"That which is strange
is delightful, and a pleasing error is not willingly detected"
"Natural Philosophy is now one of the favourite
studies of the Scottish nation and
Lough Ness well deserves
to be diligently examined"
Dr. Samuel Johnson 1775
These comments were written
after a single ride along the shores of Loch Ness in
August 1773, yet together, they define the underlying
dilemma of mystery in human society. All of us are drawn
to mysteries, yet those most drawn, are those most likely
to study them, understand them and ultimately perhaps,
to explain them.
Dr. Johnson was not writing
about Loch Ness Monsters; there is no evidence that he
ever heard of them. He was actually showing scepticism
about the loch's reputation for never freezing; just one
of many mysteries addressed by those who were to answer
This archive, drawn from a
century of remarkably "diligent" examination, aims to
draw together what has been placed on record by a diverse
range of researchers.
Loch Ness is of considerable
intrinsic scientific interest as Britain's greatest volume
of freshwater. However, it is famous on account of the
popular "monster" controversy.
It is the interplay between
these two factors which has made the study of Loch Ness
unique. The editor does not differentiate between material
that is scientific in general and material that may be
controversial in particular. Those who have tilted at
dragons have often been at pains to understand the environment
they worked in, while general scientific discoveries have
shone unexpected light into the controversy.