Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 30th, 2007
As reputable an authority as the senior officer of the Cunarder Mauretania [sic] reports that on Jan. 30,  while in the Carribean [sic] Sea, the ship passed “a sea monster 65 feet long, 2 feet across the head and 6 feet broad amidships. It was headed S.W.” We are sorry he did not get its course to a finer compass reading. It might have been information of value to the professors.
Again on Feb. 2, in the harbor of La Guira, the officers of this same ship reported that another strange looking denizen of the deep appeared on the port bow making two knots headway. Say the ship’s officers: “It was 25 feet long and 15 feet across the middle of the back, with two huge fin attachments sticking out six feet on each side. As the marine puzzle moved, the port fin went down into the water while the starboard fin rose and vice versa. The huge mouth was white and about three feet wide.”
Of late, the sea appears to be coming alive with strange monsters, which run the gamut from side wheelers to stern propellers. There is even the monster amphibian of Loch Ness, Scotland, which travels by land as well as by water.
Ever since mariners put out to sea have they reported sighting these strange creatures of the deep, with their specifications limited only by the imagination. But they seem to be appearing with unusual frequency during recent months which is a matter worthy of professional study.Albuquerque [New Mexico] Journal, February 18, 1934.
In the above historical example, sent along by Jerome Clark, of a Sea Serpent story, what I find of instructive significance are (1) the media’s excitement expressed by an increase in sightings, and (2) the 1930s sense that the Loch Ness Monsters were truly amphibious cryptids. The fact they were “land-traveling loch monsters” is a notion I have been trying to reawaken in the last few years, as per my field guide.
It appears in the 1960s-1990s, people, especially some writers and others in the media, forgot that the historical Kelpies and Merhorses of Loch Ness were seen frequently on land.
The cinema version of Nessie, Waterhorse to be released at Christmas 2007, may only further the “aquatic only” myth of the Scottish lake monsters. At least, the movie acknowledges the creatures are around and about.
This week the 2007 press is trying to reinforce one of their old patterns: if it’s not in the news, it doesn’t exist. The bored media is declaring that “Nessie is Dead.” In recent news articles you will find such statements as this: “Sightings of Nessie have plummeted in recent years, giving rise to fears that the long-necked Caledonian leviathan is either dead or ailing. There have been only two reported sightings so far this year and there were only three in 2006. A decade ago the numbers were consistently in the high teens.”
I’ll ignore as total stupidity the fact that “one Nessie” seems to be implied in this press releases, and move on to a deeper point here.
Have the media’s short-term memory failed them? Have they forgotten how they fell all over themselves when the Gordon Holmes Nessie video was shown in May and June of this year? Yesterday’s news truly is today’s fishwrap in our fast-paced digital age.
The repeating of “Nessie is dead” articles in the last couple days is pure silliness. You can slice this pie many ways. You can play with statistics until the cows come home. Or you can be patient when studying cryptids. Migration, land movement, cycles in population, and weather can all impact sightings – which never directly reflect the presence or absence of animals, on one level, anyway.
In addition, the lack of interest of the media and too many debunkers do increase the ridicule factor for those real eyewitnesses, which tends to put those that come forth to share their sightings in a slump. It is a self-reinforcing trend.
Nessies are still around. They just might be on holiday.
My prediction stands: In the Year 2008, there will be an increase in sightings and other incidents at Loch Ness and/or nearby lochs.
May the Saints preserve us from a media that too quickly forgets yesterday merely to write some cute words today.
Art by Bill Rebsamen, reproduced with his permission.