Thursday, 13 November 2014

A Story From Loch Morar

One great advantage of running this monster blog, is that people come forward with their stories of the weird and mysterious. But this time, it is Mhorag, the resident of Loch Morar that hogs the limelight today. 

Tricia sent me details of her experience on Loch Morar about 45 years ago whilst out on the loch with her family. She had seen our article on the Simpson account and was prompted to contact me some days ago. 

Tricia reckons her encounter happened in the last week of August 1969 between 1730 and 1830. It is a slightly disconcerting tale and I would not have liked to have been in their position. But what makes it particularly interesting is its relationship to another more famous encounter with Mhorag.

I will now let Tricia take up her tale. 

My family spent a lot of our school summer holidays at Morar Silver Sands, we would travel from West Calder in West Lothian to Morar, I remember in those days this seemed to take forever. We travelled in a Volkswagon caravanette and a Ford Zephyr. Back in those days we rented a cottage on the beach from the the MacKechnie family. I have great memories of these holidays and am the oldest of six children. 

My Dad was a great fisherman and golfer, he was self employed which enabled us to spend six weeks in Morar. Dad would go off golfing in Arisaig with my brothers in the morning and most afternoons we would go off fishing. Indeed, on one memorable occasion at the river which flowed into the Loch he spent one hour landing a very large salmon whilst being cheered on by a crowd of around fifteen folks. We ate well that night! 

Old Sandy MacKechnie hired himself out with his boat on Loch Morar to tourist fishermen. My Dad also hired his boat (without Sandy) to fish on the Loch. It was on one of these days we spotted Morag, I can tell you we had no knowledge of Morag before this particular day. In those days there was no world wide web and as we were young if my Mum and Dad had any knowledge of the monster they would never share such scary information with us and knowing my Mum she would not have allowed my Dad to take us out on the Loch!

Anyway, on this particular day myself (age 14), my sister (age 13), my brothers (ages 11 and 9) and my Dad set off to fish, whilst my Mum with my younger siblings and David and Colin from Nazareth house set off for Mallaig for the day.

We travelled for what seemed like hours to us on this small boat with an outboard motor and two oars on the Loch. My memories of this journey are very clear, I was intrigued with the scenery and how we were in such a remote, mystical area. I wondered how people got to the few houses I saw at both sides of the Loch. I do remember one very large house sitting in the trees to my right on our way down the Loch and wondering what type of folks lived there.

After what seemed like a long time we decided to stop at a shingle cove on the left as we travelled down the Loch. We had lunch and Dad and my brothers fished from the side of the Loch, I can tell you that my Dad on these fishing expeditions lost all sense of time and indeed would walk away from us and forget we even existed.

On this particular occasion, my mischievous brother untied the empty boat and I quickly retrieved it (tearing my toe nail off on a rock for my good deed). One of the oars fell from the boat and floated off before I could retrieve it. Eventually my Dad returned, I reckon this was around 5 pm. I remember while we were on the shingle beach, a fishing boat went past us and we waved to the folks on board, after a while the same boat passed us on their way back and we waved again. We packed up and started off back up the Loch to return home, my Dad was a very calm and placid man but on this occasion he was upset with my brother regarding the one lost oar.

Ten minutes or so into the journey, at which point we were in the middle of the Loch, and to my recollection both shores were equidistant, the outboard motor packed in. We as kids were not particularly concerned with this because we were used to this type of event.  My Dad regularly took us on fishing expeditions to many other lochs, sea and rivers where outboard motors would pack in and be fixed by him.

As we sat patiently while he worked on this motor I looked to my right and spotted two or three protrusions from the water, about two feet high. I thought these were rocks at first, but I remember having a feeling of unexplained fear. I turned to my sister who was sitting next to me and said "Look over there, what is that?" at which point my Dad said "Shut up, Patricia!" with gritted teeth.

This was upsetting to me as my Dad was very rarely angry at us kids and we were taught all our lives never to say "Shut up!" to anybody. This was a golden rule in our house. My Dad had, of course, spotted the same protrusions and kept this to himself,  I and my sister stared at this sight in the water in confused wonderment.

My brothers at this point were oblivious down to their age and preoccupation with trying to untangle the fishing tackle which my dad had tasked them with. I said again "Dad, what is that in the water?" to which he replied again "Shut up!" in an angry voice. This prompted my brothers to look over and join in the debate.

The feeling of fear was now with us all. Some time later, my Dad explained to us his mind was not only on trying to fix the motor but also trying to figure out how he could get us to shore safely away from this unexplained "thing" in the water. I am smiling as I write this but also empathising with his thoughts. He must have been frantic, he did however on the outside remain calm for our sake! 

The upshot is, he finally got the motor going. As we started to travel, the mysterious protrusions (which had stayed with us for the duration of time it had taken Dad to fix the motor in the same position),  disappeared below the water leaving a slight swell, which we felt in the boat.

We trundled along again for which felt like hours till we reached the jetty where we had started out from.  On landing, there was a flurry of activity and our Mum was crying and very agitated. She, of course, was witness to two fishermen relaying to a crowd of folks, including reporters, their experience on the Loch that same day, some hours before.

From my recollection, they also had an up close and personal experience with (I presume) the same "thing" we had witnessed. They however, said this "thing" had hit their boat and they hit back with an oar and a gun shot.

 As we landed, there was a boat with folks on board ready to launch to come and look for us. My Dad apologised profusely to these folks. He told us kids not to say word about our sighting as he explained later he did not want it to be seen we were jumping on the two fishermen's bandwagon, but also he did not want people thinking we were nuts.

