Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Monstrous Monday (belated)

There is the first of a two-part article going in Paranormal Magazine issue 55 (out at the end of the month) by Dr Karl Shuker on 'Frgotten Cryptids' - weird, as yet unidentified creatures that even most cryptozoologists seem to have forgotten about. One of the critters Karl highlights is an alleged giant, poisonous water shrew that used to live - of all places - Scotland! He writes:

'According to traditional lore in northern Scotland, certain deep pools and rivers in Caithness were once home to a small yet potentially dangerous mystery beast known as the lavellan.
Although likened in superficial form to a water shrew, it was said to be bigger than a rat and extremely venomous (interestingly, shrews are known to have a weakly venomous bite). Famous naturalist Thomas Pennant investigated reports of it in the 18th century while visiting Ausdale, and learnt that water in which the preserved skin of a lavellan had been soaked was popularly used as a cure for livestock ailments.'

As he points out, even if the tales were true the animal would certainly be extinct by now. Incidentally, Thomas Pennant lived at Whitford, near Holywell, Flintshire.

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