Jan 10, 2023 I Nick Redfern

The Loch Ness Monsters: There Are Good Reasons Why We Should Term Them as "Paranormal"

My previous article was on the subject of why a good case can be made that the Bigfoot creatures are not flesh-and-blood animals, but, rather, paranormal things. Such a thing can be said about the creatures of Loch Ness, too, as you'll see now. We'll begin with the eerie feelings the presences of the beasts provoke in people. It's beyond just fear or terror. It's very different: Magical rituals, satanic rites, necromancy, dragon-worshiping cults that engage in bloody sacrifice under a full moon, bizarre synchronicities, UFO sightings, encounters with the dreaded Men in Black, and even exorcisms are part and parcel of the phenomenon that has become known as the Loch Ness Monster. As are the creature’s connections to one of the world’s most infamous occultists, to curses, to magicians, and even to a wide range of other strange creatures that also call Loch Ness their home. Not only that:

One would imagine that most people would love to catch sight of a Nessie. They probably would – at least, until they actually see it. Then, it’s a very different kettle of fish. It’s a curious and intriguing fact that many witnesses react not with amazement, incredulity, or excitement. No, the response to encountering a Nessie – and particularly so up close and personal - is very often an acutely different one. People talk of the beast being “an abomination,” “something abnormal,” “a loathsome sight,” and “something which still haunts us.” Others have commented that after seeing the creature, “we were all sick.” That they felt “appalled.” That “my dog…lie crouching and shivering.” One said: “I never wish to see the like of it again.” There is, then, something decidedly wrong about the Loch Ness creatures; something which provokes reactions far beyond those one might expect – even when encountering something fantastic and unknown. Without doubt, strange and sinister things lurk in the deep and turbulent waters of Scotland’s most famous loch – and have done so for centuries upon centuries, maybe for even longer. But, here’s the important factor: they are not what you may think they are. They just might be the most nightmarish and malignant things you could possibly ever imagine. 

(Nick Redfern) Abominations deep in the loch.

Moving on, there is the matter of synchronicities at the loch. Even though Nessie pursuer, Ted Holiday, sincerely believed that the Tullimonstrum gregarium theory for the Nessies, had merit, he wasn’t able to shake off that deep, foreboding feeling that there was something more to the Loch Ness Monsters, something which – rather paradoxically – implied they were flesh and blood animals but ones possessed of supernatural qualities. It was a feeling that would, ultimately, become a full-blown, unhealthy obsession, and one that pretty much dictated the rest of his short life and research. By the time The Great Orm of Loch Ness was published, Holiday had not only been to the lair of the Nessies on numerous occasions, he had also had the opportunity to speak to many witnesses to the beast. In doing so, he noticed a most curious, and even unsettling, pattern. There were far more than a random number of reports on record where eyewitnesses to the creatures had tried to photograph them, only to fail miserably. As time progressed, it became abundantly obvious to Holiday that this was not down to nothing stranger than chance. When an excited soul on the shore went to grab their camera, the beast would sink beneath the waves. When someone even just thought about taking a picture, the monster would vanish below. On other occasions, cameras would malfunction. Pictures would come out blank or fogged. It was as if the Nessies were dictating, and manipulating, the situations in which the witnesses found themselves. That is exactly what Holiday came to believe was going on. 

How about aliens at Loch Ness? On August 13, 1971, a notable encounter occurred at Loch Ness. Not with a monster, but with a UFO! The witness was one Graham Snape, who told Ted Holiday that he saw an unidentified object crossing the skies above Loch Ness in a left to right fashion, quickly, and with not even a bit of accompanying noise. The somewhat circular-shaped UFO was purple with a white center. By his own admission, Snape was unsure of the size of the object but suggested it was around five-feet in diameter. Holiday was, by now, so deep into the world of the paranormal that Snape’s report scarcely phased him in the slightest. Snape’s encounter, however, was nothing compared to what occurred just three days later. It was something that practically preempted, by six years, the final segment of Steven Spielberg’s 1977 movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in which aliens make face to face contact with the human race. 

