When Lake Monsters Become Totally Deadly

My previous article was on the possibility that the Bigfoot of the United States and the legendary Wendigo were (and, perhaps, still are) deadly Bigfoot gone extremely dangerous – and to the point that they may now even feed upon us. This made me think about other cryptid creatures that might see us as tasty snacks. We’ll begin with the Kelpies of Scotland. They were deadly monsters that, centuries ago, lurked deep in the depths of Loch Ness, Scotland. Indeed, some monster-hunters suspect that Kelpies and the Loch Ness Monsters really are one and the same. And, that just like the Bigfoot/Wendigo angle, it may be a case that  some Kelpies kept to themselves, while others – dangerous and deadly – sought out people near the shores and dragged them into the loch for food. Let’s see a bit about the marauding beasts. Or, at least some of them. Within the folklore of Loch Ness and much of Scotland, there are centuries-old legends and myths concerning supernatural, violent, shape-shifting creatures known as kelpies. Or, in English, water-horses.  It should be noted, though, that although the creatures are assumed to be one and the same, there is one noticeable difference between the tales that specifically refer to Kelpies and those that talk about water-horses.

Depiction of a Shapeshifting Kelpie in human form

Typically, water-horses are far more at home in deep, sprawling lakes, while kelpies prefer pools, rivers, marshes, and lakes of a particularly compact kind. Then, there is a variant of the kelpie known as the Each-Uisge, which is a far more murderous monster than the kelpie, but which is clearly of the same supernatural stock. The term, Kelpie, has unclear origins; although the most likely explanation is that it is a distortion of the Gaelic calpa, which translates as heifer. Kelpies are terrifying, murderous creatures that lurk in the depths of Scottish lochs, canals and rivers – and more than a few of them in Loch Ness. Not only that, like werewolves, kelpies are definitive shape-shifters; creatures that can take on multiple guises, including hideous serpentine monsters, horses, hair-covered humanoids, beautiful maidens of the mermaid variety, and horse-like creatures. The kelpie is solely driven by a crazed goal to drown the unwary by enticing and dragging them into the depths, killing them in the process. Similarly, a tale that dates back to the 1100s, tells of a horrific, man-eating, giant, worm-like beast that terrified the good folk of Linton, Roxburghshire, which is located on the Southern Uplands of Scotland. According to the old tales, the Linton Worm was somewhere between ten and twelve feet in length, which, if true, effectively rules out any known British animal – wild or domestic – as being the culprit. Rather oddly, so the old legend went, the huge worm had two homes. In part, it lived in the heart of Linton Loch – a small, boggy area and the ideal place for a monster to hide.

The Linton Worm in Battle

Its other, dark abode was Linton Hill, which even today is referred to as Worm’s Den, such is the enduring nature of the legend. By all accounts, the worm was a creature best avoided at all costs: cows, sheep, pigs, and even people, were all food for the monster. Quite naturally, the people of Linton were thrown into a collective state of fear when the slithering thing decided to target their little village. People became petrified to leave their homes, lest they became the next victims of the marauding beast. Doors and windows remained locked. Farmers stayed home. Children were kept indoors.  The purpose: people had gone missing in the area. And, finally: Wales is renowned for its lake-monsters, too. One such story dates back centuries, although the precise date is admittedly unknown. Within ancient legend, the Wyvern was very much a dragon-like animal, one to be avoided at all costs. Reptilian, and sporting large and membranous wings of a bat-like appearance, it stood on two powerful legs and had a powerful tail that it used to sting and kill its prey, not unlike a scorpion. In some cases, and just like the dragon of old, the Wyvern was said to occasionally breathe fire. And it was said to have dragged more than a few people out of the old lake. That’s right: for food. Beware!

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