Wednesday, 11 November 2020

A Close Encounter with Nessie?



I received a message from another Nessie fan, Paolo Boccuccia, about a story he heard back in 1983. This was Paolo's second visit to the loch in four years and he wanted to ask various local people who were older whether they had seen the monster. One lady, who Paolo thinks was a Mrs. McKenzie claimed to have had a land sighting back in the summer of 1922 near Borlum Bay. Paolo from here refers to the notes he made at the time rather than remembering the conversation thirty seven years later.

She stumbled upon this creature which was no more than six feet long and had the general appearance of a salamander but not quite the same. It was very dark in colour and she noticed it had two extended "nostrils" on a head which she described as like that of a snail. Paolo said this reminded him of the famous Greta Finlay sighting of 1952, though the neck did not seem quite as long.

Having watched the creature for a good five minutes, she drew nearer to it and the inertness of the creature made her think it was either dead or asleep. Since she was now so near to it she reached out and touched its tail. She told Paolo it was like touching a snail. Like a flash the animal fled back into the water and she saw two distinct front paddle-like limbs. There is no mention of rear limbs, though that is not an indication that they were not present. She was startled but waited to see if the animal would resurface. She said her hand was slimy.

That is the story and Paolo met Mrs. McKenzie (or Mackenzie) in Drumnadrochit when she would have been about 80 years old. One presumes she was a young woman or teenager back in 1922. She never saw the beast again and, not surprisingly, she was not believed when she told others. One would presume the lady has long passed away and so we have Paolo's account and no more, though I presume she must have told others when the Loch Ness Monster phenomenon took off 11 years after her encounter.

Of course, we have no corroboration of the event and it is really down to the reader to make their own judgement. I have no note of this eyewitness account in my records, though we do have two land sightings at Borlum Bay. One is the famous Margaret Munro account of June 1934 and there is a more terse account of a girl who saw another creature hauled up on the beach in the late 1920s, but that does not sound like this one.

This looks like a third one from that area, though it is placed near the bay which makes me think it happened at the strip of land between the River Tarff and Borlum Bay. I say that because the river bank is tight enough to allow a creature of six feet long and a person could reach out from the undergrowth between the river bank and a path.

Being six feet long, some may be inclined to conclude it was only a seal that she encountered. However, seals do not have snail like heads with protuberances. Neither are they slimy to the touch nor very dark in colour. Which brings me to the uniqueness of this report. She says she touched the Loch Ness Monster. No other account going back over a century or more makes this claim and one presumes the size of the creature allowed this boldness as opposed to a situation where it was in excess of thirty feet long.

A covering of mucus of some description could only be deduced by the sense of touch. If this is a genuine account, what does this indicate? The late Ted Holiday would have seized upon this report as proof of his invertebrate theory of the monster. The fact that he does not mention this report suggests Mrs McKenzie did not report it to the LNIB in the 1960s.

All manner of animals excrete mucus and nearly all fish do which explains their slipperiness. Amphibians also do this as do slugs but it is not so prevalent with reptiles and mammals. It is exuded to help movement, prevent skin drying out, as a defense mechanism and a protection against pathogens. One speculates it is likelier to be the latter for a large creature.

Ted Holiday had something to say about this mucus property in his book, "The Great Orm of Loch Ness" which championed the giant mollusk theory. He thought he could make out wart vesicles on the skin of the creature photographed by Hugh Gray in 1933. From this and other stories he concluded these vesicles exuded an irritable slime to deter attackers. You may ask why a creature that can grow to fifty foot long would need such protection?

I don't think so and it is debatable what surface features can be resolved on the Hugh Gray creature. My view is that any slime/mucus is more to protect against parasites and so on. Note also our witness, Mrs McKenzie did not state that she suffered any skin complaints after receiving this substance on her skin.

So is this the only instance of an eyewitness becoming a touch-witness? That is something you will have to decide for yourself.




The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com

54 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. No, eels do not have tails or snail like heads.

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    2. Yes it do GB! Eels have tails, heads in front and tails in back. Except like you say snail heads. In eels one could possibly not single out a tail in a conventional sense, so if she said it was a tail, then tails it is. Anyway, I think even a young girl, she would have been 19, could have distinguished an eel from an unusual looking creature. Yes and sadly she is now presumed to be deceased. Or 117 years old today!

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    3. If this event happened, I would have thought a six foot eel was a no brainer to identify, yet she opts for a salamander - implying a more amphibian look.

