welcome to the search for “Spanish Loch Ness”

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On October 8, 1998, a small pleasure boat set sail from the shore of Lake Banyoles at ten in the morning. 141 passengers were traveling in it, French retirees on vacation in Spain. A few minutes after leaving, the stern of “Crazy“, which was the name of the boat, began to sink and, in the blink of an eye, the ship disappeared into the bottom of the lake as if it had never existed.

21 people died and 38 more were injured. ship owners were sentenced to three years in prison for gross negligence and the Banyoles town hall was declared civilly responsible for the tragedy. It was a cluster of irregularities that led to all this. No mystery. However, there was no lack of voices that recalled that something strange was happening in the lake since… always. Welcome to Loch Ness Spanish.

what the water hides

In his book “Catalunya Misteriosa”, Sebastián d’Arbó recounted that, at the end of the 19th century, a stagecoach that traveled from Olot to Banyoles fShe was attacked by a monster just as she was passing the shore of the lake.. However, the story of the stagecoach is, above all, a popular story. If we go to the records, we find little evidence of this encounter.

It’s not the same with another shipwreck: that of May 26, 1913. On that occasion, a tourist boat capsized for no apparent reason and 10 of the 12 passengers disappeared. Nobody was able to recover the bodies and, in fact, “months later, some pieces of human bodies appeared in an advanced state of decomposition floating in the water.”

The Dragon of Banyoles

The story, however, comes from afar. Reportedlyas early as the 8th century, lived on the lake “a ferocious, chilling and indestructible beast […] his whole body was covered with sharp bone spikes and, although he had wings, he could not fly due to his enormous proportions”. His eyes “sparked” and his breath “so pestilent that it dried up the plants and made make people and animals sick.

The havoc that they caused in the vicinity of the lake was such that the existence of the monster reached the ears of Charlemagne. The emperor, who was in Catalonia fighting the Muslims, sent several hundred soldiers to bring order. Legend has it that they were all wiped out. Or rather, one of the legends.

In another, the residents of Banyoles sought advice from Mero (or Emeri), a well-known monk from Narbonne with a reputation for holiness. Mero traveled to the lake, searched for the monster and brought it to the center of the city to prove that he only ate plants, algae and things like that. As if from an episode of Scooby-doo, the bad guys were in the end Charlemagne’s soldiers (who raped, robbed and killed at will posing as the monster).

Could there be a monster in the lake of Banyoles?


The lake itself is curious. It has a tectonic origin, but above all karstic. In other words, when it was formed about 250,000 years ago, it was due to the tectonic movements produced by the appearance of the Pyrenees, but the key element for its formation (as if it were a huge cave) was the erosion and other geological phenomena of that type.

In fact, More than 90% of the water comes from the nearby region, Alta Garrotxa, where it filters and flows through a series of underground channels to the lake. The remaining 10% is due to surface water that reaches Banyoles through streams. Beyond that, the differences with Loch Ness only get bigger with every step we take.

Loch Ness is an elongated mass of water with a surface area of ​​almost 60 square kilometers and more than 200 meters deep in its deepest areas. Banyoles has little more than a square kilometer of surface and about 40 meters of maximum depth. Even in the hypothetical case that there really was a monster, this by common sense should be much smaller than Nessie.

If it was already unlikely that any of this would make sense, the data makes it much less likely. However, the main charm of Banyoles is not its credibility, nor have we gone crazy in Xataka with the ‘crypto’ and we have ended up subscribers to cryptozoology: the Spanish ‘Loch Ness’ is interesting for what it tells us about the way in which people conceptualize physical space and human history. The stories we tell ourselves say everything about us and, therefore, in the sociology of these things there is more information than a thousand mystery shows.

On October 8, 1998, a small pleasure boat set sail from the shore of Lake Banyoles at ten in the…

On October 8, 1998, a small pleasure boat set sail from the shore of Lake Banyoles at ten in the…

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