We are an ordinary family with nothing to gain from me telling our story. Between us we are business folks, professional managers and a social worker. My mum is retired from the police force and my Dad was a hardworking, self employed electrician.

As I mentioned in your blog, watching a television programme the other night (Nessie revisited) prompted me to google for the Loch Morar Monster and your blog caught my attention. Having read the content of the blog I felt I had to join in and relay to the contributors our Morag experience. As I said previously, nothing will convince myself and my siblings that Morag DOES NOT exist.

I hope I have explained the event and also hope I have given you a good insight to our "fishing day out".



So ends our story.  Seasoned Monster Watchers will recognise that the two fishermen who said they bumped into Mhorag were Duncan McDonnel and William Simpson. According to Wikipedia's entry on the Loch Morar Monster:

The best known encounter, in 1969, involved two men, Duncan McDonnel and William Simpson, and their speedboat, with which they claimed to have accidentally struck the creature, prompting it to hit back. McDonnel retaliated with an oar, and Simpson opened fire with his rifle, whereupon it sank slowly out of sight. They described it as being brown, 25–30 feet long, and with rough skin. It had three humps rising 18 inches (460 mm) above the loch's surface, and a head a foot wide, held 18 inches (460 mm) out of the water.

As far as I can ascertain, this famous story happened at 9pm on the 16th August 1969. Sceptics have dismissed it as a cover story to hide some embarrassing or illegal activity, but does this new story add credence to its original claims? Tricia's encounter seems to have occurred about 21 hours later. She adds that the object was about 20 to 30 yards away from the boat.

All in all, an intriguing tale which doubtless is backed up by others in the boat that day. I cannot prove that Tricia did or did not see a monster that day. She is convinced, and I leave it to the judgement of our seasoned readers to form their own opinions.








107 comments:

  1. Very good. I think there have been one or two instances of sightings within a few hours of one another at Loch Ness, haven't there? Wonder what causes this – special 20% discount at Eelco or something?
    And can I put in a plea for a post about the "forgotten monsters" of Lochs Assynt & Canisp in the Far North, as mentioned by Constance Whyte? Not that there may be too many people to look out for them.

    *AnonStg*

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    1. What I would like to see is the article by Lord Ellesmere on the Loch Assynt Monster which AFAIK has never been found.

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    2. The 'article' by Lord Ellesmere is a communication to the Zoological Society of London made by him (as Lord Francis Egerton) passing on a report by one of his agents concerning an animal seen in the loch by two fishermen. It was coloured grey, with large eyes,a wide mouth, bristles and tusks, with four legs 'like those of a pig'. It was seen on land as well as in the water. The 'communication' was quite widely reported in the press at the end of December 1840 (eg Manchester Courier, 26 December) and was probably derived from a published report – it would be worth looking at the Transactions of the Zoological Society. From the description, it sounds like a walrus, although there are some anomalous features, such as long ears hanging down 'like those of a sheep-dog'

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    3. Wow - this description (minus the legs) sounds yet again like the mystery creatures seen slithering along past the River Tay by motorists and by the seaman aboard the SS Corinthian in the North Atlantic. These anomalous "sea serpents" which venture onto land via rivers and lochs are often described as having large eyes, being shaggy or bristly, possessing tusks, barbels or whiskers, and having long floppy ears (or possibly wattles). More evidence (to me) that rather than many of our lochs teeming with colonies of mystery creatures, unknown "sea serpents" of largely similar descriptions (and certainly of the same species) occasionally venture inland from the North Atlantic and can venture onto dry land for short periods. Perhaps they do this following fish or because they become lost, or both. It's my belief that "flaps" of sightings happen when one of these animals becomes briefly trapped in a body of water, perhaps because it's become too large to leave or because it find abundant food. It would perhaps be worthwhile seeing if the Morar and Ness sightings occur after the rivers which feed them have swollen...

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    4. I could well believe sightings surge in the wake of feeder rivers swelling. Certainly in Ness, the past month shows the sheer amount of driftwood and other detritus washed into the water during stormy weather. We have evidence on his page for the way that can lead to sightings.

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    5. Jenny Haniver (hilariously witty name by the way) should write science fiction for a living.

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    6. At least she has got a name anon

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    7. She is a he, tim

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    8. It's quite interesting that there's a legend about a mermaid in Assynt, as there has been at Morar. Creatures seen partly out of the water?
      "The locals also use this legend to account for natural changes in the landscape. When the loch's waters rise above their normal levels, legend tells that these are Eimhir's tears mourning her life lost on the land. Some even claim to have sighted her weeping on the rocks, her body now transformed into half woman, half sea creature." (Wiki)

      *AnonStg*

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    9. Maybe also Loch Ness is a valley full of mermaid tears, and Nessie is a whiskered mermaid with tusks and hooves. I think that's what's going on and I don't need any skeptics to spoil my party by telling me it aint so.

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  2. This is an interesting account which very neatly corroborates the local version of the Simpson - McDonnell story in which the "fishermen" had actually been in pursuit of deer. I'm sure that Tricia and her family will be relieved to learn that the "protrusions" which caused them understandable concern at the time were more than likely the deer carcass abandoned earlier by Messrs S & McD.

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    1. I am not sure if you are saying this with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek.

      I'll say no more.

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    2. No one biting?

      Okay, you drop a dead deer into a loch and it is more likely to sink to the bottom, not float. And Loch Morar is very, very deep.