According to Swedish Jan-Ove Sundberg, twenty-three at the time, on August 14, 1971, and at some point between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m., he was in a section of woodland above Foyers Bay when he came across something staggering. No, not a fully-grown Nessie roaming the landscape in a fashion akin to that of the beast seen by Lieutenant McP Fordyce in April 1932. Sundberg near-stumbled upon a landed UFO and its presumed extraterrestrial crew! The craft was situated in a clearing, giving the impression that its pilots had chosen the site deliberately, since it gave them the opportunity to land and hide their presence – that is, until Sundberg inadvertently foiled their plan. The craft was, to say the least, a decidedly odd one. It was around thirty feet in length, dark gray in color, and cigar-shaped. It had a significantly sized section on top that reminded Sundberg of a large handle. The overall image was that of a giant iron used for getting the creases out of clothing. Amazement turned to concern when, out of the trees, came a trio of figures: all humanoid in shape, of approximately human proportions, and dressed in outfits that closely resembled the outfits worn by divers. In fact, at first, Sundberg assumed they were divers, from a then-active team that was searching the depths of Loch Ness for the monster. It became apparent the three were not divers, however, when they entered the odd-looking craft via a panel and the craft took to the skies, vertically, for about sixty feet. After which it began to move horizontally over the hills and in the direction of nearby Loch Mhor.

(Nick Redfern) On occasion, the Nessies roll onto land.

Now, let's have a look at the matter of Aleister Crowley and his home at the legendary loch: Boleskine House. Built on the south-east side of Loch Ness, in the late 1700s by Archibald Fraser, Boleskine House was originally intended to be a hunting lodge. And, for many years that is exactly what it was. It stands over both the B852 loch-side road and an old graveyard, one which, ever since the house was built, has had a reputation for being a place of evil and of supernatural malignancy. The house, not far from the villages of Foyers and Inverfarigaig, is even connected to the graveyard by an old tunnel, one which is rumored to have used by witches and warlocks in centuries long gone. Not only that, although the house was not constructed until the 18th century, the locals maintain it stood upon the site of an old church, one that caught fire and which led to the death of the entire congregation that were deep in prayer when the fire broke out. Reportedly trapped, they were all roasted alive. All of which brings us back to Crowley. Of his ideal place to conduct those grand rituals, he said, in his 1922 book, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: “There should be a door opening to the north from the room of which you make your oratory. Outside this door, you construct a terrace covered with fine river sand. This ends in a ‘lodge’ where the spirits may congregate. It would appear the simplest thing in the world for a man with forty thousand pounds, who is ready to spend every penny of it on the achievement of his purpose, to find a suitable house in a very few weeks. But a magical house is as hard to find as a magical book to publish. I scoured the county in vain.”

That is until he found a certain old house at a certain, creepy, Scottish loch. Interestingly, on coming across Boleskine House, Crowley felt an instant connection to it – and a full-blown supernatural connection, no less. He was of the feeling that Boleskine House operated, in effect, as a portal or doorway, through which supernatural entities and secrets could be channeled. It is unclear to what extent Crowley, while in residence, had an awareness of the long tradition of kelpies in Loch Ness. It should be noted, however, that he had at least some knowledge of the controversy. For example, he had certainly heard of – and even wrote about – magical water nymphs in Loch Ness. And, when all is said and done, a water nymph is a perfect title for a shape-shifting beast of the deep. As for those Kelpies, well take this in:

The most important aspect of the  monster saga of St. Columba is that which suggests an unfortunate soul was violently slaughtered by a Loch Ness Monster. As for why it’s so important, the answer is as intriguing as it is disturbing. Within the folklore of Loch Ness and much of Scotland, there are centuries-old legends and myths concerning supernatural, violent, shape-shifting creatures known as kelpies. Or, in English, water-horses.  It should be noted, though, that although the creatures are assumed to be one and the same, there is one noticeable difference between the tales that specifically refer to kelpies and those that talk about water-horses. Typically, water-horses are far more at home in deep, sprawling lakes, while kelpies prefer pools, rivers, marshes, and lakes of a particularly compact kind. Then, there is a variant of the kelpie known as the Each-Uisge, which is a far more murderous monster than the kelpie, but which is clearly of the same supernatural stock.

