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The Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie ( gd, Uilebheist Loch Nis), is a creature in
Scottish folklore Scottish folklore encompasses the folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Phil ...
that is said to inhabit
Loch Ness Loch Ness (; gd, Loch Nis ) is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately southwest of Inverness. Its surface is above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the cryptozoology ...

Loch Ness
in the
Scottish Highlands The Highlands ( sco, the Hielands; gd, a’ Ghàidhealtachd , 'the place of the Gaels The Gaels ( ; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) ...

Scottish Highlands
. It is often described as large, long-necked, and with one or more humps protruding from the water. Popular interest and belief in the creature has varied since it was brought to worldwide attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with a number of disputed photographs and
sonar Sonar (sound navigation and ranging) is a technique that uses sound propagation (usually underwater, as in submarine navigation) to navigation, navigate, measure distances (ranging), communicate with or detect objects on or under the surface o ...

sonar
readings. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a phenomenon without biological basis, explaining sightings as
hoax A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, rumor A rumor (American English), or rumour (British English; American and British English spelling dif ...

hoax
es,
wishful thinking Wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs based on what might be pleasing to imagine, rather than on evidence, rationality, or reality. It is a product of resolving conflicts between belief and desire. Methodologies to examine wishful thi ...

wishful thinking
, and the misidentification of mundane objects. The
pseudoscience Pseudoscience consists of statements, belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology include ...
and
subculture A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, ...
of
cryptozoology Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience and subculture that searches for and studies unknown, legendary, or extinct animals whose present existence is disputed or unsubstantiated, particularly those popular in folklore, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness M ...
has placed particular emphasis on the creature.


Origin of the name

In August 1933, the ''Courier'' published the account of George Spicer's alleged sighting. Public interest skyrocketed, with countless letters being sent in detailing different sightingsR. Binns ''The Loch Ness Mystery Solved'' pp 19–27 describing a "monster fish," "sea serpent," or "dragon,"''Daily Mirror'', 11 August 1933 "Loch Ness, which is becoming famous as the supposed abode of a dragon..." with the final name ultimately settling on "Loch Ness monster."The
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
gives 9 June 1933 as the first usage of the exact phrase ''Loch Ness monster''
Since the 1940s, the creature has been affectionately called Nessie ( gd, Niseag).Campbell, Elizabeth Montgomery & David Solomon, ''The Search for Morag'' (Tom Stacey 1972) , page 28 gives ''an-t-Seileag'', ''an-Niseag'', ''a-Mhorag'' for the monsters of Lochs Shiel, Ness and Morag, adding that they are feminine diminutives


History


Saint Columba (565)

The earliest report of a monster in the vicinity of Loch Ness appears in the ''Life of St. Columba'' by
Adomnán Adomnán or Adamnán of Iona (, la, Adamnanus, Adomnanus; 624 – 704), also known as Eunan ( ; ), was an abbot of Iona Abbey ( 679–704), hagiographer, statesman, canon jurist, and saint In religious belief, a saint is a person ...
, written in the sixth century AD.J. A Carruth ''Loch Ness and its Monster'', (1950) Abbey Press, Fort Augustus, cited by Tim Dinsdale (1961) ''Loch Ness Monster'' pp. 33–35 According to Adomnán, writing about a century after the events described, Irish monk
Saint Columba Columba, gd, Calum Cille, sco, Columbkille, gv, Colum Keeilley, non, Kolban or (7 December 521 – 9 June 597) was an Irish abbot Abbot (from Aramaic: ''Abba'' "father") is an ecclesiastical title A title is one or more words use ...

Saint Columba
was staying in the land of the
Picts The Picts were a group of peoples who lived in what is now northern and eastern Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply ...
with his companions when he encountered local residents burying a man by the
River Ness The River Ness (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Ga ...

River Ness
. They explained that the man was swimming in the river when he was attacked by a "water beast" that mauled him and dragged him underwater despite their attempts to rescue him by boat. Columba sent a follower, Luigne moccu Min, to swim across the river. The beast approached him, but Columba made the
sign of the cross Making the sign of the cross ( la, signum crucis), or blessing oneself or crossing oneself, is a ritual blessing made by members of some branches of Christianity. This blessing is made by the tracing of an upright cross or + across the body wit ...
and said: "Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once."Adomnán, p. 176 (II:27). The creature stopped as if it had been "pulled back with ropes" and fled, and Columba's men and the Picts gave thanks for what they perceived as a miracle. Believers in the monster point to this story, set in the River Ness rather than the loch itself, as evidence for the creature's existence as early as the sixth century.Adomnán p. 330. Skeptics question the narrative's reliability, noting that water-beast stories were extremely common in medieval
hagiographies A hagiography (; ) or vita (from Latin ''vita'', life, which begins the title of most medieval biographies) is a biography of a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holines ...
, and Adomnán's tale probably recycles a common motif attached to a local landmark.R. Binns ''The Loch Ness Mystery Solved'', pp. 52–57 According to skeptics, Adomnán's story may be independent of the modern Loch Ness Monster legend and became attached to it by believers seeking to bolster their claims. Ronald Binns considers that this is the most serious of various alleged early sightings of the monster, but all other claimed sightings before 1933 are dubious and do not prove a monster tradition before that date.R. Binns ''The Loch Ness Mystery Solved'' pp. 11–12 Christopher Cairney uses a specific historical and cultural analysis of Adomnán to separate Adomnán's story about St. Columba from the modern myth of the Loch Ness Monster, but finds an earlier and culturally significant use of Celtic "water beast" folklore along the way. In doing so he also discredits any strong connection between
kelpie A kelpie, or water kelpie, is a shape-shifting spirit inhabiting lochs in Scottish folkloreScottish folklore encompasses the folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tra ...
s or water-horses and the modern "media-augmented" creation of the Loch Ness Monster. He also concludes that the story of Saint Columba may have been impacted by earlier Irish myths about the Caoránach and an Oilliphéist.


D. Mackenzie (1871 or 1872)

In October 1871 (or 1872), D. Mackenzie of Balnain reportedly saw an object resembling a log or an upturned boat "wriggling and churning up the water," moving slowly at first before disappearing at a faster speed. The account was not published until 1934, when Mackenzie sent his story in a letter to
Rupert Gould Rupert Thomas Gould (16 November 1890 – 5 October 1948) was a lieutenant-commander Lieutenant commander (also hyphenated lieutenant-commander and abbreviated Lt Cdr, LtCdr. or LCDR) is a commissioned officer An officer is a pers ...

Rupert Gould
shortly after popular interest in the monster increased.


