The Loch Ness Monster
by E.I.Carroll, Form IIA
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LOCH NESS is Scotland’s largest loch. It is far from being impressive on a map, looking like an outsize river. But, beheld in real life, it is one of the most beautiful sights that Scotland has to offer. Here, within sight of snow-capped mountains and surrounded by sandy beaches and trees, here, beneath the Loch’s placid surface lies a creature which for centuries has puzzled and frightened people with its infrequent appearances.

No! It is more than a myth. Those who disbelieve in the creature behave like medieval alchemists who pretended that anything they could not understand did not exist. I do not suggest that anyone who doesn't believe in the creature as a monster from out of this world should do so. There is not sufficient evidence for that. But there is sufficient evidence that a phenomenal creature exists in the Loch. It may be an overgrown eel, a land-locked grampus or shark or some such creature which in normal circumstances would not be found in the Loch, but it is clear that something mysterious exists.

I believe in none of the above theories and firmly believe in a monster almost unknown to science but let us start at the beginning of what is known of the monster’s weird history.

The earliest account of the monster’s appearance comes from a most reliable source. It is from St. Adamnan’s biography of St. Columba. The story runs as follows: St. Columba, having crossed the river Ness, found some men burying a man. They told him that a certain ‘water monster’ had suddenly appeared in the Loch as the man was swimming and bit him with a savage bite. St. Columba, on hearing this, asked that one of his followers should swim to the other side of the Loch and fetch him a certain boat which was there. The saint was immediately obeyed, but as the man swam across the Loch, the monster reappeared and charged the swimmer with open mouth. On seeing this, St. Columba held up his hand and drew the Sign of the Cross in the air, commanding the beast to go back - and it did so.

Unfortunately, no reference as to the looks of the beast is made. This is the only account of the monster ever attacking swimmers as all the following reports show that the creature is a peace-loving citizen of the Loch. However, the fact that its forefather of 565 A.D. liked a bit of meat now and then should not be disregarded as there is a sinister saying at Loch Ness that the Loch never gives up its dead, an insinuation that the monster makes good use of them.

The next account of the monster is a good deal later (about 1527) and recounts the experiences of a certain Duncan Campbell. He refers to the monster as a terrible beast which came out onto land and started overthrowing oaks with the greatest of ease and ki1led three men that attacked it, with its powerful tail. Again no description of the monster is given, which is a great pity. This time the monster also kills, but in self defence. Whatever induced the beast to create such an unnecessary act of vandalism as felling oaks, will never be known. In my opinion, the story is clearly an exaggeration but the foundation of the story is probably true.

The next account comes in 1870 when a ‘monstrous fish’ was seen, which would stand as high as the mast of a ship. Again an exaggeration but at present the exact size is not necessary, only evidence that something abnormal exists in the Loch.

After this last account the ‘monster stories’ became only local interest until in 1933 a motor road was built which ran the length of the northern shore. This really started things! From then on, people passing by the millions in their cars had a clear view of the Loch as that side of the Loch had previously been screened from view by trees, all of which were now felled, Sightings of the monster now flooded in. It would be impossible to recount all these sightings but I will tell of the more interesting ones.

This story befel Mr. and Mrs. Spicer on the 22nd of July, 1933 as they were driving down a road close to the Loch, The Spicers at a distance of about 200 yards saw a long undulating neck followed by an enormous body lurch clumsily across the road before them. The beast crashed through the bushes on the side of the road nearest the Loch and disappeared from sight leaving nothing but a hole in the bushes through which it had disappeared. The Spicers saw no head nor did they notice any limbs (the light was poor as it was early in the morning) but they estimated it at about four feet from the ground and twenty five feet in length.

The year wore or, bringing with it still more reports. Huge sums of money were offered to anyone who caught the beast dead or alive and Bertram Mills Circus offered £20,000 to anyone who could deliver the beast to them alive.

Then in November 1933 a Mr. Gray saw a great commotion going on in the Loch. About 40 feet of monster approximately 3 feet high was thrashing about on the water. It was on this occasion that the first photographs of the monster were taken. Unfortunately, only one of the several photographs was of any use and even this one was spoiled by light but it showed a long sinuous shape in the water. This 40 ft. of monster makes a great contrast with the previous 25ft., but it must be remembered that in the case of the twenty five only part of the neck was seen and none of the tail.

The second photograph of the monster was taken by a London surgeon in 1934 and he obtained & clear photo of the head and neck of the beast carrying itself with a graceful swanlike notion.

Reports of the monster continued to stream in but none of them were particularly striking. War broke out and the reports thinned. But in 1951 a third exciting photograph was obtained. A Mr. Stewart, at about 6.30 in the morning, noticed something large moving about on the Loch. He called to his friend, a Mr. Hay. They watched, fascinated, a huge creature with three separate humps travelling at a fair speed 50 yards off the shore. Mr. Stewart (who luckily had a camera with him) took a snapshot. The creature had a sma1l head and a long neck, and about 15 - 20 feet behind the last hump a commotion was going on, denoting the presence of a tail.

