On this day in 565: St Columba spotted the Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness monster.
The Loch Ness monster.
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The Loch Ness Monster has long fascinated Scots and tourists alike, with regular reported sightings of the aquatic beast.

But the earliest written reference linking such a creature to Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands can be found in the biography of Saint Columba, the man credited with introducing Christianity to Scotland.

Loch Ness Monster - Front Page of Weekly Scotsman on June 1960.

Loch Ness Monster - Front Page of Weekly Scotsman on June 1960.

On this day, August 22, in A.D. 565, Columba was said to have been on his way to visit a Pictish king when he stopped along the shore of Loch Ness.

READ MORE - Great Loch Ness Monster hunters

Seeing a large beast about to attack a man who was swimming in the lake, Columba raised his hand, invoking the name of God and commanding the monster to “go back with all speed.”

The swimmer was saved and Colmbas praised for his efforts.

READ MORE - Tourist captures Loch Ness Monster on video

Later revered as a saint, Columba’s life was written about 100 years after the supposed Nessie event, which leads some historians to doubt its accuracy...