As if there weren’t enough reasons for me to daydream about going to Scotland… castles, salmon, single malt Scotch, the settings for the Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Denise Mina mystery books, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh and that gorgeous burr in the accent, there’s the Loch Ness Monster.
Nessie is the quintessential MONSTER of myth and legend.
Even a cursory check on the Internet and you’ll find tons of sites devoted to the hunt for the Loch Ness Monster. I got myself seriously dizzy with Nessie sites featuring everything from inconclusive sonar recordings and ‘un-doctored’ blurry photos to long lists of first-hand accounts of Nessie sightings and Nessie image postcards.
It seems that people have been talking about the monster of Loch Ness for a very long time. The first well-known report was from St. Columba in 565 AD. If you’re not inclined to believe a saint, there are more recent reports including a whole bunch from 1933 when some locals described an enormous beast rising and plunging in the water as they drove by the lake. Of course the locals in question owned a hotel in the area and might very well have seen a lake monster as a tourist draw.
Local, Scottish national and, ultimately, the international press picked up the story. The coverage included noted experts pontificating on the nature of the beast and a new industry ‘proving’ the existence of the monster was born. Footprints on the shore — made by using a stuffed hippopotamus foot — and similar hoaxes fed the frenzy to find Nessie. At one point the Austrian government claimed that the Loch Ness Monster was a British plot to pull tourists away from Austria.
I think I feel a short story about faux monsters coming on.