Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hunting the other loch monster, curing the dead Nessie blues

Last year was not a good one for the most famous water serpent of all, Nessie. With numbers of credible sightings dwindling, a theory has arisen that the Loch Ness "monster" has been done in by global warming. The idea really gained momentum with the February 2009 episode of MonsterQuest where explorer Robert Rines speculated he saw sonar of Nessie's remains at the bottom of the loch.

Gary Campbell, president of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, acknowledges there was only one solid sighting in 2009, but he's not ready to sign Nessie's death certificate (largely because her death would also kill the town's tourist trade).

But even if it is true that Nessie has gone to the big loch in the sky, don't start playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes for all crypto water serpents just yet.  In fact, there may be another Scottish serpent in Loch Ness' neighboring village of Loch Morar.

In a recent post at his site (re-posted at MatadorTrips), travel writer Tom Gates visits the home of Morag, a "waterhorse" that picked up a lot of press in the late '60s and early '70s. Gates (who also did the lovely monster photo illustration above) speaks with loch monster expert Adrienne Shine and consults a 1972 book, The Search For Morag, on the matter.  But the most interesting part of Gates' essay is where he posits that maybe - juuuust maybe - the Loch Morar monster tales are being covered by residents of the small town who just want to avoid publicity.

Check it out and you decide.

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