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  2. Hmm...Let's see now, smallish, very dark, hint of some neck, fore paddles, which also could be interpreted as fins or flippers and slimy. Other than the extended nostrils, sounds very eelish to me. Could it have been a juvenile Nessie?

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    1. If a "baby" Eel and was 6 feet long already, full grown be like that bus sized eel recently seen in the Loch!

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  3. I know one other account of someone touching a lake monster: in Sweden lake Storsjön has a famous monster. A woman (interviewed when old) told how in the 1930s she'd been fishing with her husband when something very large got caught on their line. She reached in to the water with her hand to free the thrashing creature and touched it's head which she described as slimy and fish-like... Article in Swedish (sorry about that):
    https://www.op.se/artikel/ellen-klappade-storsjoodjuret-han-satt-pa-kroken

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    1. Actually, a woman named Barbara Clark claimed that she brushed up against Ogopogo in July of 1974 while swimming in the lake. The case is well documented and Barbara recounted the story to both John Kirk and Richard Greenwell during the 1980s.

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    2. The ogopogo does " touch" people,or rather people "touch" it usually from the inside.
      Marathon swimmer,Henry Murdoch,eaten by ogopogo in 1938
      And Alan skarbos son in the 1970s
      They touched a lake monster ( from the inside)
      www.sunnyokanagan.com

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  4. A female water skier in the 70's I think it was bumped into Ogopogo so the sighting goes. It can be found online I'm sure. This woman fell into something big and distinctly felt it bump her legs. It was large and solid. Okanagan Lake British Columbia

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    1. Oops! Didn't see your comment Jordan. I've posted the account you're referencing above - under Ken's remark.

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  5. Whatever it is it appears to be a good natured animal by fleeing rather than confronting the toucher. Not sure I would trust a large eel like that...

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  6. The sighting fits a big eel perfectly.

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  7. Think that we can be pretty sure that Nessie is really a few massive Eels in the loch!

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    1. Not for me. People did not come up with a plesiosaur body shape for nothing.

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    2. Wondering if could be a few massive eels, and maybe something else that swims in and leaves?

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    3. Okay people, once and for all, it's not a giant eel! And surely not a plesiosaur. Therefore, it's got to be some type of creature that through convergent evolution has developed a planform or morphology that suggests a plesiosaur. I'm no scientist, but giant this or that only occur in science fiction movies. Whatever showed up off of Dores was not a giant eel either. There, glad I could help, you'll thank me later.

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    4. I don't disagree with the above notion. The 15-20-foot length suggested by the first sonar hit is a thankfully rational estimate and keeps things from getting too crazy. It's the 40-60-foot reports that are hard to swallow. These are not whales, and I would also hope they're not eels either since I can't stomach the things.

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    5. We can all agree Nessie is several massive plesiosaurs,some of which are resident in the loop ch,others which migrate from the sea.
      I'm of the opinion that the plesiosaur is amphibious

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    6. What bout giant squids???

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    7. "it's got to be some type of creature that through convergent evolution has developed a planform or morphology that suggests a plesiosaur."
      I couldn't agree more! Just spoke to a gentleman who while rowing yesteraday in a bay of the Baltic spotted a seal about fifteen feet away in the water. He only glimpsed it for a second but was quite sure of what he saw.
      My point: when people regularly out on the water say they've seen something strange that was not a seal/eel or such, there's something to it.

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    8. "We can all agree . . ." No, we can't. Everyone has a theory, and all of them fail to tick all of the boxes. I look forward to Roland posting more articles as more data is collected, or someone producing a definitive video/photo or physical sample -- but as of now there's nothing specific to agree to, except that there's a chance that something unusual is afoot in or around the loch.

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    9. That's for sure! Even professional cryptozoologists have their own theories and will give you different answers. After more than 80 years of the modern Loch Ness saga, we are no closer to cracking this nut.

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  8. A very interesting account. It sounds like a real event and yet another with some differing characteristics to the 'norm'. I'm not sure about most people, but I wouldn't approach a 6ft lizard like creature, asleep or not!
    I'm wondering how much the folks of 1920 knew about salamanders, or was this retrofitted by the witness? Either way, it does not make it bogus.
    I also wonder whether an amphibian would dive to the levels in Loch Ness, as some of the available sonar suggests these creatures go very deep. Can it be stable on land and at great depth?
    There's always the chance of a juvenile getting confused or lost.
    Or maybe Ness is home to more than one unknown phenomena.

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    1. Could there be more then one animal as the Loch Ness Monster?

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    2. Yes Martin, with all this talk about amphibians, salamanders and the possibility of a menagerie of weird creatures inhabiting the loch, I cant help thinking about the other strange creatures reported at Loch Ness and chronicled here on this blog and now this one.

