OPEN TIL JAN 15 - Winter Wonderland SCAVENGER HUNT


sponsored by Night Owl Reviews

Starts December 1, 2012 and runs all the way

until January 15th, 2013!

So when you've got some down time this holiday season, you can have fun finding great authors and books, plus get yourself entered to win one of 15 incredible prize packages.



Congrats to Chrystina W, winner of 
Grand Prize Package #2, 
which included MY giveaway -- 
a Kindle Paperwhite plus 
one of my ebooks to read on it!


Check for the complete list of winners and prizes at



sponsored by Night Owl Reviews

Starts December 1, 2012 and runs all the way

until January 15th, 2013!

So when you've got some down time this holiday season, you can have fun finding great authors and books, plus get yourself entered to win one of 15 incredible prize packages.

I'm really excited about this event --- my website is one of the required stops along the way. I'm giving away a Kindle Paperwhite plus one of my ebooks to read on it!
And that's just ONE of the fabulous prizes you might win!

Ready for fun? Go to the instruction page at 

Author + Spider = THE WILLIES!

Each Halloween provides me with a perfect opportunity to dust off and share this all-too-true story -- one of my favorite posts ever -- with my readers. It's not candy, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway.


We all have something that pushes our most primitive panic button. I’m not talking things like Tyrannosaurus Rex or the shark from Jaws or even 10-foot-tall, brain-sucking aliens with ray guns. Think smaller. Waaaaaay smaller. The very same human who will rescue a family of nine from a burning building or face down a burglar armed with nothing but a folding chair will turn to Jello on stilts in the presence of his or her personal demon. Said demon of course is not in its brimstone-chewing and pitchfork-wielding form, but in the guise of a deceptively harmless-looking creature such as a mouse.

And then it hits – that peculiar fear reaction known only to homo sapiens. An attack of nerves so complete that in ten thousand years of civilization we still can’t think of a single intelligible name for the condition. We’re assailed by the heebie-jeebies, the creepy-crawlies, the jitters, the all-overs, the jim-jams and the screaming meemies.

Me, I get The Willies.

While I have no reaction whatsoever to slugs, bugs, snakes, rats, mice, lizards, bats and even the inner workings of cows (don’t ask), I come down with a severe case of The Willies when confronted with a spider. I don't know why that is – some mis-mutated survival mechanism? After all, while I'm dancing around, rubbing my arms and legs, flapping at my clothes and yelling EEYEWW at the top of my lungs, the spider has plenty of time to run off. When I've finally finished with The Willies, my enemy is long gone, leaving me safe and sound – at least for the moment. Instinct triumphs again.

I'm ready for a different evolutionary leap though. Recently I stepped into the shower only to discover that I wasn't alone in there. Eight beady eyes met my gaze. If they’d belonged to four mice or four beetles or even four plumbers, I’d have reacted better. But nooooooo, not only did all eight beady eyes belonged to a single spider, but this spider was big enough to wear a t-shirt and I'm certain he had a tattoo. I immediately suffered an attack of The Willies that was so extreme, I leapt backwards out of the shower and straight into the nearest wall, braining myself with the towel bar. It might have been just the ringing in my ears but I could swear I heard high-pitched spider laughter as I crawled hastily from the bathroom, naked, whimpering and cursing. So much for that inner defense mechanism. Thanks a lot, Darwin.

It’s important to note that the adage out of sight, out of mind does not apply to situations like this. Once The Willies have been activated, they have to run their course. It took me half an hour of pacing, shaking and jumping around to get up enough nerve to assess the situation rationally. My rational assessment said that I was on my own. Have you noticed that scary-evil things only show up when you're all by your lonesome? Sure, husbands and boyfriends will save you from a charging grizzly bear, but it’s a perverse Law of Nature that they’ll never be on hand in true emergencies such as power failures, cars that fail to start or spiders in the bathtub.

I confess, I considered siccing my pug onto the beast (Kill, Scooby, KILL!) but finally decided against it. My benign pug has all the ferocity of an eggplant. The spider would be in no danger whatsoever unless Scooby accidently farted on it. Besides, if my pug did actually TOUCH the spider (Ick, ick, ICK!), then The Willies would render me completely unable to touch my dog for heaven knows how long. I'd have to hand him biscuits with a pair of barbecue tongs...

