Sunday, 6 September 2009

We All Need A Monster!

Loch Ness has two 'Official Monster Centres.' One is very slick and has audio visual displays that you walk around, but leaves you in no doubt that there is no Loch Ness Monster, there never was and there couldn't possibly be. Apparently, the bottom of the loch is as deep as the sea in some parts but because of the peaty, acidic water, it is dark and supports little life. Interesting geology and natural history, fascinating place.

But no monster. The kids enjoyed it but I'm not sure they needed this message hammering home quite so firmly.

The other centre is perhaps a little less polished. A narrow corridor lined with display boards leads you to a small cinema that screens a film about the history of the Loch and the various monster sightings. You leave the place with the sense that maybe, just maybe, a monster may exist.

I loved both exhibitions for different reasons but I came away thinking that we all need a monster of some kind. Rationality is all very well and good but it doesn't allow us to plumb the darker depths of our own subconscious. The stories, myths and legends we are told as children feed our imagination and build our creativity.

There have been earlier sightings of the monster but apparently 1933 saw a wave of 'monster-mania.' One of the most famous photographs was the surgeons photo:


Personally, I don't need photographic evidence because I'm a firm believer in the importance of myths, fairy tales, Father Christmas, tooth fairies, gnomes, dwarves etc... Our world would be a duller place without them.

Besides, a strange thing happened whilst we viewed the Loch from our cottage. I'm not saying it was the monster... but we saw something... something that needed explanation... My daughter was fortunate to have her camera with her so we can share this mysterious sighting...