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The Loch ness monster aka Nessie

The Loch Ness Monster (Nessiteras rhombopteryx) is a cryptid purportedly inhabiting Scotland's Loch Ness. Popular belief and interest in the animal has fluctuated over the years since it came to the world's attention in 1933. Local people, and later many around the world, have affectionately referred to the animal by the diminutive Nessie (Scottish Gaelic: Niseag) since the 1950s.


Contents

Description

Despite a few inconsistencies and variations, Nessie is usually described as a creature with two humps, a tail, a long, snake-like neck and a small head. A V-shaped was often mentioned, as well as a "gaping red mouth" and horns or antennae on the top of the creature's head. It is popularly believed to be female. The creature glides just under the surface for a time and then submerges back into the deep. The monster is reportedly 10 to 15 m (30 to 50 ft) long.


History of reported sightings

Evidence of Nessie's existence is largely anecdotal, with minimal, and much disputed, photographic material and sonar readings: there has not been any physical evidence (skeletal remains, capture of a live animal, definitive tissue samples or spoor) uncovered as of 2009. Sightings in recent times have declined from over ten per year in the 1990s to three in 2006.

Saint Columba (565)

The earliest known report is said to be found in the Life of St. Columba by Adamnan, written sometime during the 7th century. It describes how in 565 Columba saved the life of a Pict, who was being supposedly attacked by the monster. Adamnan describes the event as follows:

"...(He) raised his holy hand, while all the rest, brethren as well as strangers, were stupefied with terror, and, invoking the name of God, formed the saving sign of the cross in the air, and commanded the ferocious monster, saying, "Thou shalt go no further, nor touch the man; go back with all speed." Then at the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified, and fled more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes, though it had just got so near to Lugne, as he swam, that there was not more than the length of a spear-staff between the man and the beast. Then the brethren seeing that the monster had gone back, and that their comrade Lugne returned to them in the boat safe and sound, were struck with admiration, and gave glory to God in the blessed man. And even the barbarous heathens, who were present, were forced by the greatness of this miracle, which they had seen, to magnify the God of the Christians".

Many question the reliability of the Life of St. Columba as evidence for the Loch Ness Monster's existence, because it contains tales of other encounters between the Saint and other entities, natural and supernatural, which have no similar tradition building out from them to present-day occurrences. They also argue that the monster encounter occurred on the River Ness, not in the loch. Moreover, there are no other accounts of the Loch Ness monster attacking anyone, as the creature is normally portrayed as even being shy. Finally, they point to the necessity of miraculous events in general in writings of the lives of saints, often involving monstrous beasts unknown to science, and that this tale's setting near Loch Ness may have more to do with where Columba lived than any history of Loch Ness being inhabited by large animals, fearsome or not.

1871

Although an alleged sighting in October 1871 by a "D. Mackenzie", who supposedly described seeing something that moved slowly before moving off at a faster speed, has been repeated in several places, no original 1871 source for this report has been discovered, indicating that it may be an invention.

1933

Although sightings of the creature on land around the loch reputedly date back to the sixth century, modern interest in the monster was sparked by a 22 July 1933 sighting, 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 4 feet (1 m) high and 25 feet (8 m) long), and long, narrow neck, slightly thicker than an elephant's trunk and as long as the ten- to twelve-feet (3.0–3.7 m) width of the road; the neck had a number of undulations in it. They saw no limbs 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.

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 saw a small head attached to a long neck; the creature saw him and crossed the road back into the loch. Grant dismounted and followed it to the loch, but only saw ripples. However some believe this was only a joke by a friend of Grant.

In April 1933 Mr&Mrs Mackay were driving down the lochside from Inverness to their home in Drumnadrochit when Mrs Mackay saw a disturbance in the loch which she at first thought was ducks fighting but as she watched she saw a large beast in the middle of the loch rolling and plunging in the water causing a great disturbance.The sighting was reported to Alex Campbell, a local game keeper and a reporter for the Inverness Courier (Campbell claims to have seen the monster on no less than 18 occasions). The story appeared in the paperon 2nd of May 1933 and the Loch Ness monster as we know it today was born.

In another 1933 sighting, a young maidservant named Margaret Munro supposedly observed the creature for about 20 minutes. It was about 6:30 am on 5 June, when she spotted it on shore from about 200 yards (180 m). She described it as having elephant-like skin, a long neck, a small head and two short forelegs or flippers. The sighting ended when the creature re-entered the water.

