Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Big "FISH" in a Small Pond

I'm no cryptozoologist, but as you've seen, I tried my hand at it [academically] twice, and enjoyed the ride both times. A bit surprising to me, I didn't end up with an "All-The-Way-Fool" in either case. Both of my "solutions" were what I viewed as "tinkering" with the status quo, and others probably thought were too "liberal" to credit but not spoken with enough conviction to run me out of the profession of college professorship. No one [probably] really cared about Set anyway, and the Wasgo, well I was probably thought a lunatic for believing that a sea monster could physically exist, but since it never threatens to come for dinner, we could let that go too. Inevitably, one gets drawn in to a wider interest in these things. And when one suddenly becomes friends with a world expert on one of them, you just can't resist. Such it has been for me and the Loch Ness Monster, courtesy in part to Henry Bauer, one of my favorite persons on the planet. My study of the beast [such as it is] has led me back into history and romance [that's just me]. There I found as do all Nessie students, the tale of St. Columba taming the great serpent [sort of a one-shot Patrick getting the snakes out of Ireland] and by gum that was a good start for me. The Drumbuie Stone with its olde carving of a great beast was another winner as far as I was concerned. But, regrettably, "science" always kicks in and I had to go looking for modern evidence. As a UFOlogist, I had certain [I believe time-tested and appropriate] biases. I am impressed by credible witness testimony, particularly of "close encounters" with high strangeness, and I'm not very impressed with film [unless something REALLY extraordinary was true about it]. So, I, counter-intuitively to Nessie researchers, was more impressed by Tim Dinsdale's encounter incidents than his famous film. And, I was even more impressed by close encounters by water-bailiff, Alex Campbell's, and Benedictine prior, Father Carruth's [the brother of the Father Carruth who wrote the Loch Ness pamphlet] near incidents than anything. Witness testimony: it's actually there. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But can a really big animal be there? People say that the Loch is a really impressive body of water and very deep, and in a way all that's true. But from the beginning this line of conversation didn't ring true. Lots of drawings exist of the Monster, and a fair number of [even] possibly legitimate pictures. The stories point to a very large "thing". I went to the Loch [nice museum] and it's a joyful natural environment just to be in. The idea that Nessie might surface at any moment gives it that extra spice. But you get a bit nervous about the rationalizations in support of the biological monsters quickly, at least I did. At Inverness, the two feet of water running in connection to the sea, was pretty inadequate for Nessie to slosh into the Loch seasonally looking for salmon. In fact one learns that the Loch has been essentially sealed off from the sea for a very long time as far as monster traffic would be concerned. So, you're stuck with the Loch itself, unaided by the ocean, as a home for the monster. And it can't be just one, on almost any reasonable line of biological argument. I've looked at [and listened to] ecologists estimate the "carrying capacity" of the Loch, and the numbers just don't add up to a sustaining reproductive population of , say, 30 to 60 monsters. Supporters of Nessie really try to squeeze these numbers, but their behavior just makes me more nervous. Some supporters abandon the big mammal or reptile hypothesis for a lower form of life which might be vegetarian or otherwise live further down the food chain--that alone proves that even enthusiasts are worried. And it is a non-starter for me. The lower life form thing totally violates the witness testimony of the beast's characteristics. This has caused some supporters [including my buddy Henry] to just leave the monster's diet to the realm of mystery and fall back on the evidence that no matter how puzzling the "side issues", Nessie exists.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well, it certainly has created the usual anomalistic mess of theories, speculations, flying leaps, hoaxes, nasty skeptics, and unproductive unpleasantness that we can't do without, it seems. The field's can't-get-a-real-life-so-he-spends-his-railing-about-something-he-doesn't-believe debunker continues to amaze me with whatever his motivation could be. I'm really puzzled by the person who dedicates his life to destruction rather than building, but little pockets of these guys exist all over the place. The amused one-time-in academic coward is also a knowledge criminal but at least you don't have to listen to him for long. [By the way, someone really looking at the whole data board and open-mindedly evaluating things and then speaking of those evaluations with a large dose of humility is a hero, not a coward, even if he ends up in a different place than I do.] My friend Henry is, of course on the opposite side of the debunkers and the skeptics who have come to negative conclusions. Henry, despite the fact that he doesn't talk of it this way, "believes" Nessie exists. And so do I. This "belief" he feels is adequately supported by [most prominently] Dinsdale's film, and secondarily by certain case reports and the "Rines expedition" results. He makes his case with admirable academic precision and measured language in his [best] book on the subject. But you can't fool me, my friend, you are WAY past "measured language" as far as Nessie is concerned. George Zug, of the Smithsonian, was so far past [due to the Rines results] that he sold the ranch entirely and gave not only a "final" liberal solution to the mystery, but even gave our favorite Scottish girl an official name: Nessitarias Rhombopteryx or something close to that. Other biologists doubtless thought he had flipped for the flipper photo. And out there on the edge has been Ted Holiday.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Holiday doesn't think that Nessie is an ordinary physical-world creature at all---real, yes, but a denizen of that "other reality" that interfaces with ours occasionally and throws us "unreasonable" curveballs and unresearchable "unscientific" critters. Such things used to "be about" more in the olde days than today, but certain environments/locales act as "windows" or "thin places" where the two realities more often intersect. One day I was walking in a European museum and saw the beast on the left, carved into an Etruscan sarcophagus---another Nessie of very long ago? I have several dilemmas when I contemplate entities like the Loch Ness Monster. Every commonsense reading of the encounter reports says that the thing is real, is big, and is at least in the form of an advanced animal shape. Close encounters can be dramatic, but apparently stop short of "animal violence". And all the biology says that the thing can't be there in any ordinary way. It's REAL, but it can't be "scientifically" real. So now is when I go All-The-Way-Fool in more ways than one. By saying the next sentence I make my buddy mad; maybe he'll forgive me if I buy him lunch the next time I see him--you'll have to remind me, Henry. goes...I wonder if St. Columba didn't almost have it right---not a sign of the Devil, but one of our long-time visitors from the Middle Kingdom or the lands of the Nature Spirits? There. I finally did it. All-the-way-cryptozoology-Fool. Jerry Clark at least will still speak to me.


