Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Mhorag, Loch Ness and the Brahan Seer

The BBC and some other outlets are talking about some old tales of Mhorag as found in the works of the Highland writer, Alexander Carmichael. As it turns out, these have been in the public domain for over a year and I did an analysis of them in this article back then.

Another interesting piece from the Carmichael blog is relevant to Loch Ness but not necessarily to the Loch Ness Monster. From this article, we have this quote about the famous prophet, the Brahan Seer:

One typical tale, noted down on 3 January 1872, from an unnamed reciter in Gramsdale, Benbecula, tells of how the seer came by his powers of prophecy and then how he eventually threw this stone into Loch Ness. It is said that when this stone is eventually rediscovered that all his prophecies will come true.

The actual Carmichael text says this:

He then got a box and in the box a stone and in the stone all the prophecy. He kept the stone and as long as he kept it he [kept] prophesying. He threw from himself the stone in a lake at near Lochness. When this lake is drained the stone will be found and then many things will come to light. 

This suggests the stone may actually be in a loch beside Loch Ness rather than in Loch Ness itself. However, there are quite a few small lochs in the area. Another link suggests that the next person to find the stone will have two navels! I don't have two navels, so it doesn't look like I will be the winner. However, better it is a smaller satellite loch than Loch Ness when it comes to the task of draining.

I would guess that some lochs have been drained or at least had their water levels reduced as various engineering projects have been performed across the Highlands since the 19th century. Loch Ness itself has had a few hydro-electric projects at Foyers, Glendoe and I think on the opposite side up from the Altsigh Burn, though whether any lochs were substantially affected by any such projects is another question.

However, having identified potential historic lochs, the next problem would be more challenging, how do you find a certain small stone out of thousands and how do you know it is the prophet's stone? The one clue we have is that it had a hole through its centre. That's all you've got to go on and to make matters worse, the loch in question probably hasn't been drained!

They've looked for the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail and El Dorado. Perhaps a hunt around Loch Ness for the Seer's stone would make for a pleasant diversion from monster hunting.

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