Lough Fadda 1954

Sometime in the 1940s, Arthur Jackson, a member of the Cork National Guard, saw something unusual in the lake, although further details are lacking. But probably the most quoted and famous encounter from Lough Fadda was that witnessed by Miss Georgina Carberry in 1954, whilst she was out trout fishing on the lake with some friends.

It was a June evening, 1954 about 8.30 p.m., and dead calm. I was sitting with three friends on the point that juts out on the west side of the lough. The boat was drawn up beside us with some trout in it. Suddenly 150-200 yards away beside the small island to the south east we saw a black object which at first we thought was a man swimming. It moved at its ease, not much faster than a man swimming, showing two humps, the head and neck leaning slightly forward. We remained dead still for ten to fifteen minutes, at least as it approached us. Then when it was as close to us as twenty yards, I made a movement and it suddenly turned around and dived down deep. I caught sight of its tail as it was doing so. The mouth was open and underneath, like a sharks. The whole flesh of the body seemed to move in places all the time, swelling and contracting. The colour of the skin was black and almost smooth. The height of the head was about three feet out of the water and the humps about two feet. The length of the whole body must have been about six to eight feet. Two or three minutes later it came up again, about fifty yards away and moved back to where we first saw it.

In an interview for Holiday Miss Carberry added that its movement looked wormy, you know creepy. She also added some detail about its tail; Twas kind of a fork, a v-shaped tail. During the interview she also recounted a second encounter which happened at the lough sometime later although this is not recorded in Holiday`s seminal work on the subject, The Dragon and the Disc. Thanks to veteran researcher Dick Raynor the authors have been able to listen to some of these original, remastered recordings and can provide the following previously unpublished information. She and a small party of friends including a local carpenter, Val King, were once more out fishing on the lough a short time after the original encounter. After a while King suddenly suggested that they should all return home, although he gave no reason for this assertion. It was not until sometime later that Miss Carberry learned from other villagers in Clifden, that King had seen something on that day which had given him a fright. He subsequently confessed to her that while they had been at Lough Fadda, he had actually sighted the same thing which she had previously seen, prompting him to persuade the party to return home. He hadn’t informed them at the time so as not to scare them.

Lionel Leslie meanwhile, was so impressed with the Lough Fadda sighting that he obtained permission from the Irish government to detonate gelignite in the lough. Following a controlled explosion in 1965 in its waters, amid all the waves and disturbance, something black appeared to surface, convincing him that the lough did indeed contain some form of monster. In 1967 he and some volunteers proceeded to drag the lough with nets although this had to be abandoned due to poor weather. Although a striking drawing of Miss Carberry`s sighting has appeared in many cryptozoological books and articles portraying a very shark-like head and mouth, Clifden librarian Paul Keogh was able to interview one of the other principal witnesses, Miss Una Moran. Miss Moran felt in retrospect that the head of the creature was blunter and more rounded.

The area around Lough Fadda filmed by the authors

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