I next considered waiting the six or seven hours until my husband got home from work. I could go without peeing or brushing my teeth that long, couldn’t I? Then I remembered I had an appointment I’d waited three weeks for. With mounting horror, I realized just how many things associated with getting ready for the day were trapped in the bathroom with the eight-legged invader. Makeup. Toothbrush. Earrings. OMG, my bra was hanging on the back of the bathroom door! For a wild moment I thought I could make it without all those luxuries and then I caught sight of myself in the bedroom mirror. My hair was sticking up in a lopsided morning mohawk and nothing, but nothing, would render it fit to be seen but a shower.

I would have to confront the enemy.

The flyswatter looked too flimsy to be of much use and the broom couldn't be wielded within the confines of the shower. A hammer would be a little rough on the bathtub enamel and would also require too much precision. I finally decided on the bathroom plunger as my weapon of choice – it had a nice heft to it. Not as good as a baseball bat but I didn't have one of those. In retrospect, it was probably a good thing I didn't think of our deer rifles....

I opened the shower door carefully, praying the spider wouldn't be startled. Not because I cared about its spider feelings, but because one sudden move from the creature would have cost me another hour of The Willies. Fortunately, the eight-legged invader was paralyzed by incredulity. A plunger? Are you kidding, lady?I launched my attack.

It was grim, it was messy and it was accompanied by strangled shouts of EEYEW, EEYEW, EEYEW, EEYEW, EEYEW and many GODDAMMITS. I think most of them came from me. After the battle, I turned the hot water on full blast and left the shower to disinfect itself while I ran to my room (still naked). I was dancing around but not with victory.

And that's the pity of it. More evolved gals would no doubt feel empowered enough to raise that plunger over their head and triumphantly shout "I AM BETTY, DESTROYER OF EVIL!". But me? I’m in the throes of an even bigger case of the creepy crawlies, a heebie-jeebie meltdown of epic proportions.

The Willies have struck again.

Dani Harper

So now I've told you what sends me screaming down the street --- it's YOUR TURN --- What scares YOU? Can anyone add to the list of synonyms for "heebie jeebies"? (My personal favorite is the screaming meemies -- one of my relatives used to say us kids gave her those...)


CONGRATS TO DENISE Z. Her name was drawn as the winner. She'll receive a Dani Harper tote with an itty bitty plush wolf in it! 

THANK YOU for all the great comments --- loved them! 

You're not missing this Halloween Scavenger Hunt, are you?

It's the annual Halloween Full Moon Scavenger Hunt at Night Owl Reviews!

The hunt ends on October 31st --- only a few days left to enter!
This is a great way for you to find new books and authors. Along the way you also get entered for great prizes. 

Prizes range from Kindle's and $100 gift cards to eBooks and signed copies.

You might even win MY prize - An Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi PLUS my Changeling trilogy ebooks - Changeling Moon (RITA Finalist), Changeling Dream, and Changeling Dawn by Dani Harper

How the Online Scavenger Hunt Works:

You visit book-related websites and read blurbs. From the blurb, you will answer a fill-in-the-blank question that is provided on the entry form. Each correct answer is an entry.

You can join the hunt at: 

Happy Reading!
Dani Harper

Halloween Full Moon Scavenger Hunt

I'm participating in the annual Halloween Full Moon Scavenger Hunt at Night Owl Reviews!

The hunt starts on September 1st and ends on October 31st. You can enter anytime between those dates.
This is a great way for you to find new books and authors. Along the way you also get entered for great prizes. Prizes range from Kindle's and $100 gift cards to eBooks and signed copies.

You might even win MY prizeAn Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi PLUS my Changeling trilogy ebooks - Changeling Moon (RITA Finalist), Changeling Dream, and Changeling Dawn by Dani Harper

How the Online Scavenger Hunt Works:

You visit book-related websites and read blurbs. From the blurb, you will answer a fill-in-the-blank question that is provided on the entry form. Each correct answer is an entry.

You can join the hunt at: 

Happy Reading!
Dani Harper

Tarot Cards - They're not Magic 8-Balls

Amazon link to Magic 8 Ball
Honest. “You will meet a tall, handsome stranger...” is more the stuff of fortune cookies than tarot. The purpose of a reading isn’t to tell you what to do – it’s to engage your own intuition

The pictures on the cards are powerful psychological archetypes which can help you gain insight about yourself and your circumstances by tapping into your subconscious. 

