Now the phenomenon of the Loch Ness monster has been named Britain’s top supernatural phenomena in a nationwide poll.
Nessie attracted 42 per cent of votes, setting it well ahead of the prehistoric Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, voted top British supernatural mystery by almost a third of people.
The mystery of the Beast of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall – the belief there is a wildcat that has killed livestock in the area since the mid-1990s – was ranked third. The haunting of a suburban council house in north London between 1977 and 1979 when 11-year-old Janet Hodgson was repeatedly possessed by the spirit of an old man was named fourth.
Another Scottish mystery – the conundrum of suicidal dogs at Overtoun Bridge in West Dunbartonshire, where 50 dogs have leapt to their death in the past 70 years and hundreds more have survived the fall – also made the top ten, coming in at number five in the poll by TV channel Really.
The unexplained tale of the monster living in the Highland loch dates back to 565 AD, when St Columba’s encounter with a monster took place in the nearby River Ness. However, it was 19 centuries later, in the 1930s, when a string of reports were published in a local newspaper of sightings of a so-called monster in Loch Ness, sparking the modern day interest in the monster.
Richard Williams, general manager for UKTV Play, which is hosting a Halloween season on Really, said: “Britain has stories of unexplained phenomena dating back centuries, but we have seen new mysteries unfold in more recent decades. We continue to be fascinated by the things we can’t quite unravel.
Other mysteries ranked in the top ten include the whereabouts of crime writer Agatha Christie after she disappeared in 1926 to be found 11 days later in a hotel with no knowledge of what had happened to her.