Dec 30, 2017 I Nick Redfern

The Supernatural Side of Nessie

When it comes to the matter of the Nessies of Loch Ness, Scotland, theories abound as to what they might be. The giant salamander is an intriguing theory (see Steve Plambeck's excellent blog on this subject). As is the giant eel scenario. And, of course, there are those who yearn for the creatures to be plesiosaurs. Then there is what is arguably the most controversial theory of all. Namely, that the Nessies are not flesh and blood creatures, but something supernatural in origin and nature.

It's a theory that many cryptozoologists and monster-hunters have clearly ignored. Or, perhaps, even deliberately suppressed. That is evidenced by the fact that the supernatural data is out there, to be seen by one and all, yet it remains glaringly missing from so many Nessie-themed books. The reason why it has been ignored is abundantly obvious: mainstream cryptozoology does not wish to see the down to earth theories challenged by the world of the paranormal. I understand that cherished beliefs suggesting the Nessies are plesiosaurs are important to many. Ignoring key data, however, will not help solve the mystery. In reality, such an approach will have the opposite effect: it will stifle research and push it down the wrong road.

No less than the very first recorded sighting – the 6th century affair of St. Columba – was steeped in strange phenomena. The monster’s deadly games were reeled in by the saint, who called upon the power of the Christian god to try and banish the monster. Of course, it may well have been the case that a real incident prompted someone to add that same God into the equation as a means to try and fly the flag of Christianity. To me, that's sounds like a highly probable scenario. But, whatever the truth of that long-gone affair, it's notable that the first case on record suggested that the Nessies were not just regular animals.

More than a thousand years later the monster was still plaguing the people of Loch Ness. That much is made clear by the many tales of the Kelpies of Loch Ness. It’s important to note that not a solitary soul believed them to have been regular, albeit unknown, animals. Indeed, the unanimous conclusion was that the Kelpies were deadly, paranormal monsters that had the ability to alter their physical appearances. They were shapeshifters. Such theories and fears extended right up until the final years of the 19th century – and made a resurgence decades later, largely thanks to the work of obsessive Nessie-seeker, Ted Holiday.

And still on the issue of the final years of the 1800s, there is the not insignificant fact that none other than the “Great Beast” Aleister Crowley lived at Loch Ness’ Boleskine House. That Crowley – deliberately, inadvertently, or a bit of both – conjured up infernal, supernatural entities and helped create an air of malignant menace at the loch, cannot be denied.

Something else which cannot be denied is the fact that when the term “Loch Ness Monster” was created in the 1930s, it prompted a multitude of reports that described the Nessies in wildly varying ways. Arthur Grant encountered a monster with distinct flippers and a long neck. Hugh Gray’s famous photo shows a creature that pretty much lacks any kind of neck; as for its head it’s beak-like. Lieutenant McP Fordyce’s monster had long legs (rather than flippers), walked on the land, and was somewhat hairy, rather than dark and serpent-like. Add to that a tusked beast and frog-like Nessies of earlier years and what we have is a modern incarnation of the old Kelpie – a creature that could morph into multiple forms. The implication is obvious: the Kelpies of old never really went away. They were merely upgraded for new generations and given a new name: Nessie(s).

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Depiction of a Kelpie in human form -- The Kelpie by Herbert James Draper, 1913

The highly bizarre, and downright sinister, situations into which ill-fated Ted Holiday found himself plunged are further evidence of the supernatural forces that lurk and manipulate at Loch Ness. In the 1970s, Holiday had a run-in with a Man in Black at the loch. He experienced strange synchronicities. He crossed paths with a mysterious and deadly dragon cult, and he found himself in a world filled with magic, mysticism, and the occult.

Maybe, one day, the body of a Nessie will finally wash-up on the shore of that huge loch, and I'll be proved wrong and the Nessies will be revealed as flesh-and-blood animals, after all. But, I'm not even going to bother holding my breath.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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