Sporadic land sightings continued until 1963, when a poor-quality film of the creature was made from a distance of several miles.

WWII

In May 1943, CB Farrel of the Royal Observer Corps was supposedly distracted from his duties by a Nessie sighting. He was about 250 yards (230 m) away from a large-eyed, 'finned' creature, which had a twenty- to thirty-foot (6–9 m) long body, and a neck that protruded about 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) out of the water.

1950s

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 480 feet (146 m). It was detected travelling for half a mile (800 m) in this manner, before contact was lost, but then found again later.


Photographs and films

The 'Surgeon's Photograph' (1934)

The Surgeon's Photograph

One of the most iconic images of Nessie is known as the 'Surgeon's Photograph', which many formerly considered to be good evidence of the monster. Its importance lies in the fact that it was the only photographic evidence of a “head and neck” – all the others are humps or disturbances. The image was revealed as a hoax in 1994.

Supposedly taken by Mr Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London gynaecologist, it was published in the Daily Mail on 21 April 1934. The photo is often cropped to make the monster seem huge, while the original uncropped shot shows the other end of the loch and the monster in the centre. The ripples on the photo fit the size and circular pattern of small ripples as opposed to large waves when photographed up close. Analyses of the original uncropped image have fostered further doubt. A year before the hoax was revealed, the makers of Discovery Communications's documentary Loch Ness Discovered did an analysis of the uncropped image and found a white object evident in every version of the photo, implying that it was on the negative. "It seems to be the source of ripples in the water, almost as if the object was towed by something," the narrator said. "But science cannot rule out it was just a blemish on the negative," he continued. Additionally, analysis of the full photograph revealed the object to be quite small, only about 60 to 90 centimetres (two to three ft) long.

In 1979 it was claimed to be a picture of an elephant (see below). Other sceptics in the 1980s argued the photo was that of an otter or a diving bird, but after Christian Spurling's confession most agree it was what Spurling claimed - a toy submarine with a sculpted head attached. The details of how it was done have been given in a book. Essentially, it was a toy submarine with a head and neck made of plastic wood, built by Christian Spurling, the son-in-law of Marmaduke Wetherell, a big game hunter who had been publicly ridiculed in the Daily Mail, the newspaper that employed him. Spurling claimed that to get revenge, Marmaduke Wetherell committed the hoax, with the help of Chris Spurling (a sculpture specialist), his son Ian Marmaduke, who bought the material for the fake Nessie, and Maurice Chambers (an insurance agent), who would call to ask surgeon Robert Kenneth Wilson to offer the pictures to the Daily Mail. The hoax story is disputed by Henry Bauer, who claims this debunking is evidence of bias, and asks why the perpetrators did not reveal their plot earlier to embarrass the newspaper. He also claimed that plastic wood did not exist in 1934, although it was a popular DIY and modelling material in the early 1930s.

Alastair Boyd, one of the researchers who uncovered the hoax, argues the Loch Ness Monster is real, and that the hoaxed Surgeon's Photo is not cause enough to dismiss eyewitness reports and other evidence.

The Taylor film (1938)

In 1938, G.E. Taylor, a South African tourist, filmed something in the loch for three minutes on 16 mm colour film, which is now in the possession of Dr. Maurice Burton. However, Burton has refused to show the film to Loch Ness investigators (such as Peter Costello or the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau). A single frame was published in his book The Elusive Monster; before he retired. Dr. Roy P. Mackal, a biologist and cryptozoologist, declared the frame to be "positive evidence". Later, it was shown also to the National Institute of Oceanography, now known as the Southampton Oceanographic Centre. It was agreed by the experts that the film clearly showed an ordinary inanimate object floating in the Loch.

The Dinsdale film (1960)

In 1960, aeronautical engineer Tim Dinsdale filmed a hump crossing the water in a powerful wake unlike that of a boat. JARIC declared that the object was "probably animate".[29] Others were sceptical, saying that the "hump" cannot be ruled out as being a boat, and claimed that when the contrast is increased a man can be clearly seen in a boat.

