National Irish American Heritage Month and the Loch Ness Monster

Limerick, Ireland

Limerick, Ireland

This week’s Irish thought…It’s Irish-American Heritage Month! A special proclamation is issued yearly by the United States President or Congress to honor the achievements and contributions of Irish immigrants and their descendants living in the United States. The heritage month is in March to coincide with the Irish national holiday on March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day.

Hats off to the Irish! Now on to Scotland…

When we first made our yearly calendar of blog subjects and Irish/Scottish was chosen for March, I knew I would have to talk about Nessie, or the Loch Ness Monster. Yes, I’m one of those people who watch scientific documentaries about the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and the Yeti. No, I don’t watch reality shows about people hunting for them.Loch_Ness_Mist

The earliest report of a monster associated with the vicinity of Loch Ness appears in the Life of St. Columba by Adomnán, written in the 7th century. According to Adomnán, the Irish monk Saint Columba was staying in the land of the Picts with his companions when he came across the locals burying a man by the River Ness. They explained that the man had been swimming the river when he was attacked by a “water beast” that had mauled him and dragged him under. They tried to rescue him in a boat, but were able only to drag up his corpse. Hearing this, Columba stunned the Picts by sending his follower Luigne moccu Min to swim across the river. The beast came after him, but Columba made the sign of the cross and commanded: “Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once.” The beast immediately halted as if it had been “pulled back with ropes” and fled in terror, and both Columba’s men and the pagan Picts praised God for the miracle.

The term “monster” was reportedly applied for the first time to the creature on 2 May 1933 by Alex Campbell, the water bailiff for Loch Ness and a part-time journalist. On 4 August 1933, the Courier published as a full news item the assertion of a London man, George Spicer, that a few weeks earlier while motoring around the Loch, he and his wife had seen “the nearest approach to a dragon or pre-historic animal that I have ever seen in my life”, trundling across the road toward the Loch carrying “an animal” in its mouth. Other letters began appearing in the Courier, often anonymously, with claims of land or water sightings, either on the writer’s part or on the parts of family, acquaintances or stories they remembered being told. These stories soon reached the national (and later the international) press, which described a “monster fish”, “sea serpent”, or “dragon”, eventually settling on “Loch Ness Monster”.

One of the most famous sightings belonged to Robert Kenneth Wilson, who had the infamous “surgeon photograph.” This later was proven to be a hoax. Read more here…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Ness_Monster#.22Surgeon.27s_Photograph.22_.281934.29

Here is one of the latest sightings of the Loch Ness monster, as described by Simon and Jan Hargreaves on June 15th, 2011…Foyers shop and cafe owner Jan Hargreaves and her husband Simon believe they caught a glimpse of “Nessie”, while taking a break on the store’s front decking, looking out to the loch. Mrs Hargreaves and kitchen worker, Graham Baine, spotted an unusual figure cutting a strange shape on the loch. “We were standing looking out and saw something that looked bizarre,” said Mrs Hargreaves. “I said to my husband to come and have a look.” We stand here all the time and look out and see boats and kayaks but it didn’t look like anything we have seen here before.” Despite the unidentified creature being quite a distance from their vantage point, Mrs Hargreaves said it had a long neck which was too long to be that of a seal and it was black in appearance. “It went under the water and disappeared for probably 30 to 40 seconds and then came back up again,” said Mrs Hargreaves. “It was around for a good four to five minutes. It was just so strange.” Keen to stress she is not seeking publicity, Mrs Hargreaves does firmly believe what she saw was the Loch Ness Monster. “It was so exciting,” she said.

So what do you think? Is one of Scotland’s most memorable monsters fact or fiction?

Today’s writing prompt: Aiden stood at the edge of Loch Ness, and zipped his faded blue jacket. A ripple broke the surface…

http://www.nessie.co.uk/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Ness_Monster
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-21603269

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