Here there be Monsters part 1

  
At the dawn of creation when all the earth was chaos and void, before mankind or animals roamed the earth, there was only Tiamat, shimmering bright as any sun that could fill that empty forlorn place. With her was Abzu personification of fresh water, or that which gives life. Together they birthed the children that would form the world as we humans know it today.
From them was birthed the great pantheon from which the gods ruled in harmony until Abzu, who was troubled by the great tumult his children were creating, conspired to murder them all. Perhaps a drastic step for an enraged father. It did not work out for him, for when he children found out his plan they took action drug him down into the earth under his temple and there, they slew him. When Tiamat found out she became enraged and fashioned for herself new children, monsters, terrible beasts to do battle with her first born. She herself changed, weather by nature or design, into a massive scaled serpent with great wings and a long broad tail in her mouth were teeth sharp as any sward and she bore massive tallons to rend the flesh of her foes… A dragon. The deities gathered in terror of their new enemies but one stood forward from the rest Marduk, taking up the arrows of the wind, an invincible spear and a club, struck down the great dragon and smashed her head with his mighty club. Her many tears flowed out and became the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, her great tale, still shimming with radiant majesty became the Milky Way.
So goes one of the oldest known legends of the Dragon
Your listening to Devilry and I’m Matthew William Motsinger

The Tale of Tiamat comes to us from Babylonian Mythology, and acts for them as a sort of creation myth. The Greeks picked up a lot from their Babylonian brothers when it comes to Mythology, with Typhon being the father of monstrous beasts. Scythian kings hold possibly the coolest Heritage in history, being decedent of Hercules when he mated with a half woman, half dragon. For the literalists among the bible believers an interesting passage in Job and Isaiah lists a Serpent so powerful that only God can overcome it…. Leviathan.
Like many of our subjects, obscured by media, Hollywood, and modern fantasy, fables of the dragon languish behind fictional depictions of physical manifestations of fire breathing winged serpents, most content to regurgitate Tolkien like fairytales. The Dragon of folklore is a far more rich and vibrant creature. For instance, two troupe normally follow the dragon where ever he is found around the world. More prone to be found around water and if slain, their body melts away into dust. The Chinese dragon which was often praised for ending droughts by chasing clouds into the much-needed areas, has also been known to fall from the sky at times, and the villagers in reverence would cover its body with straw mats. Its body would disappear shortly after. Most accounts of dragons in the west recount them living in or around water. The aforementioned tale of Tiamat, she was the embodiment of the salt-waters.
The Native Americans do not lack their own tales of giant serpents, the great lakes hide monstrous beast called the Misiginebig who dwell in fresh water where as large around as a tree trunk with elk like horns atop its head. Native American tales say they hold a massive jewel in the center of their head which is very valuable. Many a native warrior is lost his life to the beast trying to obtain it. If he was successful the jewel embed him with great power however it required constant blood animal or otherwise to be rubbed on it constantly. If it was not feed this blood, it would fly around searching for the nearest living creature to drain of its vitality, even its owner, until they died.