In 1993 Discovery Communications made a documentary called Loch Ness Discovered that featured a digital enhancement of the Dinsdale film. A computer expert who enhanced the film noticed a shadow in the negative which was not very obvious in the positive. By enhancing and overlaying frames, he found what appeared to be the rear body, the rear flippers, and 1-2 additional humps of a plesiosaur-like body. He said that: "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". Some have countered this finding by saying that the angle of the film from the horizontal along with sun's angle on that day made shadows underwater unlikely. Believers (and some nonbelievers) claim the shape could have been undisturbed water that was only coincidentally shaped like a plesiosaur's rear end. But the same source also says that there might be a smaller object (hump or head) in front of the hump causing this.[33] Nonetheless, the enhancement did show a smaller second hump and possibly a third hump.

The Holmes video (2007)

On 26 May 2007, Gordon Holmes, a 55-year-old lab technician, captured video of what he said was "this jet black thing, about 45 feet (14 m) long, moving fairly fast in the water." Adrian Shine, a marine biologist at the Loch Ness 2000 centre in Drumnadrochit, has watched the video and plans to analyze it. Shine also described the footage as among "the best footage [he has] ever seen." Scotland broadcast the video on 29 May 2007. STV News' North Tonight aired the footage on 28 May 2007 and interviewed Holmes. In this feature, Adrian Shine of the Loch Ness Centre was also interviewed and suggested that the footage in fact showed an otter, seal or water bird.

Holmes's credibility has been doubted by an article on the Cryptomundo website, which states that he has a history of reporting sightings of cryptozoological creatures, and sells a self-published book and DVD claiming evidence for fairies. His video also has no other objects by which to discern size.


History of expeditions

Sir Edward Mountain Expedition 1934

Having read the book by Gould, Sir Edward Mountain decided to finance a proper watch in which 20 men with binoculars and cameras were positioned around the Loch from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting 13 July 1934 for five weeks. Some 21 photographs were taken, though none was considered conclusive. Captain James Fraser was employed as a supervisor, and remained by the Loch afterwards, taking cine film (which is now lost) on 15 September 1934. When viewed by zoologists and professors of natural history it was concluded that it showed a seal, possibly a grey seal.

Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau (1962-1972)

The Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau (LNPIB) was a UK-based society formed in 1962 to study Loch Ness to identify the creature known as the Loch Ness Monster or determine the causes of reports of it. It later shortened the name to Loch Ness Investigation Bureau (LNIB). It closed in 1972. The society had an annual subscription which covered administration. Its main activity was for groups of self-funded volunteers to watch the loch from various vantage points, equipped with cine cameras with telescopic lenses. Its founders included MP David James and naturalist Peter Scott. From 1965 to 1972 it had a caravan camp and main watching platform at Achnahannet, and sent observers to other locations up and down the loch. According to the 1969 Annual Report of the Bureau, it had 1,030 members, of whom 588 were from the UK. Its directors were listed as Norman Collins (Chairman), Lord Craigmyle, Prof. Roy P. Mackal, Richard Fitter, David James, MP, and Peter Scott.

The LNPIB sonar study (1967-1968)

Professor DG Tucker, chairman of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, England, volunteered his services as a sonar developer and expert at Loch Ness in 1968. The gesture was part of a larger effort helmed by the LNPIB from 1967-1968 and involved collaboration between volunteers and professionals in various fields. Tucker had chosen Loch Ness as the test site for a prototype sonar transducer with a maximum range of 800 metres (2600 ft). The device was fixed underwater at Temple Pier in Urquhart Bay and directed towards the opposite shore, effectively drawing an acoustic 'net' across the width of Ness through which no moving object could pass undetected. During the two-week trial in August, multiple animate targets six metres (20 ft) in length were identified ascending from and diving to the loch bottom. Analysis of diving profiles ruled out air-breathers because the targets never surfaced or moved shallower than midwater. A brief press release by LNPIB and associates touched on the sonar data and drew to a close the 1968 effort:

"The answer to the question of whether or not unusual phenomena exist in Loch Ness, Scotland, and if so, what their nature might be, was advanced a step forward during 1968, as a result of sonar experiments conducted by a team of scientists under the direction of D. Gordon Tucker... Professor Tucker reported that his fixed beam sonar made contact with large moving objects sometimes reaching speeds of at least 10 knots (19 km/h). He concluded that the objects are clearly animals and ruled out the possibility that they could be ordinary fish. He stated: "The high rate of ascent and descent makes it seem very unlikely that they could be fish, and fishery biologists we have consulted cannot suggest what fish they might be. It is a temptation to suppose they might be the fabulous Loch Ness monsters, now observed for the first time in their underwater activities!"

