Loch Ness Serpant
Loch Ness Serpant

The Loch Ness Monster sometimes referred to as Nessie, is a cryptid in cryptozoology. The Loch Ness Monster is part of Scottish folklore and is believed to inhabit Loch Ness a large loch or lake in the Scottish highlands.  It is often described as large, long-necked, and with one or more humps protruding from the water. Popular interest and belief in the creature have varied since it was brought to worldwide attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with a number of disputed photographs and sonar readings.

The first modern discussion of a sighting of a strange creature in the loch may have been in the 1870s, when D. Mackenzie claimed to have seen something “wriggling and churning up the water”. This account was not published until 1934, however.  Research indicates that several newspapers did publish items about a creature in the loch well before 1934.

The best-known article that first attracted a great deal of attention about a creature was published on 2 May 1933 in Inverness Courier, about a large “beast” or “whale-like fish”. The article by Alex Campbell, water bailiff for Loch Ness and a part-time journalist, discussed a sighting by Aldie Mackay of an enormous creature with the body of a whale rolling in the water in the loch while she and her husband John were driving on the A82 on 15 April 1933. The word “monster” was reportedly applied for the first time in Campbell’s article, although some reports claim that it was coined by editor Evan Barron.

The Courier in 2017 published excerpts from the Campbell article, which had been titled “Strange Spectacle in Loch Ness”.

“The creature disported itself, rolling and plunging for fully a minute, its body resembling that of a whale, and the water cascading and churning like a simmering cauldron. Soon, however, it disappeared in a boiling mass of foam. Both onlookers confessed that there was something uncanny about the whole thing, for they realised that here was no ordinary denizen of the depths, because, apart from its enormous size, the beast, in taking the final plunge, sent out waves that were big enough to have been caused by a passing steamer.”

According to a 2013 article, Mackay said that she had yelled, “Stop! The Beast!” when viewing the spectacle. In the late 1980s, a naturalist interviewed Aldie Mackay and she admitted to knowing that there had been an oral tradition of a “beast” in the loch well before her claimed sighting. Alex Campbell’s 1933 article also stated that “Loch Ness has for generations been credited with being the home of a fearsome-looking monster”.

On 4 August 1933 the Courier published a report of another alleged sighting. This one was claimed by Londoner George Spicer, the head of a firm of tailors. Several weeks earlier, while they were driving around the loch, he and his wife saw “the nearest approach to a dragon or pre-historic animal that I have ever seen in my life” trundling across the road toward the loch with “an animal” in its mouth. He described it as having “a long neck, which moved up and down in the manner of a scenic railway”. He said the body “was fairly big, with a high back, but “if there were any feet they must have been of the web kind, and as for a tail I cannot say, as it moved so rapidly, and when we got to the spot it had probably disappeared into the loch”.

Letters began appearing in the Courier, often anonymously, claiming land or water sightings by the writer, their family or acquaintances or remembered stories. The accounts reached the media, which described a “monster fish”, “sea serpent”, or “dragon” and eventually settled on “Loch Ness monster”. Source: Loch Ness

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