Alexander Macdonald (1888)

In 1888, mason Alexander Macdonald of
Abriachan Abriachan (; Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, an ...
sighted "a large stubby-legged animal" surfacing from the loch and propelling itself within fifty yards of the shore where Macdonald stood. Macdonald reported his sighting to Loch Ness
water bailiff A water bailiff is a law-enforcement officer responsible for the policing of bodies of water, such as a river, lake or coast. The position has existed in many jurisdictions throughout history. Scotland In Scotland, under the Salmon and Freshwater ...
Alex Campbell, and described the creature as looking like a
salamander Salamanders are a group of amphibian Amphibians are ectothermic, tetrapod vertebrates of the Class (biology), class Amphibia. All living amphibians belong to the group Lissamphibia. They inhabit a wide variety of habitats, with most spe ...

salamander
.


Aldie Mackay (1933)

The best-known article that first attracted a great deal of attention about a creature was published on 2 May 1933 in ''
Inverness Courier The Inverness Courier is a local, bi-weekly newspaper, published each Tuesday and Friday in Inverness, Highland (council area), Highland, Scotland. It reports on issues in Inverness and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. It is the longest, con ...
'', about a large "beast" or "whale-like fish". The article by Alex Campbell, water bailiff for Loch Ness and a part-time journalist, discussed a sighting by Aldie Mackay of an enormous creature with the body of a whale rolling in the water in the loch while she and her husband John were driving on the A82 on 15 April 1933. The word "monster" was reportedly applied for the first time in Campbell's article, although some reports claim that it was coined by editor Evan Barron.''Inverness Courier'' 2 May 1933 "Loch Ness has for generations been credited with being the home of a fearsome-looking monster" ''The Courier'' in 2017 published excerpts from the Campbell article, which had been titled "Strange Spectacle in Loch Ness".
"The creature disported itself, rolling and plunging for fully a minute, its body resembling that of a whale, and the water cascading and churning like a simmering cauldron. Soon, however, it disappeared in a boiling mass of foam. Both onlookers confessed that there was something uncanny about the whole thing, for they realised that here was no ordinary denizen of the depths, because, apart from its enormous size, the beast, in taking the final plunge, sent out waves that were big enough to have been caused by a passing steamer."
According to a 2013 article, Mackay said that she had yelled, "Stop! The Beast!" when viewing the spectacle. In the late 1980s, a naturalist interviewed Aldie Mackay and she admitted to knowing that there had been an oral tradition of a "beast" in the loch well before her claimed sighting. Alex Campbell's 1933 article also stated that "Loch Ness has for generations been credited with being the home of a fearsome-looking monster".


George Spicer (1933)

Modern interest in the monster was sparked by a sighting on 22 July 1933, when George Spicer and his wife saw "a most extraordinary form of animal" cross the road in front of their car. They described the creature as having a large body (about high and long) and a long, wavy, narrow neck, slightly thicker than an elephant's trunk and as long as the width of the road. They saw no limbs.T. Dinsdale (1961) ''Loch Ness Monster'' page 42. It lurched across the road toward the loch away, leaving a trail of broken undergrowth in its wake. Spicer described it as "the nearest approach to a dragon or pre-historic animal that I have ever seen in my life," and as having "a long neck, which moved up and down in the manner of a scenic railway."https://www.scotsman.com/interactive/are-hunters-closing-in-on-the-loch-ness-monster#main-page-section-1 , ARE HUNTERS CLOSING IN ON THE LOCH NESS MONSTER? It had "an animal" in its mouth and had a body that "was fairly big, with a high back, but if there were any feet they must have been of the web kind, and as for a tail I cannot say, as it moved so rapidly, and when we got to the spot it had probably disappeared into the loch." On 4 August 1933 the ''Courier'' published a report of Spicer's sighting. This sighting triggered a massive amount of public interest and an uptick in alleged sightings, leading to the solidification of the actual name "Loch Ness Monster." It has been claimed that sightings of the monster increased after a road was built along the loch in early 1933, bringing workers and tourists to the formerly isolated area. However, Binns has described this as "the myth of the lonely loch", as it was far from isolated before then, due to the construction of the
Caledonian Canal The Caledonian Canal connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Corpach near Fort William, Scotland, Fort William in Scotland. The canal was constructed in the early nineteenth century by Scottish engineer Thomas Telfo ...
. In the 1930s, the existing road by the side of the loch was given a serious upgrade.


Hugh Gray (1933)

Hugh Gray's photograph taken near
Foyers Foyers ( gd, Foithir, meaning "shelving slope") is a village in the Highland (council area), Highland council area of Scotland, lying on the east shore of Loch Ness. The village is situated on the B852, part of the Military Road built by George Wa ...
on 12 November 1933 was the first photograph alleged to depict the monster. It was slightly blurred, and it has been noted that if one looks closely the head of a dog can be seen. Gray had taken his
Labrador , nickname = "The Big Land" , etymology = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Canada , subdivision_type1 = Provinces and territories of ...

Labrador
for a walk that day and it is suspected that the photograph depicts his dog fetching a stick from the loch. Others have suggested that the photograph depicts an
otter Otters are carnivorous mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in Female#Mam ...

otter
or a
swan Swans are birds of the family (biology), family Anatidae within the genus ''Cygnus''. The swans' closest relatives include the goose, geese and ducks. Swans are grouped with the closely related geese in the subfamily Anserinae where they form th ...

swan
. The original negative was lost. However, in 1963,
Maurice Burton Maurice Burton (28 March 1898 – 9 September 1992) was a British zoologist Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, ...
came into "possession of two lantern slides, contact positives from th original negative" and when projected onto a screen they revealed an "otter rolling at the surface in characteristic fashion."


Arthur Grant (1934)

On 5 January 1934 a motorcyclist, Arthur Grant, claimed to have nearly hit the creature while approaching
Abriachan Abriachan (; Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, an ...
(near the north-eastern end of the loch) at about 1 a.m. on a moonlit night. According to Grant, it had a small head attached to a long neck; the creature saw him, and crossed the road back to the loch. Grant, a veterinary student, described it as a cross between a seal and a plesiosaur. He said he dismounted and followed it to the loch, but saw only ripples.Tim Dinsdale ''Loch Ness Monster'' pp. 44–5 Grant produced a sketch of the creature that was examined by zoologist
Maurice Burton Maurice Burton (28 March 1898 – 9 September 1992) was a British zoologist Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, ...
, who stated it was consistent with the appearance and behavior of an otter. Regarding the long size of the creature reported by Grant; it has been suggested that this was a faulty observation due to the poor light conditions. Paleontologist
Darren Naish Darren Naish is a British vertebrate paleontologist, palaeontologist, author and Science communication, science communicator. As a researcher, he is best known for his work describing and reevaluating dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles, incl ...

Darren Naish
has suggested that Grant may have seen either an otter or a
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaqu ...
and exaggerated his sighting over time.


