Loch Ness Monster!

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us.” – Scottish Prayer

Do you believe in Nessie, the legendary serpent that is said to dwell in the great loch of the Scottish Highlands? If so, you may owe your belief to an Irish monk known as Saint Columba, who is credited with its first sighting.

Medieval Monster

On this day, August 22, way back in 565, Columba was visiting Scotland, attempting to convert the Picts to Christianity.  It is said he was traveling near Inverness, on his way to see the King when, at the banks of the River Ness he encountered some of the locals burying a man.  Columba asked what had happened. The locals explained the man had swum out into the loch to retrieve his boat, which had come loose from its moorings. There, he was attacked by “a great beast” that dragged him underwater. The Picts, being warriors and not afraid to do battle, sailed out and attempted to rescue the victim.

But it was too late. The swimmer was already dead.

Columba was upset by the story and determined to stop the villainous beast.  According to biographies, Columba sent his follower, Luigne moccu Min, to swim across the river and try to retrieve the boat.  As one might suspect,  the serpent came out again and attempted to kill Luigne. However, Columba intervened, making the sign of the cross and ordering the monster to go away.

After that, Nessie never attacked anyone again.

However, he apparently still resides in Loch Ness. Several sightings of the monster have been reported since then.

Further Evidence…

In October 1871, a man named D. Mackenzie claimed to have seen “an object resembling a log or an upturned boat, wriggling and churning up the water”. The object moved slowly at first, then mysteriously disappeared.

In 1885, Roderick Matheson reported seeing a monster in the lake – “the biggest thing I ever saw in my life, with a neck like a horse and a mane.”

Interestingly, the water horse, or Kelpie, has always been a part of Scottish mythology. Kelpies are known to lure victims into the water where they drown and devour them. Kelpies are also able to shape-shift into humans, sometimes taking on “normal” lives upon dry land until they return to the lake, usually after having fooled or killed their human counterparts. Some folklorists think that Nessie is, in fact, a Kelpie.

In 1888, Alexander Macdonald reported seeing a “salamander like” creature swimming in Loch Ness, and in 1895, Salmon Angler, a hotel keeper, described “a great horrible beastie”.  Perhaps it scared away his patrons?  In 1903, F. Fraser reported to have seen a beast with a “hump like and upturned boat” while out rowing. He also claimed that no matter how hard he rowed, he could not get closer to the beast. (Hard to imagine he would want to!)  In 1908, John Macleod claimed to have seen a creature that was “thirty to forty feet long, with a long tapering tail and an eel like head” lying in the water.

The Loch Ness Monster Official Website  reports over one hundred similar sightings. Several occurred in the 1920’s and 30’s, with another resurgence in the 1960’s. There have also been many in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.  The descriptions vary, some indicating the monster to have one hump, some as many as four humps, with a body as long as forty feet or as short as seven feet.

Could there be an entire family of Nessies, some small and some large?

The Loch

Loch Ness itself is an unusual place. It is the largest body of fresh water in Great Britain. Some interesting facts:

  • There is more water in Loch Ness than all the other lakes in England, Scotland and Wales put together.
  • It is twenty two and a half miles long and almost two miles wide, with a depth of 754 feet.
  • The bottom of the loch is as flat as a bowling green.
  • It holds 263 thousand cubic feet of water which is around 16 million 430 thousand gallons of water.
  • The loch never freezes and its temperature stays at 44 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • This can cause the loch to steam on very cold days. It has been estimated that the heat given off by the loch in a winter is the equivalent to burning 2 million tons of coal.

Could this environment house a family of pre-historic dinosaurs? Maybe so!

Monsters on Film

According to the official website, twenty eight substantial photographs and film footage have been taken of Nessie.  One of the most interesting was taken in 1935 by Dr. MacRae, a retired physician. Reportedly, this film “clearly shows a creature with a long neck, a pointed head, narrow eyes, small horns on its head and the familiar 3 humps. Further sequences also show the monster splashing, turning and rolling in the waters while exposing a long scaly tail.” Dr. MacRae, now deceased, is said to have stored his film in a London bank vault, with explicit instructions stating that the footage could not be shown “until such time as the public takes such matters seriously”.

