Mar 24, 2019 I Nick Redfern

Lesser Known Tales From Loch Ness

Just about everyone has heard of the Loch Ness Monster. You may be aware of some of the more well-known and famous cases. There are, however, aspects of Loch Ness' long and strange history that you may not be aware of. So, I thought today I would share with you a few examples of some of the lesser known facts and tales concerning that huge body of water. One of the strangest stories of paranormal weirdness at Loch Ness came from an acclaimed author on all manner of mysteries, Andrew Collins. As Christmas 1979 loomed, Collins – with colleagues Graham Phillips and Martin Keatman – spent a week in Scotland, investigating the Nessie enigma. It involved interviewing witnesses, spending time poring over old archives in Inverness’ library, and checking out the loch itself. It was while they were deep in the heart of their investigation that the trio uncovered a very weird story. Back in the early 18th century a young couple inexplicably vanished while riding a horse and trap near Loch End, on the south shores of Loch Ness. Rumors circulated that the pair was either murdered or abducted. And neither the horse nor the trap were ever seen again. It would have remained a complete mystery, were it not for one thing; a very uncanny thing.

1897 Almshouse Charlestown Institutions AnnualReport Boston
A typical almshouse

More than one hundred years later, and at the height of tumultuous thunderstorm, a young man and woman walked into a local almshouse, inquiring if the priest that oversaw it would give them shelter for the night, which he did. The priest couldn’t fail to see that the pair was dressed in the kind of clothing that was popular around a century or so earlier. Plus, they seemed very confused, dazed and bewildered, and completely unable to explain where they were from. They remained in that odd, altered state for a couple of days, after which they simply walked out of the almshouse and were never seen again. When the story got out, however, several of the locals recalled old tales of the events of a century earlier, and the missing pair of young lovers. Was this, perhaps, a case of a slip in time having occurred? Did the couple vanish from the 18th century, only to briefly and incredibly manifest in the 19th? Or was the whole thing just an old legend that had endured? Take your pick. Moving on...

Alexander MacDonald made mention of Scottish lake monsters in his 1914 book, Story and song from Loch Ness-side, which was almost twenty years before the phenomenon of Nessie began. He said: “The fairy-lover in this story is identified in many parts of the Highlands with the water-kelpie, of which the conception that prevailed generally was one that inspired repulsiveness. There seems no getting away from the fact that, in the far back, obscure corridors of the past, came across the path of man as he slowly but diligently was making his way upward and onward.”

Four years later, Henry Cyril Dieckhoff revealed some interesting and eye-opening data in Mythological Beings in Gaelic Folklore, which was published by the Gaelic Society of Inverness. He was of the opinion that even though much of what had been written about Scotland's supernatural kelpies was clearly folkloric in nature, he solidly believed that the beasts had a basis in fact. It was his firm belief that the tales were specifically born out of a combination of inherited memory and oral lore of giant, violent creatures of an unknown kind that lived during the earliest years in which the Celts first appeared on the scene. It’s hardly surprising, then, that when the Nessie phenomenon hit the headlines in 1933, Diekhoff became a fervent follower of the mystery and an adherent of the theory that Loch Ness was the home of terrible monsters.

Then, there's the possibility of the Nessies being supernatural in nature; maybe even paranormal shapeshifters. In 1880, Duncan MacDonald had a terrifying, eye to eye encounter with something that resembled a giant, goat-sized frog. A tusked beast was seen in the waters of the River Ness, in 1932, by a Miss K. MacDonald. Lieutenant McP Fordyce described seeing an animal that walked like an elephant, that looked like a combination of a “very large horse and a camel,” and which was shaggy in appearance. Arthur Grant’s sighting was of something more akin to a plesiosaur. Mr. and Mrs. George Spicer encountered a creature that had a jerky, wormy gait and which provoked both nightmares and what practically sounds like post-traumatic stress disorder. And, Hugh Gray photographed an animal with a beak-like, turtle-style head. Finally...

Aleister Crowley 1929
Aleister Crowley

Nineteen-seventy-one was the year in which Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page, purchased Aleister Crowley’s old abode, Boleskine House, which, for years, overlooked Loch Ness. Until, that is, December 2015. That was when it was almost destroyed in a fire.  Ironically, for someone who was a major devotee and follower of the teachings of Crowley, Page actually spent very little time there. Boleskine House has had a long and turbulent history. Despite his lack of time spent at Crowley’s old home, Page certainly acknowledged that the entire place was saturated in high-strangeness. He acknowledged it had “bad vibes,” adding that, “A man was beheaded there and sometimes you can hear his head rolling down.” None of this kept Page away from the world of the occult. That much is evidenced by the fact that he later owned a famous London bookshop devoted to all things supernatural, paranormal, and esoteric. Its name: The Equinox. In addition, portions of Led Zepelin’s movie, The Song Remains the Same (released in 1976, but shot in 1973) were filmed on the grounds of Boleskine House. Page sold the creepy, old house in 1992.

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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