On March 15, 2018 I wrote a review of Roland Watson’s then new book on sightings of the creatures of Loch Ness, Scotland on land. In part, I said: “It’s important to note that Roland knows Loch Ness like the Nessies know the back of their flippers. In other words, Roland isn’t just an expert on the history of the monsters: he has a deep knowledge of Loch Ness itself, the landscape, the woods, the hills, and the roads, too. It’s this wide knowledge – of both monster and loch – that has allowed Roland to go where most of us haven’t. As he reveals, the number of land reports in his possession of the Nessies is now close to forty. And, those reports date back to a significant degree. Indeed, Roland makes a very good point on this when he brings up the issue of the ‘water horses’ that he tackled in his earlier book.”
I also said in that same article: “Roland paints a quite creepy picture of the monsters quietly and cunningly lurking – and laying low – in the woods, on the shores, and in the shallows, ready to pounce on an unwary deer, in much the same way that a crocodile might when it launches a surprise attack in very shallow waters…” I mention this today because of the story that surfaced yesterday of the reporting of a previously unheard of 1922 land case. It involved a Nessie that very closely resembled a salamander in appearance. With that said, I thought I would offer a number of observations that add more to the idea that the Nessies are able to move around on the land. I’ll begin with the matter of what, centuries ago, were known as Kelpies. They were said to be supernatural, shape-shfting creatures that lurked near the shores of Loch Ness – and of other Scottish lochs, too, it’s important to note. They would then seize unfortunate people who got too close to the water’s edge and who became victims of the monsters – that could take on the forms of a beautiful woman and a large horse.
In light of the land-based encounters at Loch Ness, there’s something we should consider, something that applies to the Kelpie legends. Let’s say that the Nessies really are huge salamanders (or, at least, another large kind of amphibian). And let’s also say that centuries ago one very unfortunate local really did get too close to one of those creatures in the wooded areas of the loch. The result? The immense creature grabbed the person and dragged him or her down into the approximately 700-feet-depths of Loch Ness. It’s entirely plausible, as I see it, that such a horrific incident may very well have provoked the development of the Kelpie legends and the ruthless activities of the creatures. It surely wouldn’t have taken long for the incident to become known locally. And the fear of the event may have amplified the supernatural aspect of the story.
We should also note – in light of the recent debate relative to the newly-surfaced land case – that salamanders can move on land. They are not restricted to the water. This is important to note for one particular reason: Loch Ness is not the only Scottish loch that has monster traditions attached to it. Such creatures have been seen in Loch Oich, Loch Morar, Loch Lochy and Loch Arkaig. And, there are others, too. If the Nessies are one day shown to be salamanders, then, just maybe, and in times long gone, they occasionally took to the land by night, stealthily making their ways to other ancient Scottish lochs. At the very least, all of the above amounts to an intriguing theory that adds weight to the salamander debate.