Andrew Carroll's sonar study (1969)

In 1969 Andrew Carroll, field researcher for the New York Aquarium in New York City, proposed a mobile sonar scan operation at Loch Ness. The project was funded by the Griffis foundation (named for Nixon Griffis, then a director of the aquarium). This was the tail-end (and most successful portion) of the LNPIB's 1969 effort involving submersibles with biopsy harpoons. The trawling scan, in Carroll's research launch Rangitea, took place in October. One sweep of the loch made contact with a strong, animate echo for nearly three minutes just north of Foyers. The identity of the contact remains a mystery. Later analysis determined that the intensity of the returning echo was twice as great as that expected from a 10-foot (3 m) pilot whale. Calculations placed the contact's length at 20 feet (6 m).

Submersible investigations

Earlier submersible work had yielded dismal results. Under the sponsorship of World Book Encyclopedia, pilot Dan Taylor deployed the Viperfish at Loch Ness on 1 June 1969. His dives were plagued by technical problems and produced no new data. The Deep Star III built by General Dynamics and an unnamed two-man submersible built by Westinghouse were scheduled to sail but never did. It was only when the Pisces arrived at Ness that the LNPIB obtained new data. Owned by Vickers, Ltd., the submersible had been rented out to produce a Sherlock Holmes film featuring a dummy Loch Ness Monster. When the dummy monster broke loose from the Pisces during filming and sank to the bottom of the loch, Vickers executives capitalized on the loss and 'monster fever' by allowing the sub to do a bit of exploring. During one of these excursions, the Pisces picked up a large moving object on sonar 200 feet (60 m) ahead and 50 feet (15 m) above the bottom of the loch. Slowly the pilot closed to half that distance but the echo moved rapidly out of sonar range and disappeared.

The Big Expedition of 1970

During the so-called "Big Expedition" of 1970, Roy Mackal, a biologist who taught for 20 years at the University of Chicago, devised a system of hydrophones (underwater microphones) and deployed them at intervals throughout the loch. In early August a hydrophone assembly was lowered into Urquhart Bay and anchored in 700 feet (215 m) of water. Two hydrophones were secured at depths of 300 and 600 feet (180 m). After two nights of recording, the tape (sealed inside a 44 imperial gallon (55 US gal/200 L) steel drum along with the system's other sensitive components) was retrieved and played before an excited LNPIB. "Bird-like chirps" had been recorded, and the intensity of the chirps on the deep hydrophone suggested they had been produced at greater depth. In October "knocks" and "clicks" were recorded by another hydrophone in Urquhart Bay, indicative of echolocation. These sounds were followed by a "turbulent swishing" suggestive of the tail locomotion of a large aquatic animal. The knocks, clicks and resultant swishing were believed to be the sounds of an animal echo-locating prey before moving in for the kill. The noises stopped whenever craft passed along the surface of the loch near the hydrophone -- and resumed once the craft reached a safe distance. In previous experiments, it was observed that call intensities were greatest at depths less than 100 feet (30 m). Members of the LNPIB decided to attempt communication with the animals producing the calls by playing back previously recorded calls into the water and listening via hydrophone for results, which varied greatly. At times the calling patterns or intensities changed, but sometimes there was no change at all. Mackal noted that there was no similarity between the recordings and the hundreds of known sounds produced by aquatic animals. "More specifically," he said, "competent authorities state that none of the known forms of life in the loch has the anatomical capabilities of producing such calls."

Robert Rines's studies (1972, 1975 and 2001)

An extrapolation

In the early 1970s, a group of people led by Robert H. Rines obtained some underwater photographs. Two were rather vague images, perhaps of a rhomboid flipper (though others have dismissed the image as air bubbles or a fish fin). The alleged flipper was photographed in different positions, indicating movement. On the basis of these photographs, British naturalist Peter Scott announced in 1975 that the scientific name of the monster would henceforth be Nessiteras rhombopteryx (Greek for "The Ness monster with diamond-shaped fin"). Scott intended that this would enable Nessie to be added to a British register of officially protected wildlife. Scottish politician Nicholas Fairbairn pointed out that the name was an anagram for "Monster hoax by Sir Peter S".