"Surgeon's photograph" (1934)

The "surgeon's photograph" is reportedly the first photo of the creature's head and neck. Supposedly taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London
gynaecologist Gynaecology or gynecology (see spelling differences Despite the various English dialects Dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two distin ...
, it was published in the ''
Daily Mail The ''Daily Mail'' is a British daily Middle-market newspaper, middle-market newspaper and online newspaper, news websitePeter Wilb"Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail: The man who hates liberal Britain", ''New Statesman'', 19 December 2013 (online ...
'' on 21 April 1934. Wilson's refusal to have his name associated with it led to it being known as the "surgeon's photograph". According to Wilson, he was looking at the loch when he saw the monster, grabbed his camera and snapped four photos. Only two exposures came out clearly; the first reportedly shows a small head and back, and the second shows a similar head in a diving position. The first photo became well known, and the second attracted little publicity because of its blurriness. For 60 years the photo was considered evidence of the monster's existence, although skeptics dismissed it as driftwood, an elephant, an otter or a bird. The photo's scale was controversial; it is often shown cropped (making the creature seem large and the ripples like waves), while the uncropped shot shows the other end of the loch and the monster in the centre. The ripples in the photo were found to fit the size and pattern of small ripples, rather than large waves photographed up close. Analysis of the original image fostered further doubt. In 1993, the makers of the
Discovery Communications Discovery, Inc. is an American multinational mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Adverti ...
documentary ''Loch Ness Discovered'' analyzed the uncropped image and found a white object visible in every version of the photo (implying that it was on the negative). It was believed to be the cause of the ripples, as if the object was being towed, although the possibility of a blemish on the negative could not be ruled out. An analysis of the full photograph indicated that the object was small, about long. Since 1994, most agree that the photo was an elaborate
hoax A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, rumor A rumor (American English), or rumour (British English; American and British English spelling dif ...

hoax
. It had been described as fake in a 7 December 1975 ''
Sunday Telegraph ''The Sunday Telegraph'' is a British broadsheet newspaper, founded in February 1961 and published by the Telegraph Media Group, a division of Press Holdings. It is the sister paper of ''The Daily Telegraph'', also published by the Telegraph M ...
'' article that fell into obscurity. Details of how the photo was taken were published in the 1999 book, ''Nessie – the Surgeon's Photograph Exposed'', which contains a facsimile of the 1975 ''Sunday Telegraph'' article. The creature was reportedly a toy submarine built by Christian Spurling, the son-in-law of Marmaduke Wetherell. Wetherell had been publicly ridiculed by his employer, the ''Daily Mail'', after he found "Nessie footprints" that turned out to be a hoax. To get revenge on the ''Mail'', Wetherell perpetrated his hoax with co-conspirators Spurling (sculpture specialist), Ian Wetherell (his son, who bought the material for the fake), and Maurice Chambers (an insurance agent). The toy submarine was bought from F. W. Woolworths, and its head and neck were made from
wood putty Wood putty, also called plastic wood, is a substance used to fill imperfections, such as nail Nail or Nails may refer to: In biology * Nail (anatomy), toughened protective protein-keratin (known as alpha-keratin, also found in hair) at the end ...
. After testing it in a local pond the group went to Loch Ness, where Ian Wetherell took the photos near the Altsaigh Tea House. When they heard a
water bailiff A water bailiff is a law-enforcement officer responsible for the policing of bodies of water, such as a river, lake or coast. The position has existed in many jurisdictions throughout history. Scotland In Scotland, under the Salmon and Freshwater ...
approaching, Duke Wetherell sank the model with his foot and it is "presumably still somewhere in Loch Ness".''The Mammoth Encyclopedia of the Unsolved'' Chambers gave the photographic plates to Wilson, a friend of his who enjoyed "a good practical joke". Wilson brought the plates to Ogston's, an Inverness chemist, and gave them to George Morrison for development. He sold the first photo to the ''Daily Mail'', who then announced that the monster had been photographed. Little is known of the second photo; it is often ignored by researchers, who believe its quality too poor and its differences from the first photo too great to warrant analysis. It shows a head similar to the first photo, with a more turbulent wave pattern and possibly taken at a different time and location in the loch. Some believe it to be an earlier, cruder attempt at a hoax, and others (including
Roy Mackal Roy P. Mackal (August 1, 1925 – September 13, 2013) was a University of Chicago biology, biologist best known to the general public for his interest in cryptozoology, a pseudoscience. Academic background Born in Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ...
and Maurice Burton) consider it a picture of a diving bird or otter that Wilson mistook for the monster.Mackal, Roy. ''The Monsters of Loch Ness''. According to Morrison, when the plates were developed Wilson was uninterested in the second photo; he allowed Morrison to keep the negative, and the photo was rediscovered years later. When asked about the second photo by the ''Ness Information Service Newsletter'', Spurling " ... was vague, thought it might have been a piece of wood they were trying out as a monster, but not sure."


Taylor film (1938)

On 29 May 1938, South African tourist G. E. Taylor filmed something in the loch for three minutes on 16 mm colour film. The film was obtained by
popular science Popular science (also called pop-science or popsci) is an interpretation of science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predic ...

popular science
writer
Maurice Burton Maurice Burton (28 March 1898 – 9 September 1992) was a British zoologist Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, ...
, who did not show it to other researchers. A single frame was published in his 1961 book, ''The Elusive Monster''. His analysis concluded it was a floating object, not an animal.


William Fraser (1938)

On 15 August 1938, William Fraser, of
Inverness-shire Inverness-shire ( gd, Siorrachd Inbhir Nis) is a Counties of Scotland, historic county, registration county and Lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. Covering much of the Scottish Highlands, Highlands and Outer Hebrides, ...

Inverness-shire
, wrote a letter that the monster existed beyond doubt and expressed concern about a hunting party that had arrived (with a custom-made harpoon gun) determined to catch the monster "dead or alive". He believed his power to protect the monster from the hunters was "very doubtful". The letter was released by the
National Archives of Scotland The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) is the previous name of the National Records of Scotland National Records of Scotland ( gd, Clàran Nàiseanta na h-Alba) is a non-ministerial department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) ...

National Archives of Scotland
on 27 April 2010.


Sonar readings (1954)

In December 1954, sonar readings were taken by the fishing boat ''Rival III''. Its crew noted a large object keeping pace with the vessel at a depth of . It was detected for before contact was lost and regained. Previous sonar attempts were inconclusive or negative.


Peter MacNab (1955)

Peter MacNab at
Urquhart Castle Urquhart Castle (; gd, Caisteal na Sròine), a ruin, sits beside Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, Highlands of Scotland. The castle is on the A82 road, south-west of Inverness and east of the village of Drumnadrochit. The present ruins d ...

Urquhart Castle
on 29 July 1955 took a photograph that depicted two long black humps in the water. The photograph was not made public until it appeared in Constance Whyte's 1957 book on the subject. On 23 October 1958 it was published by the ''Weekly Scotsman''. Author Ronald Binns wrote that the "phenomenon which MacNab photographed could easily be a wave effect resulting from three trawlers travelling closely together up the loch." Other researchers consider the photograph a hoax. Roy Mackal requested to use the photograph in his 1976 book. He received the original negative from MacNab, but discovered it differed from the photograph that appeared in Whyte's book. The tree at the bottom left in Whyte's was missing from the negative. It is suspected that the photograph was doctored by re-photographing a print.


