Sunday, 12 November 2006

Nessie is the mother of invention

Seventy-three years ago today, Hugh Gray took the first photograph of the Loch Ness Monster. He wasn't the first to see it. St Columba had a confrontation with the beast in the late 6th Century but was so busy scaring it off, he didn't think to take a picture. So much for miracles.
On another occasion also, when the blessed man was living for some days in the province of the Picts, he was obliged to cross the river Nesa the Ness; and when he reached the bank of the river, he saw some of the inhabitants burying an unfortunate man, who, according to the account of those who were burying him, was a short time before seized, as he was swimming, and bitten most severely by a monster that lived in the water; his wretched body was, though too late, taken out with a hook, by those who came to his assistance in a boat ...

... But the monster, which, so far from being satiated, was only roused for more prey, was lying at the bottom of the stream, and when it felt the water disturbed above by the man swimming, suddenly rushed out, and, giving an awful roar, darted after him, with its mouth wide open, as the man swam in the middle of the stream. Then the blessed man observing this, raised his holy hand, while all the rest, brethren as well as strangers, were stupefied with terror, and, invoking the name of God, formed the saving sign of the cross in the air, and commanded the ferocious monster, saying, ‘Thou shalt go no further, nor touch the man; go back with all speed.’ Then at the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified, and fled more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes, though it had just got so near to Lugne, as he swam, that there was not more than the length of a spear-staff between the man and the beast.

Since Gray took his snapshot of a lot of spray, many others have pointed their cameras and sonar equipment at floating debris and — more frequently — models. They've even cut out pictures of dinosaurs and stuck 'em onto photos.

The Museum of Hoaxes has a round up of the Nessie story. It also has some Loch Ness Monster haiku. Here's mine.

The surface broken
By a mysterious form.
Bugger! Just a log.



Is the current monster supposed to be a descendant of the one St. Columba saw, or is it the very same beast?

I remember reading somewhere that the creature in the 2nd photo was a goose or something like that.

Snail said...

I'm sure some would believe there's a whole shoal (?) of Nessies in the loch!

There was a lot of discussion about the second photo, including the suggestion it was an otter's tail. Apparently it was a fairly elaborate hoax, in which a model monster head was stuck onto a toy submarine.

Some people have too much time on their hands!

amegilla said...

I think it was a grebe. Possibly photographed by snail.