Conservation is key when looking for any cryptid, whether it’s Ogopogo or Sasquatch.
That’s been the key takeaway cryptozoology documentarian and podcaster Eli Watson has taken from his explorations, including his most recent investigation of Okanagan Lake with British Columbian investigator Jason Hewlett.
“I’ve become much more of a conservationist after looking for Bigfoot,” he admitted, during an early February Zoom call. “A lot of cryptozoologists tend to be conservationists; when you start getting out in the field and you start going into places that people don’t normally go, that’s when you start seeing the pollution and the effects of logging.”
Watson was surprised that pollution and the treatment of the environment became a central theme for his and Hewlett’s documentary, Cursed Waters: Creature of Lake Okanagan, which focuses on the legends surrounding Ogopogo in Okanagan Lake. However, after interviewing cryptozoologist John Kirk, Coralee Miller of the Sncewips Heritage Museum and Kelowna resident Bill Steciuk, he realized that the environment plays a considerable role in discovering the undiscovered.
“(Kirk and Miller) were both united in their approach that the lake itself needs to be protected, especially in the First Nations,” the 25-year-old said. “Their whole culture is built around clean water.”
Watson initially connected with Hewlett after he was a guest on his podcast Cryptid Campfire, so he was the first person he reached out to when he went on a Sasquatch investigation in Harrison Hot Springs. Watson travelled with his Small Town Monsters team from San Diego, California to B.C. and out of curiosity sought out how far Lake Okanagan was from his base camp
Hewlett is based out of Kamloops, which is 172 kilometres northwest by car from Kelowna. At the time Watson contacted him, he was working on the last book of his contract for Beyond the Fray Publishing.
“I was like, I could write about Ogopogo. So, I’d started researching literally the same week that Eli contacted me about Ogopogo and tracking down people to interview. Then Eli messaged me about that and I’m like this is synchronicity.”
With witnesses and interview subjects already at the ready, the duo started getting to work on Cursed Waters.
“We’re both excited about (cryptozoology), and not just the subject of Ogopogo, but the paranormal in general,” Hewlett said. “It was neat working with someone who was outside of the group that I’m used to working with that really into this and understands it, and wants to portray it in the same that I like to portray it.”
Hewlett’s work with Peter Renn and the “We Want to Believe” team takes a serious and genuine approach to the topic of the paranormal.
Planning for Cursed Waters began in February 2023 and has come to fruition. They shot the video content over two days in Lake Okanagan, and they were sure to capture the
The documentary reached its $90,000 Kickstarter goal on February 7, but for the documentary to be pressed on a physical medium, such as a DVD or BluRay, the stretch goal is $120,000.
Cursed Waters premieres at the Canton Palace Theater on June 28 at Monster Fest 2 in Canton, Ohio.