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

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

LINDSAY SELBY: Monster of Lough Major

There have been sightings of a creature in Lough Major in Ireland. The first recorded report was in about 1912 when three boys said they watched a strange water-creature playing in the lake. They threw stones at the creature and then ran when it moved towards them. It was described as having a hairy, horned head. Probably a hoax, you might think but then I came across this article from 1963.

The Evening Herald 1st August 1963
Monster seen in Irish Lake
A Monster, 8 to 10 feet long, with two protruding tusks and hairy head scared the wits out of three youths who were returning from a fishing trip in Lough Major, Co Monaghan. The youths, G. Reilly (18), Talbot Duffy (17) and Paul Pentland (12) said they saw the “monster” splashing up and down the in the lake like sea lion. Although frightened they watched in amazement for a few minutes, but decided to make for home quickly, when one of them threw a stone in it’s direction and it made towards them at great speed. Badly frightened the boys ran across a filed, but were overtaken by the terrier dog, which had at first stayed behind to bark at the “thing” but which shot past them with it’s tail between it’s leg, gaining an easy first in the race for home.

Questioned later, it was suggested the monster might have been a large otter but Talbot Duffy denied this flatly stating he had shot plenty of otters. Returning the next day, the boys found that the dozen or so large bream left on the bank the night before had disappeared, only a few bones remaining. And later another local man, Patrick Brady, confirmed the boys’ description, having also seen the animal surface; and it is now considered to be responsible for the disappearance of pike from the lines set by anglers, because on one occasion only the heads are found; attached to the baited hooks.

The creature sounds like a walrus or a seal of some kind but the lough is 36 miles from the sea and as far as I can see on the map does not drain into any large river that would facilitate the creature entering the lough that way. So where did it come from?


Anonymous said...

Tim Dinsdale said this sounded like a sea lion and in fact it is compared to a sea lion in the newspaper account.

But there are not supposed to be any sea lions around Britain. Therefore this is one of those other "Sea Lion" reports that I include together with the "Long-necked sea lion" category, more or less by default.

Notice that the fangs become horns in the retelling. The "Horns" could have been ear-pinnas, but I think rather that it was a mistaken reference. Incidentally several languages make a confusion between tuks and horns, including Biblical Hebrew: and that is a problem in some stories about "Congo Dragons"

Ego Ronanus said...

There will be a complete account of this animal in "Mystery Animals of Ireland" (CFZ Press, due August), in which an hitherto unrevealed fact about it will be revealed.

Tabitca said...

Thanks for your illuminating comments as always Dale.
Egon that is unfair to keep us all in suspenders!