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  • Nessie as Biker and the Exorcism of the Loch April 24, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback

    ted holiday

    Ted Holiday was a Fortean researcher who died in 1979 and who was particularly associated with research into Nessie. His intellectual development (or regression from some perspectives) saw him change from: a believer in a physical Nessie (albeit with the mystery creature starring as a large slug rather than a dinosaur); to believing, instead, in a hybrid slug Jungian archetype in a 1972 book; to believing finally in an entirely ‘spiritual’ phenomenon (whatever that actually means): this final position was set out in his post-mortem book The Goblin Universe. An important part of this evolving belief were his readings of reports concerned with UFOs and other unusual phenomena at the lake. He was inclined to dismiss these at first as ‘psychotic bunk’, but eventually got involved in bringing a Devon clergyman Donald Omand to the loch to dismiss the evil spiritual Nessie.  Donald Omand was an ambitious exorcist. He, in a colourful lifetime, exorcised the Bermuda Triangle, the Black Dog of Kettleness and Nessie.

    The exorcism took place in the early evening of June 2 [1973]. Our rendezvous was Strone, the house of Wing Commander [Cary] and Mrs Cary out on the rocky point above Urquhart Castle where we had arranged to use a couple of caravan-trailers. Donald Omand arrived during the afternoon in car driven by his photographer. They were preceded by a red sports car carrying his aide, Captain Tony Artus, a serving artillery officer on short leave from Colchester Barracks. We soon foregathered in the Cary’s drawing room to look at maps.

    The team – do any photographs survive and why would an exorcist need a photographer: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com decided to carry out five rites, one at each extremity and one in the middle. Basil Cary lent his boats out. They went quickly because of the fear the BBC would pick up on it, the BBC were Nessie mad in this period.

    I went with Tony Artus to point the route and locate the spot where each ceremony would take place, since I knew the topography by heart. The first stop was the beach at Lochend. As we trooped across the pebble bank, a chill wind blew up Loch Ness and cast two-foot waves onto the beach. Donald Omand asked us to kneel, one by one, for a protective ceremony. This consisted of a brief benediction followed by the application of holy water in the form of a cross to the foreheads of the participants. In view of what happened later, this symbolic act seemed curiously significant [more on this below].

    Approaching the water’s edge, Dr Ormand began to deliver the exorcism rite in a low voice which was often drowned by the slice and drag of the undertow hauling at the pebbles… the salient part ran thus. ‘Grant that by the power entrusted to Thy unworthy servant, this highland loch and the land adjoining it may be delivered from all evil spirits; all vain imaginations; projections and fantasms; and all deceits of the evil one. O Lord, subject them to Thy servant’s commands that, at his bidding, they will harm neither man nor beast, but depart to the place appointed them, there to remain forever [sic].’

    He then shook holy water into the Loch. TH reflects on the feeling of being involved in the third phase of the ceremony

    I am not formally religious. I would define myself as a progressive agnostic. Yet I felt a distinct tension creep into the atmosphere at this point. It was as if we have shifted some invisible levers, and were awaiting the result. I squinted narrowly at the shadows on Loch Ness looking for the blackness which betokens an incipent monster, but there was nothing. Donald’s photographer was beginning to look strained. Tony Artus had settled into a long silence. Only Donald seemed completely unaffected. He still had bright energy, and the far-away distracted look I had seen in Devon was in his eye.

    They finally got into a boat and rowed out into deep waters. Ted Holiday asked why:

    Earlier I had questioned the need to do to the middle of Loch Ness. Donald had explained that it was for the same reason that he enters the cage of the circus big cats when exorsising them [WtH!]. An exorcism performed through the bars is useless. Only by standing close in front of the animals and trusting the power you are invoking is the rite made effective. Thus we pulled outwards until Dr Omand said that this was far enough.

    Before TH had described Donald Omand’s energy. Now he feared for the man, who seemed, on completing the fifth exorcism, to be on the verge of fainting. Omand himself commented later that this sort of ‘weak’ episode always followed a ‘successful exorcism’. The story was not over though and here we plunge into TH’s own psychic universe: funny to think that just 10 years before TH had been looking at fossils and quoting scientific articles in an effort to solve the mystery of Ness. TH visited the Cary’s house, where the caravans were based, and there talked to Mrs Cary who was consdered a psychic. Both were struck by a strange manifestation, though both, as so often happens in these matters, saw rather different things through the window.  TH saw ‘a pyramid-shaped column about eight feet high revolving in a frenzy’: TH almost certainly didn’t know this but fairy lore in this part of Scotland is associated with whirlwinds. Mrs Cary saw something at the window ‘although I didn’t see exactly what it was’. And then she saw a beam of light zap into TH’s forehead! This manifestation was naturally understood as Nessie fighting back and Dr Omand said, he was awoken from his sleep by the concerned Holiday, that ‘reactionary manifestations’ were to be expected. The next morning TH had a further experience that is included here just because it has the makings of a very short but rather good horror story. Walking out of the house, past the caravan where Omand was sleeping, TH saw ‘a figure’, that sounds suspiciously like a Hells Angel.

    It was a man dressed entirely in black. Unlike other walkers who sometimes pause along here to admire the Loch Ness panorama, this one had his back to the loch. He was staring at me fixedly as soon as I turned the story. Indeed, to all appearances he was waiting for me. We were about 30 yards apart, and for several seconds I just stared back wondering who the hell this was. Simultaneously, I felt a strong sensation of malevolence, cold and passionless… I walked forward warily, never taking my eyes off the figure. He was about six feet tall and appeared to be dressed in black leather or plastic. He wore a helmet and gloves and was masked, even to the nose, mouth and chin. The eyes were covered in goggles, but on closer approach, I could detect no eyes behind the lenses. The figure remained motionless as I approached except possibly for a slight stirring of the feet. It didn’t speak and I could hear no breathing. I drew level and hesitated slightly, uncertain what to do next, then walked past at a range of about a yard. I stopped a few feet beyond him and gazed at Loch Ness.

    TH turned around and the man had vanished: ‘No living person could have gotten out of sight so quickly.’ The next year Holiday returned to Ness and had a heart attack. ‘As a stretcher carried me up the side of the Loch, I peered groggily over the side and noted with cynical approval that we had just passed over the exact spot where the man in black had stood the previous year’. So there! Avoid exorcising pleiosauri.

    28 April 2014: Hob Goblin sent this fine piece in flying saucer review: crucially there are photographs.

    31 May 2014: And here is a video from over at Loch Ness Monster! Thanks to Rolan!d