Dinsdale film (1960)

Aeronautical engineer
Tim Dinsdale Timothy Kay Dinsdale (27 September 1924 – 14 December 1987) was a British Cryptozoology, cryptozoologist who attempted to prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. Life Dinsdale was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, the son of Felix and Dorys ( ...
filmed a hump that left a wake crossing Loch Ness in 1960. Dinsdale, who reportedly had the sighting on his final day of search, described it as reddish with a blotch on its side. He said that when he mounted his camera the object began to move, and he shot 40 feet of film. According to
JARIC The Defence Intelligence Fusion Centre (DIFC) is based at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire. Largely created from the staff of the National Imagery Exploitation Centre (formerly known as the Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC)) and the ...
, the object was "probably animate". Others were sceptical, saying that the "hump" cannot be ruled out as being a boat and when the contrast is increased, a man in a boat can be seen. In 1993 Discovery Communications produced a documentary, ''Loch Ness Discovered'', with a digital enhancement of the Dinsdale film. A person who enhanced the film noticed a shadow in the negative that was not obvious in the developed film. By enhancing and overlaying frames, he found what appeared to be the rear body of a creature underwater: "Before I saw the film, I thought the Loch Ness Monster was a load of rubbish. Having done the enhancement, I'm not so sure".


"Loch Ness Muppet" (1977)

On 21 May 1977 Anthony "Doc" Shiels, camping next to Urquhart Castle, took "some of the clearest pictures of the monster until this day". Shiels, a magician and psychic, claimed to have summoned the animal out of the water. He later described it as an "elephant squid", claiming the long neck shown in the photograph is actually the squid's "trunk" and that a white spot at the base of the neck is its eye. Due to the lack of ripples, it has been declared a hoax by a number of people and received its name because of its staged look.


Holmes video (2007)

On 26 May 2007, 55-year-old laboratory technician Gordon Holmes videotaped what he said was "this jet black thing, about long, moving fairly fast in the water." Adrian Shine, a marine biologist at the Loch Ness 2000 Centre in
Drumnadrochit Drumnadrochit (; gd, Druim na Drochaid) is a village in the Highland (council area), Highland Local government in Scotland, local government Council areas of Scotland, council area of Scotland, lying near the west shore of Loch Ness at the foot ...

Drumnadrochit
, described the footage as among "the best footage
e had E, or e, is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter and the second vowel#Written vowels, vowel letter in the English alphabet, modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is English alphabet#Letter names, ''e'' ( ...
ever seen."
BBC Scotland BBC Scotland is a division of the BBC and the main Public broadcasting, public broadcaster in Scotland. It is one of the four BBC national regions, together with the BBC English Regions, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Northern Ireland. Its headquart ...

BBC Scotland
broadcast the video on 29 May 2007. ''
STV STV may refer to: Television * Satellite television ** Direct-broadcast satellite television (DBSTV) Channels and stations * STV (TV channel), the brand name of ITV broadcasters in central and northern Scotland ** Scottish Television, now legall ...
News North Tonight'' aired the footage on 28 May 2007 and interviewed Holmes. Shine was also interviewed, and suggested that the footage was an otter, seal or water bird.


Sonar image (2011)

On 24 August 2011 Loch Ness boat captain Marcus Atkinson photographed a sonar image of a , unidentified object that seemed to follow his boat for two minutes at a depth of , and ruled out the possibility of a small fish or seal. In April 2012, a scientist from the
National Oceanography Centre The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is a marine science research and technology institution based on two sites in Southampton and Liverpool, United Kingdom. It is the UK’s largest institution for integrated sea level science, coastal and ...

National Oceanography Centre
said that the image is a bloom of
algae Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Co ...

algae
and
zooplankton Zooplankton (; ) are heterotroph A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often ro ...

zooplankton
.


George Edwards photograph (2011)

On 3 August 2012, skipper George Edwards claimed that a photo he took on 2 November 2011 shows "Nessie". Edwards claims to have searched for the monster for 26 years, and reportedly spent 60 hours per week on the loch aboard his boat, ''Nessie Hunter IV'', taking tourists for rides on the lake. Edwards said, "In my opinion, it probably looks kind of like a manatee, but not a mammal. When people see three humps, they're probably just seeing three separate monsters." Other researchers have questioned the photograph's authenticity, and Loch Ness researcher Steve Feltham suggested that the object in the water is a fibreglass hump used in a
National Geographic Channel National Geographic (formerly National Geographic Channel and also commercially abbreviated and trademarked as Nat Geo or Nat Geo TV) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, wh ...

National Geographic Channel
documentary in which Edwards had participated. Researcher Dick Raynor has questioned Edwards' claim of discovering a deeper bottom of Loch Ness, which Raynor calls "Edwards Deep". He found inconsistencies between Edwards' claims for the location and conditions of the photograph and the actual location and weather conditions that day. According to Raynor, Edwards told him he had faked a photograph in 1986 that he claimed was genuine in the Nat Geo documentary. Although Edwards admitted in October 2013 that his 2011 photograph was a hoax, he insisted that the 1986 photograph was genuine. A survey of the literature about other hoaxes, including photographs, published by ''
The Scientific American ''Scientific American'' (informally abbreviated ''SciAm'' or sometimes ''SA'') is an American popular science magazine. Many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein, have contributed articles to it. In print since 1845, it is the oldest conti ...
'' on 10 July 2013, indicates many others since the 1930s. The most recent photo considered to be "good" appeared in newspapers in August 2012; it was allegedly taken by George Edwards in November 2011 but was "definitely a hoax" according to the science journal.


David Elder video (2013)

On 27 August 2013, tourist David Elder presented a five-minute video of a "mysterious wave" in the loch. According to Elder, the wave was produced by a "solid black object" just under the surface of the water. Elder, 50, from
East Kilbride East Kilbride (; gd, Cille Bhrìghde an Ear ) is the largest town in South Lanarkshire South Lanarkshire ( sco, Sooth Lanrikshire; gd, Siorrachd Lannraig a Deas) is one of 32 Council areas of Scotland, unitary authorities of Scotland. It bo ...
,
South Lanarkshire South Lanarkshire ( sco, Sooth Lanrikshire; gd, Siorrachd Lannraig a Deas) is one of 32 unitary authorities A unitary authority is a local authority Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a ...
, was taking a picture of a swan at the
Fort Augustus Fort Augustus is a settlement in the parish of Boleskine and Abertarff, at the south-west end of Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands. The village has a population of around 646 (2001). Its economy is heavily reliant on tourism. History The Scotti ...

Fort Augustus
pier on the south-western end of the loch, when he captured the movement. He said, "The water was very still at the time and there were no ripples coming off the wave and no other activity on the water." Sceptics suggested that the wave may have been caused by a wind gust.