I think the world is ready for it! Release the film 🙂

The last sighting of Nessie reported on the website occurred in November of 2011, when George Edwards, a coast guard skipper, claimed to have observed a “slow moving hump” in the water. He took this picture, and stated: 

“It was slowly moving up the loch towards Urquhart Castle and it was a dark grey colour.  It was quite a fair way from the boat, probably about half a mile away….I have friends in the USA who have friends in the military. They had my photo analysed and they have no doubt that I photographed an animate object in the water.”

Why has the world been so obsessed with Nessie? For hundreds of years he has lived in our folklore. It seems highly unlikely that so many people could have observed so many aspects of the Loch Ness monster without there being at least some truth to the stories.

I’m a believer.

What do you think of Nessie?

Many miles away something crawls from the slime
At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake…

Many miles away something crawls to the surface
Of a dark Scottish loch…

 Many miles away there’s a shadow on the door
Of a cottage on the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake.” — From Synchronicity by Sting

And finally, this video shows a photo taken in 2016 by someone named Jimmy who claims to have seen the monster walking around in the fields near the loch. Hope you like it!

Fairies and Witches and Aliens (Oh My!)

Forrest Green Fairy Girl pd

Today, June 24th is International Fairy Day!  Yes — we have a day for everything – from black cats, to goths, to grandparents, so it should not surprise us that fairies also get their due!

Whether you think of them as dryads, sprites, red caps or the tall stately race of Sidhe, today is a day to honor them – and possibly lift the veils that separate our world from theirs. Fairies are a topic close to my heart, so I thought I’d do some sleuthing to give you some weird, scary and thought provoking facts.

A (Very Brief ) History of the Fae

The word “fairy” derives from the Latin fata,  meaning “goddess of fate” and from the Old French faerie, meaning “enchantment”.  Hence, a fairy tale is a tale of enchantment, not necessarily about fairies. Fairy folklore has been explored in just about every culture known to humankind.

The earliest recorded mention of fairies comes from 1000 BC in The Iliad, where Greek poet Homer wrote “watery fairies dance in mazy rings”. The next oldest recordings come from 12th century England, by historian Gervase of Tilbury.  He wrote of small fairies called ‘portunes’, and a fairy hill where a knight could call for a stallion at midnight, then challenge a fairy to a duel. Gervase also wrote about fairy lovers — troops of naked men and women who appeared at night, and mentioned the idea of human virgins being given ‘Second Sight’.   Geoffrey Chaucer, circa 1380, also alluded to fairies in The Wife of Bath’s Tale from Canterbury Tales.

How did fairies come to be? There are several legends that explain the origins of fairies. One belief is that when Lucifer was cast out of heaven, some of the angels followed him. Most of them ended up in hell, but some got stuck in a type of earthly realm, or interdimensional earth. This was the realm of fae, where they remained.

fairy 6

Another belief holds that fairies are simply nature spirits, ever present in the elements. They always have been and they always will be — sylphs of the air, nereids of the water, gnomes of the earth and salamanders of the fire.

Another theory states that fairies are spirits of the dead, changed to a supernatural form. This theory became popular during Victorian times, when ‘death cults’ were a large part of society.

Although fairies are always in vogue, they seemed to have had their literature and publicity heydays particularly in the 16th – 18th centuries. Some folklorists claim that during these simpler, more naturalistic times, fairies were visible and even lived side by side with humans.

fairy robin hood

However, as our world became more industrialized, fairies, being allergic to metal and machinery, had to hide deeper within their realms. Eventually human beings could scarcely see them at all.

steampunk

Shakespeare & the Changelings

Of course, Shakespeare famously wrote of fairies in his play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and also in ‘The Tempest’. During Shakespeare’s childhood years in Stratford, most folk had a very real belief in fairies. Fairies were more than just ethereal and transient beings, but part and parcel of the culture. One theme of Midsummer Night’s Dream is the changeling child that fairy queen Titania tries to protect.

changeling

Country folk in Shakespeare’s time had a deep fear of changeling encounters. They thought fairies would come at night and kidnap their babies – leaving a replacement called a ‘changeling’ which was often a sick or weak fairy.

mother-and-child-pd 2

Fairies were particularly eager to kidnap human boys, and for this reason, boys were dressed in girl’s clothes.  Their hair would be let to grow long – thus fooling the fairies into thinking the boy was a girl, and therefore saving him from being kidnapped. When the little boy was seven years old, he could finally be ‘breeched’ – that is, put in his first pair of britches rather than a girl’s gown – and his hair could finally be cut.

