Posted by: Craig Woolheater on August 11th, 2013
The first reported sighting of the Manitoba lake monster known as the Manipogo was on Aug. 11, 1962. The following day, this photo was taken near the mouth of the Waterhen River by two men in a boat. This is the only known photo of the Manipogo. Photo courtesy of Chris Rutkowski
Sunday will mark the 51st anniversary of the day that two people claimed to see Manitoba’s lake monster while having a picnic at Toutes Aides.
A day later, on Aug. 12, 1962, the only known photo of the creature was shot by two fishermen from their boat.
Richard Vincent of North Dakota and John Konefall from nearby Dauphin were returning to their camp on an island near the mouth of the Waterhen River that afternoon, when they saw a strange object in the water, says Winnipeg author Chris Rutkowski.
They took the only known photo of the serpent, dubbed Manipogo.
“The most recent citing of Manipogo was about 15 or 20 years ago,” Rutkowski said Friday. “About 10 years ago I interviewed some master anglers who had sightings. They were men in their 60s.
“They saw this head come out of the water and a body trailing behind it.”
In his 1993 book, Unnatural History: True Manitoba Mysteries (available at McNally Robinson), Rutkowski quoted Vincent’s account.
“Judging from its appearance, it was approximately a foot in girth and about 12 feet of the monster was above water. No head was visible,” Vincent said.
The creature didn’t seem to be frightened by the boat’s 10-horsepower motor and easily outdistanced the craft before it submerged, Vincent told Rutkowski.
The men stayed in the area, hoping for another glimpse, but never saw it again.
“The most significant part of the incident was Vincent’s effort to photograph the creature,” Rutkowski said. “Part of the boat itself is visible in the photograph, giving evidence to the claim that the two men were about 75 yards away from the animal, judging from some optical cues.
“The hump was thought to be two feet above the water.”
One would think, in the age of camera cellphones, if there was something out there we’d have more photographic evidence.
Instead, the two witnesses behind the original photo were later reluctant to discuss it further, Rutkowski said, hurting its credibility.
Konefall, Vincent and the two picnickers weren’t the original witnesses to the Manipogo. However, we’d need an Ouija board to get a comment from original witness, Valentine McKay.
The Hudson’s Bay Co. fur trader and trapper saw a huge creature swimming near Graves Point on Lake Manitoba in September, 1909.
There may not be any recent reported witness accounts, but Rutkowski has heard rumours of security personnel who saw something unusual near flooded areas of Twin Lakes on Lake Manitoba in 2011. They included large humps emerging and submerging with loud splashes.
What exactly did they see?
Could Manipogo exist and still be out there?