About the Tarot Deck

Amazon link to  
The classic Rider-Waite Deck
The traditional tarot deck has 78 cards, although modern variations may have fewer. Like ordinary playing cards, fifty-six of them are divided into four suits. 

Instead of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs, you have Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles.

Each suit has 14 cards, with numbers 1 through 10 plus four royal cards – Page, Knight, Queen and King.

What most people think of when they hear the word tarot are the archetypal cards, like “
The Tower”, “The Star”, “Justice”, “The Fool”, “The Lovers”, and “The Sun”. There are 22 of these trump cards, called “The Major Arcana”. The 56 suit cards are “The Minor Arcana”. Arcana means mystery in Latin, and the term wasn’t applied to tarot cards until later in their history, about 1870.

A Sampling of the Major Arcana 
Amazon link to  
Gilded Tarot Deck

THE FOOL – Often the appearance of this card signifies a beginning of a journey, although not necessarily a physical one. It may be mental, emotional or spiritual in nature. Happiness and optimism abound.

THE LOVERS – This card often indicates harmony and union, but is not necessarily about love at all. It may represent choices to be made or a decision between two paths. 

STRENGTH – This card typically shows a woman with a lion. She may be holding the lion’s mouth open or just standing beside it. The image represents not just strength, but courage, self-control and determination.

THE CHARIOT – This card often represents triumph over adversity, some obstacle overcome, a well-deserved victory.

THE EMPORER – As might be expected, this card signifies authority, corporate structure or government. It may stand for someone in a position of authority in your life, like a boss or a parent.

THE HANGED MAN – The picture is usually of a man dangling by his foot, and as such, often means a temporary suspension of progress. Circumstances may actually be turned on their head and a waiting period may be in the works.

Amazon link to  
Morgan-Greer Deck
OMG, I’ve drawn 
the Death Card!
With its skeletal figure, the Death card has been often been used in stories, movies and even video games to scare the bejeebers out of people. First and foremost, it’s not about literal death (whew!). 

In fact, the Death card can be a very positive card. It's usually the symbol for CHANGE, signifying either the end of one thing or the beginning of another. It can mean transformation and regeneration, hope and rebirth. In fact, psychologist Carl Jung attributed the Death card in tarot with a
 new standpoint or perspective.

Think of the Chinese word for crisis – the glyph contains the symbols for both danger and opportunity, and
 opportunity is stronger. Drawing the Death card can indicate that despair can now give way to hope – a very good change!

Choosing your Tarot Deck

Amazon link to  
Gilded Tarot Deck
You need to use a deck of cards that appeals to you and there are thousands of decks out there to choose from. Many people collect tarot decks for their gorgeous artwork. 
If you have a particular passion, someone is sure to have designed a deck around it. For instance, the Tarot of White Cats (yes, all of the characters depicted in the cards are cats), Mystic Faerie Tarot, Salvador Dali Tarot and Golden Dragon Tarot. Shapes and sizes vary too. There are even decks with round cards, hexagonal and triangular cards!

It’s important to find cards that you feel good working with. It’s an intensely personal choice – what feels right to one person may feel very differently to someone else. The very first deck I purchased was the traditional Rider-Waite design. When I opened the box and touched the cards, I was repelled. It’s not that I didn’t know what they were going to look like, it’s that they didn’t feel good to me. I got a headache every time I tried to use them and I soon gave them away. Other people swear by the Rider-Waite and use nothing else. Through trial and error, I eventually found a deck called
 The Gilded Tarot. It’s a beautiful deck, but more importantly, the cards resonate with me and I can work with them easily. 

Be Energy-Conscious 
Amazon link to  Tarot of White Cats
Owning your own deck of tarot cards and handling them regularly is very important. This is so the cards pick up your energy and hold it. For this reason, they shouldn’t be handled by anyone else. (This is also why buying a used deck of tarot cards isn’t advised – they’re saturated with energy from strangers.) In fact, most people who do tarot readings keep a separate deck only for that purpose or ask you to bring one of your own. 