The Unusual Case of Brigid Cleary

One horrific, real life fairy encounter happened in 1895 Ireland, when Michael Cleary, a Tipperary farmer, threw his wife Brigid in the fire because he believed she was a changeling.

Sounds bizarre, right? Especially since it occurred at the relatively late date of 1895.

Brigid, reportedly a hot, 26 year old girl-about-town, either got caught up with the wrong group of fairies, or took ill, depending on how you look at it.

One court transcript of the case states: “Michael Cleary claimed that his wife Brigid had been taken by fairies and they had left a changeling in her place. On the 15th of March, 1895, Michael Cleary, having spent three days in various rituals intended to force the changeling to leave and bring his wife back, set fire to her.”

And Michael was not working alone! He and nine other relatives of Brigid were put on trial for her death.  In the end, Michael and two other men were convicted and served time.

 Fairies and Witches

Of course, the fairies aren’t all bad;  they also teach us things, give clairvoyance and grant magical powers. Fairies have a longstanding symbiotic relationship with witches. There are several historical documents which attest to this.

fairy and witch 2

A 1566 pamphlet printed in London detailed the interrogation of the ‘Cunning Man’ (aka witch) John Walsh, who claimed to have midnight meetings with the Fey court on various mounds and barrows in Dorset.

In 12th century Wales, historian Giraldus Cambrensis wrote an account of a boy named Elidorus who was led to an underground realm where he met “an honorable and devout fairy race” who taught him their language.

fairy-talking

A Scottish woman named Elspeth Reoch was accused of witchcraft and tried in Kirkwall on March 12, 1616. At her trial, Elspeth claimed she had received instructions on how to acquire magical powers when she was twelve years old, staying with an aunt in Lochaber. There she saw “two fairy men” by a loch. After taking her a little way away from her relatives’ home, one of the men offered to teach her how to gain the second sight:

“And she being desirous to knaw said how could she ken that. And he said tak an eg and rost it. And tak the sweit of it thre Sondais and with onwashid handis wash her eyes quhairby she sould sei and knaw any thing she desyrit.”

(My best translation –  she boils an egg and uses the water to wash her eyes for three consecutive Sundays. She is then given clairvoyant powers.)

egg spell

Elspeth also professed to being able to cure illness by reciting chants while plucking petals from the melefour herb.  She was a vagabond wanderer and a ‘loose woman’ —  having had many sexual encounters with men, both human and fairy.  She gave birth to several children who may or may not have been entirely human…

Elspeth was found guilty of witchcraft and executed by strangulation.

Andro Mann, who was put on trial for witchcraft at Aberdeen in 1598, spoke of his many encounters with the Queen of Elphame (queen of elves realm.)

“The Quene of Elphen, promesit ot the, that thow suld knaw all thingis, and suld help and cuir all sorts of seikness, except stand deid… and thow confessis that thow can heal the falling seikness [epilepsy], bairnes, bed and all sort of vther seikness…”

(My best translation – the fairy queen teaches him to cure all sorts of sickness, but not to raise the dead. He cures epilepsy, helps babies, and cures many other things…)

Mann also confessed that on the Holy Rood Day, the Queen of Elphame and her court appeared out of the snow, riding white horses.  She and her companions had human shapes, “yet were as shadows”, and that they were “playing and dancing whenever they pleased.” Andro also stated the Queen was a shape shifter and “she can be old or young as she pleases”.

fairy horse 4

Marion Grant, of the same coven as Andro Mann, claimed to witness the queen as a “fine woman, clad in a white walicot.” Similarly, accused witch Isobel Gowdie’s confession described the “Qwein of Fearrie” as handsomely (“brawlie”) clothed in white linen and in white and brown clothes, and providing more food than Isobel could eat.

Dead Man Talkin’

Bessie Dunlop, who was accused of witchcraft in 1576, confessed that she had contact with the spirit of a dead man named Thom Reid. Thom was one of “the good neighbours or brownies, who dwelt at the Court of Faery  and gude wychtis that wynnitin the Court of Elfame.”

** I should note that the ‘good neighbors’ are a general term for fairies, and ‘brownies’ are a certain type of house fairy who may inhabit your home to do some cooking and cleaning. (I know! I want one!)

