I’ve just read a really interesting opinion piece on The Guardian website by Philip Hoare that questions if the internet has killed the Loch Ness Monster. I can somewhat identify with Hoare’s feelings that the mystery and wonder brought forth by monster stories gracing the headlines has disappeared. A memory that always stands out strongly for me was being a young child when a monster scare broke out in the village I lived in. I can remember being at Primary School but I forget my exact age, but I do know that it was before the internet was a thing in my house. The local paper was (and still is) The Wiltshire Times and they ran a story on a Big Cat that had been seen prowling the fields near my house and right next to the warehouse that my mother worked in. I will filled with pure fascination and terror that can never be replicated by a story breaking on the internet.
However I’m not so keen to consider this a terrible thing. I believe that any decent Paranormal researcher, Fortean, Cryptozoologist or whatever they identify as wants to know what is really causing what is or has been witnessed, whether it be a ghost, monster or UFO sighting they are dealing with. There are, of course, those who revel in the pseudo-scientific and the answers they fancy that aren’t necessarily logical, but don’t be mistaken in thinking that they represent every researcher out there. The majority of researchers I know are rational thinkers who aren’t led by their biases.
When a new monster sighting occurs we now have masses of information at our finger tips. More than that even… we have the experience of so many others at our finger tips too. I have witnessed the buzz of activity borne when it is reported somewhere in the world that a strange beast has been spotted, caught on film or captured. Communities of people who were never connected before the internet swap notes and speculations, the reporters and eye-witnesses are easy to track down, experts around the world – biologists, marine biologists, ecologists – are contactable immediately, and we can examine what happened and where it happened in great detail because all the details we need are often online. More often than not researchers can discover what it is that has really happened – whether it be hoax, misidentification or the next new discovery of a real monster that has never been seen before! If it’s going to happen, then I truly believe that now is the time.
Before the internet made it possible to connect to the bigger world I was a young girl who clung to mystery as though it were essential, not because I loved the mystery but because I loved the ‘what if?’. Today modern technology and social media make that ‘what if?’ easier to answer. Before, there were ‘what if?‘s that went unanswered and led me down the path to becoming a pseudo-scientific ghost hunter, and as a result I wasted so much money and time on the wrong questions. So yes, although it is a shame that a lot of the mystery in these stories is now lost by the instant media that our world has come to know, I feel it has been replaced with something much more valuable and important – the ability to answer the mystery once and for all. I know of nothing more wondrous that resolved curiosity.
On a parting note – I visited Drumnadrochit last year, and Nessie is looking as well as she ever did 😉
photo credit: Artist unknown (if you know, let me know)