Nessie, a correspondence

Whilst perusing the internet, I happened across what I thought was a well-rounded website of sceptical reasoning and factual debate. Oh boy was I wrong. There was an article regarding a fossil of some water reptile found in Scotland, which was light heartedly shoe-horned into the myth of Nessie (of inhabiting Loch Ness fame) which wasn’t the problem for me. No, that came from the contents of the article, which of course was set out so as to debunk the myth. That’s fine, I don’t actually believe that a dinosaur/mythological creature resides in the Loch; I’m not a fool, often a drunken one, certainly, but not one as a rule!

Anyway, the author of the article deliberately left out much in regards to the mythology and fact surrounding the legend, whilst using these omissions to further bolster her blinkered ‘bullet point’ style argument. Regardless, I took to task one of her fawning commenters, who had proclaimed the first sighting to have been in the 30s, which is factually wrong (but these self-righteous types don’t let fact get in the way of their higher-educated/superior circle-jerks) And once I did, well, hell hath no fury like an academic scorned, or challenged for that matter, for it seemed as though this den of reasoned debate was actually inhabited by people that don’t respond well to having their intellect challenged, and certainly not by a humble, country breed jock of simple ways and manners, such as myself.

Regardless, she began to argue with me in a passive-aggressive kind of way, ‘no you’re wrong, read this book…educated yourself, yeah’ type of way. Though again, that’s fine by me, as I’m already incredibly intelligent (I’m not gonna lie) and I don’t need a fuckin framed scrap of paper to reassure myself of this. Anyway every time she answered back, it was as though she deliberately missed every one of my points, neither tackling them, nor disproving them, and simply continued to recommend a selection of what I can only assume is her favourite night time reads.

This “stunningly intelligent academic” who clearly prides herself on being an unflappable cynic, couldn’t even put forward so much as a single convincing rebuttal or counter point to any of my own. And do you know why? Because she relies on her own self derived superiority as a means of asserting her intelligence on others. She believes that because she went to college, her opinion is automatically the right one. Simply put, she doesn’t like to be challenged. Oh well, anyway, below is our riveting exchange:

Cinead

October 28, 2016 at 7:09 PM

The legend of Nessie isn’t a modern creation, it’s first mention was in the year 565 when Columba was said to have banished it after it made to attack one of his priests. Now that may have been a fabrication, yet the belief in Kelpies (Water-horses/Water-demons) in Scotland stretches back well into antiquity. By you omitting that, either means you dig no further into a subject than the people you all like to tear down, or you chose not to mention how far back the legend truly dates, simply to reinforce your own dismissive opinion. Also, the first modern sighting was in 1802.

 

Reply

October 28, 2016 at 7:22 PM

Errr, not quite. You need to look more closely at the St Columba sighting. It was clearly retrofitted into the post-monster era. Also, Nessie is distinct from the kelpie legend but there is some muddled area in there. Usually (as in this case perhaps), skeptical scholars know more about the entirety of the story than those that wish to “tear down” said skeptics. Cryptozoology legends are almost always sloppy in their historical context and accuracy in order to bolster the preferred monster claim.

Essential Reference: Abominable Science by Loxton & Prothero.

 

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Cinead

October 28, 2016 at 8:05 PM

I’m well aware of the difficulties of classifying Scotland’s water based mythological creatures under the term Kelpie, but Nessie would fall under that name, as it applies to many uncategorised mythological water creatures as it stands. Also, Columba’s sighting, whether or not factual, still goes a long way in helping to date the legend. Fact is, Nessie, regardless of what it was called then, has existed as a legend for far longer than since the 30’s, That is correct, isn’t it?

And what is sloppy about folkloric accounts, they are what people once believed. So even if they don’t provide you with a clear provenance, dates and figures, doesn’t mean they should be thrown out of any discussion offhand, after all, the belief in them was originally there.

Regardless, Nessie is old, any Scottish water spirit can be classified as a Kelpie, thanks to the lack of clear definition saying otherwise, and no one really cares about fossils anymore, so light-heartedly tying it to an aspect of popular culture is a helpful way to get it read by the wider public.

 

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October 28, 2016 at 8:35 PM

Contrary to some sources, there is no tradition of sightings, nor are there old historical reports or anything like that pre-dating the 1930s.

Magin, U. 2001. Waves without wind and a floating island – historical accounts of the Loch Ness monster. In Simmons, I. & Quin, M. (eds) Fortean Studies Volume 7. John Brown Publishing (London), pp. 95-115.

It’s not lighthearted to connect it to fossils, it is misinformation. People think it’s true and that is not a good thing.

 

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Cinead

October 28, 2016 at 9:09 PM

It’s not really misinformation, they don’t say it is “Nessie” they just make the connection because one is a legendary sea creature belonging to Scotland, and the other is a legitimate sea creature found in Scotland. I get what you’re saying, but there really is no fight needing fought in regards to the fossil and statement.

Exactly, not all sources are going to corroborate. You acknowledge the ones that reinforce your argument, and I do the same with those that reinforce mine. Columba was real, Adomnan, whose work ties Columba to the legend, states that he banished the “Water-beast” and that to me ties the belief in water beasts to at least the 565 in Scotland.

As an important source for early Scottish history, with works that corroborate with similar writings of that time, I don’t see why Adomnan as a source should be discredited. Water based creatures are rife in Scottish folklore, this is fact, but just because “Nessie” has survived into the modern era and become a staple of pop culture, does not mean that its origins suddenly stop being ancient in nature simply because we know it by another name.

 

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October 28, 2016 at 9:29 PM

You are making the mistake that the current legend is equivalent to the historic claims. That is a fallacy. I suggest you consult not only the references I supplied before but also Naish’s Hunting Monsters and Meurger’s Lake Monster Traditions – essential for an informed discussion about historical versus modern takes on traditional lake monster motifs.

 

Reply

Cinead

October 28, 2016 at 9:48 PM

Fallacy, no. A continuation of a belief system, yes. You are wrong, and have done little to answer anything I’ve said, opting simply to pick and choose tiny parts of my comments that fit with the preloaded rebuttal you already have at hand. Nessie is older than you wish to accept, fact. You also realise that on the whole, you are wrong, another fact. You simply like to crusade against banal causes, of which, only you deem them causes worth crusading against. I do not expect you to allow this comment to go through.

 

She didn’t reply back.

Also, I’ m well aware of the irony of me calling her out for crusading against banal nonsense, and as to which, am wholeheartedly unrepentant 🙂

Cinead MacAlpin.

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