Some of the earliest-known writings on Nessie’s less well-known cousin shed new light on the community which lived in its shadow more than 100 years ago, according to the researcher who uncovered them.
Morag, a mysterious creature supposed to inhabit the depths of Loch Morar, in the Highlands, is the subject of three separate writings from Alexander Carmichael, a prolific gatherer of folklore in his day. The scripts, believed to date from 1902, have been uncovered by the Carmichael Watson project at the University of Edinburgh library.
Dr Donald Stewart, a senior researcher on the project, discovered the texts while leafing through a “mad mixture” of folklore collected by Carmichael over 50 years.
“We were so pleased when we found them, it was just totally unexpected,” he said.
The writings paint a conflicting view of Morag. On the one hand she is presented as a mermaid-like character with flowing hair, while another description paints her as a grim reaper whose sighting was viewed as a death omen. In the first text, Carmichael states: “Morag is always seen before a death and before a drowning.” A second text reads: “There is a creature in Loch Morar and she is called Morag. She is never seen save when one of the hereditary people of the place dies. The last time she was seen was when Aeneas Macdonnell died in 1898.
The Morag calls Loch Morar home and her existence is supported by many persons, including church persons though few accounts seem to have been written down and she never caught the public imagination to the same extent as Scotlands more famous “cryptid”.
The researcher who uncovered the texts, Dr Donald Stewart, believes there may have been a lot more claims of Loch Monsters in Scotland then Nessie stating:
““It shows that there were other monsters vying for popularity and Nessie happened to win out in the end. But there were a lot more of them out there.”