      For example, how does one explain away the strange creature Alfred Cruickshank witnessed, the story of a giant toad-like creature resting on an under water ledge or the more bizarre case of the Fordyce creature.

      If one is a believer in the paranormal, a case may be made that maybe that sort of phenomena is occurring at Loch Ness. There are supposed paranormal hot spots in other parts of the world where strange creatures are said to appear, perhaps through a portal from another dimension. Maybe Loch Neass is such a place. Just saying.

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    3. Could be a combo package of eels, amphibians, fish, and paranormal activities!

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    4. Still seems that a massive eel of say feet ticks pretty much all of the boxesw!

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    5. A cryptid menagerie with paranormal overtones -- sorry, no can do. I'd prefer to stick to a singular physical-based "something," whatever that is.

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    6. The sighting types are too disparate to account for one animal. A plesiosaur, a black anaconda (Tim Dinsdale), a large amorphous mass with a squiggly neck or tail (going in the wrong direction for either, the Spicers), a very large lizard (Loch Morar), a whale like creature (several), a long necked enormous camel type creature (one sighting and possibly another of a juvenile), a frog as big as a goat (deep sea diver, Loch Ness), a giant eel (Gordon Holmes video among others), a salamander type creature (this particular account) and something very large without a long neck (Hugh Gray photo). There might be more, those are the ones I can think off the top of my head. Maybe some of those can be merged with others, but to me there are simply too many.
      If you ask me (and nobody is), I don't think Ness is a paranormal'zoo'. I think we occasionally catch a glimpse of another reality. Controversial it might be, but it's the best explanation I have, without any evidence, and without calling any of those eyewitnesses delusional.

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    7. Sorry John, didn't see your comment. I couldn't have put it better myself.

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    8. LOL Yeah Ron, sounds to far fetched and creepy. Just thought I'd throw it out there. I also prefer a "natural world" creature myself.

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    9. The sheer number of different reports leads to a conclusion of mis-identification in many cases, due to the fallibility of human observation. That number would also suppose that someone has got it right -- but I couldn't tell you which one wins the prize. Hoping for a breakthrough, not just a game-changer.

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    10. Loch Ness is somehow connected to the primordial hollow inner world, known to some as Pellucidar and home to beasts from many eras?

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    11. Ron, I understand there will be some variance in sighting description, especially given the nature of this mystery, but to my mind it will not lead to the vast range of descriptions we have. I might be wrong, and if I am, there's enough data for a psychology paper to come out of it.
      Olrik, can't tell whether you're taking the piss or not, sorry!

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    12. Yes Martin just a joke but I thought I could take the liberty when supernatural explanations are being offered. Seriously, I would surmise it is only one unusual large species but differing reports are a result of variances in individual human visual and cognitive perceptions and related surface and and underwater optical and illusion effects, as well as sexual and age related dimorphism, inaccurate reports and hoaxes...

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    13. Martin, I think Olrik's surmise fleshes out my previous post quite well, but I certainly don't claim to have an answer as to what goes on at Loch Ness, either psychologically or physically. Does Loch Morar have a history of such varied sightings, and if not, why? What makes Ness so different? (Questions I have no answers for.)

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  9. Roland, I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't picked up your book on land sightings yet. In your best estimation, how many alleged land sightings have there been in total?

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  10. Replies
    1. Ken Gerhard the Cryptozoologist?

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    2. Yes, Ken and I have been conversing on the Loch Ness Monster recently.

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  11. Doesn't this remind you of the Jonathan Bright photo of Nessie, taken in 2012, with what appears to be 'horns' and huge nostrils? Just maybe Bright's photo is the real thing!!

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  12. There's a group of amphibians called caecilians that have retractable tentacles between the nostril and eye (described in some texts as "horns"), and a worm-like head. There the similarities end though, as caecilians lack limbs, live in tropical areas and aren't very large. But if one animal evolved these features, why not another?

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    1. Warner big snakes on you tube thinks that makes ght be one of the 200 foot yacumamas in the Amazon
      He has a photo of ones head,with the tenticles waiting to n a river.
      It was 6 feet wide!

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  13. Know that Amphibians can move about on the land for short distances, can fish or Eels?

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    1. Eels can and so can certain fish, such as mud-flippers and lung fish.

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    2. So Nessie could be very large one of them?

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    3. Doubt it, but who knows anything?!

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  14. Mrs.Mac Kenzie said that her curiosity was because She tought the animal was dead...that s why She touched it

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