Religion · Scotland

First Nessie Spotting, 1500 years ago 

August 22, 565
Highland, Scotland
Saint Columba makes the first recorded discovery of the Loch Ness Monster

According to the Life of St. Columba by Adomnán, St. Columba, patron saint of bookbinders, floods, and poets (among others), was traveling with companions when they came across a few locals burying a man. The man had been swimming in the water and attacked by a “water beast” which mauled the man and dragged him underwater. A rescue attempt by boat was made but it was already too late.

St. Columba sent a follower to swim in the River Ness (a distinction between this and the famed Loch Ness Monster, as this encounter happened in the river rather than the loch) to try to draw the animal out. When it presented itself, St. Columba made the sign of the cross and commanded: “Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once.” The animal reportedly ceased as though it had been “pulled back with ropes” and retreated.

Cryptozoologists are divided as to whether this creature and the beloved Nessie are in any way related.

The image shown is of another encounter with the fabled beast, and believed to be the oldest in existence. The accompanying story involves a cleric named Walter of Bingham (died circa 1197). He asked a group of fishermen to ferry him across the river which they declined with a terrified look. Further down the river Walter found a boy with a coracle (a small lightweight boat) and offered a silver coin to transport him across the river. The boy was hesitant at first but agreed. The pair made the journey across the river safely but as the boy made his return a monster with fiery eyes attacked from the water, dragging the coracle and boy beneath the waves. The original drawing has faded substantially over the centuries but has been artistically restored after comprehensive research of pigments used in comparable paintings from the same era and location.

Other stories from today:
1922: https://horrorhistory.net/2017/08/22/man-living-in-attic-kills-lovers-husband/ (2017)
1928: Revenge Murders Fueled by Cocaine (2017)
1903: Vintage news: woman accidentally kills husband while trying to save him from dog attack (2018)

Horror-related birthdays and release dates:
Today in Horror History: August 22

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