      Granted after some days, decomposition gases can refloat the carcass (though there is the small matter of scavengers and higher pressure at the bottom). But I doubt two carcasses can conveniently refloat within a day at the same time withing a couple of feet each other.

      And if it three carcasses ... neat trick getting them to line up.

      But I suspect Dick knew all this, hence my tongue in cheek question.


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    3. Basic forensic knowledge - a live animal shot *in* the water will sink, a dead animal thrown into the water will not. Ask a policeman.

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    4. I was wondering why I should ask a policeman about dead animals, but perhaps you are referring to the parallel case of dead people found in lakes and rivers, which would indeed be a police matter?

      This sounded a bit of a strange statement as I would still expect water to enter a deer's lungs when thrown into the water and sink it.

      But a look around suggested you are comparing apples and oranges. To quote from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2005/09/dead_mans_float.html


      "Bodies that are dead before they reach the water could have different floating patterns. A corpse that falls in face-first might remain on the surface, since there would be no way for the air inside the lungs to escape. (A faceup corpse would fill with water and sink in the normal fashion.) "

      Moreover, from http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2092/will-shooting-a-cannon-cause-a-drowned-body-to-rise-to-the-surface

      "Body position. A person who was dead before entering the water can still sink depending on the position of the body. If the body is upright when dumped into the water, water can enter the lungs while air escapes. Hence, the body sinks after a short time. If the body is prone (face down), the air in the lungs can't escape, so the body floats."

      So, can a deer float face down like a human? I suggest it's radically more different form makes it more likely to settle sideways, and hence sink to the bottom (like your argument).

      Admittedly, once decomposition sets in, there are counter bouyancy forces and the animal will eventually float legs up. However, since there was mere hours between our two alleged sightings, that is not likely.

      Whatever, this witness saw, we should eliminate dead deer from our enquiries (to use a police metaphor).

      One wonders whether it is worth allowing comments from septics which are based on ignorance, half-truths or plain deception? After all, I have to clean up the mess after them lest people think my silence betrays a lost argument and the sycophants loudly declare "Mr. Incredible, you've done it again!".

      To use another metaphor (deer this time), there will be no fawn-ing of "revered" sceptics on this forum.


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    5. I really didn't want to challenge your world view with my SAR training and experience but I am making enquiries among the deer stalking community and will reply in due course.

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    6. Chasing Leviathan21 November 2014 at 09:41

      What I find interesting about this report is that it seems to rule out the usual 'expectant attention' trap that I suspect leads to a lot of misidentification. It seems the family in question had no idea Morar had a Monster tradition. If this is the case I would respectfully suggest it's rather more difficult for the imagination to turn a deer carcass into a large unknown object that seems to have caused an experienced angler and boatman to have serious concerns for the safety of his family.

      This doesn't mean it WAS a Monster, of course, but it does perhaps go some way to ruling out one of the more usual causes of confusion.

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    7. If you could turn the clock back 45 years and interview these people immediately after the event, and certainly before news of the fishermen's report of 3 humps went public,I would agree with your assessment Chasing Leviathan. As it is now we can't determine how much of the memory has been polluted by events since.

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  3. Sounds like a combination of childhood stress and confusion related to the father's anger and worry about the engine not working when an oar was lost, jumbled memories intertwined with the report from the fishermen, and a dead or dying deer in the water. Not much to get excited about on this one.

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    1. Not really G.s,it sounds like a father who was panicking because a 6 ton carniverous lake amphibian surfaced close To them possibly looking for dinner in the clear water.

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  4. Lol.....so no chance that she might be telling it as it was geordie in ur eyes haha


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    1. Well Jake, 2 articles ago we saw how an adult who had fished Loch Ness all his life got himself worked up by a drifting log, so no - I am not excited by a report of a lady decades after a day she had at age 14. The father she quotes was an adult at the time, so he probably would have been worth interviewing shortly after the event, but it seems they kept quiet..... allowing the memories of the event to growin the 45 years since.

      I don't believe in a Loch Morar monster, nor am I aware of any 3 humped animals in the fossil record that such a creature could be related to.

      All in all a quaint little story, but nothing to suggest we should believe that Morag actually exists.

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  5. Personally i dont think the fella fell for the log at all. I think he knew what he was filming! And im not saying i believe in a loch morar monster. I just chuckled at ur combinations for this girl with no chance she was telling it as it was lol

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  6. Seems like there are lots of weird critters reported in Scotland. All seems a bit crazy, huh? Don't you guys think so?

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    1. A lot of 'lake cryptid' sightings seem to be reported in lakes within a couple of degrees of latitude. Maybe the west of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands are particularly sweet spots because of a particular temperature range, their relationship to the ice that has gone before and (as another poster suggested) their position on the edge of the ocean? You could say that Loch Ness is a bit of an anomaly amongst these supposed monster loughs / lochs in that it isn't Atlantic-facing. (And I agree that there could be things that get into certain lochs and never establish a breeding population.)

      *AnonStg*

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    2. Lol you're writing as though these things *actually exist* AnonStg!! It's all just mythology, that's all.

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    3. The sighting as it was.
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-Monsters/537100722991730?ref=bookmarks

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    4. A number of years ago (not sighting report) a group of us were camping on the shore at the loch. One of the group was mouthing off about Nessie being a myth. I challenged him to swim out about 50 yards (night time) and back using a float for safety.

      He made an excuse and declined my challenge. I wonder why?

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    5. Chasing Leviathan17 November 2014 at 06:47

      A fascinating account. Many thanks to Tricia for sharing her experience.

