The Loch, The Legend, And The Monster

1875 words - 8 pages

While the possible origins, attempts at proof, monsters throughout the world, and the tourist traps are interesting, the real phenomenon is not the supposed existence of a monster, but rather the way humans’ brains work. Sometimes all logic is abandoned as people attempt to make sense of the natural world. There are many theories in psychology that try to explain why humans believe in supernatural phenomena, including survival techniques from evolution, the McGurk effect, and the need for control.
Anthropologists suggest that evolution has conditioned us to assume things are alive when we are not quite sure. For example, it’s a better survival strategy to believe that a big, faraway, brown formation is a bear rather than just a rock. So when people at the loch see something in the water, it might be a natural instinct to assume the object in question is alive, which explains why so many people believe they have seen the monster. However, while our eyes do their best to keep us alive, they occasionally deceive us. Sometimes they see what they want, or expect, to see and don’t necessarily send the right information to our brains. An article by Dennis Hong on Cracked.com explains a YouTube video discussing the McGurk effect:
In the clip, you see (and hear) a guy saying "bah bah bah" over and over. Afterward, he changes his tune to "fah fah fah" ... or so your eyes would have you believe. In reality, the audio never changed, only the picture did. That is, the voice is still saying "bah," but since it's now dubbed over a picture of the same guy pronouncing "fah," your brain actually changes what you're hearing so that it doesn't conflict with what you're seeing. If you close your eyes or look away, "fah" automatically goes back to being "bah." This illusion is called the McGurk effect, and the creepiest part is that, even knowing know full well what's going on, you can't get your ears to hear the correct sound. Scientists who have been studying this shit for decades are still fooled. (Hong).
A voiceover on the video itself says, “At any one moment, we are being bombarded by sensory information. Our brains do a remarkable job at making sense of it all. It seems easy enough to separate the sounds we hear from the sights we see. But there is one illusion that reveals this isn’t always the case. The illusion occurs because what you are seeing clashes with what you are hearing” (BBC). Our brains take conflicting information and try to make it all fit together. So if a person has spent a lifetime hearing stories about monster sightings in Loch Ness, if they go to Loch Ness they will almost be expecting to see the monster themselves, practically giving their eyes permission to see what they want to see.
For example, many students, teachers, and community members believe the Tooele High School’s auditorium to be haunted. Throughout my four years of high school, I spent a considerable amount of time in said haunted auditorium because I was a member of the THS...

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