The underwater photos were reportedly obtained by painstakingly examining the loch depths with sonar for unusual underwater activity. A submersible camera with an affixed, high-powered light (necessary for penetrating Loch Ness' notorious murk) was deployed to record images below the surface. Several of the photographs, despite their obviously murky quality, did indeed seem to show an animal resembling a plesiosaur in various positions and lightings. One photograph appeared to show the head, neck and upper torso of a plesiosaur-like animal. A rarely publicized photograph depicted two plesiosaur-like bodies. Another photo seemed to depict a horned "gargoyle head", consistent to that of several sightings of the monster. Some believe the latter to be a tree stump found during Operation Deepscan.

A few close-ups of what is to be the creature's supposed diamond-shaped fin were taken in different positions, as though the creature was moving. But the "flipper photograph" has been highly retouched from the original image. The Museum of Hoaxes shows the original unenhanced photo. Charlie Wyckoff claimed that someone retouched the photo to superimpose the flipper, and that the original enhancement showed a much smaller flipper. No one is exactly sure how the original came to be enhanced in this way.

In 2001, the Robert Rines' Academy of Applied Science videoed a powerful V-shaped wake traversing the still water on a calm day. The AAS also videotaped an object on the floor of the loch resembling a carcass, found marine clam-shells and a fungus not normally found in fresh water lakes, which they suggest gives some connection to the sea and a possible entry for Nessie.

Discovery Loch Ness (1993)

In 1993 Discovery Communications began to research the ecology of the loch. The study did not focus entirely on the monster, but on the loch's nematodes (of which a new species was discovered) and fish. Expecting to find a small fish population, the researchers caught twenty fish in one catch, increasing previous estimates of the loch's fish population about ninefold.

Using sonar, the team encountered a kind of underwater disturbance (called a seiche) due to stored energy (such as from a wind) causing an imbalance between the loch's warmer and colder layers (known as the thermocline). While reviewing printouts of the event the next day, they found what appeared to be three sonar contacts, each followed by a powerful wake. These events were later shown on a program called Loch Ness Discovered, in conjunction with analyses and enhancements of the 1960 Dinsdale Film, the Surgeon's Photo, and the Rines Flipper Photo.

GUST expedition (2001)

A controversial expedition by the Global Underwater Search Team (GUST) was conducted with advanced sonar equipment to search for the creature. One night, a small sonar contact moved on the screen. On another occasion, a vague disturbance was captured on film. The expedition was shown on a program called Loch Ness Monster: Search for the Truth.


Theories

Many explanations have been postulated over the years to explain the claims for the existence of a Loch Ness Monster. These may be categorized: (1) unknown species of large animals; (2) mystic or paranormal; (3) misidentification of known animals; (4) inanimate objects or effects; (5) hoaxes. Note that believers in (1) or (2) accept that some or even most sightings may be due to (3), (4), and (5). In particular note that most sightings are of a large shape in the water - very few have more details.

Unknown species

In 1961 Dinsdale stated the principal existing animal theories to be (a) Giant Eel, (b) Hypothetical Long-Necked Seal (c) Hypothetical Long-Necked Newt, (d) Evolved Plesiosaur.[50] Later biologist Roy Mackal listed and reviewed these candidates: (a) Pinnipedia (seal family) (b) Sirenia (manatee family) (c) (evolved) plesiosaur (d) amphibians (e) gastropods.

Plesiosaur

Plesiosaurs, by Heinrich Harder, 1916.

In 1933 the suggestion was made that the monster "bears a striking resemblance to the supposedly-extinct plesiosaur", a long-necked aquatic reptile that is thought to have become extinct during the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. At the time, this was a popular and plausible explanation. The following arguments have been put against it.

  • Plesiosaurs were probably cold-blooded reptiles requiring warm tropical waters, while the average temperature of Loch Ness is only about 5.5 °C (42 °F). Even if the plesiosaurs were warm-blooded, they would require a food supply beyond that of Loch Ness to maintain the level of activity necessary for warm-blooded animals.
  • In October 2006, the New Scientist headlined an article "Why the Loch Ness Monster is no plesiosaur" because Leslie Noè of the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge reported, "The osteology of the neck makes it absolutely certain that the plesiosaur could not lift its head up swan-like out of the water".[54] However, this does not rule out the reports where a head and neck was not seen.
  • The loch is only about 10,000 years old, dating to the end of the last ice age. Prior to that date, the loch was frozen solid for about 20,000 years.