Apple Maps photograph (2014)

On 19 April 2014, it was reported that a satellite image on
Apple Maps Apple Maps (or simply Maps) is a web mapping service developed by Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multin ...
showed what appeared to be a large creature (thought by some to be the Loch Ness Monster) just below the surface of Loch Ness. At the loch's far north, the image appeared about long. Possible explanations were the
wake Wake or The Wake may refer to: Culture *Wake (ceremony) A wake is a social gathering associated with death, usually held before a funeral A funeral is a ceremony connected with the final disposition of a corpse, such as a burial or cremat ...
of a boat (with the boat itself lost in
image stitching Image stitching or photo stitching is the process of combining multiple photograph A photograph (also known as a photo) is an image An SAR radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the ...
or low contrast),
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaqu ...
-caused ripples, or floating wood.


Google Street View (2015)

Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
commemorated the 81st anniversary of the "surgeon's photograph" with a
Google Doodle A Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo A logo (abbreviation of logotype; ) is a graphic Graphics (from Greek ''graphikos'', "belonging to drawing") are visual images or designs on some surface, such as a wall, ...
, and added a new feature to
Google Street View Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps Google Maps is a web mapping Web most often refers to: * Spider web, a silken structure created by the animal * World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web in ...

Google Street View
with which users can explore the loch above and below the water. Google reportedly spent a week at Loch Ness collecting imagery with a street-view "trekker" camera, attaching it to a boat to photograph above the surface and collaborating with members of the Catlin Seaview Survey to photograph underwater.


Searches


Edward Mountain expedition (1934)

After reading
Rupert Gould Rupert Thomas Gould (16 November 1890 – 5 October 1948) was a lieutenant-commander Lieutenant commander (also hyphenated lieutenant-commander and abbreviated Lt Cdr, LtCdr. or LCDR) is a commissioned officer An officer is a pers ...

Rupert Gould
's ''The Loch Ness Monster and Others'', Edward Mountain financed a search. Twenty men with binoculars and cameras positioned themselves around the loch from 9 am to 6 pm for five weeks, beginning on 13 July 1934. Although 21 photographs were taken, none was considered conclusive. Supervisor James Fraser remained by the loch filming on 15 September 1934; the film is now lost. Zoologists and professors of natural history concluded that the film showed a seal, possibly a grey seal.''The Times'' 5 October 1934, page 12 Loch Ness "Monster" Film


Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau (1962–1972)

The ''Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau'' (LNPIB) was a UK-based society formed in 1962 by
Norman Collins Norman Richard Collins (3 October 1907 – 6 September 1982) was a British writer, and later a radio and television executive, who became one of the major figures behind the establishment of the ITV Network, Independent Television (ITV) netw ...

Norman Collins
, R. S. R. Fitter, politician David James,
Peter Scott Sir Peter Markham Scott, (14 September 1909 – 29 August 1989) was a British ornithologist, conservation movement, conservationist, painter, naval officer, broadcaster and Sportsperson, sportsman. The only child of Antarctic explorer Robert Fa ...
and Constance Whyte "to study Loch Ness to identify the creature known as the Loch Ness Monster or determine the causes of reports of it". The society's name was later shortened to the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau (LNIB), and it disbanded in 1972. The LNIB had an annual subscription charge, which covered administration. Its main activity was encouraging groups of self-funded volunteers to watch the loch from vantage points with film cameras with telescopic lenses. From 1965 to 1972 it had a caravan camp and viewing platform at Achnahannet, and sent observers to other locations up and down the loch. According to the bureau's 1969 annual report it had 1,030 members, of whom 588 were from the UK.


Sonar study (1967–1968)

D. Gordon Tucker, chair of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the
University of Birmingham The University of Birmingham (informally Birmingham University) is a public university, public research university located in Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Queen's College, Birmingh ...

University of Birmingham
, volunteered his services as a sonar developer and expert at Loch Ness in 1968. His gesture, part of a larger effort led by the LNPIB from 1967 to 1968, involved collaboration between volunteers and professionals in a number of fields. Tucker had chosen Loch Ness as the test site for a prototype sonar transducer with a maximum range of . The device was fixed underwater at Temple Pier in Urquhart Bay and directed at the opposite shore, drawing an acoustic "net" across the loch through which no moving object could pass undetected. During the two-week trial in August, multiple targets were identified. One was probably a shoal of fish, but others moved in a way not typical of shoals at speeds up to 10 knots.''New Scientist'' 40 (1968): 564–566; "Sonar Picks Up Stirrings in Loch Ness"


Robert Rines studies (1972, 1975, 2001, 2008)

In 1972, a group of researchers from the Academy of Applied Science led by
Robert H. RinesRobert Harvey Rines (August 30, 1922November 1, 2009) was an American lawyer, inventor, musician, and composer. He is perhaps best known for his efforts to find and identify the Loch Ness Monster The Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie ( gd, Uilebheis ...
conducted a search for the monster involving sonar examination of the loch depths for unusual activity. Rines took precautions to avoid murky water with floating wood and peat. A submersible camera with a floodlight was deployed to record images below the surface. If Rines detected anything on the sonar, he turned the light on and took pictures. On 8 August, Rines'
Raytheon Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * ...

Raytheon
DE-725C sonar unit, operating at a frequency of 200 kHz and anchored at a depth of , identified a moving target (or targets) estimated by echo strength at in length. Specialists from Raytheon, Simrad (now
Kongsberg Maritime Kongsberg Maritime (KM) is a Norwegian technology enterprise within the Kongsberg Gruppen (KOG). Kongsberg Maritime deliver systems for positioning, surveying, navigation, and automation to merchant vessels and offshore installations. Their most w ...
), Hydroacoustics, Marty Klein of
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, hi ...

MIT
and Klein Associates (a
side-scan sonar Side-scan sonar (also sometimes called side scan sonar, sidescan sonar, side imaging sonar, side-imaging sonar and bottom classification sonar) is a category of sonar Sonar (sound navigation and ranging) is a technique that uses sound pro ...

side-scan sonar
producer) and Ira Dyer of MIT's Department of Ocean Engineering were on hand to examine the data. P. Skitzki of Raytheon suggested that the data indicated a protuberance projecting from one of the echoes. According to author Roy Mackal, the shape was a "highly flexible laterally flattened tail" or the misinterpreted return from two animals swimming together. Concurrent with the sonar readings, the floodlit camera obtained a pair of underwater photographs. Both depicted what appeared to be a
rhomboid Traditionally, in two-dimensional geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, ...

