Cover Image for Shannon Lawrence Novel Myth Stalker, a fierce woman at night.

Guest Post: Ogopogo & The Muck Monster, by Shannon Lawrence

Cover image of Shannon Lawrence novel Myth Stalker Wendigo Nights, a fierce woman with a pistol in front of mysterious glowing fog

Myth Stalker: Wendigo Nights - Release March 26, 2024​

A late night call from her mentor sends Selina Moonstone on a mission to Canada, determined to track down a Wendigo and exterminate it.

Accustomed to facing off with the all too real creatures of Native American lore, Selina discovers the Wendigo is someone close to her, forcing her to change gears from destruction to frantic search for a cure. There’s no known way to rid a person of the Wendigo spirit once it has begun the consumption of the victim’s soul, a lesson she learned the hard way in her youth.

With her loved one’s transition to Wendigo imminent, Selina must fight her own lifelong training as a Myth Stalker and find another way. She gathers a mismatched group of allies, including a charming Sin Eater and a conceited mercenary Cryptid hunter from her past, and embarks on a mission to find a solution before it’s too late.

Welcome to Shannon Lawrence, a wonderful writer and a friend of mine! She is releasing her novel, Myth Stalker: Wendigo Nights on March 26. You can order her book at most major retailers here:

Ogopogo & The Muck Monster

Shannon, who is herself part Native and who has a long-time love of all things monster-related, kindly agreed to write me a short article about a piece of Native lore.  This one, on the Ogopogo and the Muck Monster, comes from Okanagan Lake in British Columbia.

 

Lake monsters are one of the more common Cryptids around and a world-wide phenomenon. The most famous is, of course, the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, but she is far from the only one. One of her famous brethren is Ogopogo. Located in Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, tales of Ogopogo originated with First Nations tribes in the area, though the name as we know it wasn’t given until 1912 by English speakers. The Secwepemc and Syilx people originally called it Naitaka.

Unlike Nessie, which has a thicker body, Ogopogo is serpentine, its body thicker than a telephone pole (see, it’s not just folks from the USA that use random objects to relate size!), with dark, glistening skin. Unlike a snake, which moves through water with horizontal movements, Ogopogo moves with vertical movements, loops undulating above the water. Interestingly, though it’s now considered good luck, it has at times been considered evil, and sacrifices were even offered to it before groups would enter the water. There are tales of it drowning people and animals dating back to at least 1855, when John MacDougal lost his horses to a storm he claimed was created by the lake monster.

In the 80s and 90s, multiple witnesses video taped or snapped photos of the creature, but these are
contested as being logs or, for the most part, otters, which tend to swim in rows. There is, of course, no definitive proof of its existence. But neither is there proof of its nonexistence.

Interestingly, Florida has its own version of a lake monster, and it’s the only Cryptid I’ve heard of where no one has claimed to see it. The Muck Monster creates a break in Worth Lagoon, but never rises above the surface of the water. A WPTV news piece showed a hunt, where people have been called to come out with their cameras to try to capture a photo of the creature that disturbs the surface, but never comes up. So far there’s been no luck.

While no lake monsters are featured in Wendigo Nights, Ogopogo is mentioned in passing, and it’s likely a lake monster will rear its mammalian-shaped head in future entries in the series.

[Editor’s note: I’m living in Florida right now, so of course I had to look this up. Guess where Worth Lagoon is located? That’s right. Just outside of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s infamous “resort.” A suspicious case of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”]

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in over fifty anthologies and magazines in addition to her collections. Her nonfiction title, The Business of Short Stories, is available now and her debut
urban fantasy novel is releasing March 2024. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there’s always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Find her at www.thewarriormuse.com.

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