Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Nessie-a-Day #6 - Conjecture Time
So far in the series of daily Loch Ness Monster posts, I've covered a few of the many people involved in the history of studying the mystery animal. I've also tended toward more metaphysical or downright magical explanations that have come from the likes of Ted Holiday, 'Doc' Shiels, or others who would link the monster to Crowley. To balance things out, today's post is less research intensive as it relates to specific investigators, authors, and the ideas they have; today's post is almost 100% pure speculation and conjecture about what Nessie IS. (Isn't that what we all get into Forteana for anyway? Doesn't each of us secretly think we've got it "all figured out" or that our ideas about a given subject are so much more informed than the next guy's? No? Just me? Oh. A-hem...)
The most popular depiction of the Loch Ness Monster is that of a living Plesiosaur. As a young boy that's what attracted my interest to Nessie, as I was obsessed with dinosaurs - the idea of a flesh and blood, living aquatic reptile that appeared during the Triassic Period and flourished all over the world up until the extinction event that eradicated the dinosaurs. The 'living dinosaur' theory is a very nice one, but it raises serious questions. For one thing, such a creature would presumably need to come up for air often, and thus would likely be seen more often and accepted as a natural fauna of the Loch. In addition, similar beasts have been seen in lakes much smaller than Ness - leading some toward the more magical explanations explored in previous posts. Loch Ness does open to the sea, (kind of), and I've always liked to think of it as a spawning ground for Plesiosaurs or other such like prehistoric monsters living in the ocean most of the year. That the mating period just so happens to coincide with tourist season in Scotland is neither here nor there...
Other accounts of living dinosaurs have come up from time to time through-out history, from the Thunderbirds of the Americas to Mokele Mbembe of the Congo. The lack of evidence for this as a solution is often a source of derision for skeptics who would seek to debunk the monster sightings. Meanwhile, true believers often point to the Coelacanth, a fish thought to have gone extinct millions of years ago and eventually discovered as a living specimen. The ocean may well be a fantastic place to hide creatures long thought extinct, and Loch Ness has its secrets in the murky depths as well. I've always thought perhaps there were underwater caverns, leading to a vast cave system or perhaps some manner of Hollow Earth. In the documentary Hellier, it's noted that the Mammoth Cave system on the eastern end of the U.S. is massive, extending from Kentucky up into New England. One wonders if subterranean waterways could also exist, accounting for the more landlocked lake monsters like Champ, or Ogopogo. Also, Hollow Earth theory might sound crazy, but in light of the scope of a cave system like Mammoth Caves, it starts to sound more reasonable...
Scientists are only just learning recently exactly how old some creatures in the ocean are. New methods to help determine the age of sharks like the Greenland Shark have shown, in recent years, that they can live to be somewhere between 270 to 500 years old. It's thought that they don't even reach breeding age until age 150. If some sharks can live for centuries, it makes one wonder how long a Plesiosaur might have lived. Also, various clams in the ocean are thought to have the longest lifespan, and actually become less likely to die as they age! And plant life can live on replicating itself through vast networks with other plants... I'm not suggesting Nessie is an amorphous glob of sentient peat moss, but I'm not ruling it out either!
We touched briefly on Holiday's tullimonstrom gregarium (giant slug) theory, and Shiel's elephant squid theory, which are both great because they involve invertebrates who would leave nothing behind in the way of fossilized bones, and also would conceivably not need to come up for air. And of course there is the more logical explanations of what people are seeing - otters, seals, swimming deer, logs, and whatever other no-fun dismissive reactions. But to take a step in an even wackier direction than living dinosaurs and Hollow Earth Theory, what about Time Slips?
Suppose a prehistoric aquatic creature pokes its head above water, and finds itself 150 million years ahead of where it swam up from? Then, having had a glimpse of the future, it goes right back the way it came to tell all its friends about the cool castle ruins of Loch Ness's coast. Then it writes a book on its experience, and none of its friends believe it as they've been to the Loch and never seen such things. Old prehistoric Nessie lives out her days wondering "Just what the Hell was that?"
With all the research going on in physics these days related to quantum field theory, retrocausality, and potential paradigm shifts as to the nature of space-time I tend to believe more and more that Time Slips like the one described in Versailles around the turn of the century to be a real possibility. Frankly, all of the quantum physics stuff is above my pay grade, but it makes for fun thought experiments...
Join me tomorrow for my seventh and final Nessie-a-Day installment - same Ness time, same Ness channel!