      I really must see what I can do about visiting Morar one day. The pictures of the place I have seen look quite stunning.

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    6. Doesn't the water temperature in Loch Ness average about 42 degrees Fahrenheit, with dangerous currents and steep depth drops not far from shore? I would think that's reason enough to decline a swim but if you want to believe it shows fear of a monster, then I guess it's as good as any evidence we've seen to this point.

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    7. Burton Carruthers - the water below the thermocline does remain at about 42 F. Summer winds can tilt the thermocline so that this hypolimnion is exposed at the surface, presenting dangerously cold water to a swimmer even on a warm summer evening. The current's speed is not generally above 0.5 knot but the danger is in the low temperature. And yes, a few yards out from the shore the depth often increases dramatically. My friendly advice is not to party in the shallows at night.

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  7. Same here. Never looked much into the morag story but would love to visit. Looks beautiful and more quiet than ness. Plus its the deepest lake in uk .hmmm maybe a visit there on my next loch trip. :)

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  8. Bit like my mate in work, doesnt believe in ghosts, no chance he says . 100% its load of rubbish....but he declined the chance to stay in a reputed local haunted house for the night :)

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  9. "He made an excuse and declined my challenge. I wonder why?"

    It sounds to me like a sudden attack of common-sense. The guy swims out and then the others on the shore turn out the lights, hide the campfire etc as a prank and then he gets disoriented and drowns. Just my take of course, based on 45 years experience as an LNI night-drifter, commercial and sports diver, Coastguard Rescue boat helm and RNLI team member at Loch Ness, so I could be biased.

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    1. Dick, Burton C, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you.

      I've been interested in the Loch Ness story since I was a child. My scepticism developed before I was 10 years old. I am in my 40s and that scepticism has intensified ever since. UNTIL NOW.

      Anonymous posts that his friend declined to swim 50 yards out into the loch at night. This information has transformed me from hardened sceptic to total believer in an instant. I no longer care that there are no convincing photos or videos, no corpses, inadequate sonar hits, a lack of food. None of that matters now. I simply KNOW that Nessie must exist! Tell me, why else would a non-believer decline to jump into the welcoming waters of the loch at night?

      Roland, Jake, AnonStg and the rest of the gang, I have now seen the light and I will join your quest to rid the world of the cynical naysayers! I have even changed my name accordingly. Let's go forth, brothers!

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    2. Good, I expect Dick Raynor and EKM to have followed you by sunrise.

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    3. I have just rejected a comment from "Geordie Teenager". Getting a bit silly now ...

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    4. "Geordie Teenager" wasn't me. If people start spoofing eachother this site will need a password system.

      Roland, when are you next at the loch?

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    5. I won't be back until the spring.

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    6. enormous kraken monster18 November 2014 at 03:43

      I wouldn't swim in Loch Ness after dark, either -- partly because even standing in front of my cottage at night, it was pitch black!

      So I guess this makes me a believer too, Grordie.

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    7. I wudnt swim in the loch after dark either. Possibility of a large nocturnal creature coming up for a gulp of air that will keep it underwater for the rest of the day!!!!

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  10. Haha GB. I like it !!!! Lol

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  11. Always the same ones turning it silly Roland.

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  12. Hmmmm i wasnt aware i was in a gang!!! So what gang is this geordie? Nobody really knows my views and beliefs! If i think something is wrong i will argue against it just like i did when you said reptiles couldnt live in the cold! Nobody has prooved there are no large creatures in loch ness and nobody has prooved there is! Im very open minded thank you and i go independant not in a gang. :))) and like i said..... i havnt disclosed what i actually think of the mystery!!! :))

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    1. Jake, you wrote: "Nobody has proved there are no large creatures in Loch Ness and nobody has proved there is!" But nobody has to prove there are no large creatures in the Loch. The burden of proof lies with those who think there are large creatures in the Loch. Besides, you can't prove a negative (no large creatures in the Loch).
      Paddy

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    2. Well, you could always drain the loch to prove the negative.

      It is not so much the "burden of proof" argument. It is the ridiculous arguments offered by sceptics to explain the more interesting sightings.

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    3. (e)normous (k)raken (m)onster19 November 2014 at 04:34

      If one wants their claim -- one that runs counter to established data -- to be given fair and balanced attention, then it's their responsibility to produce legitimate documentation. Otherwise, why are you wasting my time with fuzzy photos of Elvis in a supermarket.....?

      Eyewitness reports from decades past add nothing constructive to your quest. It's anecdotal only.

      So, yes, the "burden of proof" argument is perfectly applicable. Trying to argue otherwise is what's "ridiculous."

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    4. Accusing one side of being "ridiculous" does not give you the right to offer opposing "ridiculous" arguments. There is a burden of proof on your group as well when counter intuitive arguments such as a person mistook a deer close up for a monster are given.

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  13. GB,
    I don't suppose you ever come across this report that follows, which is taken from the book 'Selected Highland Folktales' by R. Macdonald Robertson:

    Mr Alexander McDonnell, from Meoble: 'Some years ago , we were proceeding one morning down the loch in the estate motor launch from Meoble to Morar pier with some schoolchildren and other persons aboard. As we were passing Bracarina Point, on the north side, some of the children excitedly shouted: 'Oh look! What's that big thing on the bank over there?'
    I would describe the creature as being the size of a full grown Indian Elephant, which plunged off the rocky shoreline with a terrific splash as soon as it had been spotted by the schoolchildren. Loch Morar's monster has been seen by a number of persons of unquestionable veracity - most people have described it as 'A huge, dark, shapeless mass, rising out of the surface of the water.'
    Mr Alexander McDonnnell again, but at least it was schoolchildren who saw the monster. I have read in the Fortean Times magazine that, unlike Alex Campbell, Mr McDonnell was usually reluctant when re-accounting monster sightings.

