Friday, 27 June 2014

A 1934 Book on The Loch Ness Monster

I just wanted to mention that Karl Shuker has updated his bibliography on books devoted to the Loch Ness Monster. By way of introduction, he mentions the first book on Nessie by W. H. Lane. For further information on this book and its author, you can view my previous articles here and here. (regular reader Steve Plambeck will warm to Colonel Lane and his giant salamander theory.).

Karl's list is a bit different to mine in that he includes non-fiction juvenile and non-english books. I don't, but I do include books which have sizable sections on Nessie while Karl is only interested in books devoted to the Loch Ness Monster. Between us, I think we have covered all the bases on what has been published. Well, that is not quite true, there are always general books out there which have a chapter on the Loch Ness Monster, these may well exceed what we have listed.

One title most of all caught my eye and that is Karl's up and coming book called "Here's Nessie!" which is a compilation of his writings on the famous beastie.  I look forward to this and Paul Harrison's forthcoming biography on Frank Searle in the months ahead!

While I am here, I promised in that first book article to look at the second ever book on the Loch Ness Monster. This was a 16 page booklet entitled "The Mysterious Monster of Loch Ness" published by the Fort Augustus Abbey Press and authored by a W.D.Hamilton and J.Hughes.

Unlike Lane's first ever book on the Loch Ness Monster, I have never seen the second book on public sale. I personally had to obtain a photocopy of an original held in Edinburgh. If it ever turns up on eBay, I expect it to go for hundreds of pounds. The authors are not mentioned in the book itself, but rather from the library catalogue. However, Michael Turnbull's book "Abbey Boys" which relates the history of the Fort Augustus Abbey schools, mentions them as teachers during the 1930s.

The book makes no mention of anything beyond May 1934, so I presume it was published around June 1934 putting it a few weeks ahead of Rupert Gould's better known book, "The Loch Ness Monster and Others". Proceeding in a chronological manner, the booklet goes through St.Columba, the Willie MacGruer land sighting around the First World War and the 1932 "crocodile" sighting in the River Ness.

A further note of interest states that the rumour of a released crocodile dates back to about 1913. I covered this persistent crocodile story in this article. Wetherell's infamous spoors are mentioned, but it is more interesting to note that this was contrasted with what was stated as the favoured theory of the locals which was of a "bearded eel".

The booklet goes a bit strange when it mentions strange toothmarks in sheep and deer carcasses but then states they were discovered to be those of a walrus! That in itself would be an unusual event as would be the tale of a famous deep-sea diver finding great honeycombed caverns in the gloom of the loch.

Having run off a few stories of other lake cryptids, the authors make no commitment as to what the creature may be and give a list of various candidates. The one thing that puzzles me from the list is what is a "megovia"?! The discourse ends with the two stories often given as the origins of the name of the loch.

PUBLIC NOTICE: Can "P.C." email me at about the painting they sent a comment to me about.


  1. The "bearded eel" phrase seems to be a variation on the hair eel or horse eel phrases used by Loch Ness locals as well as in reference to Irish lake beasties.


  2. The drawing by Innes of what he saw by moonlight is remarkably similar to the title page's question mark image. Coincidence? I wonder if Innes ever saw a cover of that little booklet.



  3. GB, another reference for your collection:
    George F. Campbell's "The first and lost Iona : a secret history of Fort Augustus" (Glasgow: Candlemas Hill, 2006) has a chapter alleging that the LNM is an actual Scandinavian longship. A sort of left-field scepticism (and possible subject of a blog post if things are getting slow).


    1. Thanks, I covered that book back in 2012 here:

    2. Bouncing back with another reference. This time it's from Charles Fraser-Mackintosh's Antiquarian notes: a series of papers regarding families and places in the Highlands (2nd ed) (Stirling: Eneas Mackay, 1898). The author is talking about the area north of Loch Ness marked on an early 18th century map as "Mont Caplich" and reminiscing about the journey from Lochend to Urquhart. Apparently this featured “...the mysterious Loch-Laitt, with its occasionally floating islet.”
      Obviously no relation to the mat of reeds and bulrushes that was debunked back in the 17th century. But still it's very creditable that a small body of water like Loch Laitt [Laide] can manage to field both a water-horse and a floating island.


      P.S. I've ordered the Denoon book, so thanks to TTC for the recommendation.

    3. Great find, AnonStg, that adds to the two modern accounts I have from Loch Laide. I am now going to head off there on my next visit!

    4. 's OK. It would have been more accurate for me to say that Mont Caplich is west rather than north of Inverness.
      BTW, remember the Dornoch thread of a few months back? I happened to pick up a copy of the "Press and Journal" for 4 Jul and found an article stating that:
      "Concern is growing over plans for a new quarry not far from the centre of one of the Highlands' most picturesque towns… Adjacent to the 17.5 acre site lies a small body of water called Loch-an-Treel.
      This wetland is classed as a "priority habitat" under the 2007 Biodiversity Action Plan process because it contains common amphibians, but ecological reports done for the planning application showed that there was insufficient evidence for the fully protected great crested newt…"
      So it looks like a choice between campaigning for a Dragon Preservation Order and getting out your spade and starting to dig for uncommon amphibians. ;)


    5. What are the 2 modern day accounts from Loch Laide, Roland?

    6. You'll find them in my "Water Horses" book!

    7. I think you should give me one account on here as a feebie, and i'll buy the book for the other ;-)

    8. Just had another look, it was one account from 1904 of a long neck. It's a bit loose though, a third hand account!

  4. A local writer called Brian Denoon has written a book called "Ghosts by Loch Ness".

    He's a native of Fort Augustus and Abriachan and the former principal teacher of English at Charleston Academy in Inverness. The book is a collection of anecdotes about life in the area, though there are a couple of ones that may be of interest to readers of this blog; One about a mass-sighting of the LNM by kids at Fort Augustus Abbey which was apparently collated into a book, and a second about a haunted bit of road outside Invermoriston.

    The book's worth checking out.

  5. Ghosts? Funnily enough i think i saw 2 ghosts in fort augustus about 7 years agom very eerie

  6. 2 dark figures walking about for over 40 mins on the chalet park. It was very eerie.