From Lybia comes the story every Christians favorite Saint, Saint George. There dwelt a creature that spat venom all over the country side, poisoning water sources. Causing crops to fail, and devouring anyone or anything that got in its way.
To placate the monster the townsfolk offered the beast two sheep every day. When all the sheep had been devoured, they began to offer up their young, selected at random until the king’s own daughter was selected. So distraught was the king that he offered up all his god and silver if someone would take her place, but the people refused. With great sorrow, the king sent his daughter to the serpent’s lair dressed in a wedding gown.
It is then that saint George arrived at the spot she was to be sacrificed. When she tried to send him away, he refused vowing not to leave her alone there. While they were conversing, the dragon emerged from its layer. Upon seeing the monster Saint George made the sign of the cross and began to charge, grievously wounding it with his lance. He then called for the princess to throw him her girdle which he tied around the beast’s neck and gave to the princess, who lead around the monster like a meek animal. They lead the creature into town where Saint George offered to slay the creature if the population would but convert to Christianity and be baptized. The legend says that the king himself along with fifteen thousand of his subjects were converted that day. George chopped off the Dragons head, and its body was carried out of the city in four different ox carts. The king built a church on the sight on which the Dragon was slain from which a spring began to flow whose waters would cure all sickness and disease.
Perhaps the most lively tradition of the Dragon comes from a little corner of Europe known as Wales on whose very standard the red dragon flies. Though the origin is disputed, an old knights of the round table story tells us that King Vortigern build a castle which a tower on a certain corner kept falling. He consulted Merlin as to what he should do to sure up the foundation. Merlin advised him that it was not the foundation that was wrong, but the area, under which two great dragons dwelt and whose occasional fights caused quakes large enough to tumble his tower. The king ordered his workmen dig, and when they had done so they did indeed find two large serpents, one white as snow, the other a crimson red. The workers looked on as the massive creatures rose up out of their respective caves to do battle with each other. As the commotion increased all spectators but Merlin ran in fear. Merlin stood make a man possessed watching the titanic fight with glee. The white dragon eventually overcame the red and slew it, after which it flew away into a cleft in a rock formation and disappeared.  
                Folk belief in Dragons didn’t die with the modern age in that part of the world. Just over one hundred years ago men of Penllen castle and Penmark in Glenmorgan told stories of when they were children seeing shimmering winged dragons souring over their heads their fathers would kill them on sight as they were worse than foxes for poultry farmers. Residents of Dartmoor and Bodmin reported these same creatures sunning themselves on the rocks in the 1800’s.

One would be remised to say dragons are not seen up to this very day, though not always thought of as such. They haunt the murky depths of lakes, rivers, and loughs. Hunters of such creatures do so now without swards but with digital cameras, sonar, and even google maps. I am speaking of coarse of the Loch Ness Monster. Its ilk inhabited lakes like that of Loch Ness the world over and have usually been described with the head of a horse small horns just above its eyes, and a long trunk like that of an elephant for a neck which rises just out of the water a moment before disappearing under the water below.
It might surprise those not well versed in Nessie Lore to learn that sighting of her are not confined to the present but that she is in fact over a century old. Saint Columba, the Scottish version of Saint Patrick who is known for spreading Christianity among the northern tribes of Britain known as the Picts. He was known for leading the only center of literacy in that area of the world and for being a great holy man who worked many miracles. Perhaps his most famous miracle lay on the banks of the river Ness, just north of the Loch itself in the year 565 when he and his companions came across the burial of a Pict that had just been killed by an unknown monster that lay in the river. The saint sent one of his companions, Luigne into the treacherous waters when the beast appeared behind him Saint Columba made the sign of the cross and said, “Go no Further, do not touch the man, go back at once.” The monster is said to have stopped immediately as if pulled back by ropes and vanished beneath the waters, not to be scene for over a millennia

In the 1930’s the A82 motorway was completed stretching from Glasgow up north through the wild and lonely areas of Scotland. Reaching up to Inverness consequently the road ran along side the UK’s largest body of fresh water. The Loch Ness was by not means isolated before the A82 motor way came into being but with its completion a host of workers, travelers and tourists began to pass by the loch every day. And soon strange stories began to be reported about a monster that lurked in the black waters of the Loch.
Nessie returned with style not long after the motor way was finished sparking a monster hunt that lasted over r80 years even to this day when George Spicer and his wife saw a monstrous creature cross in front of their car in the summer of 1933. They described it as 25 feet long, 4 feet high with a large round body and a long waving neck. They saw not limbs, but watch stunned as it lurched itself through the vegetation and into the loch. Not long after of that same year, Hugh Gray produced blurry picture claiming to have witnessed a monster surface while walking his dog along the banks. It would be the first in a long line of highly scrutinized and debunked hoaxes.
This same scrutiny was applied to Tim Dinsdale when he claimed to have captured Nessie on film in 1960. Dinsdale have spent a good part of his holiday hunting the elusive monster without success but on the last day spotted a strange hump making a wake in the middle of the Loch, he instantly started shooting his video camera. The grainy black and white is far from definitive and left much to the imagination as to what exactly the viewer was seeing. Many noting that it could just as well be a boat they were seeing. All that changed however when Discovery communications got a hold of the Dinsdale film in 1993 going on to produce a documentary entitled Loch Ness Discovered. They performed digital enhancements of the film for production. During this process one of the workers noticed a shadow in the negative that followed under the hump originally film. After further enhancement the worker found that it appeared to be a body under the surface of the water.

