Nessies’ Death Prematurely Announced

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 30th, 2007

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

As reputable an authority as the senior officer of the Cunarder Mauretania [sic] reports that on Jan. 30, [1934] while in the Carribean [sic] Sea, the ship passed “a sea monster 65 feet long, 2 feet across the head and 6 feet broad amidships. It was headed S.W.” We are sorry he did not get its course to a finer compass reading. It might have been information of value to the professors.

Again on Feb. 2, in the harbor of La Guira, the officers of this same ship reported that another strange looking denizen of the deep appeared on the port bow making two knots headway. Say the ship’s officers: “It was 25 feet long and 15 feet across the middle of the back, with two huge fin attachments sticking out six feet on each side. As the marine puzzle moved, the port fin went down into the water while the starboard fin rose and vice versa. The huge mouth was white and about three feet wide.”

Of late, the sea appears to be coming alive with strange monsters, which run the gamut from side wheelers to stern propellers. There is even the monster amphibian of Loch Ness, Scotland, which travels by land as well as by water.

Ever since mariners put out to sea have they reported sighting these strange creatures of the deep, with their specifications limited only by the imagination. But they seem to be appearing with unusual frequency during recent months which is a matter worthy of professional study.Albuquerque [New Mexico] Journal, February 18, 1934.

In the above historical example, sent along by Jerome Clark, of a Sea Serpent story, what I find of instructive significance are (1) the media’s excitement expressed by an increase in sightings, and (2) the 1930s sense that the Loch Ness Monsters were truly amphibious cryptids. The fact they were “land-traveling loch monsters” is a notion I have been trying to reawaken in the last few years, as per my field guide.

It appears in the 1960s-1990s, people, especially some writers and others in the media, forgot that the historical Kelpies and Merhorses of Loch Ness were seen frequently on land.
The Waterhorse Legend of the Deep
The cinema version of Nessie, Waterhorse to be released at Christmas 2007, may only further the “aquatic only” myth of the Scottish lake monsters. At least, the movie acknowledges the creatures are around and about.

This week the 2007 press is trying to reinforce one of their old patterns: if it’s not in the news, it doesn’t exist. The bored media is declaring that “Nessie is Dead.” In recent news articles you will find such statements as this: “Sightings of Nessie have plummeted in recent years, giving rise to fears that the long-necked Caledonian leviathan is either dead or ailing. There have been only two reported sightings so far this year and there were only three in 2006. A decade ago the numbers were consistently in the high teens.”

I’ll ignore as total stupidity the fact that “one Nessie” seems to be implied in this press releases, and move on to a deeper point here.

Have the media’s short-term memory failed them? Have they forgotten how they fell all over themselves when the Gordon Holmes Nessie video was shown in May and June of this year? Yesterday’s news truly is today’s fishwrap in our fast-paced digital age.

The repeating of “Nessie is dead” articles in the last couple days is pure silliness. You can slice this pie many ways. You can play with statistics until the cows come home. Or you can be patient when studying cryptids. Migration, land movement, cycles in population, and weather can all impact sightings – which never directly reflect the presence or absence of animals, on one level, anyway.

In addition, the lack of interest of the media and too many debunkers do increase the ridicule factor for those real eyewitnesses, which tends to put those that come forth to share their sightings in a slump. It is a self-reinforcing trend.

Nessies are still around. They just might be on holiday.

My prediction stands: In the Year 2008, there will be an increase in sightings and other incidents at Loch Ness and/or nearby lochs.

May the Saints preserve us from a media that too quickly forgets yesterday merely to write some cute words today.


Art by Bill Rebsamen, reproduced with his permission.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

6 Responses to “Nessies’ Death Prematurely Announced”

  1. CryptoGoji responds:

    One must not forget a few things before we call one of the cryptids “dead” that the media does not always talk into account. The habitats that these creatures dwell in are vast in scope. Many of the lakes that creatures like Nessie call home are several square miles in size (twenty four for Loch Ness) and several hundreds of feet deep. Thats a lot of hiding space for a creature even of moderate size! And if one would take into consideration that they may or may not need to completely surface to breath, that maybe they could just rise their nostrils above the surface of the water, much like an alligator or a crocodile does, then we may really never see the whole creature.

    Another consideration is other than Loch Ness and the surrounding Lochs in Scotland, how many of the world lakes that have had creature sightings in them are truly watched 24/7?

    I agree with you Loren, the media often forgets what it said just last week… OJ for example, would be the first to come to mind. We may never find out what is beneath the waves of Loch Ness or other lakes for that matter, but the mystery, the allure is what keeps many of our dreams and wishes alive.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    Well, considering the havoc that global warming is wreaking in some habitats, I often find myself wondering if some of these undiscovered creatures may become extinct before they are even properly documented. I’m not saying that this is what is going on in this case as I’m not even convinced of the existence of Nessie to begin with, but it is a disturbing possibility. I suppose it is possbile for a species that is very rare or elusive to dissappear without us even knowing they were ever there.

  3. harleyb responds:

    The Loch Ness monster is still alive and keeping it real.

  4. bill green responds:

    hey loren , very informative new article about nessie. the above photos are great too. im realy looking forward to seeing this new nessie movie in my local theatres soon. thanks bill green 🙂

  5. springheeledjack responds:

    An excellent point and one of my peeves too…it has been overlooked that Nessie has been sighted on land multiple times and that always gets ignored or forgotten or shoved to the background…

    and CryptoGoji…even loch ness with its web cams and what not is not watched 24 /7…oh there are many places where people cast an eye to the loch, but the loch is 24 miles long and a mile wide…that is a huge amount of surface area to scan all of the time…there was a camera or video sighting…cannot recall details at the moment, but it was of someone either on shore or in another boat that got footage of a critter coming to the surface near a tour boat (and I think it was recent, as in the last twenty years), and no one on the tour boat even took notice of it…so even watching the loch–even tourists is no sure avenue either…

    sorry got off on a tangent, but I also like to repeatedly point out that watching any huge body of water is not like watching a pond…a single person or even a group of people (or even a camera) has a limited viewing area, and for a loch as wide as Ness, it is near impossible to effectively scan out large areas of water…and even with binoculars, it would be easy to miss something…even as big as a 15-30 critter on a body of water that size.

  6. scotsman responds:

    I have to say as a scotsman who has seen the loch many times, i remain slightly skeptical, I am unsure what to believe, there are many hoaxes out there which tantalise our imaginations of what could be lurking in the loch. Although when you are standing looking at the water of loch, and you realise that because of how dark the water is something could be 3 feet under the water staring back at you it does send a chill up your spine, but I think that it is one of those things that the world will never know, simply because i can bet you any amount of money that the people who live on the loch know more than they are telling. Granted there will be many regular folk who know nothing about it, but has anybody heard a peep from the water baliff in the last 100 years???????? Is there possibly a reason that the water baliffs don’t do interviews????? I will leave it with you.

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