Published on Thursday, 30 May 2013 00:00
The legend of the Loch Ness Monster originated from Loch Ness, a long, narrow lake in the Scottish Highlands.
The water in Loch Ness is dark and murky due to the high levels of peat in the surrounding soil. By volume, it is the largest loch in Scotland and the second largest by surface area. It also ranks second as the deepest loch, at an astonishing 230 meters at its deepest point. Scottish legends particularly contain sea monsters, and the eerie tinge of the lake with consideration to its immense depth and breadth would naturally cause a person’s imagination to run amok.
The aquatic monster which the world so affectionately refers to as ‘Nessie’ was apparently first seen in 565 A.D. by Saint Columba. Saint Columba was an Irish missionary eminent for spreading the word of God in Scotland. While travelling to the highlands, Saint Columba came across a group of men digging a grave for a man who had been bitten by the Loch Ness monster. You would think that given the supposed size of the monster, the man who got bitten would probably have nothing much left of him to bury except for maybe a couple of fingers or other dangly appendages (if you know what I mean *wink*). Saint Columba instructed a man to swim across the river, for reasons I won’t be able to fathom. And also for other reasons I can’t comprehend, the man did as he was told even though his friend just got bitten to death in the lake. When the man dived into the lake, Nessie rose up big and terrifying from the murky depths in a cascade of water.
By the power of Grayskull, By the power of God, Saint Columba in all his piousness, banished the creature to the bottom of the lake where it should reside forever unless it wishes to invoke God’s wrath.
Well apparently Nessie or one of her offspring is a hardcore bad-ass who does not give too much thought to the mighty hand of God, because she was sighted again over 1300 years later in 1933. George Spicer was out cruising in his car with his wife when they encountered a massive creature walking in front of their car near the loch. They claimed that the creature had a long neck and a huge body, but did not manage to see any limbs before it plunged into the lake. A few weeks later, a motorcyclist reported to have seen the monster, he described it to be a type of plesiosaur – a prehistoric marine creature with a long neck and four flippers. It fitted Spicer’s description of Nessie. Subsequently, with the construction of a road along the loch’s coast, more reports of Nessie sightings rolled in.
Hugh Gray’s Photograph
The first photo taken of the Loch Ness Monster was by Hugh Gray in November 1933. He alleged to have seen Nessie swimming at the surface of the water and managed to take a few snapshots before the creature vanished into the lake. Only one photo turned out when developed, the picture shows a creature with a long neck and a thick body with four lumps around it that appear to be fins. However, monster critics deduced that the photo is the silhouette of a dog swimming with a stick in its mouth, which is actually kind of cute and not very frightening at all. If you ask me, it doesn’t look like anything really, maybe a piece of turd floating along perhaps?
In that same year, Marmaduke Wetherell, a famous big game hunter was hired by the Daily Mail to investigate the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. He found large animal tracks on the edge of the lake and made moulds of it only to have them examined by the Natural History Museum who said that the tracks were probably made by a hippo’s feet. Wetherell was promptly fired for failing to find any substantial evidence.
The Surgeon’s Photograph
The most famous photo of the Loch Ness Monster was published in the Daily Mail on April 21, 1934. Captured by Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson who did not wish to have his name associated with the photo so it got captioned as the ‘Surgeon’s Photograph’. The photograph depicts a creature with a long neck floating in rippling water. Scientists who have studied the photograph deemed it as a hoax, and said that the shape of the creature could be everything from an elephant to a diving bird.
As it turns out, the Surgeon’s Photograph was indeed a fake. Ooo, shocker. In 1994, Wetherell’s stepson confessed to being involved with creating a model of Nessie’s neck and head and sticking it onto a toy submarine. Wetherell and his stepson then proceeded to take photos of it in the water and later handed them over to Dr. Wilson to distribute the photos as being a doctor, he was a man of science and had a higher chance to be trusted. Wetherell was said to have come up with the hoax because he was humiliated by his previous attempt at locating the monster.
An abundance of eyewitness accounts, photos and videos have since emerged over time, many claiming to be significant proofs of Nessie’s existence.
In 1954, the first sonar contact was made on a fishing boat, Rival III. A large object was seen 146 meters underneath the boat, following the boat’s speed.
In 2011, sonar contact was made again by Marcus Atkinson who spotted an object about 1.5 meters long, 23 meters below the surface. That object also kept pace with his boat for 2 minutes before it disappeared. The sonar image was examined by scientists and they passed it off as an algae bloom. However, Nessie believers stood by the ‘evidence’ and explained that algae will not be able to grow 23 meters deep as it needed sunlight, and as the waters are Loch Ness is murky, sunlight would not be able to reach so far down. But really, the first thing you think of when you see something swimming below that measures 1.5 meters is that it could be Nessie? At a mere length of 1.5 meters, it could just be a giant fish.
George Edwards’ Photograph
George Edwards took the most recent photograph of the legendary monster in November 2011. Many monster researchers are dubious of its authenticity, claiming that the hump rising from the water in the picture could actually be a fibreglass model used in filming a National Geopgraphic documentary which Edwards had a role in.
With all the myths going around about the elusive Nessie that went back as far as 1448 years ago, Loch Ness has drawn a lot of curious tourists to its location. While they might not be able to see a prehistoric water creature, they might at least get the opportunity to fake a Nessie appearance.