Wednesday 26 August 2020

An Orkney Sea Serpent


In 1905 an article appeared in the local paper:

The sea serpent in Orkney
Seen by two fishermen - off the "douch"
From The Orcadian, November 11, 1905
The sea serpent has again made its appearance, and at present it is enjoying itself in the boisterous waters of the String, with a tendency to sun itself near Shapinsay, quite close to the .rocks under Balfour Castle.Last Saturday two fishermen were working their creels off the "Douch" when the monster suddenly raised itself out of the water at the side of their boat.
The visit was so sudden and unexpected that the men cannot give a very particular description of the monster. Of one thing they are certain, however, and that is that the serpent had an awe-inspiring appearance, and was quite different from anything they had ever seen before.The body is described as massive as that of horse, covered with a scaly surface, and spotted. It was the eyes of the monster, however, that attracted most attention. These are said to have been as large as a bowl, and had a most fascinating attraction for the beholder.After gazing at the occupants of the boat for a second or two the uncanny visitant, gradually sank out of view, much to the relief of the fishermen. The same men, when fishing near the same place on Wednesday last, had another glimpse of the sea serpent..
It is needless to add that the reported visit of the far-famed monster to Shapinsay has caused somewhat of a sensation, and arguments are rife and strong as to what it can be.The more superstitiously inclined lean to the belief it is the sea serpent; but more level-headed people are of opinion that it is nothing more than an extra large seal, attracted to the vicinity by large numbers of sillocks which are at present swarming around Elwick Bay.
Who knows? Some day a more than ordinarily plucky fisherman may succeed in laying a drop of salt on the tail of the real sea serpent. Maybe a Shapinsay man. There are no more plucky men in Orkney.
It would be dismissed by most as mistaken identity and so forth if it were not for many other sightings reported over the years.

In August 1919, five men fishing off Brims, in Hoy, encountered another  creature.. The boat, carrying the men, was  between the headlands of Brimsness and Torness, when the long-necked monster appeared .It  was described as having a neck "as thick as an elephant's foreleg". On top of the neck was a head that, "very much smaller in proportion".
Speaking to The Orcadian newspaper at the time, one man reported :
"The neck I should say stuck about five to six feet, possibly more, out of the water. My friends thought it (the creature) would weigh two or three tons, some thinking four to six, If the neck stretched say to eight feet the neck and body would be eighteen to twenty feet long."
(Some speculated that a colony of monsters were living in caves beneath the islands after this sighting)

Mr John R. Brown, a lightkeeper on the Pentland Skerries, sighted another massive sea creature in August 1937. Mr Brown stressed his sighting was definitely not a killer whale.
A few weeks before this  Pentland Skerries sighting, workmen on the Fair Isle reported seeing a large creature  approach them. Alarmed for the safety of a colleague in the water, the  men were about to signal or him to return when the creature "sheared off" to deeper water. It remained some distance from the shore, where the witnesses observed it swimming for most of the afternoon.

That same month, the author of The Orcadian’s nature notes, James Marwick, reported an another  sighting from Rousay.
“It was in the sea about 200 yards off the shore, straight opposite Nethermill, Sourin. Two friends, along with my brother, saw it also. My brother, a friend and I first had a good look with the spyglass at it. All we could see was a big head, with long ears and very long neck. We were not satisfied with that so my brother and I launched a boat and went off to get a better look.
“As we came near, it turned round, head-on towards us about 12 or 14 feet away.“This is what we saw: A big round head with small black eyes, big drooping ears, long tapered neck and a very heavy-looking thick body, altogether about nine or ten feet long; slate grey in colour and smooth-skinned like a porpoise.”

I came across this but was unable to find confirmation:
    Many years later, a diver reported descending to investigate a sunken German ship, only to realise he was standing on the back of a large sea monster that had made its home in the wreck.
     Divers flock to Orkney for the Scapa Flow wrecks 

The fishermen and the nature reporter would know what walruses, dolphins, killer whales ,seals etc looked like so would not mistake the creature for them. So what was visiting the waters around  the Orkney Islands with  a long neck?

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Best Nessie photos this decade?

The Daily Record newspaper published what it  considered the best Nessie photos of the decade. For those who missed it here is the link:

What do you think of their choice and do you think the photos are genuine?

Thursday 20 August 2020

Were-Cats Real or Legendary?