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    1. Thanks, I do recall the story in its bare details, but you have added more here.

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    2. I recall a story regarding the discovery of some mystery bones by a diver in Morar. It took some finding but I eventually managed to find it at this link. http://www.lochnessinvestigation.com/Courier220601.html
      There isn't very much written about it here but I was wondering if you had uncovered anything more regarding this. I have read something else about this some time ago and it mentioned that the bones resembled large vertebrae of some kind. Unfortunately I've been unable to relocate that particular article as of yet, but I am still looking for it.

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    3. Pete - that story was one of the early works of Gary Campbell, now President for Life of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club. Its extensive archives, curated by Mr Campbell, are at http://www.lochness.co.uk/fan_club/ . The bones were discovered in the shallows during an expedition by the Loch Ness Research Society, led I believe by my old colleague Richard Carter. It was a sheep skeleton.

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    4. Cheers for clearing that one for me Dick, it will save me a little time trying to follow it up. I can't say that I always agree with you but it has to be said that you are a valuable source of knowledge in these matters but, just to drop a bit of a bombshell, I can't say that I agree with your floating deer carcasses theory due to some well made points by GB, as well as taking the report of the witness into account. Regarding the McDonnell & Simpson incident, where did the story of them disposing of deer they had shot originate from because I am not aware of anyone witnessing this happening.

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    5. I don't believe it was a sheep.I believe it was morag.

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    6. As a dyed in the wool skeptic, I can tell you they ALL saw a grossly fat deer that had rolled in green mossy mud.morar is famous for its obese green deer amongst morar insiders.

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    7. You have confidence in your assertions, I would not be so dogmatic. My reading of the account is they were somewhere near the middle of the loch.

      We've already covered the dead deer bit. Are you saying it was alive in the middle of the loch?

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  14. "which doubtless is backed up by others in the boat that day" ..... GB, have you checked this by speaking to them? Aren't you suposed to check these things before making your mind up?

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    1. Ah, these sceptics. Stll trying to trip up and get the points on the board. I don't think your intentions are honourable and I should ignore your trolling, but her sister does indeed back up what she said.

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  15. Like any other mystery you will get liars and hoaxers..but it amazes me how the sceptics accuse nearly every person of telling lies or bein confused of a story. Doesnt wash with me, not all people lie or get confused, they tell it how they saw it.

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  16. I have been a regular reader but have not commented until now. Although I am unsure as to whether there is a large, unknown animal living in any loch (I live near Flathead lake in Montana, which has also had its own monster reports from time to time), I am certain that the tactics used by skeptics to discount every report are less than helpful. I think it is important to keep an open mind. What caused me to de-cloak, so to speak, was the comment from Geordie Skeptic that the childhood account of this story should be simply summarily dismissed. I don't think so. I am a trial attorney and witness testimony should not be automatically discounted. I would agree that it can be misleading, misidentifications do happen, there is a tendency on the part of humans to add or delete information which is inconsistent with our experience (the eyes and brain are not cameras), and it is unreliable under certain circumstances. In other words, there is reason to view eyewitness testimony with skepticism -- and yet, if it were always to be so discounted, many persons otherwise convicted of crimes would go free. Although this is sometimes the correct result, it is not always the correct result as observation does have its place.

    I do not find it helpful to dismiss all eyewitness testimony that a monster sighting is a freak wave or a log or a sturgeon or any other known animal. The point is that the eyewitness testimony should be carefully examined to see if it can be corroborated by other evidence which tends to establish the correctness of the observation and the credibility of the witness.

    I have spent a lot of time on lakes (lochs). I have never seen a monster. Nor am I sure I would want to do so. The event would likely be quite scary, although with the exception of some legends and tails, I do not recall any recent accounts of any reported attacks by large uknown animals in lakes. But I think the perception of the event, especially in a small, vulnerable water craft, would likely be subject to distortion. So it is important to ferret out what is real as opposed to what is not. It seems to me forensic examination techniques at a time close to the event would be helpful for ferreting out actual sightings from misperception or just plain hoaxes.

    As I said, I have never mistaken a log or a wave or a deer or an otter for a monster. Nor am I likely to do so. But it is my view that not every witness would be hysterical, or a liar, or seeking publicity, etcetera, and that if even five percent of the reports are true there is something going on in these lakes we cannot completely explain. Perhaps they are explainable by natural phenomena, but I am not going to automatically assume this is the only explanation and discount what the witness says they saw.

    The other reason I would not want to see a monster is, quite frankly, I'm not sure that I would tell anyone. I don't want to be called a liar or that I am a loony or anything of the sort. My profession is built on my credibility and it would, I think, take quite a compelling sighting or for my economic interests to be aligned with the report for me to come forward.

    As I said, I am not sure whether there is bigfoot, ufos, or the loch ness monster. But there are interesting pieces of evidence that warrant further investigation in my judgment. In the mind of some skeptics, nothing will ever be interesting points of proof or even details requiring further inquiry (not anyone here necessarily), but if our minds are closed will we surely be unable to see.

