A recent story about a river creature in West Virginia reminded two fishing buddies about a similar encounter they had, and their story on a paranormal website brought to light a little-known river monster that deserves more publicity since its strange history goes back to Native Americans who may have believed it was real but may also have made it up to scare (unsuccessfully) their European invaders – the Ogua.
“It looked like someone swimming on their hands and knees, crawling across the rocks. You know, maybe a bum fell in the water. Let’s go see if we can save him. And then, we’re sitting here yelling at this black shadow crawling up the rocks and we realized, it wasn’t even looking— wasn’t acknowledging us.”
Nate Moreno and Jake Byers told wboy.com they were catfishing at night on the West Fork river when they saw a huge ball-shaped thing swimming in the river and thought it was a unfortunate drowning human – until they saw its long tail and realized the creature was about 10 feet long. The creature was swimming upstream far faster than anything they were familiar with, including a snapping turtle, but it was gone by the time they were able to shine their vehicle’s headlights on the river. Not knowing what it was, they filed it away until last year when they read an article about the Ogua – a 20-foot-long cryptid said to resemble a 500 pound, giant alligator/snapping turtle hybrid living in the West Virginia part of the Monongahela River. When wboy.com’s “Paranormal W. Va.” feature recently asked for submissions, Moreo and Byers shared their ‘Ogua’ experience.
"There is an animal in this country which excites the admiration of all who have had an opportunity to view it. Being amphibious, it resides in the water during the daytime, but at night repairs to the land in quest of its prey, which are deer. They lie in the deer paths undiscovered behind an old stump until the deer, unaware of its enemy, passes over him.”
An account from the late 1700s by a youth stationed at Fort Harmer at what is now Marietta, Ohio, tells of a two-headed giant deer-killing water monster in the confluence of the Muskingum River and the Ohio River that was called Agua or Agou by local Delawares or Shawnees who historian Glenn Lough told West Virginia Explorer were just messing with the minds of the Europeans. However, the legend took hold and became the Ogua, moving upstream to the Monongahela River.
"The area is renowned for its strange history—Bigfoot sightings, giant skeletons found in the 1800s, and even a strange plant-like creature aptly named Vegetable Man, sighted in the woods near Rivesville in 1968. So it’s only fitting that the Monongahela River is said to hold such a creature as the Ogua.”
West Virgina Explorer tells of a number of Ogua sightings around 1983 when a coal miner named John Edward White was fishing on the Monongahela at Rivesville when he claimed to see a giant creature with a large fin and serpentine tail in the river. After other fishermen reported seeing a similar monster, it became the Rivesville River Monster, a variation of Ogua. Closer to Pittsburg, the creature is called the Monongy, with sightings dating from the French and Indian War (1754-1763) to a large number between 1930 and 1950 to 2003 when photos appeared in the media of an alleged Monongy but mysteriously disappeared.
“I know what an alligator snapping turtle looks like. I’ve caught them before, and they do get massive, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is just a massive variation, but for how shallow the water is here and just general familiarity with the river, you know that something that is existing and thriving here that otherwise shouldn’t be.”
Nate Moreno says what he and his friend saw was no alligator snapping turtle. So ... what was it?