Another strange occurrence which took place in 1954 was when a certain drifter recorded a sounding which should have been 480 ft. A large object, a hundred feet or so from the bottom was keeping pace with the boat and continued for half a mile! The sounding equipment was later checked and found in excellent working order.

Such astounding reports are continually coming in from groups of people, respectable people, and people who independently saw the creature, all of whom are prepared to take an oath on the truth of their statements.

It is impossible for me to give all the accounts of the monster which continue to come in up to this very day, but I may describe this beast on the average of all the tales:

  1. Practically all reports say that the head is small.
  2. A high percentage of these agree that it is a continuation of the neck.
  3. The head is definitely reptilian.
  4. Those who say it is not a continuation of the neck say it is rather like a small horse.
  5. It has a mouth 12 - 18 ins. wide and red inside.
  6. Nostrils and ears have never been seen but many reports say it has two little stubs with knobs on like a giraffe.
  7. The neck varies, as witnesses rarely see it join the body and so do not know how much of it is submerged, but it is generally seen about 6 ft. out of the water with 4 ft. of water separating it from the first hump, giving the beast about 12 - 14 ft. of neck. The neck is about 9 inches thick and widens out near the bottom.
  8. The humps are an interesting problem. The number of humps varies from one to twelve and the shape from round to triangular. A good theory for this has been put forward. On the back of the beast are large air sacks which are filled when the monster wants to rise. The angle at which it rises is determined by the number of sacks it fills. The pressure in the sacks possibly varies the shape of the hump. This is more than a theory as witnesses who have seen the head and neck above water have all agreed that when the beast submerges it sinks without a ripple. This shows that perhaps the monster is emptying its bags and sinking due to its own weight. On the other hand, when it is frightened it dives head first, which shows it has not enough time to empty its sacks and so has to force itself under. This air sack system is found in certain fish and reptiles. Why not in monsters?
  9. The majority of people who see the lower part of the beast, say it has flippers for limbs. Only a few say it has short stumpy legs but of this they are not quite sure. It is said to have two pairs of flippers, larger at the back than at the front. The large ones cause a good deal of commotion when the monster is in the mood for it but the front pair are never observed in use.
  10. The tail, though rarely seen, is always said to be thick and stumpy; just an acute continuation of the body.
The Loch Ness Monster is not the only monster which puts in an occasional visit. There are also reports coming from: Loch Tay, Loch Lomond, Lake Victoria (Africa), Lake Okanagan (Canada) and also the Great Sea Serpent. The above ten features are those common to all the monsters, but those who say it has a head like a horse refer mostly to the Great Sea Serpent, which has a longer neck than that of ‘Nessie’, as the Highlanders call their pet, I will not be too detailed about the other monsters since my aim is to relate what is known of ‘Nessie’, However, two dead sea serpents were washed up or the shore at Deep Dale in the Orkneys. The first one was found by children but it was three weeks before anyone else came to see it. From end to end it measured 24 ft. long but it must have previously been longer as the head was missing. It had ten feet of neck, two pairs of flippers and about a ton of flesh still remained on the carcass. No experts were sent for and it was soon forgotten. The second one was also found at Deep Dale with about five feet of neck and one pair of flippers with an overall length of 20 feet. The head was like a small pony’s and the beast had no tail. This was indeed a different specimen but still strange. Experts were sent for but went away saying that it was just a basking shark. Later the witnesses (who had seen it in a fresher condition) realised the experts' mistake. By the time the latter had arrived the monster was nothing but a putrid mass of meat and the outline resembled a basking shark. They had mistaken the neck for the tail!

It is now clear that the monster in Loch Ness is not a land-locked whale or shark but a creature unknown to science.

Of the many strange theories the following seem the most probable. Recently a fish - a coelacanth - was discovered. This amazing fish had remained unchanged by evolution for 70 million years! Why should Nessie & Co. not be dinosaurs equally unaffected by time?

The Elasmosaurus is a perfect example of what the Loch Ness Monster looks like. It is a descendant from the Plesiosaur family, which lived on fish.

Attempts to seek out the monster by sending down divers have been made but the Loch becomes peaty within a few feet of the surface and prevents observation. It is known, however, that little plant life exists and since the Loch never gives up its dead, Nessie must be carnivorous living on the salmon which abounds in the Loch. This is characteristic of its supposed forefather the Elasmosaurus.

On several occasions two monsters have been observed in Loch Ness and on one occasion, three. This suggests that the monsters still breed and with luck may multiply.

But what is known for a fact is that some phenomenal animal haunts the murky waters of Loch Ness.

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