Bessie stated the fairy court had come to take her away, but she refused to go.  This angered Thom.  Thom then took Bessie by the apron and “wald haif had hir gangand with him to Elfame.”  (Thom forced her into going with him to elves’ realm.)

fairy 7

Bessie was told that the queen had secretly visited her before, and according to Thom, when Bessie lay in bed in child-birth, it was the “Quene of Elfame” who in the guise of a stout woman, had offered her a drink and prophesied her child’s death which came to pass.

** It is helpful to remember that all these people were under oath and on trial for their lives. This leads me to wonder – if the stories of Elphame were NOT true  — why would they volunteer such detailed and elaborate lies? They had to know they would definitely anger the authorities, thus ensuring their own deaths.  Hmmm…

Fairies and UFOs

Now the fun part!

The 20th and 21st centuries have seen a plethora of recorded data on people who claim to have been kidnapped by aliens. However, many of these encounters have astonishing similarities to changeling stories and fairy encounters of old.

Some UFO investigators believe that so called ‘extra terrestrials’ are actually beings of planet earth. They have been living here the whole time, but hidden in other dimensions.  These are called ‘Ultra terrestrials’.

Consider some astounding similarities of alien encounters and fairy encounters:

1)  Both are kidnappers! Fairies are well known for kidnapping people. UFO aliens are also known to kidnap people, abduction being the most common recorded encounter.

2)  Time is different.  Those who are abducted by aliens report incidents of missing time, a phenomenon very similar to time lapses reported by people taken to and returned from “fairyland”. (One day in fairy land might equal a whole year in human time. )

3)  They look alike! Fairies, like modern aliens, are usually slim creatures with large magical eyes, high cheekbones and pointed ears.

alien fairy

 4)  They both use magical devices. Many reports of alien abduction include “power rods” used to paralyze abductees — just as fairies wield “magic wands”.

5)  Both are obsessed with human fertility and stealing babies.  A large part of modern UFO literature involves aliens abducting women, impregnating them, and later abducting them again to take the unborn baby right out of the womb. Abductees also report of eggs and sperm being taken. Besides the changeling phenomenon, fairy encounters often tell of men and women becoming sterile or barren after their visit.

6)  Fairies are closely associated with nature, just as modern aliens also display a certain obsession with environmental issues. One common alien abduction scenario involves aliens showing ‘movies’ that depict environmental degradation, then giving their victims lectures on caring for the earth before they release them.

Beam Me Up, Scottie! 

Quantum physicists tell us that many additional dimensions of reality actually do exist.  There are, reportedly, eleven different dimensions that can be mathematically proven on a quantum level.   In these added dimensions, it is possible to move through time and space with ease, be two places at once, and do other cool Star -Trekkie type things. This too is the stuff of fairyland. Besides, everybody knows that Spock is actually a fairy 🙂

spockandlegolas

If Extra/ Ultra Terrestrials can exist “above” or “beyond” our normal time-space reality,   that means they can easily see us, trick us, manipulate us and meddle  in our affairs. Which is what fairies have been doing for years! We, on the other hand (usually) can’t see them at all.

Seeing and Attracting Fairies

Fairies are known to cross the veils mostly during the Sabbats – especially Beltane, Midsummer and Samhain. However, International Fairy Day — although a modern creation —  must be an excellent time to attract them as well!

If you would like to encounter fairies, it is best to keep yourself attuned with nature and tapped into meditative states. Also, they often appear in dreams.

The best places to see them are: river banks, seashores, beaches, intersections of roads, foothills, thresholds, stairwells, landings and hallways. (In short, where one thing turns into another — water turning into earth, rooms connecting, etc )

fairy water pd

The best times to see them are daybreak, noon, sunset and midnight, (This too is when one time turns in to another — day to night, AM to PM.)

Legend has it that they are partial to sweets and milk – so if you want to attract them, it is best to leave some sweets on your table or in your garden.

Also, they like bells! Hang a wind chime in your window, and let it ring out in the open breeze, and one of them just may come through your window…

But be careful.  Fairies are known to be kinky, provocative, sexually aggressive and mischievous! If you end up in fairyland you will be changed forever 🙂

Happy Fairy Day!

fairy alien