Were-Cats Myth or Reality?

People are believed not  just to have transformed into wolves (werewolves) but also into cats ,Were-Cats.The belief has persisted for centuries.Were-cats could appear as domestic cats or as tigers,lions,leopards,panthers, in fact any type of cat.

European folklore often has witches transforming into domestic cats whereas African stories are concerned with wild cats such as were-leopards or were-panthers.Were-Lions were thought to be have been members of the royal family reincarnated.

In Africa, there are folk tales that speak of the "Nunda," or the "Mngwa," a big cat of immense size that stalks villages at night. Many of these tales say it is more ferocious than a Lion and more agile than a Leopard,in fact a were-cat .In 1938 a British Explorer William Hichens, whilst in Tanzania, was told by locals that a monstrous cat had been attacking people at night. Huge paw prints were found to be much larger than any known big-cat. William  Hichens believed it more likely to be a lion with gigantism.

In India the were-tiger is thought to be a sorcerer who steals livestock or even is a man eater.  In a certain part of Bangladesh in the villages near Sunderban, there is a myth there that a certain type of man eater tiger’s bite can turn a person into a were-tiger  called 'Maya Bagh' .

Chinese legends often describe were-tigers as the victims of either a hereditary curse or a vindictive ghost. Japanese folklore there are creatures called bakeneko,cat spirit. In Thailand a tiger that eats humans may become a were-tiger.

In South America in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures they believed in  the were-jaguar. Among the Aztecs, warriors  dressed in  jaguar skins and were called "jaguar warriors" or "jaguar knights". Depictions of the jaguar and the were-jaguar are among the  common motifs found in ancient ruins.

In the USA, urban legends tell of encounters with were-cats as bipeds similar to Bigfoot but having cat heads, tails, and paws.

Two  campers on Mount t Tamalpais in Marin county California in 1964 claimed   to have encountered two cat like entities during the night.They could hear the creatures communicating with each other a strange chattering sound in the darkness. Then one ventured into their camp.One witness  description stated " It's head was close to it's body and below the shoulders it was very muscular and it was bipedal."The witnesses estimated the weight of the creature at around 200 lbs.

In 1968 Connecticut bus driver  claimed to see what he describes as a Tiger walking on two legs  down Valley Street in New Haven .Police were unable to find the creature despite a search of the area.

In 1969 a Chicago man driving at night  down a road in Niels Michigan claimed to have seen a strange cat like creature standing on two feet on the side of the road. He slowed down to get a better look but the creature ran at his car and began attacking it, punching his windshield .It had large clawed fists which  broke  the glass so he quickly drove away.He said the cat like creature made a strange squealing sound .

On Friday April 10th 1970 Mike Busby was on his way to Olive Branch Illinois heading down route 3. About a mile outside of Olive Branch by the Shawnee National forest his car stalled so Busby pulled over and get out to see what was wrong. Suddenly he heard  movement on his left. Turning to face it  he was startled to find two large green glowing eyes shining in the dark.Then  it moved heading for him. He described it as  six feet tall( approx  2 meters) black and panther-like but bipedal.  The creature struck him in the face with a massive paw, knocking him to the ground .With him on the floor, it climbed on top of his chest and continued to hit  him .Busby had  injuries to his chest, abdomen and upper left arm. He managed to grab the top and bottom of its jaws preventing it from going for his throat. It had yellowish fangs and hair  short and wiry like steel wool .Suddenly  the headlights of an oncoming diesel truck lit  up the road and he could see the creature more clearly. It had dark black fur and a long tail, just like a huge cat. The lights or perhaps the noise of the truck frightened the creature and it it loped off the highway running on two legs.

The above account was featured on American TV.

In 1967 near  the village of Blakeney in Norfolk England on a cold dark winters night, a witness  was driving to Blakeney when she caught a brief glimpse of a creature standing by the roadside.The woman said: “It stood like a person, but stooped, but had a cats head. Even the pointed ears.” There was another report  in the 1980s but I have been unable to verify it


So could were-cats really exist? There was a 1942 Val Lewton film called  Cat People ,in which a woman transformed into a large cat which could have influenced some modern sightings.Could some modern sightings be Alien Big Cats , long being reported in many areas? Certainly intriguing.



Wednesday 12 August 2020

Strange Creature in Lough Auna

 Horse Eels of County Galway,Ireland .

