Reading Brent Swancer’s May 8 article, “Mysterious Deaths and the Black Eyed Kids,” reminded me of the strange story, and untimely death, of a certain pursuer of the Loch Ness Monster. His name was F.W. “Ted” Holiday. He was the author of a number of very good books: The Great Orm of Loch Ness; The Dragon and the Disc; and The Goblin Universe. Like more than a few monster-hunters, Holiday started out as someone who believed the Nessies to be flesh-and-blood animals, but who later came around to the idea that they had paranormal origins – and were deeply dangerous, too. But, I’m not here today to talk about Holiday’s theories on what the beasts of Loch Ness are. Or are not. Rather, I’m here to share with you a strange saga that involved a creepy character in black, two suicides, and a couple of heart-attacks. One of them fatal.
On the night of June 2, 1973, Ted Holiday took part in an exorcism at Loch Ness – an exorcism which was performed by the Reverend Donald Omand, who had a deep interest in tales of lake-monsters and who believed them to have had paranormal origins. It was a drama-filled affair, to say the least. Before heading home, Holiday had a very ominous encounter. In Holiday’s own words (extracted from the aforementioned The Goblin Universe: “The next morning before breakfast I decided to step down to the lower caravan to collect some oddments from my suitcase. It was a beautiful fresh morning and the lawns were wet with dew. As I turned the corner of the house I stopped involuntarily. Across the grass, beyond the roadway and at the top of the slope leading down to Loch Ness at the top of which the caravan was located, stood a figure.”
Holiday continued: “It was a man dressed entirely in black. Unlike other walkers who sometimes pause along here to admire the Loch Ness panorama, this one had his back to the loch and was staring at me fixedly as soon as I turned the corner.”
It’s important to note that this was no regular man. Perhaps, the darkly-dressed figure wasn’t even human. On looking at the Man in Black, said Holiday, he felt “…a strong sensation of malevolence, cold and passionless.” The mysterious figure was attired in an outfit that Holiday said looked like “black plastic.” He wore black gloves and black headgear which resembled a biker’s helmet. Holiday tentatively walked towards the definitive Man in Black. As Holiday got close to the MIB, he was shocked to see that the man wore goggles, but appeared to have no eyes behind the goggles.
Holiday’s quickly thought out intention was to pretend to fall on the grass and reach out to the man for support – specifically to see if he was physical in form, or some kind of intangible specter. Holiday was prevented from doing so, however, when the sounds of whistling and unintelligible whispering filled the air, and the MIB vanished – as in dematerialized, literally. As Holiday – now petrified out of his wits – shakily scanned the half a mile of open road that dominated the landscape, it became clear to him that there was simply no way the man could have made good a stealthy escape in conventional fashion. Stunned to his core, Holiday tried to reconcile the whole thing as nothing but a bizarre hallucination – a theory that, he knew deep down, simply wasn’t viable. He tried to take his mind off the matter by saying his goodbyes to the Reverend Omand. It was all to no avail; the specter of the thing in black remained, like an albatross around Holiday’s neck.
There is a decidedly sinister sequel to this aspect of Ted Holiday’s quest for the truth of the Loch Ness Monster and his Man in Black experience, as Holiday himself noted: “When I returned to Loch Ness in 1974 to continue investigations, I was stopped after a few days with a heart attack. As a stretcher carried me up the side of the loch, I peered groggily over the side and noted with cynical approval that we had just passed over the exact spot [italics mine] where the man in black had stood the previous year. Synchronicity and the forces that control it never give up.” Ted Holiday died from a second heart attack in 1979. He wasn’t even sixty.
There is something else, too. Ted Holiday’s biker in black reminds me of the supernatural bikers in a British horror movie which was released in 1973 (the same year of the “Nessie exorcism” and of Holiday’s MIB encounter). The title of the movie: Psychomania. It’s interesting to note that one of the stars of the movie was George Sanders, who committed suicide not long after Psychomania was completed. Intriguingly, George Sanders was a former owner of Boleskine House – which, until it was destroyed by fire in December 2015, stood over Loch Ness. Its most famous owners were Aleister Crowley and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, both of whom were deeply interested in the occult.
All of which brings me back to Brent Swancer and his article. Ted Holiday said of the Man in Black that he (or it) provoked “…a strong sensation of malevolence, cold and passionless.” Brent Swancer’s notes that the Black Eyed Children “…are almost always described as exuding an intense wave of dread and panic.”
Then, there’s the matter of the eyes. We all know why the Black Eyed Children have the name that has become so infamous in paranormal circles. On the matter of Holiday’s MIB, he was sure that the man completely lacked eyes. But, I have to wonder, if the MIB was wearing tinted goggles, and if the man’s eyes were actually as black as those of the infamous and creepy kids, that might explain why, while he was wearing tinted goggles, it was near-impossible for Holiday to see his eyes. Granted, that’s simply a tenuous theory and absolutely nothing else, but it’s worth pondering on. A black-eyed adult, maybe?
There’s also the color of the clothing: Holiday’s figure was dressed totally in black. The BEK’s are very often seen wearing black hoodies. Finally, there is the matter of death. We have this from Brett: “Scattered amongst the many, many reports of encounters with Black Eyed Kids are those that seem to show a rather malevolent tendency for witnesses to meet with tragic misfortune and death, further casting a wicked shadow over them.”
And on the matter of “tragic misfortune and death”…
As we have seen, Ted Holiday couldn’t fail to note the eerie fact that the site of his 1974 heart-attack was “…the exact spot where the man in black had stood the previous year.” Plus, he died young from another heart-attack in ’79. And let’s not forget that George Sanders topped himself after making Psychomania – which is filled with supernatural bikers. Sanders was not alone in being an owner of Boleskine House who went on to kill himself. Crowley’s old abode was once owned by Major Edward Grant, a retired British Army officer. In 1960, Grant blew his head off, in his bedroom. His housekeeper, Anna MacLaren, told of seeing the major’s little dog, Pickiwig, racing around the house with a piece of the major’s skull in his mouth.