  1. Well, thanks Loren. Maybe we no-holds-barred thinkers can get our own island somewhere where everyone lives on the shoreline.

  2. so you believe it's a water kelpie? I find that harder to believe then it's a monster. But then
    I 've seen something in the Loch and spoken to many people who have also seen things in the loch over the years. It may be that it is a result of the atmosphere and the air around the loch that makes people see things but those who have seen it say it is solid enough.Maybe Robert Rines is right and it has died out. An interesting blog nevertheless. Thanks for sharing. I am sure many people will still speak to you :-) Where the loch is concerned there is room for everyone.

  3. I wouldn't label the beast. "Loch Ness Monster" is fine by me. It's just that it seems to me to belong to that world which occasionally intersects with our own and manifests entities which "leave no trace" that Science can effectively test. I feel that it is a world where the driving forces are not our physical testable laws, but belong to the paranormal. I think that there is almost zero chance that all these witnesses are hallucinating.But, I, too, am willing to talk to anyone who has something to say.

  4. Little plant life in that body of water, not enough oxygen for a lot of fish to breath. So there's very little fish in the water too.
    Whatever would a self sustaining community of 30 to 60 'monsters' eat.
    If they heave to leave the water to eat on shore there would have been more sightings.
    People who go to the loch and believe nessie is real expect to see something. When they do see something on the water their minds takes a run on them and interprets it as 'the monster'.
    I heard that seals like to swim in the lake... they must be responsible for the majority of sightings.
    Peace Jurgen from Holland

  5. And here is another one who would still speak to you! I really enjoyed this post. I am sure lots of people would like to live with you on the shoreline of this island for 'no-holds-barred thinkers'. Lots are dying to escape from bipolar thinking, from the tyranny of the'either/or'. Then again it seems to be difficult to accept that 'reality' could be much more complex and that e.g. - squeezed between fiction and fact, between hallucinations and seals - there might be such creatures as 'kelpies'. The amount of sightings however proves that in spite of all rational thinking there is something in us that tunes in to this dimension, something that borders to happiness. Let us hope the existence of Nessie will never be scientifically proven.
    Erika vercammen from Belgium

  6. Remember Charles Fort's hypothesis that some "sea monsters" are animals teleported here from somewhere else--since it's Fort's hypothesis, be sure to remember it but not believe it. And now, as to your own....

  7. Nessie, Bigfoot and other creatures seem more temporal in nature than actual creatures that occupy a space on Earth 24/7. The cause of the temporal creatures is probably unknowable IMO.

    Good article. Linking to it on my Squidoo page.



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