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Saturday, February 06, 2010

ANDREW HOPCRAFT: Loch Ness Monster

A while ago I purchased two slim discarded volumes from my local library, both seemingly self-published and written by a Mr G. Colman Green. Within the slowly yellowing pages are a collection of poems, paintings, recollections, reminisences and of a more fortean bent, short passages on such subjects as 'earthquake waves', 'milk-drinking snakes', a 'fall of newspapers' and perhaps most relevent to the realm of cryptozoology, 'The Loch Ness Monster Considered.'

The short passage pre-dates the 'monster hunts' of the The Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau and so adds a little background chatter against which the early searches of Loch Ness were made. However, I feel there is something to be further explored of Mr Green's connections between earthquakes and lake monsters. Charles Fort drew connections between earthquakes and anomolous falls, of sounds and lights in the sky - a forerunner to the fringe science of earthquake lights. At the time G. Coleman Green wrote his notes upon the beast of Loch Ness, the theory of plate tectonics would also have been considered a fringe science - I can still remember the incredulity I felt as a child when my father told me he wasn't taught about tectonic plates at school!

Loch Ness is seemingly unique in its position in that it runs the length of a geological fault line (The Great Glen Fault); I can think of no other lake supposedly inhabited by a monster that shares such a position, perhaps other than those beasts said to inhabit the lakes that sit within The Great Rift Valley of Africa. Bubbles of escaping seismic gas disturbing the surface of the Loch have been put forward as an explanation for some sightings of the Loch Ness monster. I can't but wonder how an 'earthquake light' may appear underwater when viewed from the surface. I'm now begining to think of those luminous wheels seen from the decks of the Patna steaming in the Persian Gulf.


Allow me to comment on a subject which has been kept well before the public by our ubiquitous Press in the hope that some light may be directed towards a solution of the mystery of Loch Ness on the Caledonian Canal.

Before adding my own ideas about the strange visitor I think it proper to refer to Mr. J.H. Peel's article in the Birmingham Post, 2nd July, 1960, which raised the question if research men at Oxford and Cambridge - experts in zoology -have their nets cast wide enough to catch anything fresh from the depths of knowledge which help us to understand that deep and elusive creature we call the Loch Ness Monster.

But this is not a simple question of zoological knowledge and I propose to recapitulate some other facts which seem to be related and which are drawn from my own experience at sea.

Firstly, if you will refer to Dr. Cornwall's "Unique Geography" on page 174 of this fine old book you will learn that at the time of the Great Earthquake at Lisbon in 1755 (which incident had a rebound as far away as the coast of South America) - both Loch Ness and Loch Lomond rose 2 feet above their normal level.

As Loch Ness is over 20 miles long and Lomond has a great mass of water two miles wide some immense pressure from below must have caused this vast surface to rise so abruptly and I suggest that on the principle of the Brahma Press this pressure originated from the same volcanic centre as the Lisbon catastrophe.

This implies a long submarine tunnel - probably very deep and, in part may be water-logged - very ancient and sensitive to volcanic thrust with occasionally superheated water.

These volcanic tunnels spread like the tentacles of an octopus all over the North Atlantic as far as the Azores westward and Iceland in the Arctic.

Earthquakes of more or less intensity have occured in England throughout historic times - in 1400 which set the church bells ringing, to 1930 when pictures tilted and beds moved in East London. Other dates 1165, 1445 and 1756, 1860. As compared with the Agadir earthquake of 1960 the road casualties caused by excessive speed (18,000 killed in three years) it makes one gasp with horror.

Space forbids discussion of all the forces operating in Mexico, Chile and Peru which, though mainly volcanic in origin, may be tipprd off by the seasonal throw of the earth (Swing of the belts); variation of spin and some other causes.

In 1914 when the world was thrown into the turmoil of war, few people took notice of the terrific eruption which blew the top of Mt. Elburz in Russia and caused widespread destruction (60 villages wiped out). This mighty mountain, 18,000 ft. high, was thought to have been asleep for a million years. The Russians claim the Noah's Ark had rested there.

Wales has been volcanic and much of King Arthur country is said to be beneath the sea.

The Wrekin in Shropshire is said to be a burnt-out volcano - but is it? It is quite speculative!

Secondly, in 1920, whilst homeward bound on the S.S. Marathon with a school of children on board I had a series of conversations with Captain Williamson about these various phenomena and prevailed upon him to take the ship along the northern shores of Teneriffe in the Canary Islands so that the youngsters could see the volcanic forces of the island.

Steaming slowly along at a reasonably safe distance, the ship's company experienced a thrill that impressed everybody with its awful intensity.

Teneriffe is in effect the Volcanic Bomb-Centre of the North Atlantic and the probable cause of earthquakes in this part of the world.

Returning to the Loch Ness Monster, it must be remembered that the ancient plesiosaurs were egg-laying creatures. Indeed, we have in the South Kensington Museum some large fossilized specimens about three feet high and I think it quite conceivable that an egg deposited a thousand years ago (or more) lodged on a warm, a superheated rock, far down in the cavernous, "unfathomable caves" may have at last generated into something like a Sea Serpent or a Saurian of a more or less degenerate breed. Who knows?

On Sunday, February 12th, 1961, the experts on the various sea monsters gave an entertaining account of what they knew about the history of great eels in larvae form, octopus of great size and air breathing sea reptiles which were variously described a sea serpents or plesiosaurii, defunct for 80,000m. years. They left the whole subject an open question when they suggested these creatures had possibly found a way to adapt themselves to modern conditions.

G. Colman Green, M.R.S.T, R.D.S.

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Dale Drinnon said...

Nice airy speculation, but not much in the way of solid evidence. It does not even give any good idea what the monster is supposed to be, only "maybe this and maybe that"

I find the phrase "fossils three feet high" to be hoplessly vague. And I do hope that he did not mean to say fossil Plesiosaur eggs, because there are none on record.

Rich said...

I am just amazed at used books. There is so much information, that men like Einstein spent a lifetime to obtain, that we can buy for measly amounts.

Congrats on a bit of persistence on used book perusal! The reward is evident.

Chris Clark said...

Green seems a bit of an eccentric, and rather a confused one. Elburz is a range of mountains in Iran, and its not volcanic. If he means Elbrus in the Caucasus, there was no eruption in 1914: the last one was about 2000 years ago. And as for volcanic tunnels linking Portugal to Scotland...