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Sketch of creature seen on Loch Ness in 1936 held in 'Monster Files' collection at National Museum of Scotland


By Val Sweeney


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A sketch of the Loch Ness Monster in the collections held by National Museums Scotland.
A sketch of the Loch Ness Monster in the collections held by National Museums Scotland.

As another report of an unexplained sighting on Loch Ness has been registered, it has emerged the National Museum of Scotland also has 'Monster Files' among its collections.

The third Nessie 'sighting' of 2022 was recorded by the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register this month after local man Glenn Blevins saw a large animate object while working at Aldourie Castle.

While this latest account highlights an ongoing global fascination of the Loch Ness phenomenon, the library collection at National Museum of Scotland has also revealed it has its own Monster Files – including a sketch of Nessie.

From devil dogs to sea serpents to the yeti, the files include folder after folder of accounts and correspondence to its keepers about the alleged monsters.

In a blog, Monster Files the museum states: "Our collections reveal how over the years these fascinating sightings, theories and 'evidence' demonstrate the hold these cryptids have had on our collective consciousness."

In 1975, Ian HJ Lyster, of the Royal Scottish Museum department for natural history, was sent a sketch of a large creature which was supposed to have have come ashore near Drumnadrochit in 1936.

He wrote: "I was quite staggered when I first saw the sketch.

"My first reaction was that such a creature would explain a lot of the apparently odd descriptions of the Loch Ness Monster and also such photographs as the three humps taken by Lachlan Stuart in 1951.

"The odd fleshy lobes hanging from the head have also been variously described by witnesses."

The sketch was reported to have been by a man from Galloway who described the monster as "fleshy and flabby" with a "mangy appearance" and was sucking the weed from stones.

Mr Lyster did not find it strange that the witness had not come forward previously.

"Several of the people I have spoken to who have seen the monster have been very reluctant to speak of it for fear of ridicule," he wrote.

The image was also seen by John Dennis, an American botanist, who thought it looked like a Walt Disney caricature but he believed it was genuine as well.

Sightings of a mysterious creature on Loch Ness have been reported since 565.
Sightings of a mysterious creature on Loch Ness have been reported since 565.

The Monster Files also include an exchange of letters from 1950 after a member of the public wrote to Dr A. C. Stephen, keeper of the natural history department, about a strange sighting on Loch Craignish.

The letter described a creature resembling a sea serpent which appeared on the surface.

It was witnessed by three people including an artist who drew some sketches which accompanied the letter.

Inverness Courier reported first modern-day sighting of Loch Ness Monster

The first reported modern-day sighting of the Loch Ness Monster appeared in The Inverness Courier in May 1933.

It was to trigger one of the world's most enduring enigmas which continues to this day.

According to the story, a well-known businessman, living near Inverness, and his wife – a university graduate – were driving along the north shore of the loch not far from Abriachan Pier when they were startled to see "a tremendous upheaval on the loch, which, previously, had been as calm as the proverbial mill-pond".

The sighting occurred less than a mile from shore.

The report continued: "There, the creature disported itself, rolling and plunging for fully a minute, its body resembling that of a whale, and the water cascading and churning like a simmering cauldron.

"Soon, however, it disappeared in a boiling mass of foam. Both onlookers confessed that there was something uncanny about the whole thing, for they realised that here was no ordinary denizen of the depths, because, apart from its enormous size, the beast, in taking the final plunge, sent out waves that were big enough to have been caused by a passing steamer."

The couple waited almost half-an-hour in the hope that the monster – if that's what it was – would come to the surface again.

However, that was the last they saw – although many other sightings have been reported in the 89 years since.

Gary Campbell keeps a register of reports at The Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register.

Third Loch Ness Monster 'sighting' of 2022


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