    There are many mysteries in the universe. We are only beginning to understand the surface of some of them. That is what science is for. Closed minds, thinking one knows the answer always, does not produce good science. Just my .02 cents, and I apologize for the very long post.

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    1. Thanks for your input, and thanks for "decloaking".

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    2. I don't think questioning the legitimacy of available evidence(eyewitness sightings, photos, video, etc.) is being closed-minded. It's an easy dismissal in and of itself to label anyone who questions the evidence at hand as a closed-minded skeptic only looking to debunk the subject. Science is based on facts and data, not belief, hope, and fantasy. It's not good science to believe every story, sighting, photo, or video is legitimate or attempt to make the evidence fit your beliefs, just as it's poor science to dimiss all evidence out of hand.
      That being said, here's the problem with your point of examining all the evidence before making a conclusion - hasn't that been done since 1933, with sightings dating back to St. Columba in 565 A.D.? In that span of time, what tangible, legitimate evidence has been found? Carcass, bones, any type of physical evidence such as skin, teeth, etc., photograph, or video to corroborate any eyewitness accounts beyond a reasonable doubt? If that's the standard for this case, then you'd probably agree it would have been thrown out of court a long time ago.
      I don't consider myself a skeptic. I was a believer as a kid and teenager, becoming disheartened as the supposed evidence I had grown up on fell apart: the Surgeon's Photo, the AAS expeditions, the Stuart and MacNab photos, the Dinsdale film, and the list goes on. At some point, the logical side kicks in and says, "Damn, I really don't think there's anything in there!", as much as I've always wanted it to be true. I don't think demanding better evidence than what we all get is being closed-minded at all.

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    3. Firstly, I fail to see how an anonymous post here can in any way be called "de-cloaking". Secondly, I think your grammar and writing style don't quite gel with the role of "trial attorney". In fact, I believe you have posted here before. If I am wrong, please tell us your name?

      Eyewitness testimony - as has been discussed many times - is notoriously fallible, especially when dealing with unexplained sightings related to the paranormal/cryptozoology etc. They are a starting point, i.e. a reason to investigate further. Those investigations started properly in the 1960s and in the 64 years since we have absolutely no evidence of any unusual animals. And by evidence I do not mean hearsay and blurred photos, I mean evidence that a trial attorney could present in a court of law which would be strong enough to convince an open minded jury.

      Case (nearly) closed.

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    4. I nearly deleted this comment and have rejected a similar one, but I will retain it to make a point myself. Accusing or suggesting other people are not who they claim to be is not exactly "on-topic" is it?

      Perhaps you could tell us your name as well? You'll need more than just an opinion about writing style to initiate indirect or direct accusations of lying.

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    5. Geordie Sceptic, please resend your posts minus the derogatory references to pro-Nessie people as "fanatic" or "religious".

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    6. (e)normous (k)raken (m)onster19 November 2014 at 04:54

      Seriously...?

      That is a perfectly apt comparison. Belief in the untouchable is "faith," and people like Dinsdale devoted their lives based on it.

      You're really going to take it this far?

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    7. If a post is regarded as divisive and inflammatory, I am the one who has to moderate the fallout, not you.

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    8. What "fallout"? It's a blog about a dragon that may or may not* live in a lake....! Descriptive phrasing such as this is why words like "religion" and "fanaticism" are bandied about.

      *Doesn't.

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    9. I welcome skeptics here and always have done. But no need for the derogartory commemts towards believers! I go to loch ness many times a year and would gladly sit and discuss nessie with a skeptic over a pint of tennents or two.

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    10. Our trial attorney makes an interesting comment " My profession is built on my credibility". I thought that lawyers depended on their powers of persuasion to lead a jury in their desired direction, carefully cherry-picking pieces of evidence to suit their case. It certainly happened at Loch Ness in the 1970's. Given that lawyers on each side, intelligent and educated people, are trying to persuade a jury that their arguments are believable at least one side must be knowingly trying to mislead. At least one side :-) The Truth doesn't matter, it is all about winning the argument, and so has no place in scientific endeavour.

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    11. "What "fallout"? It's a blog about a dragon that may or may not* live in a lake....! Descriptive phrasing such as this is why words like "religion" and "fanaticism" are bandied about."

      This is the kind of comment that may not pass muster in the future, hence it it allowed by way of example. Why? EKM uses a phrase to describe "believers" using the mythological term "dragon".

      Now this is then used to justify the use of religious terms. But how many "believers" actually use such a term? We are generally more interested in a live, biological creature. Hence, the description is a stereotype which has accomplished its task - plant the "mythical monster" seed in readers' minds.

      The problem then arises in having to unravel this. It's a waste of time and energy, therefore the comment should never have appeared in the first place - and it won't.

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    12. Does this mean you'll be suppressing all discussion Ted Holiday in the future as well, Roland?

      That isn't a flippant remark. I'm actually being serious.

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    13. People can discuss their paranormal/supernatural beliefs in Nessie, subject to the same rules. Just don't generalise all pro-Nessie people as dragon believers.

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  17. Lol i find this quite amusing. 'Nessie goes to the court of law'"lol. Personally i think its not as serious as that :).!! If u dont believe there is summit there then fair enuf thats YOUR case over, if u do believe there is summit there u can discuss it in blogs like this to to give u more idea of what it can be! I have my ideas and no skeptic in here has changed my opinion. Dick Raynor has made me rethink on a couple of issues but for me he is the only skeptic who knows what hes talking about. I dont think we need to head up to inverness court house to find nessie...GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY!!!!!! :)) lol

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    1. I think plenty of sceptics, semi-sceptics and believers on here know what they're talking about Jake. There's nothing wrong with asking questions and querying evidence, surely? If the phenomena is ever going to reach a definitive conclusion one way or the other, that's how we'll get there.