Lough Auna is a lake/loch in County Galway near  Clifden Village.

There is no definite date but late in the 19th century Mrs. Whalen a turf cutter was working along the edge of the lough. A commotion erupted in the water. She claimed a horse eel  emerged from the water  and onto the shore near her.The front portion looked like a horse and the back end like an eel. The lady fled in shock and fear

Since then, there have been further reports by a number of bog workers who have also  claimed to have seen a large  creature that has the head of a horse and the body of an eel swimming through the water.

During the 60’s, a sighting of grey creature swimming in Lough Auna was reported by a local farmer

Ted Holiday wrote about interviews with people who had seen the creature in his book. The Dragon and the Disc .( The book is now out of print but second hand copies often come up for sale, I have one myself).

An unnamed man said he and his mother had seen  a large eel-shaped creature when they were stacking peat along Lough Auna.  Some two hundred yards away from where they were working a 30 to 40 ft ( 10 to 13 metres) eel-like animal could be seen rising out of the water. It had three or four humps.  One of the humps, had a large mane that stood up as though it were a fin or composed of bristles.  The creature would rise up to the surface and then roll along its side and submerge, causing a commotion in the water .  They said they watched it doing this for about 15 minutes.

A group of people at a party held at a cottage by Lough Auna in about 1969 saw a strange shape coursing across the lake at a "walking pace".  The object appeared to be about five feet ( 1.6 metres) in length and about a foot (.3 metre) in height.  There were  projections along the back of the creature . One of the eye witnesses, Air Commodore Kort of the Royal Netherlands Air Force said  "the un-canning thing about it was the gliding movement without any disturbance of the water on the surface."  The oddity was watched until disappearing into a patch of reeds.

In the early hours in the year 1984 or 1985, Tom Joyce, who lived near   the lough, was saying goodbye to visiting friends when a man  came running down the road.  The man was an off-duty Welsh soldier who had  been fishing at Lough Auna.  He said he had seen something in the light of the moon, like the head of an animal, floating along the surface.  On top of the object were two projections, almost like eyes, which gave the impression it was watching him. The soldier began walking along the shore only to have object begin to follow him .He walked faster but ended up running as it kept pace with him. He told Tom Joyce that in all his years of military service he'd never been so terrified of anything. 

Loch Auna is near Lough Fadda ,the home of another horse eel.Read about it here :

Could there be a colony of the creatures moving between the loughs? Or is it just a large eel that scares people because of its size? Have there been more recent sightings, please comment if you know of any. Certainly a strange tale and from several people .

Thursday 6 August 2020

Monster Fish

Monster Fish Attack

The Winnipeg River is a Canadian river which flows roughly northwest from Lake of the Woods in the province of Ontario to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba.

This article caught my eye:
Winnipeg woman injured in ‘extremely unusual’ Ontario fish attack: ‘It pulled me under’

A Winnipeg woman is healing at home after being left with significant injuries in a rare musky attack near Minaki, Ont., last weekend.Kim Driver says she was wading about chest-deep into waters last Saturday when the unthinkable happened.“All of a sudden I just felt something tap my left leg, like brush it, and then next thing I know it just took a hold of my right leg,” said Driver, an avid angler who has been a seasonal camper in Minaki since 2007.“I looked down and I saw the fish’s head, which looked like an alligator, and it just grabbed it and it moved me from side-to-side and then it pulled me under.”Driver says she called out and friends and family came rushing to help her, before taking her to the hospital in Kenora.“All of a sudden she just went, ‘somethings got my leg’, and then her arms went up in the air, she went under the water screaming,” her husband Terry Driver told Global News.“How do you even know what to do? We’re in Minaki, Ontario, it’s the Winnipeg River; nothing attacks you there.”

Driver was left in severe pain with scrapes on her leg and severe puncture wounds in her calf. Muskies, the largest member of the pike family, are a species of fish that are sought after by many anglers and can grow over 50 inches long. They’re rare to catch and are often referred to as the “fish of 10,000 casts.” Muskies have poor eyesight, and could have mistaken part of her leg for a fish while it was hunting.

Extracted from Source:

It must have been very large to pull her under water. It got me wondering about some sightings of  Lake Monsters and whether a large Muskie could be what is seen. It is also scary that such a large fish could pull an adult woman under the water. We live in a world full of surprises and monsters ,many of them all too real.