Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Things That Go Bump in the Night–Nessie

Those of you who frequent Sorchia’s Universe—I like to call you Sorchialites­­––know that I am obsessed with Scotland and all things Scottish, not least, the beverage known as Scotch. And you will not be surprised that I  am compelled during this  Things That Go Bump in the Night series to mention  the Loch Ness Monster.  As it happens, a new development hit the headlines only a few days ago.

Breaking News—Loch Ness Monster FOUND

April 13, 2016.  Kongsberg Maritime, a Norwegian company surveying the bottom of the loch, sent a robot to the depths of Loch Ness in part to determine the actual depth but always keeping a weather eye out for monsters—good advice for everyone.  The robot, with what must have been a flurry of R2-D2-like noises and excited gyrations,  sent back an image they couldn’t ignore.

This image is definitely of a Loch Ness Monster, but not the one from legend. In fact, this monster was created as a prop for a movie back in the 60s–The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes was made in the US and UK in 1969 and released in cinemas in 1970. As the movie crew towed their model of Nessie out to the middle of the loch to film the terrifying encounter between Holmes and the beast, the model sank. The sonar image is the first time the model has been seen since.

The movie continued with a smaller monster, filming the water scenes  in a tank instead of the wilds of Loch Ness.

A still from the movie
A still from the movie

If you are following this series, there’s a significant chance you are a bit of a nutter cryptozoologist and already know all about Nessie. So let me be brief.

First—Loch Ness is huge—it contains more water than all the other lakes in England, Scotland and Wales combined  16 million 430 thousand million gallons of water with a surface area of 14000 acres. It’s about 754 feet deep.    It is fed by seven major rivers but has only one outlet, he River Ness.  The watershed is so large that a rain of only a quarter inch adds 11,000,000 tons of water to the loch. It has been known to rise as much as seven feet during downpours, while rises of two feet are common.

Despite the northerly location, the loch never freezes. During winter, the top 100 feet or so drops in temperature but the vast bulk of water in the loch maintains a constant 44 degrees. The colder water sinks, displacing the warmer water and keeping the loch churning. In winter, that warm water which finds its way to the surface produces the mists and steams and provides the perfect atmosphere for monsters and monster hunters.

loch ness

The first sighting was in 565 by none other than Saint Columba. Since then, frequent sightings keep the story going. While hoaxes and mis-identifications provide plenty of fodder for skeptics, enough sightings made by solid, sober citizens led to a great many hunts for the monster––some scientific and some fueled by liquor—all with no substantial proof so far.

Stay with me–More monsters and legends next week!

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