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Local Designers Pay Homage to the Memphian Who Searched for Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster

There is much to be said about the state of Memphis, TN. I say state, because it’s often considered by lovers and detractors to be somewhat of a sovereign nation. And you best believe, we own that description. We’re a funky place that churns out and attracts a funky bunch of folks.

Countless tales stemming from countless colorful characters lie within the bedrock of our fair city which oftentimes can only be unearthed through a happenstance conversation with a neighbor or a fortuitous late night rendezvous at Alex’s Tavern.

Follow me into the Memphis folklore library As i introduce you to native Memphian, inventor, and sailor Dan Taylor (b.1940).

Photo by Ronald Spencer

In 1969, aboard his yellow submarine nicknamed the Viperfish, Dan Taylor went in search of the Loch Ness Monster.

While most of his childhood aquatic devices failed to stay afloat, the Viperfish did exactly that—it floated. This made for a terrible submarine, but a great roadside attraction for a number of years outside of his Bartlett restaurant, the Aquarium, which was powered by a 90ft wind turbine Taylor built to power his establishment.

There Dan and his wife, Margaret frequently entertained Elvis Presley and his entourage, who enjoyed dining in the company of the various marine life that occupied the restaurant’s enormous fish tank (also custom built by Taylor).

While Dan Taylor was never able to dive the Viperfish deep into Loch Ness, he did claim that the craft was brushed by something on its maiden voyage.

Brushed so swiftly, in fact, that whatever it was managed to spin him around 180 degrees before he was able to fire the flesh-piercing biopsy darts he had equipped the vessel with.

Yellow submarine at the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre, Drumnadrochit

“You’ve got to fail a lot to get anywhere,” he would later say of the endeavor.

Sidenote: his whole ploy to fire darts into the Loch Ness monster raised quite a stink in the Scottish House of Lords.

Dissatisfied with the Viperfish, and motivated by a near-death heart attack and stroke combo in ‘96, Taylor spent nearly $200,000 of his own money building a Viperfish version 2.0—an all new 44ft submarine which was still incomplete at the time of his death.

Over fifteen years later, two local designers have embarked on a quest of their own to immortalize the mystery that Dan Taylor traveled across the world to unfurl.

Kyle Taylor (former Creative Director at Choose901, and no relation to Dan Taylor) along with his co-conspirator, Reuben Brunson have summoned a number of Nessie’s friends to complete a mission—and you’re invited to join this gregarious gang of explorers. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, "Rumors And Legends," a mystery-deduction boardgame made by memphians.

During the expedition, two or more brave participants assume the roles of time-traveling mercenaries who are on the hunt to discover which cryptid is responsible for the disappearance of Professor Daffle, the fearless leader of her Majesty’s Royal Order of Cryptozoology (R.O.O.C.) 

Unlike mystery deduction games where a salty butler might have committed the crime with a candlestick in the parlor, in Rumors And Legends a more likely scenario would be that it was Sasquatch in Roswell, New Mexico by way of a ritualistic human sacrifice.

Seems plausible, right?

Rumors And Legends launched on Kickstarter 2.22.22 and reached its funding goal in less than five days! 

With less than three days remaining on the campaign, their hope is to reach the targeted stretch goals that will allow them to translate the game into German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Do you love a good unsolvable mystery? Cryptozoology? Board games? Weird Memphis history? Cleverly packaged amalgamations of all of the above? If so, Rumors And Legends has got you covered. 

Let’s make Dan Taylor proud—and prove that the big prehistoric ball of mystery is still lurking in the lochs of the Scottish Highlands and has been up to no good.

Keep up with their progress:

Photo: @boardtobeers

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