Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday in History: Patron Saint of Cryptozoology

On this day in history in 564, a Christian missionary was walking down the road in Scotland.
He told that beast off so hard that it
wouldn't show its face for another 1400
years! (John R Skelton, 1906.
via wikipedia
He and his disciple had come to evangelize to the Picts, one of the tribes living in the area, when they stumbled upon a group of men by the river who were distraught over the death of their friend. A monster in the river had attacked him, they said, and though they had tried to save him, by the time they got close enough he was already dead.
To show them the power of God, the missionary commanded his disciple to swim across the river. The men tried to prevent him, but the disciple swam boldly out into the water. When the monster approached, the missionary commanded it to get back and never bother any human again. The creature was stopped as if it had been “pulled back by ropes,” after which it disappeared into the Loch. All the men were amazed, and invited the missionary and his disciple back to their village to tell them more about God.
There are lots of stories about the travels of St Columba and of the many miracles he performed. He was an Irish man who established the abbey on Iona in Scotland, and was the most instrumental person in bringing Christianity to the people there. What makes this particular story so famous is that it is the first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster.
The Nessie craze started in 1933, and those who insist that the monster is real like to point out that the story (and the alleged plesiosaur) has been around for centuries. Doubters say that it’s just a folk story like many others being told and recorded around the same time.
But I would like to point out that a large majority of the population of Scotland, with its patron saint, St Columba, is not pagan, but Christian.

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