The more familiar you become with your personal deck and the more you develop a close working relationship with them, the more your natural intuition will be enhanced and the better your readings will become.

Some people believe that it’s bad karma or bad luck to buy your own tarot cards, that your first deck must be gifted to you by someone else. Most tarot readers agree that this is a myth. There’s nothing wrong with getting your own set of cards – in fact, it’s desirable to do this so you can select the deck that appeals most to you. Note: it might not be the deck you think. You might love all things Victorian, but a Victorian-themed deck of tarot cards may not work for you. Who knows, you might respond better to
 Feng Shui Tarot or even the Tarot of White Cats!

Books to Help You

There isn’t room in a blog to discuss all there is to know about tarot. You’re going to need a good book (or more than one) to use as a resource. As I said before, I mostly use Josephine Ellershaw’s
 Easy Tarot - Learning to Use the Tarot Once and For All, but you need to find the one that resonates best with you. Many tarot decks come with their own books, which is a good place to start. 

Amazon link to  
Easy Tarot by Josephine Ellershaw

Most of all, don't forget that no matter what a book says, the meanings of the cards are fluid and adaptable. What a card means is what you feel it means. Intuition trumps all! 

Happy Reading!

YOUR TURN – Have you ever worked with Tarot before, or had a reading done for you? Is there a particular deck that you enjoy working with or a book that you’ve found helpful?


Book One in the Cassie Palmer series
This blog hop is focused on sharing favorite reads. So today I'm excited to talk about mine! 

I love the supernatural, and when I'm not reading Paranormal Romance, I'm reading Urban Fantasy. At the very top of my list of favorites is anything written by Karen Chance

Chance's “Cassie Palmer” series is simply amazing. Humorous, sexy and action-packed, it races along at a breakneck pace to the very last word. Picking up one of these books is dangerous – it can’t be put down until you finish it! 

Not only is the heroine interesting, the leading men in this story are unforgettable!  

Here are some snippets of the first five books in the series:

“I knew I was in trouble as soon as I saw the obituary.  The fact that it had my name on it was sort of a clue.”

“The jerk in question was Mircea, a five-hundred-year-old vampire whose biggest claim to fame was being Dracula's older brother. He'd also been my first crush. I hadn't cared about his family name, or that he was a first-level master and a Senate member. I'd been far more interested in the way his rich brown eyes crinkled at the corners when he laughed, in the mahogany hair that spilled over his broad shoulders and in that wickedly perfect mouth, still the most sensual I've ever seen.”

“I couldn’t see Pritkin’s face very well, just a pale blur against the shadows, but he didn’t sound happy. Some people thought he had only one mode... pissed off. In reality, he had plenty of them. Over the past few weeks, I’d learned to tell the difference between real pissed off, impatient pissed off and scared pissed off. I suspected that this was the last kind. If so, that made two of us.

“He smiled at that, and then his gaze shifted to a spot over my shoulder and it faded. 'These doubts wouldn’t have anything to do with the company you’re keeping of late, would they?'

I didn’t get a chance to answer before the shop door was thrown open and a furious war mage stomped in. Pritkin spotted me and his eyes narrowed.

'You shaved my legs?!'

Mircea looked at me and folded his arms across his chest. 
I looked from one unhappy face to the other and suddenly remembered that I had somewhere else to be.”

“My name is Cassie Palmer and I’ve cheated death more times than anyone has a right to expect. In the last two months, I’ve been shot, stabbed, beaten and blown up a few dozen times, and that doesn’t count all the magical ways I’ve almost been killed. I’d have been dead a long time ago if not for my friends, one of whom had just jumped off the cliff after me.

I’d have been a lot more appreciative if he hadn’t pushed me first.”

* * * *

Karen Chance ALSO has a second series underway, featuring Dorina Basarab who is a dhamphir – half-human and half-vampire.  

I have to say that so far I like this new series even more than the Cassie Palmer series and I didn't think that was possible! 

Book One is Midnight’s Daughter, followed by Death’s Mistress. Fury’s Kiss will be out in October 2012, and believe me, I'm counting the days! 


July 18 - July 22

Thanks to the hosts, Bona Fide Reflections and The Book Nympho


Congrats to Erika W. 
of Illinois!  
Her name was drawn as the winner of a signed copy of my RITA finalist novel, CHANGELING MOON
plus a copy of 
TOUCH THE DARK by Karen Chance!  

