Nineteen-thirty-three was certainly the year in which Nessie fever erupted in spectacular style. One year earlier, however, there was a deeply strange occurrence at Loch Ness, Scotland; it’s one that is very often overlooked or ignored. The reason why is easy to fathom. It is at extreme odds – in terms of the description of the creature – with so many other reports and, therefore, does not sit well with many Nessie investigators. Too bad. The stranger it is, the more I’ll talk about it.
The witness was a Lieutenant McP Fordyce and the date was April 1932. At the time, Fordyce was living in the English county of Kent, but, along with his fiancée, traveled by car to Aberdeen, Scotland, to attend a family wedding. Given that the drive was such a long one, and instead of immediately heading all the way back home after the wedding was over, Fordyce decided to show his fiancée “a little of my native land.” They cut across Inverness, noting as they did so that “preparations appeared to be in full swing for a Highland Gathering.”
The young lovers had dinner, took a stroll through the town, and encountered a band of men playing bagpipes. It was a perfect slice of ancient Scottish tradition, one that Fordyce’s girl would never forget. There was something else she would never forget, too.
On the following morning, the pair decided to hit the road running and hopefully make the journey back to Kent in good time. It was a bright and sunny day for the drive; a drive which took them by Loch Ness, as far as Foyers, at which point they turned onto the road to Fort William, away from the loch side, and into the heart of “well-wooded country with the ground falling slightly towards the loch.”
According to Fordyce’s memory, he was driving at around twenty-five miles per hour at the time, when he and his fiancée were shocked and amazed by the sight of what he described as “an enormous animal.” It appeared from the dense woods and then made its way across the road, at a distance of around 450 feet.
He added that the beast moved like an elephant, but seemed to be something akin to a strange combination of a “very large horse and a camel,” even to it having a camel-like hump on its back and a small head positioned on a long neck. Displaying welcome gumption, the adventurous Fordyce stopped the car, jumped out, and decided to do something that very few people can claim, when it comes to the Nessies: he pursued the monster on foot.
As he got closer, but all the while keeping a respectful distance – perhaps, just in case the creature turned violent – Fordyce could now see that the rear of the animal was gray in color and noticeably “shaggy,” while its “long, thin neck gave it the appearance of an elephant with its trunk raised.”
Unfortunately, and surely to the consternation of monster-hunters everywhere, Fordyce had left his camera in his car. He then realized the somewhat precarious position he was in – stalking a large monster in the woods – and “quickly thought discretion the better part of valor and returned to the vehicle.”
By Fordyce’s own admission, he and his fiancée spoke about the amazing event for much of the journey home. The only theory they could come up with was that the animal was an “escaped freak from a menagerie or zoo.” He admitted that he was sure that such a large creature would be easily seen by others and quickly caught. As history has shown, however, the Nessies remain as elusive today as they were back in 1932, when Fordyce’s chance encounter occurred.
Aside from confiding in family members, Fordyce stayed silent on his sighting until 1990 when, finally, as an old man, he contacted the media and his story became public knowledge. As he stated: “At the time of the sighting we were quite unaware of there being anything strange in Loch Ness, but in the autumn of that year, stories started appearing the press of an unusual animal being seen in and around the loch. It was the spring of 1933 that the term ‘Loch Ness Monster’ came into general use.”
The camel-like and “shaggy” descriptions of the beast are, admittedly, at odds with many (but not all) other reports. As was Fordyce’s observation that it “moved like an elephant,” which is very curious. Indeed, the latter comment strongly suggests that the creature walked on legs, rather than moving around using flipper-like appendages, which are so very often reported. Whatever Fordyce encountered, in terms of Nessie lore, it remains a mystery.