rhomboid
flipper, although sceptics have dismissed the images as depicting the bottom of the loch, air bubbles, a rock, or a fish fin. The apparent flipper was photographed in different positions, indicating movement. The first flipper photo is better-known than the second, and both were enhanced and retouched from the original negatives. According to team member Charles Wyckoff, the photos were retouched to superimpose the flipper; the original enhancement showed a considerably less-distinct object. No one is sure how the originals were altered. During a meeting with Tony Harmsworth and Adrian Shine at the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, Rines admitted that the flipper photo may have been retouched by a magazine editor.Harmsworth, Tony. ''Loch Ness, Nessie & Me: Loch Ness Understood and Monster Explained''. British naturalist
Peter Scott Sir Peter Markham Scott, (14 September 1909 – 29 August 1989) was a British ornithologist, conservation movement, conservationist, painter, naval officer, broadcaster and Sportsperson, sportsman. The only child of Antarctic explorer Robert Fa ...
announced in 1975, on the basis of the photographs, that the creature's scientific name would be ''Nessiteras rhombopteryx'' (Greek for "Ness inhabitant with diamond-shaped fin"). Scott intended that the name would enable the creature to be added to the British register of protected wildlife. Scottish politician
Nicholas Fairbairn Sir Nicholas Hardwick Fairbairn, (24 December 1933 – 19 February 1995) was a Scottish politician. He was the Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the ...
called the name an
anagram An anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase, typically using all the original letters exactly once. For example, the word ''anagram'' itself can be rearranged into ''nag a ram'', also the word ...

anagram
for "Monster hoax by Sir Peter S".Dinsdale, T. "Loch Ness Monster" (Routledge and Kegan paul 1976), p.171. However, Rines countered that when rearranged, the letters could also spell "Yes, both pix are monsters – R." Another sonar contact was made, this time with two objects estimated to be about . The strobe camera photographed two large objects surrounded by a flurry of bubbles. Some interpreted the objects as two
plesiosaur The Plesiosauria (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...

plesiosaur
-like animals, suggesting several large animals living in Loch Ness. This photograph has rarely been published. A second search was conducted by Rines in 1975. Some of the photographs, despite their obviously murky quality and lack of concurrent sonar readings, did indeed seem to show unknown animals in various positions and lightings. One photograph appeared to show the head, neck, and upper torso of a plesiosaur-like animal, but sceptics argue the object is a log due to the lump on its "chest" area, the mass of sediment in the full photo, and the object's log-like "skin" texture. Another photograph seemed to depict a horned "gargoyle head", consistent with that of some sightings of the monster; however, sceptics point out that a tree stump was later filmed during Operation Deepscan in 1987, which bore a striking resemblance to the gargoyle head. In 2001, Rines' Academy of Applied Science videotaped a V-shaped wake traversing still water on a calm day. The academy also videotaped an object on the floor of the loch resembling a carcass and found marine clamshells and a fungus-like organism not normally found in freshwater lochs, a suggested connection to the sea and a possible entry for the creature.Dr. Robert H. Rines
Loch Ness Findings
. Academy of Applied Science.
In 2008, Rines theorised that the creature may have become
extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...

extinct
, citing the lack of significant sonar readings and a decline in eyewitness accounts. He undertook a final expedition, using sonar and an underwater camera in an attempt to find a carcass. Rines believed that the animals may have failed to adapt to temperature changes resulting from
global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...

global warming
.


Operation Deepscan (1987)

Operation Deepscan was conducted in 1987. Twenty-four boats equipped with
echo sounding Echo sounding is a type of sonar Sonar (sound navigation and ranging) is a technique that uses sound propagation (usually underwater, as in submarine navigation) to navigation, navigate, measure distances (ranging), communicate with or detec ...
equipment were deployed across the width of the loch, and simultaneously sent
acoustic wave Acoustic waves are a type of energy propagation through a medium by means of adiabatic compression and decompression. Important quantities for describing acoustic waves are acoustic pressure, particle velocity Particle velocity is the velocity of ...
s. According to
BBC News BBC News is an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster Public broadcasting involves radio Radio is the technology of signali ...

BBC News
the scientists had made sonar contact with an unidentified object of unusual size and strength. The researchers returned, re-scanning the area. Analysis of the echosounder images seemed to indicate debris at the bottom of the loch, although there was motion in three of the pictures. Adrian Shine speculated, based on size, that they might be seals that had entered the loch. Sonar expert Darrell Lowrance, founder of
Lowrance Electronics Lowrance is a manufacturer of consumer sonar Sonar (sound navigation and ranging) is a technique that uses sound propagation (usually underwater, as in submarine navigation) to navigation, navigate, measure distances (ranging), communicate w ...
, donated a number of echosounder units used in the operation. After examining a sonar return indicating a large, moving object at a depth of near Urquhart Bay, Lowrance said: "There's something here that we don't understand, and there's something here that's larger than a fish, maybe some species that hasn't been detected before. I don't know."


''Searching for the Loch Ness Monster'' (2003)

In 2003, the BBC sponsored a search of the loch using 600 sonar beams and satellite tracking. The search had sufficient resolution to identify a small buoy. No animal of substantial size was found and, despite their reported hopes, the scientists involved admitted that this "proved" the Loch Ness Monster was a myth. ''Searching for the Loch Ness Monster'' aired on
BBC One BBC One is a British free-to-air Free-to-air (FTA) services are television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Media (communication), medium used for transmitting moving images in grayscale, black- ...
.


DNA survey (2018)

An international team consisting of researchers from the universities of Otago, Copenhagen, Hull and the Highlands and Islands, did a DNA survey of the lake in June 2018, looking for unusual species. The results were published in 2019; no DNA of large fish such as sharks, sturgeons and catfish could be found. No otter or seal DNA were obtained either, though there was a lot of eel DNA. The leader of the study, Prof Neil Gemmell of the
University of Otago The University of Otago ( mi, Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo) is a public university based in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. It scores highly for average research quality, and in 2006 was second in New Zealand only to the University of Auckland in the n ...

University of Otago
, said he could not rule out the possibility of eels of extreme size, though none were found, nor were any ever caught. The other possibility is that the large amount of eel DNA simply comes from many small eels. No evidence of any reptilian sequences were found, he added, "so I think we can be fairly sure that there is probably not a giant scaly reptile swimming around in Loch Ness", he said.


Explanations

A number of explanations have been suggested to account for sightings of the creature. According to Ronald Binns, a former member of the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau, there is probably no single explanation of the monster. Binns wrote two sceptical books, the 1983 ''The Loch Ness Mystery Solved'', and his 2017 ''The Loch Ness Mystery Reloaded''. In these he contends that an aspect of human psychology is the ability of the eye to see what it wants, and expects, to see. They may be categorised as misidentifications of known animals, misidentifications of inanimate objects or effects, reinterpretations of Scottish folklore,
hoax A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, rumor A rumor (American English), or rumour (British English; American and British English spelling dif ...

hoax
es, and exotic species of large animals. A reviewer wrote that Binns had "evolved into the author of ... the definitive, skeptical book on the subject". Binns does not call the sightings a hoax, but "a myth in the true sense of the term" and states that the "'monster is a sociological ... phenomenon. ...After 1983 the search ... (for the) possibility that there just ''might'' be continues to enthrall a small number for whom eye-witness evidence outweighs all other considerations".