When you're ready to leave my site, this link will get you back to the list of participating blogs at The Book Nympho   

Séances – Talking with the Dead – plus a Friday the 13th Ghostly Giveaway!

Everyone knows what a séance is – if you haven't participated in one as a nervous teenager, then you've at least seen one in a TV show or movie. But do you know how séances began?  

The term séance comes to the English language from an Old French word meaning “a sitting” or “session”, and usually applied to the legislature. In the mid-1800s, however, the word séance began to be used to describe a gathering where people sought messages and advice from the unseen world. The concept of contacting the dead, however, is far, far older than the words we use to describe it now.

Greeks sought advice from ghosts
In ancient Greece and Italy, the practice of necromancy – summoning the dead and asking them questions about the future – was called nekyia. There were a number of Greek and Roman temples devoted to this rite, although the ceremony could be performed in other places such as grave sites outside the city walls. And the Greeks weren't the first to seek advice from the netherworld. Humanity has done this since the beginning of recorded history and probably before that.

The séance became extremely popular during the Victorian era on both sides of the Atlantic, with the emergence of the Spiritualist movement. Some séances at the time were frivolous, of course, and entered into purely for entertainment. Some were fraudulent, with fake mediums determined to capitalize on the trend by implementing what we would now call special effects.

Actor Dan Aykroyd
But there were many séance holders who were sincere in their purpose, seeking some sort of harmony between religion and rationality. Séances are also called “sittings” and “demonstrations of mediumship”, and still form a regular part of church services for many practicing Spiritualists today. They believe that existence and personal identity continues after the change called death. To them, contact with those who have moved on to the next life is not only possible, but desirable in order to gain knowledge.

Actor Dan Aykroyd’s grandfather was a Spiritualist, who practiced regular communications with ghosts in his home. Aykroyd's father, Peter, had many childhood experiences with this which he shared with his sons. Not only did Dan and his brother become lifelong paranormal enthusiasts, it helped inspire Dan to write the movie Ghostbusters! (You can read about this unusual family life in A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Séances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters by Peter Aykroyd - See details on how to win a copy at the end of this blog!)

To Medium or Not to Medium

Table Tipping
When spiritualism first came to America in the 1840s, the most common method for connecting with the spirit world was "table tipping". A group of people would seat themselves around a round table, with their fingertips resting on the surface. No medium or psychically-gifted person was required for this procedure. The participants would usually ask a specific question, then call out the letters of the alphabet until the table moved, twitched or tilted. Yes or no questions that could be answered with only one or two movements were the most useful.

Many accounts exist of the table sliding around, standing on two or even one of its legs. Levitations were reportedly witnessed. Some concluded that the phenomena were caused by subconscious movements of the participants. However, that doesn't explain the cold breezes that were sometimes felt, and floating lights said to have been witnessed.

Modern séances often utilize someone with psychic ability or sensitivity to act as a medium, “facilitating” the proceedings. A medium may gain impressions of the spirit in question, see the spirit in their mind or with their eyes, hear the spirit’s words or channel the spirit’s words through the psychic’s own mouth, or channel their ideas through automatic writing.

Two Way Street 

Dean Winchester
played by Jensen Ackles
How successful a séance is may not depend on the breathing participants, or even the medium, if there is one. It's thought that spirits may have to work just as hard to develop their abilities to communicate with the living, as the living must do to connect with the dead. What kind of effort would it take for a spirit to learn to manifest itself to the living, to speak or become visible? Modern thought compares it to bridging dimensions. The 1990 Patrick Swayze movie, "Ghost", may have right on the money when it showed the hero struggling to affect the physical world. Early spiritualism taught that a spirit might only be able to create subtle effects such as tapping or knocking. 

Spirits may have to make use of a wide variety of communication methods in order to be detected. Sometimes that communication has to be deciphered as well. In an episode of Supernatural titled "The Usual Suspects", character Dean Winchester brought up this concept: “Communicating across the vale, it ain't easy. You know, sometimes the spirits, they, they get things jumbled... You know, it's, uh, maybe word fragments... other times, it's anagrams.”    

Séances in the White House?