The most dedicated Nessie hunter came to the loch in 1972, when Robert Rines brought a group of researchers from the academy of applied sciences with the intent of using sonar and underwater film technology. Thirty-six years, hundreds of man hours, and thousands of dollars later, all that Rines had to show at the end of his research and his life was a distorted photo a supposed fin and a video of a V shaped wake on an otherwise calm loch.

The BBC decided to put a nail in the coffin of Nessie in 2003 when they searched the loch with over six hundred sonar beams and satellite tracking technology. It was so through it was able to pic up and identify an small submerged buoy at the lochs bottom. Unfortunately for believes around the world what they could not identify was any evidence of an animal of sufficient size to be the Loch ness Monster. Scientist were forced to conclude that Nessie, like her dragon ilk before her, was nothing more than a myth.

Many cling desperately to the belief that Nessie still lives, and that she is for accounts a living breath material creature yet to be discovered. This from rational people who disregard science while still claiming to stand by it, as many have pointed out it is unlikely that the habitat of the loch would not be able to support a family of large aquatic animals. Moreover, if it was a dinosaur like some Nessie Hunters believe, it would have had to survived for hundreds of years right under the nose of mankind. It would have to be an air breather and forced to come up to the surface constantly. With thousands of people not flocking to the loch for almost a century, sightings would hardly be so sparse, or so questionable if this were the case.
What is going on then? Is Nessie a byproduct of pranksters and overzealous hunters who see what they want to see? Other creatures like Nessie haunt Scotland and Irelands smaller lakes one lake in California where several sightings of a monster have been reported even dries up from time to time yet no bodies have been discovered. It is however just as unreasonable to say that people are just imagining these creatures. Certainly, the will to believe some, and misidentification others, but not all. Where are we to look for answers?

Folklore, the stories of our ancestors, is not ambiguous about the dragon. In the multitudes of tales that have come down to us, the dragon has always been a supernatural being. Like many other monsters we have discussed in this podcast, the dragon was to our ancestors, not something to be sought out, but to be avoided, to be fought off, or destroyed. HW Holidays saw this in YEAR. After studying the loch for several years, he came to believe that what haunted the Loch was a spirit, a dragon spirit. He came to see the Dragon as our ancestors would have, as a shapeshifting, serpentine, evil entity. If this was the case, that they hold a more etheric than temporal body, it would make sense that they are often found around cold dark lakes where magical practitioners have long held are naturally charged areas of such energy. This would place the dragon or lake monster in the realm of the spirits, the elementals and the fairies. Creatures just like Nessie have been witnessed thousands of times all over the world yet no physical proof have ever been provided. Holiday resolved to partake in the exorcism of the loch by Dr Donald Omand, a well-known Anglican exorcist of the day. Perhaps in a vain effort to rid the loch of an evil inhabitant.

In this light it might be worth telling that a man once came to Loch Ness with the intention of calling up the Devil. Boleskine House sat on the southern banks of the loch, its sprawling single-story manor was perfect for Alister Crowley who had just purchased the property in 1899. Far from his native London far from anyone so that he might have the peace and seclusion he needed to perform the Abrameline Operation a long and complicated spell designed to summon the 12 lords of hell so that he might harness their power to invoke his guardian angel and discover the untold secrets of the universe. Crowley spent much time preparing and beginning the spell even claiming to summon the dark forces spoken of in the book, yet he never finished it having been called away to help his friend Mathers in the split of the golden dawn. Crucially, Crowley never took the needed time to banish the demons he had summoned there believing he would soon be returning to complete the spell. For nearly fourteen hundred years, Loch Ness had been without a monster lurking in its depths yet not 20 years after Crowley’s infamous magical endeavor Ness appeared for the first time in the 20th century. Did Crowley unleash something in those unholy realms? Which attached itself to the black deep of the loch. Could it be one of the 12 lords lurking there beneath those waves? And if so, do we really wish to find it?
  
Bibliography 

Monsters by John Michael Greer

Standard Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and Legend Vol 1 by Funk and Wagnalls

The Dragon: Nature of Spirit, Spirit of Nature By Francis Huxley 

The Dragon and the Disc by FW Holiday

Dragons and Dragon Lore by Ernest Ingersoll