Misidentification of known animals


Bird wakes

Wakes have been reported when the loch is calm, with no boats nearby. Bartender David Munro reported a wake he believed was a creature zigzagging, diving, and reappearing; there were reportedly 26 other witnesses from a nearby car park. Although some sightings describe a V-shaped wake similar to a boat's, others report something not conforming to the shape of a boat.Discovery Communications, Loch Ness Discovered, 1993


Eels

A large
eel Eels are ray-finned fish Actinopterygii ( New Latin ('having rays') + Greek ( 'wing, fins')), members of which are known as ray-finned fishes, is a clade A clade (; from grc, , ''klados'', "branch"), also known as a monophyletic gro ...
was an early suggestion for what the "monster" was. Eels are found in Loch Ness, and an unusually large one would explain many sightings. Dinsdale dismissed the hypothesis because eels undulate side to side like snakes. Sightings in 1856 of a "sea-serpent" (or
kelpie A kelpie, or water kelpie, is a shape-shifting spirit inhabiting lochs in Scottish folkloreScottish folklore encompasses the folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tra ...
) in a freshwater lake near
Leurbost Leurbost () is a village on the east coast of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It is approximately south of Stornoway on the road to Harris, Outer Hebrides, Harris. It is the main settlement in the area of the island known as ...
in the
Outer Hebrides The Outer Hebrides () or Western Isles ( gd, Na h-Eileanan Siar or ; sco, Waster Isles), sometimes known as ("islands of the strangers") or the Long Isle/Long Island ( gd, An t-Eilean Fada, links=no), is an island chain off the west coast ...
were explained as those of an oversized eel, also believed common in "Highland lakes". From 2018 to 2019, scientists from New Zealand undertook a massive project to document every organism in Loch Ness based on DNA samples. Their reports confirmed that European eels are still found in the Loch. No DNA samples were found for large animals such as catfish, Greenland sharks, or plesiosaurs. Many scientists now believe that giant eels account for many, if not most of the sightings.


Elephant

In a 1979 article, California biologist Dennis Power and geographer Donald Johnson claimed that the "surgeon's photograph" was the top of the head, extended trunk and flared nostrils of a swimming elephant photographed elsewhere and claimed to be from Loch Ness.A Fresh Look at Nessie, New Scientist, v. 83, pp. 358–359 In 2006, palaeontologist and artist Neil Clark suggested that travelling circuses might have allowed elephants to bathe in the loch; the trunk could be the perceived head and neck, with the head and back the perceived humps. In support of this, Clark provided an example painting.


Greenland shark

Zoologist, angler and television presenter
Jeremy Wade Jeremy John Wade (born 23 March 1956) is a British television presenter, an author of books on angling Angling is a method of fishing Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill- ...
investigated the creature in 2013 as part of the series ''
River Monsters ''River Monsters'' is a British and American wildlife documentary television programme produced for Animal Planet by Icon Films of Bristol, United Kingdom. It is hosted by extreme Angling, angler and biologist Jeremy Wade, who travels around th ...
'', and concluded that it is a
Greenland shark The Greenland shark (''Somniosus microcephalus''), also known as the gurry shark, grey shark, or by the Greenlandic language, Kalaallisut name ''eqalussuaq'', is a large shark of the family Somniosidae ("sleeper sharks"), closely related to the ...
. The Greenland shark, which can reach up to 20 feet in length, inhabits the North Atlantic Ocean around
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and possibly Scotland. It is dark in colour, with a small dorsal fin. According to biologist Bruce Wright, the Greenland shark could survive in fresh water (possibly using rivers and lakes to find food) and Loch Ness has an abundance of salmon and other fish.


Wels catfish

In July 2015 three news outlets reported that Steve Feltham, after a vigil at the loch that was recognized by the Guinness World Records, Guinness Book of Records, theorised that the monster is an unusually large specimen of Wels catfish (''Silurus glanis''), which may have been released during the late 19th century.


Other resident animals

It is difficult to judge the size of an object in water through a telescope or binoculars with no external reference. Loch Ness has resident Eurasian otter, otters, and photos of them and deer swimming in the loch, which were cited by author Ronald Binns may have been misinterpreted. According to Binns, birds may be mistaken for a "head and neck" sighting.


Misidentifications of inanimate objects or effects


Trees

In 1933, the ''Daily Mirror'' published a picture with the caption: "This queerly-shaped tree-trunk, washed ashore at
Foyers Foyers ( gd, Foithir, meaning "shelving slope") is a village in the Highland (council area), Highland council area of Scotland, lying on the east shore of Loch Ness. The village is situated on the B852, part of the Military Road built by George Wa ...
[on Loch Ness] may, it is thought, be responsible for the reported appearance of a 'Monster. In a 1982 series of articles for ''New Scientist'',
Maurice Burton Maurice Burton (28 March 1898 – 9 September 1992) was a British zoologist Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, ...
proposed that sightings of Nessie and similar creatures may be fermenting Scots pine logs rising to the surface of the loch. A decomposing log could not initially release gases caused by decay because of its high resin level. Gas pressure would eventually rupture a resin seal at one end of the log, propelling it through the water (sometimes to the surface). According to Burton, the shape of tree logs (with their branch stumps) closely resembles descriptions of the monster.


Seiches and wakes

Loch Ness, because of its long, straight shape, is subject to unusual ripples affecting its surface. A seiche is a large oscillation of a lake, caused by water reverting to its natural level after being blown to one end of the lake (resulting in a standing wave); the Loch Ness oscillation period is 31.5 minutes.


Optical effects

Wind conditions can give a choppy, Diffuse reflection, matte appearance to the water with calm patches appearing dark from the shore (reflecting the mountains). In 1979 W. H. Lehn showed that atmospheric refraction could distort the shape and size of objects and animals, and later published a photograph of a mirage of a rock on Lake Winnipeg that resembled a head and neck.


Seismic gas

Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi has proposed geological explanations for ancient legends and myths. Piccardi noted that in the earliest recorded sighting of a creature (the ''Vita Columbae, Life of Saint Columba''), the creature's emergence was accompanied "''cum ingenti fremitu''" ("with loud roaring"). The Loch Ness is along the Great Glen Fault, and this could be a description of an earthquake. Many reports consist only of a large disturbance on the surface of the water; this could be a release of gas through the fault, although it may be mistaken for something swimming below the surface.


Folklore

In 1980 Swedish natural history, naturalist and author Bengt Sjögren wrote that present beliefs in lake monsters such as the Loch Ness Monster are associated with
kelpie A kelpie, or water kelpie, is a shape-shifting spirit inhabiting lochs in Scottish folkloreScottish folklore encompasses the folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tra ...
legends. According to Sjögren, accounts of loch monsters have changed over time; originally describing horse-like creatures, they were intended to keep children away from the loch. Sjögren wrote that the kelpie legends have developed into descriptions reflecting a modern awareness of
plesiosaur The Plesiosauria (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...

plesiosaur
s. The kelpie as a water horse in Loch Ness was mentioned in an 1879 Scottish newspaper, and inspired
Tim Dinsdale Timothy Kay Dinsdale (27 September 1924 – 14 December 1987) was a British Cryptozoology, cryptozoologist who attempted to prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. Life Dinsdale was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, the son of Felix and Dorys ( ...
's ''Project Water Horse''. A study of pre-1933 Highland folklore references to kelpies, water horses and water bulls indicated that Ness was the loch most frequently cited.