Abraham Lincoln with young medium
Nettie Colburn Maynard at a séance
Many notable individuals made use of séances. It’s well documented that Mary Todd Lincoln held several séances at the White House after the death of her son, Willie. Some of these events were attended by her husband Abraham Lincoln, as well as high-ranking members of Washington society. 

Many known Spiritualists spent time at the White House, leading to the rumor that Lincoln was a Spiritualist also and received counsel about government policy as well as the war from spirit presences.

Ulysses S. Grant's household are said to have conversed with the ghost of Willie Lincoln during a seance held in the room in which he died. Calvin Coolidge and his wife were rumored to have held seances, although they denied it when the press got hold of it.

Author Charles Dickens, poet W.B. Yeats and physicist Sir Oliver Lodge attended séances regularly as members of The Ghost Club – a British organization devoted to paranormal investigation.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle attended his first séance in 1887, the same year his first Sherlock Holmes novel was published. He viewed spiritualism as a natural extension of rapidly-emerging science.

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison believed that science would eventually play a definitive role when it came to communicating with the dead. In 1920, he said:

“If our personality survives, then it is strictly logical and scientific to assume that it retains memory, intellect, and other faculties and knowledge that we acquire on earth...

“...I am inclined to believe that our personality hereafter will be able to affect matter. If this reasoning be correct, then, if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected, moved, or our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something.”

Edison would no doubt have approved of today's technological efforts to connect with the dead. EMF meters, full spectrum video, laser grids and countless other "delicate" instruments have largely replaced tipping wooden tables.

At least on TV....


Friday the 13th - GHOSTLY GIVEAWAY


Congrats to Pamela K!  

Her name was drawn at random as the winner of the giveaway. Pamela will receive a new hardcover copy of Peter Aykroyd's book:
 A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Séances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters

Summer Reading -- part of the Shameless Summer Blog Hop

Dani's back porch
It's summertime and the reading is easy! One of my favorite places to spend time with a book is my back porch. I grow tons of flowers in pots out there, have a few little touches of Mexico here and there and look out on a small woods. And just to add some spooky inspiration for the paranormal romances I love to read and write, there's an abandoned house in the midst of the trees! (You can just see the brown shingled wall in the background - "Cabin in the Woods" anyone?)

Recently I fell in love with Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, so that's been my summer reading project so far. On book 3! Also on my list are more of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (I'm on Book 3) and the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne (I'm on Book 4). And because summer is a perfect time to reread old favorites from the keeper shelf, I'm just finishing the Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts. Last but definitely not least, I have my copy of Lover Reborn by JR Ward standing by --- I'm a dedicated BDB fan!


This giveaway is now CLOSED 

Congrats to Jennifer B. 
Jennifer will be receiving a signed copy of the second book in my shapeshifter series, Changeling Dream, and a tote bag to put it in!

Many thanks to all of you who stopped by and especially to those who left a comment. I love hearing from you!

as one of the Top Ten Books of 2011 

"...a near-perfect example of 
shapeshifter romance..." 

Thanks to Jen at Red Hot Books, Brie at Romance Around the Corner & Michelle at Michelle's Book Blog for sponsoring the hop. Here is the LINK to get back to the list of participating blogs (118 at last count! Woo hoo!)

The Legend of Ogopogo, the Lake Monster of British Columbia

Most people have heard of the Loch Ness Monster, but did you know that “Nessie” isn’t alone? There are three other legends in the British Isles alone, plus there are no less than 16 mysterious water creatures alleged to be living in Canada and 22 in the USA!

Like Nessie, some people theorize that Ogopogo
is a leftover creature from dinosaur times,
such as a type of plesiosaur
“Ogopogo” is the most famous fresh water monster in Canada, believed to reside in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia. First Nations peoples told stories about the “water demon” or “snake in the lake” long before European settlers arrived, and some native pictographs (rock art) have been found that are said to depict the beast. According to legend, Kel-oni-won was a man possessed by a demon, and he murdered a respected elder named "Old Kan-he-kan " with a war club. The Creator punished Kel-oni-won by changing him into a lake serpent forever. The tribe then named the lake after Old Kan-he-kan (Okanagan)

Squally Point, Rattlesnake Island
Native tradition also holds that the lair of the monster was a cave beneath Squally Point near Rattlesnake Island, just offshore from Peachland, BC.  No one would attempt to cross this particular lake without bringing along small animals to drop in as offerings! However, the story is told of a visiting chieftain who refused to believe the creature existed. He deliberately canoed near Squally Point, and suddenly the monster rose up and whipped the water with his tail. The chieftain and all who were with him were pulled underwater, never to be seen again. 

