My recent article on the legend of the “giant worm” of Linton, Scotland, led a couple of people to contact me and inquire if I suspect the “worms” of centuries past are the very same creatures that are said to lurk in Loch Ness and other large bodies of waters – in both Scotland and England. Well, yes, I actually do think that’s a very real possibility.
If the Nessies (and I use the term “Nessies” because, if they are flesh and blood beasts, then there has to be a fairly significant number of them) exclusively live in the deep waters, I would say no. As for why I would say no, it’s because the worms of old were often seen roaming the landscape, and provoking havoc and mayhem in the process. But, here’s the important thing: there are far more than a few reports of the creatures of Loch Ness being seen on the land – and not just in the water.
So, if the Nessies can exist in the water and on land too, and the old-school worms were often seen around not just hills and woods, but bodies of water, such as marshes, and rivers, then yes, I do think there is something here that is more than just mere coincidence. I won’t pummel you with countless reports of the Nessies on land. For our purposes, one, classic case will suffice.
On the afternoon of July 22, 1933, a Mr. and Mrs. Spicer encountered one of the Nessies lumbering across a stretch of Loch Ness road in a very strange, and even creepy, fashion. It was a report that caused a sensation and which is still championed by seekers of the Loch Ness Monster to this very day. Of those who interviewed Mr. Spicer, one was Rupert T. Gould, whose 1934 book, The Loch Ness Monster and Others, is required reading. Gould described what was discussed in the interview as follows:
“They had passed through Dores, and were on their way towards Foyers when, as the car was climbing a slight rise, an extraordinary-looking creature crossed the road ahead of them, from left to right, in a series of jerks. When on the road, it took up practically the whole width of it.
“He [Mr. Spicer] saw no definite head, but this was across the road before he had time to take the whole thing in properly – it was in sight for a few seconds. The creature was of a loathsome-looking greyish color, like a dirty elephant or a rhinoceros. It had a very long and thin neck, which undulated up and down, and was contorted into a series of half hoops.
“The body was much thicker, and moved across the road, as already stated, in a series of jerks. He saw no indications of any legs, or of a tail – but in front of the body, where this sloped down to the neck, he saw something flopping up and down which, on reflection, he thought might have been the end of a long tail swung round to the far side of the body. The latter stood some 4-5 feet above the road. The whole looked like a huge snail with a long neck.”
And, it’s important to note that land-based sightings of the creatures of Loch Ness are not as scarce as one might imagine. Roland Watson, the author of The Water Horses of Loch Ness, has collected and studied more than thirty such reports.
Then there is Morag, the resident monster of Scotland’s Loch Morar. At just over eleven and a half miles in length, the loch has the distinction of being the deepest body of freshwater in the British Isles, with a depth of just over 1,000 feet. Unlike Loch Ness, Loch Morar can boast of having practically clear water. It takes its name from the village of Morar, which is situated close by and specifically at the western side of the loch, and which was the site of the Battle of Morar – a violent, death-filled confrontation between the Mackenzie and MacDonell clans.
An astonishing sighting occurred in 1948, when a man named Alexander MacDonnell sighted one of the Morags on the shore. In a few moments it practically belly-flopped into the water and vanished. It was a beast described as the size of an elephant. Needless to say, there is no known, indigenous creature in the British Isles that rivals an elephant in size.
I could go on and on with such accounts, but you get the point: Scotland has a long history of strange, water-based animals that seemingly have the ability to leave those same bodies of water and travel on land, albeit in somewhat clumsy and odd fashion. Not unlike those centuries-old worms. Yes, some of those old, wormy, tales have taken on legendary status, and some accounts are clearly taken from even older stories, and given entirely new locations – that’s one of the reasons why they’re considered legends!
And, of course, none of the above undeniably proves that (A) the giant “worms” of times long gone and (B) the lake monsters of both Scotland and certain parts of England were/are one and the same. I do, however, think that where there is smoke, there is very often fire. And, as I see it, in this story there is a hell of a lot of smoke. Further, persistent digging just might reveal an abundance of fire, too.