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Lair of the Beasts: The Monster of Bala
By Nick Redfern
March 31, 2012
A Monster of the Deep
© Mania/ Robert Trate
Loch Ness, Scotland is home to the legendary lake-monster called Nessie. Lake Okinawa, in British Columbia, Canada can boast of its own water-based beast, Ogopogo. In the depths of Lake Champlain, Vermont lurks a serpentine, snake-like creature dubbed Champ. And in Lake Bala, North Wales swims the less well known, but no less intriguing, Teggie.
So, what do we know for sure about this latter creature of the deep? Well, one of the most notable and provably things is that Lake Bala is home to the Gwyniad, a type of prehistoric fish that is not found anywhere else in the world. And with one ancient creature in residence at the lake, might there also be a second one; perhaps one far bigger and much more menacing than the relatively small Gwyniad? Let’s see.
Most perplexing about Teggie is that sightings, and legends, of the animal only began in and around the late 1910s and early 1920s, which surely begs an important question: if the beast was not in residence prior to that period, then how did it get into the lake in the first place, and from where, exactly, did it come?
Some Bala-based folk quietly, and knowingly, suggest the answer can be found in the world of shadowy cover-up and conspiracy.
During the First World War of 1914 to 1918, the British military secretly released into Lake Bala a number of large seals – or so local legend and rumor maintains. The covert plan was to strap dummy mines to the animals and then train them to swim headlong at selected targets, such as rowing boats strategically placed in lake.
There really was method to this seeming madness. Outside of the lake, the ultimate top secret goal, when training was complete, was for the mines to be armed and for the seals to attack German warships and blast them to smithereens – and, unfortunately, the seals too.
So the theory goes, however, a number of rather astute seals did not take too kindly to being told what to do or being strapped with faked explosives, so they made good their escape and ensured they stayed below water as often as possible, and out of the hands of their trainers at pretty much all times.
And, eventually, with the clandestine plan seen as not being a viable one after all, the military shut down the program, quietly exited the area, and left the seals behind to swim and live happily ever after in their new home.
Thus, in this particular version of events, Teggie and its ilk are actually the descendents of those original wartime-era seals, and not marauding lake-monsters, after all. Not everyone is quite so sure about that, however. Certainly, many inhabitants of the area aren’t.
Stories of gigantic and ferocious pike in the lake, of a size and strength enough to quickly drag a man to his watery death, abound. Others claim to have seen an approximately eight foot long crocodile-like animal swimming in the water. And there is even an account of something large and terrifying that broke the surface of Lake Bala a number of years ago and literally lifted an unfortunate windsurfer out of the water, tossing him to one side as one might casually swat a fly in flight.
Clearly, however, all of these theories for the origin of Teggie cannot be correct. And so, just like so many tales of lake monsters all around the world, the mystery remains…
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including the forthcoming The Pyramids and the Pentagon.