven. To provide undisputed evidence of the existence of even one of these phenomenon would vastly increase the respectability of any scientist.
I will be very honest with you and will state upfront that this is one of my major goals in taking on this project. As many of you know the last couple of years have not been among my best. I have been bombarded with various attempts that seriously question my competence and reputation as a respected man of science. I suppose that making myself so available to the media has not helped my cause. However, I have made full use of the media as it is my belief that the public has the right to be made aware that there are still many things in the world that are still a mystery to science. I am hoping that the outcomes of our expedition will help to bolster my sagging professional reputation among my critics. With that being said, I will ask Dean Sanderson to come up to the podium and address you once again.
Ida Rhodes was in the habit of taking her dog, Chloe, for walks along the trails in the evenings. Her walks generally lasted about forty-five minutes on the walking paths parallel to Lake Okanagan. Ida favored one trail in particular that came close to the edge of the lake near Squally Point.
On one particular evening Ida looked towards the lake and saw and heard a great upheaval in the water about fifty meters from the shore. As Ida moved closer to the lake she started to feel terrible chest pains. In a couple of minutes she suffered a fatal heart attack. As she lost her grip on the leash that held Chloe, Ida fell into the lake and was soon dragged under by the strong current.
Chloe jumped into the water making a valiant effort to save her owner but she too went under from the force of the lake. Within a few minutes both Ida and Chloe were dead.
After three days had passed the mail carrier became concerned as letters and flyers were starting to pile up in Ida Rhodes’ mailbox. The letter carrier talked to both of Ida’s neighbors on both sides of her cottage. Neither of the neighbors had seen Ida leave her house during the last three days. He asked if this was an unusual situation for Ida and both neighbors reported that the elderly lady usually took her dog for a walk by the lake in the evenings.
The mailman was beginning to worry that Mrs. Rhodes might be dead in her house after suffering a fatal heart attack. He also considered the possibility of foul play. He phoned the local police and they conducted an investigation and came up with one lead. A couple of teenagers had observed an old lady walking her dog on a trail close to the shore of Lake Okanagon. The boys reported that they were on their way to the general store. When they returned from the store about ten minutes later they passed the point where they had seen the elderly woman and her dog. This time they did not see the old lady or her dog.