Lake Okanagan, British Columbia
Another story recounts that when a horse bent down to drink near this area, the monster seized the horse's nose and pulled him under! Yet another account tells of a group of natives planning to row to the town of Kelowna for supplies.  On the way, three of the lake monsters attempted to tip their boat! The men escaped and returned to their home and no one tried to cross the lake for a very long time.

The Salish people in the area called the lake monster N'ha-a-itk, or “lake demon”. The Chinook peoples called it "wicked one" and "great-beast-on-the-lake." In 1924, however, a Vancouver newspaper reporter parodied a British song, “Ogo-Pogo, The Funny Foxtrot” in order to make fun of the reported sightings of the time:

His mother was an earwig;
His father was a whale;
A little bit of head
And hardly any tail
And Ogo-pogo was his name.

Unfortunately, the native names for the monster were promptly forgotten or ignored, and the creature has been called Ogopogo ever since!

Sightings of the creature consistently
mention its long neck
Recorded sightings of the monster by Europeans date back to the mid-1800s (which predates the first sightings of Nessie in Loch Ness by about 60 years!) In 1854, settler John MacDougall was in a canoe, swimming his team of horses across the lake. Without warning, the horses were dragged under by forces unseen. He was forced to cut the lead ropes to save the canoe from being pulled under as well, and narrowly escaped. The horses disappeared without a trace.

The first recorded sighting of the creature was by author Susan Allison in 1872. She was watching the lake for signs of her husband returning from a canoe trip, when suddenly she saw an unusual animal swimming against the waves. In 1880 timbers were going to be floated to Osoyoos to Judge and Emily Hayne's ranch. The hand-sawn timbers were being made into a raft, and as they were building it, a Mr. Postill saw the N'ha-a-itk raise its head from the water and watch them! In 1890, Thomas Shorts was captain of a steam ship on the lake and claimed to have seen a finned creature about sixteen feet long with a head like that of a ram. The monster disappeared, however, when Captain Shorts turned the ship in its direction.

Sightings have occurred about six times a year on average ever since, some by large groups of people at the same time. On September 16, 1925, a large creature was seen swimming in the lake by about 30 cars of people parked along a beach! The government subsequently announced that the new ferry being built for travel across the Okanagan Lake would be equipped with special "monster repelling devices"! On July 2, 1947, several boaters reported seeing the monster about the same time. On July 17, 1959, a number of people saw a huge creature with a long neck for about three minute before it submerged.

In 1990 Canada issued a stamp featuring the Ogopogo
Witness accounts vary somewhat but most tell of a serpentine creature from 12 to 70 feet long, glossy black or brown, that undulates through the water. It isn’t clear if the creature actually has a number of humps or if it just looks like that because of its method of locomotion. The Ogopogo is described as having a goat-like or horse-like head on a very long neck. Some witnesses describe their sightings as “logs suddenly coming to life” and swimming away at great speeds, often against the waves.

Occasionally, the creature has been sighted out of the water. In the summer of 1989, a couple out for a walk at night witnessed a large unknown creature emerging from the water onto the shore. Other sightings had been reported in that same spot.

Is it possible that Okanagan Lake has an undiscovered animal, or “cryptid”, living in it? It’s certainly large enough to hide one. The lake extends from Vernon in the north to Penticton in the south, about eighty miles. Surrounded by mountains, it’s been compared to a coastal fjord with its steep-walled deep water basin. The lake depth plunges to nearly 1,000 feet in places! It’s been theorized that underwater passages connect the lake to other bodies of water in – and native tradition says that other lakes in the region have similar creatures!

Dani Harper
Author of the Changeling series of shapeshifter romance novels


Congrats to "ALAINA A" from
Saskatchewan, Canada.
She's won a paperback copy of
"Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep" by Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe   

Thanks to everyone who read my post and/or left a comment!