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  18. Thats ur opinion trevor. From what ive seen only Dick talks any sense! Yes some skeptics make the obvious statements on certain issues but ive read some rubbish on here. Half the skeptics have never been to loch ness or maybe bin once or twice!

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    1. Well I class myself as a semi-sceptic.

      Do I think something was swimming around the loch during the heyday years of the phenomenon? Yes, pretty sure there was,

      Do I think it was a creature new to science? Hmmmm, not really.

      Do I think it's still there now? Almost certainly not in my view.

      And Dores Inn doesn't do Tennents, Jake. The patrons have a far more discerning palate.

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    2. Dores ? Not my cup of tea lol inverness drum or fort augustus. Gotta be a tennents in scotland, cant get them here :( and a couple dramms for the road

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  19. Last comnent on it but no need for derogatory comments to people who believe just cus otheres dont. Thats arrogant!!! I dont believe in the yetti but i wudnt try and belittle folk who do and if anyone wants to try and belittle me then im up the ness regular if you would like to do it........ or alternativly have a friendly discussion over a tennents or two !! Its a shame this blog has suddenly turned sour because i find it a good blog for info and discussion and points of view. Better yhsn other sites like the debate site and lake monsters facebook.!! Nobody shud be scoffed at for believing in something .... im sure the good folk of komodo had a wee smile after bun scoffed at for years over 8ft lizards they had reported. :)))) keep it nice boys snd girls sceptics and non sceptics. :))

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  20. Jake, there's no need for this. You wrote that no sceptic except Dick makes any sense. That's not the kind of comment I or other sceptics would say about believers, and if we did it would be censored out.

    What it all boils down to is what you think is more likely - eyewitnesses are all mistaken, or creatures like this really can live in a lake and never appear on video or leave a corpse. Which of these two scenarios does one choose? Well, when you make up your minds, I simply ask you to remove one key element from your decision-making process: PLEASE DON'T BE SWAYED TOWARDS BELIEVING IN NESSIE ON THE BASIS THAT IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL IF IT WERE TRUE.

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    1. A tongue in cheek remark I presume. Jake only listens to Dick Raynor. So what?

      You're asking the old questions again. I repeat, these have been discussed to death and clog up the comments sections.




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    2. ...but it's fine to trot out the "Not all eyewitnesses could be mistaken" comment over, and over, and over again. ...

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    3. New policy hasn't fully kicked in yet ....

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  21. Wow. I didn't mean to stir up a hornet's nest. I can assure you, Geordie, I am who I say I am. Insults aside, I see no further point in responding to what you say as I have already addressed the idea that eyewitness testimony is often fallible (although not always). This was my only narrow point which seems not to be conceded by some here. Which is really fine by me.

    Secondly, Mr. Raynor, I appreciate your commentary on the issue of credibility. It is indeed the trial lawyer's job to present their case in the most compelling way possible. There are lawyers who are willing to distort or bend the truth in doing so, but not all of us practice in this way. However, the point I was making was that in order for my truthful version of events to be taken seriously during trial, I must be taken seriously. For that my credibility is important in convincing a judge or jury of the justness of my case. If anyone who is a professional that relies heavily on their credibility for making a living comes forward and says they have seen an unexplained phenomena, it may be the case that nobody will believe what they say going forward regardless of topic. I don't know that this is true, but it could be, and that is enough of a deterrent.

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  22. Phenomena is the plural.

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  23. Just a thought - if we are no longer able to discuss the subjects of eyewitness confusion and the lack of solid evidence, what are we left with? Pretending photos of waves show monster heads?

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    1. This is a comment section, not a debate forum. Neither is it a recruiting ground for sceptics.

      If the topic of a post is on Mhorag, there is no point in you going off on a tangent about a recent photo at Loch Ness. If you want to do that, go to the appropriate post on that subject and place your comment there.

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  24. Well actually i havnt said i only listen to Dick. I listen to everyone. I said Dick is the only one that talks much sense to the questions i ask. And geordie u have said it many a time. Ur always poking fun at believers and saying they talk no sense ( or those to that affect) and you said summit earlier bout the case ' nearly ' closed !!! What do u mean by that?

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  25. Hmmm geordie u say nessie cant exist because it hasnt bin on video and a corpse hasnt shown up ????? Haha righty ho mate lol. There we go trevor......proof of what i said earlier. :)))

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    1. Correct Jake, I do think that 30ft animals in a lake which are reported on the surface and on land would indeed be captured on video and leave physical evidence. It's called "my opinion" and it's based on strong logic.

      GB this is an on topic response to Jake. Thanks.

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    2. Well, yes and no. The topic is Mhorag, this is on the general existence of lake monsters. Long, rambling threads on generic issues don't really need to be here. 83 comments now and the real comments on Mhorag are being lost in the noise. I can understand why some people can't be bothered wading thru this to find the relevant comments.

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  26. Well 30 ft are estimated sizes and cud be wrong its called human error. And the surface sightings are very very rare hence not much video evidence. Which goes to show they prob bottom dwellers too which explains why their bodies dont get washed up... 3 in 1 eh???? Old hat though as we have covered this before in a diffrent comment and im sure even experienced loch ness people will agree with the bodies one !!! Anyway enuf of that and back on to morag. As i said before, skeptics are quick to say people are mistaken or have a memory loss. Dont wash with me, i believe the story in mhorar and reckon she saw what sge saw but the obviius question is what???

