Professor John Norman Collie was a well respected scientist. His great gifts to the world included the discovery of the first oxonium salt; as well as important research, which led to the first x-ray.
He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1896, in recognition of his contribution to Chemistry.
Professor Collie was also a mountaineer, climbing peaks in the Alps, Himalayas and the Caucasus. He also climbed Ben MacDhui.
He kept silent about what he experienced up there for nearly thirty-five years. He thought that it would harm his career, if he spoke out about such things.
By 1925, he was close to retirement, and it didn't matter so much if his colleagues laughed. He'd already impressed them enough in other ways. They knew him to be a reliable witness, a detail oriented scientist, and an academic in his determination to uncover the truth. Professor Collie was not a man to let his imagination and emotions dictate his conclusions.
The Annual General Meeting of the Cairngorm Club was where he recounted the events from 1891. He'd been alone on the high slopes of Ben MacDhui, when he became aware that he was being followed.
"I began to think I heard something else than merely the noise of my own footsteps." The Professor told the assembled mountaineers. "For every few steps I took I heard a crunch, and then another crunch as if someone was walking after me but taking steps three or four times the length of my own."
He stopped and looked back, but visibility was so bad that nothing presented itself in the heavy mist. Nor could he tell the direction of the sound. The mist muffled that too. Though a calm, rational man, he began to panic.
"I was seized with terror and took to my heels staggering blindly among the boulders for four or five miles nearly down to Rothiemurchus Forest."
Professor Collie didn't see the creature, but he heard it. He could not discern, even after so many years of pondering upon it, what had caused those heavy footfalls. He concluded his speech with the words, "Whatever you make of it I do not know but there is something very queer at the top of Ben Macdhui and I will not go there again by myself I know."