Hoaxes

A number of hoax attempts have been made, some of which were successful. Other hoaxes were revealed rather quickly by the perpetrators or exposed after diligent research. A few examples follow. In August 1933, Italian journalist Francesco Gasparini submitted what he said was the first news article on the Loch Ness Monster. In 1959, he reported sighting a "strange fish" and fabricated eyewitness accounts: "I had the inspiration to get hold of the item about the strange fish. The idea of the monster had never dawned on me, but then I noted that the strange fish would not yield a long article, and I decided to promote the imaginary being to the rank of monster without further ado." In the 1930s, big-game hunter Marmaduke Wetherell went to Loch Ness to look for the monster. Wetherell claimed to have found footprints, but when casts of the footprints were sent to scientists for analysis they turned out to be from a hippopotamus; a prankster had used a hippopotamus-foot umbrella stand. In 1972 a team of zoologists from Yorkshire's Flamingo Park Zoo, searching for the monster, discovered a large body floating in the water. The corpse, long and weighing as much as 1.5 tonnes, was described by the Press Association as having "a bear's head and a brown scaly body with clawlike fins." The creature was placed in a van to be carried away for testing, but police seized the cadaver under an act of parliament prohibiting the removal of "unidentified creatures" from Loch Ness. It was later revealed that Flamingo Park education officer John Shields shaved the whiskers and otherwise disfigured a bull elephant seal that had died the week before and dumped it in Loch Ness to dupe his colleagues. On 2 July 2003, Gerald McSorely discovered a fossil, supposedly from the creature, when he tripped and fell into the loch. After examination, it was clear that the fossil had been planted. In 2004 a Channel 5 (UK), Five TV documentary team, using cinematic special-effects experts, tried to convince people that there was something in the loch. They constructed an animatronic model of a
plesiosaur The Plesiosauria (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...

plesiosaur
, calling it "Lucy". Despite setbacks (including Lucy falling to the bottom of the loch), about 600 sightings were reported where she was placed. In 2005, two students claimed to have found a large tooth embedded in the body of a deer on the loch shore. They publicised the find, setting up a website, but expert analysis soon revealed that the "tooth" was the antler of a muntjac. The tooth was a publicity stunt to promote a horror novel by Steve Alten, ''The Loch (novel), The Loch.''


Exotic large-animal species


Plesiosaur

In 1933 it was suggested that the creature "bears a striking resemblance to the supposedly extinct Plesiosauria, plesiosaur", a long-necked aquatic reptile that became
extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...

extinct
during the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. A popular explanation at the time, the following arguments have been made against it: * In an October 2006 ''New Scientist'' article, "Why the Loch Ness Monster is no plesiosaur", Leslie Noè of the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge said: "The osteology of the neck makes it absolutely certain that the plesiosaur could not lift its head up swan-like out of the water". * The loch is only about 10,000 years old, dating to the end of the last ice age. Before then, it was frozen for about 20,000 years. * If creatures similar to plesiosaurs lived in Loch Ness they would be seen frequently, since they would have to surface several times a day to breathe. In response to these criticisms,
Tim Dinsdale Timothy Kay Dinsdale (27 September 1924 – 14 December 1987) was a British Cryptozoology, cryptozoologist who attempted to prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. Life Dinsdale was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, the son of Felix and Dorys ( ...
, Peter Scott and Roy Mackal postulate a trapped marine creature that evolved from a plesiosaur directly or by convergent evolution. Robert Rines explained that the "horns" in some sightings function as breathing tubes (or nostrils), allowing it to breathe without breaking the surface.


Long-necked giant amphibian

R. T. Gould suggested a long-necked newt; Roy Mackal examined the possibility, giving it the highest score (88 percent) on his list of possible candidates.


Invertebrate

In 1968 Fredrick William Holiday, F. W. Holiday proposed that Nessie and other lake monsters, such as Morag (lake monster), Morag, may be a large invertebrate such as a Polychaete, bristleworm; he cited the extinct ''Tullimonstrum'' as an example of the shape. According to Holiday, this explains the land sightings and the variable back shape; he likened it to the medieval description of dragons as "worms". Although this theory was considered by Mackal, he found it less convincing than eels, amphibians or plesiosaurs.R. P. Mackal (1976) ''The Monsters of Loch Ness'' pages 141–142, chapter XIV


See also

* Bear Lake monster * Beithir * Bunyip * Chessie (sea monster) * Gaasyendietha * Jiaolong * Lake Tianchi Monster * Lake Van Monster * Lariosauro * Leviathan * List of reported lake monsters * List of topics characterised as pseudoscience * Living fossils * Loch Ness Monster in popular culture * Manipogo * Memphre * Mishipeshu * Mokele-mbembe * Morag (lake monster), Morag * Nahuel Huapi Lake Monster * Plesiosauria * Sea monster * Selma (lake monster) * Stronsay Beast * Wani (dragon) * Zegrze Reservoir Monster


Footnotes


Notes


References


Bibliography

* Bauer, Henry H. ''The Enigma of Loch Ness: Making Sense of a Mystery'', Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 1986 * Binns, Ronald, ''The Loch Ness Mystery Solved'', Great Britain, Open Books, 1983, and Star Books, 1984, * Binns, Ronald, ''The Loch Ness Mystery Reloaded'', London, Zoilus Press, 2017, * Burton, Maurice, ''The Elusive Monster: An Analysis of the Evidence from Loch Ness, London, Rupert Hart-Davis, 1961 * Campbell, Steuart. ''The Loch Ness Monster – The Evidence'', Buffalo, New York, Prometheus Books, 1985. * Dinsdale, Tim, ''Loch Ness Monster'', London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1961, SBN 7100 1279 9 * Harrison, Paul ''The encyclopaedia of the Loch Ness Monster'', London, Robert Hale, 1999 * Gould, R. T., ''The Loch Ness Monster and Others'', London, Geoffrey Bles, 1934 and paperback, Lyle Stuart, 1976, * Holiday, F. W., ''The Great Orm of Loch Ness'', London, Faber & Faber, 1968, SBN 571 08473 7 * Perera, Victor, ''The Loch Ness Monster Watchers'', Santa Barbara, Capra Press, 1974. * Whyte, Constance, ''More Than a Legend: The Story of the Loch Ness Monster'', London, Hamish Hamilton, 1957


Documentary

* ''Secrets of Loch Ness''. Produced & Directed by Christopher Jeans (ITN/Channel 4/A&E Network, 1995).


External links


Nova Documentary On Nessie
* {{Authority control Loch Ness Monster, Culture in Inverness Scottish legendary creatures Tourist attractions in Highland (council area) Water monsters Cryptids