Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

CRYPTOZOOLOGY: Richard Muirhead and water spouts and water devils

Today is the third and final part of my survey of the opinions of those who believe that sightings of lake monsters can be put down to water spouts or water devils.

In the volume 12 no. 122 issue of The Journal of Meteorology pp 269-271 Michael W. Rowe discussed this issue in an article titled 'Whirlwinds, Sea-Serpents and the Loch Ness Monster.' He wrote:

'In 1976 Dr. Meaden published a paper in this journal in which he propsed that some reports of `monsters` in Loch Ness and other lakes and rivers could be explained as sightings of whirlwinds, particularly water devils… In a later issue Sir Peter Scott, who has studied the problem of the Loch Ness Monster for many years, agreed that Dr Meaden`s theory could well be the explanation for a number of sightings… He proposed several questions, which were answered by Dr. Meaden

'Until recently there seemed to be no records of whirlwinds on Loch Ness, but in the past few months I have received two reports. Both are unfortunately very lacking in detail, but they are worth putting on record, in view of Dr. Meaden's theory.

'The first report was sent by Mr. Peter Moore, who had seen a whirlwind in Urquhart Bay (NH5329) on the western side of the loch. The whirlwind was seen for only about two seconds, but Mr. Moore recognised what it was, as he had seen whirlwinds on Loch Lomond on at least five occasions.

'The other whirlwind was seen by Clare Page, a pupil of mine at Priestlands Comprehensive School, Lymington. Again there are few details, as Miss Page was only about eight years old when the incident took place (probably in 1983). From a rough sketch map it appears that the whirlwind was not far from Urquhart Castle, and hence in the same general area where Mr. Moore's sighting took place…

'Later, in the summer of 1917, there was "a… sighting in Loch Brittle (NG 3918), Skye.”

'It appeared as a high column, said to be a great deal higher than the object Sandy (a 1910 witness to another object) had seen in Loch Scavaig, and light flashed at the top of the column as though a small head were being turned from side to side. There was a considerable commotion of water astern of it, but no other portion of the body was visible above the surface. It submerged slowly until nothing was left showing above the sea, and it seemed to descend vertically and without flexuion.”

'Heuvelmans comments, "This time we seem to have the long-necked sea-serpent again.”'(1)

Rowe puts the light down to “electrical discharge.” (2)

1. B. Heuvelmans (1968) In The Wake of The Sea Serpent

2. M. Rowe Whirlwinds, Sea-Serpents and The Loch Ness Monster, Journal of Meteorology vol.12, no.122 October 1987 pp 169-271


Dale Drinnon said...

I Had previously mentioned to Richard that in my opinion the Tyne Sea-serpent sighting could have been a waterspout because of several very odd features about it: unfortunately the original message seems not to have gotten through. In this case the "Periscope" was unusually tall ant thin, about the same thickness top-to-bottom, moving at right angles to the rest of the "body" which was estimates as between 90 and 100 feet long. If it was a waterspout, the "Body" could be the trough it left behind: I mentioned to Richard that my references say that a waterspout can leave a trail in the water.

Unfortunately, I also wanted to submit a scan of the illustration from Heuvelmans' In The Wake of the Sea Serpents and I do not have a copy of the scan currently.

Kithra said...

Is that the same Dr Meaden who proposed that a plasma-vortex caused crop circles? !!!

Aaron T said...

Vortices and downdraughts are actually quite common on Loch Ness when the high-level wind is at right angles to the Great Glen. The air descending into the valley creates turbulence leading to the formation of these little rough patches, often at the head of "catspaws". Possibly the best example is Gordon Holmes 2007 video, discussed here and also visible on Youtube. Someone wishing to see a dark hump in the distance would be well satisfied. A