We have our own lake monster around these parts. I swear I might have seen it once, but I was too far from the water to know for sure…
Ogopogo is a monster said to inhabit Okanagan Lake, British Columbia. Ogopogo is often depicted as having a serpentine shape and a bearded goat like head. Legends about Ogopogo were passed down by local natives long before the first European settlers. The Shushwap and Okanekaneis called it n’ha-a-itk which means “lake demon”. One native legend explains that Ogopogo was once a demon possessed man who murdered a respected local resident. In punishment the murderer was transformed into a serpent and cursed to remain where he committed his crime for eternity. For safe passage across the lake, small animals were sacrificed.
I am playing a little fast and loose with the definition of ‘creature’ today, but I thought La Chassee-galerie unusual enough to warrant inclusion in the compendium.
The story of La Chasse (the hunt) is another French Canadian legend. La chasse-galerie is also known as the bewitched canoe or the flying canoe. The stories involve voyageurs (18th & 19th century fur traders) who make a deal with the devil in order to secure quick transportation through the Canadian wilderness. To ride the flying canoe is a bit of a game. When the voyageurs are in the canoe they must pit their wills against the devil, and battle to control the boat. No one must pray or call out to God while in the canoe, despite the craziness of the ride, and if they do not return home before sundown, their souls will be forfeit.
The most famous story is about a man named Baptiste who takes a new year’s eve ride on the flying canoe to visit his sweetheart, but he gets spectacularly drunk and they have trouble returning home. In some stories, the friends that join him on the canoe manage to escape, while Baptiste does not. In others stories, all the men violate the rules of the game and are doomed to roam the skies forever. The roots of this story are related to the ‘wild hunt‘.
P.S. If there are any creatures/folktales you would like me to cover, or would be willing to guest post about please do let me know! I’m still figuring out how these should be indexed. Perhaps by country/region.