The Loch Ness Monster is one of if not the worlds most famous suspected and yet totally unscientifically proven creatures along with the Yeti in the Himalayas and its North American cousin, Big Foot.
Though it has been seen for 1,500 years and in the latter years of the 20th Century, several times a year, fans of Nessie have had to put up with the scarce sightings and even the possibility that the Loch Ness Monster has died.
Happily for all of us that like to have a little bit of the unexplained left in the world, Nessie has recently re-appeared a number of times in the last year or so and has both been allegedly spotted on Apple Maps and been detected on sonar by a large pleasure vessel.
Loch Ness lies along the Great Glen fault which is a geological fault which crosses the British Isles in northern Scotland and is very close to the North Sea from which it is theorised that a one or more Plesiosaur swam in before the connection with the sea was lost.
Loch Ness is certainly big enough to hide a monster being over 22 miles long and nearly 2 wide and having a depth of nearly 750 feet and is almost surrounded by forested mountains which can give it a foreboding feeling.
Whilst we might think that Nessie is a series of scams and fables all for the local tourist economy, the Loch Ness Monster has a long history. As long ago as the 6th century, the monk Saint Columba had an encounter with the monster when he came across some locals who burying a man. In the 7th century book ‘The Life of St Columba it is written the the locals ‘explained that the man had been swimming the river when he was attacked by a “water beast” that had mauled him and dragged him under. They tried to rescue him in a boat, but were able only to drag up his corpse. Hearing this, Columba stunned the Picts by sending his follower Luigne moccu Min to swim across the river. The beast came after him, but Columba made the sign of the Cross and commanded: “Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once.”The beast immediately halted as if it had been “pulled back with ropes” and fled in terror, and both Columba’s men and the pagan Picts praised God for the miracle.
Of course this isn’t that an entirely convincing argument as in these days the world was populated with sea monsters, monsters in caves and those in dark forests and Loch Ness has the water, forests and most likely caves too.
The Loch Ness Monster continued to appear throughout the centuries but it was in 1933 when it really attained the world wide number 1 monster status when 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 1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) high and 7.6 metres (25 ft) long), and long, narrow neck, slightly thicker than an elephant’s trunk and as long as the 10–12-foot (3–4 m) width of the road; the neck had undulations in it. They saw no limbs, possibly because of a dip in the road obscuring the animal’s lower portion. It lurched across the road towards the loch 20 yards (20 m) away, leaving only a trail of broken undergrowth in its wake.
Sightings of the monster increased following the building of a road along the loch in early 1933, bringing both workmen and tourists to the formerly isolated area.
In August 1933 a motorcyclist named Arthur Grant claimed to have nearly hit the creature while approaching Abriachan on the north-eastern shore, at about 1 am on a moonlit night. Grant claimed that he saw a small head attached to a long neck, and that the creature saw him and crossed the road back into the loch. A veterinary student, he described it as a hybrid between a seal and a plesiosaur. Grant said he dismounted and followed it to the loch, but only saw ripples. Some believe this story was intended as a humorous explanation of a motorcycle accident.
A few years later a policeman had a close encounter on the Loch but this time with a bunch of well armed monster hunters who like so many others when they go looking for it, find nothing. However those who don’t go looking for Nessie sometimes find it as was the case for C. B. Farrel of the Royal Observer Corps who in May 1943 was supposedly distracted from his duties by a Nessie sighting. He claimed to have been about 230 metres (750 ft) away from a large-eyed, ‘finned’ creature, which had a 6-to-9-metre (20 to 30 ft) long body, and a neck that protruded about 1.2–1.5 metres (3 ft 11 in–4 ft 11 in) out of the water.
Sporadic land sightings continued until 1963, when film of the creature was shot in the loch from a distance of 4 kilometres. Because of the distance at which it was shot, it has been described as poor quality.
In August 1968, a team from the Department of Electronic Engineering of Birmingham University mounted a sonar system on one of the piers on the loch. The scan was directed at the southeast corner and, the cathode display was photographed every 10 seconds by a movie camera but for some days, nothing of interest was seen. Then, at 4:30 on the afternoon of August 28th, there occurred a remarkable 13-minute sequence. ‘A large object rose rapidly from the floor of the loch at a range of 0.8 kilometer, its speed of ascent being about 100 feet a minute, it was rising obliquely away from the sonar source at a velocity of about 6.5 knots, and was soon 1 kilometer away. Its upward movement had now slowed to about 60 feet a minute. This object then changed direction to move toward the pier at about 9 knots, keeping constant depth. Finally, it plunged to the bottom at about 100 feet a minute before rising again at 0.6 kilometer range, when it apparently moved out of the sonar beam and was lost to record. Meanwhile, a second large object had been detected at 0.5 kilometer from the pier which finally dived at the astonishing velocity of 450 feet a minute. Both objects remained many feet below the surface.
Many have taken supposedly real and fake photos of Nessie and this one below by Dr. Wilson in 1934 shook the world! Only relatively recently has been proven to be a fake though many of those who worked to prove this particular photo was a fake do believe that the Loch Ness Monster is real.
In December 1954 a strange sonar contact was made by the fishing boat Rival III. The vessel’s crew observed sonar readings of a large object keeping pace with the boat at a depth of 146 metres (479 ft). It was detected travelling for 800 m (2,600 ft) in this manner, before contact was lost, but then found again later.Many sonar attempts had been made previously, but most were either inconclusive or negative.
Since the 1960’s Nessie has been caught more than once on video but the films are nearly always inconclusive as the vast size of the Loch make it hard to get a scale of anything out to water and often the sightings are reported by people supposedly driving or walking along the shores of the water leaving them only seconds to find their camera and take some shaky footage.
A number of scientific studies have taken place using sonar and other scientific equipment and many of these have found large objects deep under water, at least one of which was estimated to be twice as big as a whale. Hydrophones have also been used that have detected noises and sounds that are unlike any recorded life in and around the large body of water.
If monsters are not for you then Nessie can be explained away as giant eels and sturgeon fish, wakes from birds and mammals, rotting logs and a natural boat like wake blown across the loch every half an hour.
Nessie is not alone as at least 2 more lakes in Scotland have their own monster such as Morag in Loch Morar. Wales also has a monster in its lake Llangorse called Gorsey and there are several in The Lake District in northern England including the Eachy who have been spotted in Windermere and Bassenthwaite Lake and even photographed in the 1970’s. Scientists have studied there but did not find the 13-foot-long (4.0 m), triple-humped, python-headed creature and has even emerged from the waters covered in slime.