In the wake of the ongoing debates about the the Loch Ness Monsters (a) being large salamanders and (b) having the ability to move around on land, I thought I would share with you a number of cases that strongly suggest these things really do roam the landscape. I’ll begin with a very creepy story that dates back to 1988. The sinister activity occurred in the mid-Wales town of Rhayader and occurred between September and December. That was when the town was hit by a spate of mysterious deaths of sheep. Although several farms were targeted by the stealthy predator – and always under cover of darkness – it was the Bodalog Farm, owned by the Pugh family that suffered most of all. Over the course of several weeks, they lost close to forty sheep to the deadly intruder. Oddest of all: the sheep were not eaten, whether in whole or in part. The only evidence of the attacks were deep, penetrating bites to the sternum. Dogs brought in soon picked up on the scent of something – their wild behavior made that very clear.
The dogs picked up on something else, too; something that had previously been overlooked. In certain parts of the fields where the sheep had been killed, corridors of flattened ground were uncovered. They gave every indication of something slithering along the fields. On top of that, and as the dogs continued to chase down the scent, they were led to the banks of the 134-mile-long River Wye, the fifth longest river in the U.K. The conclusion was all but inevitable: some form of large, unknown water beast was – undercover of the night – surfacing out of the depths of the river, stealthily crossing the fields, and feeding on the blood of the unfortunate sheep. The mystery was never solved. Moving on…
Beginning in the Cascades of Southern Oregon and extending down to Copco Lake, south of the California-Oregon border, the Klamath River is some 250 miles in length and takes its name from the Native American term for “swiftness.” Jeffrey Shaw and his wife had taken a ten-day-long vacation and all was normal for a while; however, it was six or seven days into their break that matters took a very weird and dramatic turn. Something monstrous loomed into view from surrounding woods. It looked like a huge eel, maybe around thirty-feet in length. Both of the Shaw’s confirmed to me that the creature seemed to have great trouble moving on land, hence their shuffling-type description. They added that the thing seemed to wriggle from side to side as it moved, while its body appeared to be continually “vibrating” as it did so. They were unable to discern the appearance of the beast’s head, said Jeffrey Shaw, adding that “the whole thing reminded us of a big black pipe.” It quickly made its way into the waters and was gone.
Now, let’s take a trip to Scotland. No, not to Loch Ness. Rather, to Loch Morar. It’s a Scottish loch that has a long history of monsters in its midst. Indeed, such is the large number of reports of Morag – the name of the legendary beast(s) of Loch Morar – Elizabeth Montgomery Campbell was able to write an entire 192-pages-long book on Morag in 1972. Its title: The Search for Morag. In his 2018 book, When Monsters Come Ashore, Roland Watson tells of how Australian cryptozoologist Tony Healy, in 1979, learned of a man named Charles Simpson “regarding a sighting of the Loch Morar Monster wholly out of the water, lurching over a strip of shingle.”
It’s time now to focus on yet another legendary beast, Ogopogo, of Okanagan Lake, British Columbia. It’s interesting to note that Okanagan Lake is, like Loch Ness, a place of considerable size, one in which a colony of predominantly underwater-based creatures could survive and thrive. It is more than eighty miles long, three miles wide, and just short of 250 feet deep. Like its Scottish cousin, Nessie, Ogopogo has a long and rich history of sightings. We may never know for sure how far back into history of the creatures of Okanagan Lake extend, but we can say for sure that the Native Americans that lived in the area as early as the 1700s knew that the waters of the lake were home to something monstrous and terrifying. That much is evident by the name they gave to the beast – or, far more likely, of course, beasts. They called it the “n’ha-a-itk.” Very appropriately, it translates into English as “Lake Demon.” On the matter of land cases involving Ogopogo, the late cryptozoologist Mark Chorvinsky said: “Ogopogo footprints have also been found. Some have been irregularly shaped, others cup-like, some were like dinosaur tracks with three toes, and still others had a pad foot and eight toes! As [Professor Roy P.] Mackal has written, ‘The trouble with footprints is that anyone can fake them easily.'” Indeed, the whole issue of land-based incidents is steeped in controversy. That doesn’t mean, however, there’s no merit to the controversial matter. Only that such incidents are undeniably rare.