Morag

Freshwater Monster of Scotland.

Etymology: From the Gaelic a'Mhorag, a feminine diminutive derived from the name of the loch.

Variant names: Maggie, Mhorag.

P^hysical description: Most common description is of a large, rounded object like an overturned boat. Length, 20-30 feet. Dark gray or brown. Rough skin. Flat, snakelike head. Slit eyes. Wide mouth. Neck, 5-6 feet long. From three to five humps, 15-20 feet in length. Four legs with three toes.

Behavior: Swims swiftly.

Distribution: Loch Morar, Highland, Scotland.

Significant sightings: James Macdonald told the story of his encounter with a creature called Mhorag in January 1887, but it appeared to be more like a Mermaid or Kelpie rather than a NESSlE-like animal.

John Gillies, Noel O'Donnell, and a boatload of tourists saw a 20-foot monster with five distinct humps off the southern shore of the loch on July 30, 1948.

In September 1958, George R. Cooper sketched a portrait of the animal, which had the appearance of a drifting log.

John MacVarish, barman at the Morar Hotel, was in his boat opposite Bracora on August 27, 1968, when he saw a long neck moving slowly down the loch. It stretched 5-6 feet out of the water and had a flat, snakelike head.

On the evening of August 16, 1969, Morag struck the stern of a motorboat piloted by Duncan McDonell and William Simpson, knocking a teakettle off the stove. McDonell hit the animal with an oar, while Simpson shot at it with a rifle, apparently frightening it off. It was 25-30 feet long with three low humps and had a brown, snakelike head about 12 inches across the top.

On March 3, 1981, Sydney Wignall, Bryan Woodward, and John Evans were in an inflatable boat west of Brinacory Island when they saw two black humps traveling at the same speed as their boat. They were visible for about 20 seconds.

Sources: Seton Gordon, Afoot in Wild Places (London: Cassell, 1937); Constance Whyte, More than a Legend (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1957), pp. 129-131; R. Macdonald Robertson, Selected Highland Folktales (Isle of Colonsay, Scotland: House of Lochar, 1961), p. 117; Elizabeth Montgomery Campbell, Report, Loch Morar Survey 1970 (London: Loch Morar Survey, 1970); Loch Morar Survey, Report ofthe 1971 Loch Morar Survey (London: Loch Morar Survey, 1971); Elizabeth Montgomery Campbell and David Solomon, The Search for Morag (New York: Walker, 1973); "Unidentifieds," Fortean Times, no. 22 (Summer 1977): 18-26; GUST Zoology, accessed in 2001, http://www.bahnhof.se/ ~wizard/cryptoworld/index209.html.

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