Not long ago, I received this question:
How did the legend of the Loch Ness Monster from Scotland come about?
I decided right then that I'd save the answer for today since the column happens to fall on Halloween this year.
In fact, I'm proclaiming today's "Just Ask" as a monsters-only column, with fun tidbits about the Loch Ness Monster, Frankenstein and the so-called curse of the King Tutankhamun mummy.
First, the Loch Ness Monster, courtesy of a 2011 National Geographic article on the legend:
The first recorded sighting of "Nessie" was in 565 A.D., and came from followers of the missionary St. Columba.
A 2006 survey named the Loch Ness Monster as the most famous Scottish resident, beating out poet Robert Burns and actor Sean Connery.
Some believe Nessie sightings actually are disturbances on the water's surface caused by the Great Glen Fault, because the lake is directly over it.
In 2005, 100 athletes in a Scotland triathlon reportedly took out insurance against bites from the Loch Ness Monster.
Now for Frankenstein, courtesy of a 2007 article by Yahoo! writer Janna Weiss:
Author Mary Shelley was only 19 when she wrote the novel, "Frankenstein," which was released in 1818. She got the idea after being invited by Lord Byron and others to participate in a challenge to write the scariest story. Shelley won the contest.
Shelley based the character Victor Frankenstein on a real person, Johann Konrad Dippel, who was a physician known for his obsession with trying to create life through scientific means. Dippel was born in Darmstadt, Germany, at a place called Castle Frankenstein.
Now for the world's most famous mummy, Tutankhamun, thanks to an article by Stephen Wagner:
English archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb on Nov. 4, 1922. That same day, Carter's pet canary was devoured by a snake.
A few months later, Carter's financial backer, Lord Carnarvon, died. Officials believe it was connected to an infected insect bite on his face.
When Tut's mummy was unwrapped in 1925, its face had a wound on the same spot as Carnarvon's insect bite.
Bernie Delinski writes Just Ask, which runs Wednesdays in the TimesDaily. If you've got a question, e-mail it to bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com, call him at 256-740-5739, fax it to 256-740-4717 or send it to Just Ask, c/o TimesDaily, P.O. Box 797, Florence, AL 35631.