Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: The Benevolent Giant of Loch Ness

The water is dark, murky and cold,
layered with shadow along the shore,
ancient cradle to a primordial beast,
past, present, forevermore.

Do you have certain myths that resonate with you? Ones that you hope will never be disproven? The Loch Ness Monster is my magical myth. I’ve been enamored of Nessie since childhood, hoping she lives somewhere in that deep, cold lake in the Scottish Highlands.

I think it’s only natural we crave definitive proof fantastical elements exist. Admittedly, there is a part of me that would do a giddy lake-monster jig if Nessie were ‘found.’ But the greater part would be saddened by the loss of mystery and the fiasco that would certainly ensue. Can you imagine the media circus? The scientific knowledge we’d gain would be phenomenal (yes, I’m a geek), but I’d lament the loss of whimsy. In the long run that’s far more important. And I would never want any creature as ancient and celebrated as Loch Ness’s ‘monster’ subjected to captivity or even examination.

So why do reputable scientists spend time searching for a legendary creature that has been duped a hoax and wishful thinking?

Because an element of doubt exists. The seductive “what if” whisper of possibility that reminds us we don’t know everything. That, yes, magic could exist in the form of a lake monster.

And, because, (drum roll please) there is credible proof she might exist. Nessie falls into the category of cryptozoology, the study of hidden or living creatures that could/maybe/possibly exist. Given sightings, sonar readings, and photographs (yes, some proven hoaxes) there is plenty of wiggle room for speculation. Doubt can be a strong motivator.

I think the reason I’m most attracted to Nessie is because I see her as a benevolent giant. I couldn’t say the same about the Abominable Snowman or Sasquatch, but I see Nessie as being happy in her lake home, contentedly diving beneath the frigid grape-purple waters.  Did you know Loch Ness is 750 feet deep at its bottommost point and contains more water than all the lakes in Scotland, England and Wales combined? If I were a lake monster looking for a nice secluded home, Loch Ness would definitely be a place I’d consider hanging my shingle.

The legend of Loch Ness dates back to 565 A.D. when St. Columba tried to banish her. Her existence has not been proven despite repeated efforts and scientific expeditions. Just last month, Nessie made the news again when Scottish sailor George Edwards snapped a new photograph he claimed was the legendary monster. Debate continues to rage with others claiming the new image may be a submerged log or tree trunk brought to the surface by buoyant gases.

Personally, I think Nessie is camera shy, but enjoys playing with the strange humans who repeatedly intrude on her watery domain.

What’s your opinion? Do you have a ‘special’ myth that you hope will never be disproven or, perhaps, one that you’d like to see make headlines as being real? For me, it’s the benevolent lake giant of Loch Ness. For you, it might be something entirely different. On this Mythical Monday, pull up a computer screen or smartphone and do some musing. After countless centuries of speculation, the Loch Ness monster has plenty of time to spare.