A Loch Ness Monster Sighting from 1909

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 11th, 2015

Most references to the Loch Ness Monster attribute modern sightings starting in 1933.

Roland Watson/a.k.a. Glasgow Boy at his Loch Ness Mystery blog has posted about an earlier sighting:

The article was published in the May 1962 edition of the Scots Magazine and was Campbell’s reply to various objections Burton had brought against the idea of a monster in Loch Ness, such as his favoured vegetable mat theory. That article is interesting enough in its own right, but further research turned up something else.

One aspect of Loch Ness Monster research is to look for follow up. So, when an article such as this is published, I always look at subsequent publications to see if any feedback came out of it. The Scots Magazine has a section for readers’ letters, so I looked out a few months to see if anything was published. As it turned out, the August issue carried a letter from a Mr. W. Fletcher Stiell who lived in Lincoln. I reproduce that letter below.

I was most interested in the article, “No, Dr Burton!” by Mr A. M. Campbell in your May issue. I can hardly think that Mr Campbell is the Loch Ness water bailiff whom I met in 1909. The bailiff I knew lived in a lochside cottage on the south side of the loch about midway between Inverfarigaig and Dores. He caught me in my student days cross-line fishing with “an otter” on a beautiful moonlight night. All he did in a gentlemanly tone was to explain the iniquity of my conduct, to confiscate four big peacock flies, which I had dressed myself, and two nice sea-trout. We parted the best of friends.

I fished the loch daily, except Sundays. for two months every summer for twelve years – twenty-four months in all. During this time I only saw the monster once, and that was in August 1909. This was twenty-four years before Mr Campbell first “wrote up” the creature, and I was ignorant of its existence.

Unfortunately I was alone in the boat and had no camera, but for about three minutes I was parallel and only about twenty-five yards from the animal. It was swimming at about ten miles an hour against about a ten-knot wind. This was, of course, faster than I could row, and I was therefore outpaced and I lost sight. However, I cannot picture any weed-mat moving against a breeze at all.

I knew all the gillies at Drumnadrochit personally at that time. They are now all dead, but when I spoke of my experience they failed to comment in any way, so I have since done likewise. I do know that Sandy Ross, the late piermaster at Temple Pier, saw a similar beast on several occasions.

If the creature is a plesiosaurus, and its appearance was not unlike the pictures I have seen, then there must be some means of reproduction and at least two monsters. Not even a prehistoric beast could live for many centuries, but it could be reproduced unknown under the favourable conditions of Loch Ness.

As an aside, the bailiff at that time was not Alex Campbell, but John Grant. I would point out that the terms “Nessie” and “Loch Ness Monster” were completely unknown back in 1909. In fact, it was another 24 years before such phrases began to feature alongside reports of a strange creature inhabiting this northern lake.

As I have stated before, it is one of the pillars of modern scepticism that the Loch Ness Monster was a media created and media sustained phenomenon beginning in 1933. Before that year, there was nothing but an echoing void. This man’s account suggests that theory can be thrown on the garbage heap.

read the rest of the story here.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

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