The term, Kelpie, has unclear origins; although the most likely explanation is that it is a distortion of the Gaelic calpa, which translates as heifer. Kelpies are terrifying, murderous creatures that lurk in the depths of Scottish lochs, canals and rivers – and more than a few of them in Loch Ness. Not only that, like werewolves, kelpies are definitive shape-shifters; creatures that can take on multiple guises, including hideous serpentine monsters, horses, hair-covered humanoids, beautiful maidens of the mermaid variety, and horse-like creatures. The kelpie is solely driven to by a crazed goal to drown the unwary by enticing and dragging them into the depths, killing them in the process. While numerous, old bodies of water in Scotland have kelpie legends attached to them, it’s surely no coincidence that the bulk of the legends are focused upon Loch Ness.

(Nick Redfern) The monsters at Loch Ness are real; but, they're something supernatural.

Although Nessie-seeker, Tim Dinsdale, believed that the creatures were just flesh and blood animals, at times that scenario wavered. On some occasions Dinsdale admitted that there could be a supernatural component to all this. It’s very instructive to note that Tim Dinsdale’s thoughts on the supernatural theory for the Nessies went right back to 1965; which was only a few, short years after his long-championed film-footage was secured. In September of that year, Dinsdale traveled to the loch, for the ninth time, with the hope of securing high-resolution imagery of the creatures – specifically from the south shore, east of Foyers Bay. It wasn’t just Dinsdale’s ninth expedition. It very nearly proved to be his final visit to those notorious waters.  Indeed, the trip was plagued by an extraordinary amount of escalating disasters. His small boat was capsized. He was quickly laid low by a viral infection. He suffered repeated problems with his electrical equipment (something that is often reported in both UFO- and Bigfoot-themed encounters, too). And he badly damaged one of his hands; almost losing the tip of one of fingers in the process. 

Some might put this catalog of disasters down to just unfortunate circumstances and nothing else. Dinsdale, however, felt very strongly otherwise. He said, of this fraught and weird time, that having suffered such health-related calamities he knew it was time to leave behind him both Loch Ness and the distinct sense of unease he experienced whenever he visited the loch. “It was,” said Dinsdale, “as though some awful influence pervaded the atmosphere. Something evil.” Those are quite astonishing words for a man who, publicly, saw the Nessies as flesh and blood animals and nothing else. Then, late one night in 1975, while negotiating the precarious hills that stand west of Urquhart Bay, and while making his way to his boat - the appropriately named Water Horse – Dinsdale experienced something strange. He was shocked and terrified by the sight of a weird blue light that, very curiously, appeared to come out of the very soil itself, and around 120 feet in front of him.  Rather notably, the flash coincided with Dinsdale checking his watch. It was precisely midnight…the witching hour. That was not good. Not good in the slightest.

 Such was the intensity of the light, it lit up an entire nearby field, as well as the trees that led down to the water’s edge. Suddenly, there was a second flash, but this time it came from above the surface of the loch itself. Dinsdale took a deep breath, tried to calm himself, and took the Water Horse to the loch. It was all to no avail, however: the lights did not return and no answer was ever found for what caused them. Nevertheless, something continued to torment Dinsdale’s mind. You may already have guessed what that was. That’s right, the almost certainly relevant matter of the curious timing: midnight; just about the darkest and most sinister hour of all. Put all of this together and we have a place that is swamped with matters of a supernatual nature.

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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