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  27. I can relate to Attorney comment about Liars and Loonies, this is precisely why my Dad at the time told us kids not to say anything about the "protrusion" in the Loch, maybe there were 3 deer floating 10 feet or so apart as previously pointed out, this could be possibly a credible explanation if the "protrusions" had not disappeared and caused a swell, maybe the deer were on a family day out on the Loch too :o). Sceptics on here say we were young and in an emotional state, my age, my Dad and my siblings age bear no relevance here, we all spotted this "thing in the water" my sister and I have debated this recently and both agree we both felt fearful which had no bearing on our broken engine situation, as previously stated this was par for the course on our frequent fishing trips.
    I am all for healthy debate...however I will back off this one now as I take exception to even one person thinking we are liars, one comforting factor however is sadly my Dad was justified in telling us not to discuss as wisely he realised there would be closed minded folks happy to ridicule our experience.

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    1. Tricia, I apologise for you feeling this way. To make it clear - I've not met you and have not discussed this with you. All I can see are words on a webpage. However, my hunch is you're genuine in the retelling of your report. On the other hand, I strongly do not believe that Loch Morar contains, or contained, a 3 humped monster. I apologise again, but your report does not change that. It's my belief that you are sincere but mistaken in your recollection. Same as if you told me you saw a ghost. Just the way I feel about it. No ridicule involved.

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  28. Great you came on Tricia i admire that. I also believe you are sincere. I dont know what you saw because i wasnt there. You know what you saw and nobody else can tell you what you saw because they were not there.

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  29. Thanks guys, I appreciate the sentiment, l am open minded when it comes to ghosts/paranormal etc. and would never have considered connecting the 2 topics. On a happy personal note however , a big thank you to Roland, since joining this blog, I now have every intention of heading back up to Morar soon to enjoy the landscape and scenery, with a wee bit luck Mhorag may appear with her grandchildren :o)

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    1. On one of our recent visits to Loch Morar we spoke to a local woman who had a single hump sighting some 9 or 10 years ago now so hopefully Morag is still around for us. The woman we spoke to was a little uncomfortable talking about her sighting and politely declined to say any more about the matter. Many of the locals are apprehensive talking about such things, which is understandable. Hopefully you will have another sighting to tell us about.

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  30. Jake, I deleted your comment about cowardice as some such as GS did reply to Tricia, but others I am sure have just moved on from this article and no longer read the comments.

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  31. Just a couple of points. Deer hair is hollow, giving the animal both extra buoyancy and insulation. Also, it is one of the greatest myths ever that the first sighting of Nessie was by St Columba. Read Adamnan's book and you'll see from his description that the beast he saw in the river (not the loch) is unmistakeably a bear. That leaves the Nessie phenomenon a mere 80 years old and thus so much easier to explain.

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    1. Don't you love the "unmistakeables" of the Sceptic? That air of dogmatism and self assured certainty that goes along with "undoubtedly", indisputably" and "obviously".

      To quote Adamnan,

      "Now the monster, which before was not so much satiated as made eager for prey, was lying hid in the bottom of the river"

      So since when did bears lie at the bottom of rivers?

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  32. The bulognian hydrobear is well known to lie in ambush in rivers worldwide.with its unique hollow fiber hairs which absorb oxygen from cold water due to the supeeoxigenation wick effect(S.O.W.E),so it very possible its a bear indeed!

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  33. Fascinating account and interesting debate. I'm interested in the mythology as well as the cryptozoology. Traditionally the appearance of Morag was associated with the death of someone from the House of Morar or the defeat of the clan. Do you have any idea how that began? I've been trying to find information on the origin of that 'curse' but have failed so far.

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    1. I have a 19th century ref in my book. Montgomery's book may also have old references to Mhorag.

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  34. Why would kids with no knowledge of any alleged creature in this loch become extremely fearful? Over floating deer?! I imagine the reaction would be interest. And again I note fear, over nothing tangibly dangerous. The father's reaction may well be standard for someone looking after their kids, but it's the kids feelings I am more interested in.

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  35. I have recently read 'The Search for Morag', an excellent book. The information is matter-of-fact, highly selective, and no-nonsense. Various sightings did not make the book, as all necessary prerequisites were not met. It may even be enough to make a sceptic think again.

    The McDonnell & Simpson account tallies strongly with many other descriptions of the creature's behaviour, and with each other. The level of detail seems too high for something that they've made up to cover their tracks. I'm not sure what floating deer have to do with anything, but they certainly wouldn't move in unison. That's an absurd suggestion to try to debunk this mystery, and anyone who thinks that's a good enough explanation should read Mrs Campbell's book. There is even reference to an early legend of a ghost barge towing two other boats behind it relating to Morar.

    What does concern me slightly, and this may be the passage of time, or the memories from a 14 year old's mind, is that Patricia stated the two fishermen were giving interviews to the media on that particular day. According to Mrs Campbell (and the quality of the research is very high), the story was given to the media by 'a day or two after the incident by a relative of one of the men concerned, at a time when they were already miles apart, both men being long distance lorry drivers.'

    I'm not saying that the incident Patricia referred to didn't happen (it sounds quite plausible), but I do find this a strange discrepancy. Having said that neither I nor Mrs Campbell were there when any of this happened, and it's quite a story.

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  36. A long-standing ambition is about to be realised.

    Two weeks at Loch Morar at the beginning of next month! :)

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