Thus proponents such as Tim Dinsdale, Peter Scott and Roy Mackal postulate a marine creature which has become trapped and has evolved either from a plesiosaur or to the shape of a plesiosaur by convergent evolution.

Long-necked seal

In 1934 the Sir Edward Mountain expedition analysed film taken the same year and concluded that the monster was a species of seal, which was reported in a national newspaper as "Loch Ness Riddle Solved - Official." This idea was advocated by Peter Costello for both Nessie and other reputed lake monsters. This theory would cover sightings of lake monsters on land, during which the creature supposedly waddled into the lake upon being startled, in the manner of seals.[58] Against this, it has been argued that all known species of pinnipeds are usually visible on land during daylight hours to sunbathe, something that Nessie is not known to do. However seals have been observed and photographed in Loch Ness (see below: Misidentification of known animals) and the sightings are sufficiently infrequent to allow for occasional visiting animals rather than a permanent colony.

Eel

A giant eel was actually one of the first suggestions made. Eels live in Loch Ness, and an unusually large eel would fit many sightings. This has been described as a conservative explanation.[60] Eels are not known to protrude swanlike from the water and thus would not account for the head and neck sightings. Dinsdale dismissed the proposal because eels move in a side-to-side undulation.

Various existing animals.

Paranormal

Kelpie

According to the Swedish naturalist and author Bengt Sjögren (1980), present day beliefs in lake monsters such as Nessie are associated with the old legends of kelpies. He claims that the accounts of loch monsters have changed over the ages, originally describing a horse appearance; they claimed that the "kelpie" would come out of the lake and turn into a horse. When a tired traveller would get on the back of the kelpie, it would gallop into the loch and devour its prey. This myth successfully kept children away from the loch, as was its purpose. Sjögren concludes that the kelpie legends have developed into more plausible descriptions of lake monsters, reflecting awareness of plesiosaurs. In other words, the kelpie of folklore has been transformed into a more "realistic" and "contemporary" notion of the creature. Believers counter that long-dead witnesses could only compare the creature to that with which they were familiar -- and they were not familiar with plesiosaurs. Specific mention of the kelpie as a water horse in Loch Ness was given in a Scottish newspaper in 1879, and was commemorated in the title of a book Project Water Horse by Tim Dinsdale.

Misidentification of known animals

When viewed through a telescope or binoculars with no outside reference, it is difficult to judge the size of an object in the water. Loch Ness has resident otters and pictures of them are given by Binns, which could be misinterpreted. Likewise he gives pictures of deer swimming in Loch Ness, and birds which could be taken as a "head and neck" sighting.


Optical effects

Wind conditions can give a slightly choppy and thus matt appearance to the water, with occasional calm patches appearing as dark ovals (reflecting the mountains) from the shore, which can appear as humps to visitors unfamiliar with the lake. In 1979, Lehn showed that atmospheric refraction could distort the shape and size of objects and animals,[86] and later showed a photograph of a rock mirage on Lake Winnipeg which could represent a head and neck.

Seismic gas

The Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi has proposed geological explanations for some ancient legends and myths. He pointed out that in the earliest recorded sighting of a creature, the Life of St. Columba, the creature's emergence was accompanied "cum ingenti fremitu" (with very loud roaring). The Loch Ness is located along the Great Glen Fault, and this could be a description of an earthquake. Furthermore, in many sightings, the report consists of nothing more than a large disturbance on the surface of the water. This could be caused by a release of gas from through the fault, although it could easily be mistaken for a large animal swimming just below the surface.


Art/Fiction

Literature

  • In Steven Kellogg's book The Mysterious Tadpole (1977), a boy receives a strange tadpole for his birthday which grows to immense proportions, and is eventually revealed to be an offspring of the Loch Ness Monster.
  • In the book The Boggart and the Monster (1997) by Susan Cooper the Loch Ness Monster is actually an invisible shape shifting creature that has become trapped in one form.
  • In the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001) by J.K. Rowling, the "Loch Ness Monster" is said to be the normal world's misunderstanding of what is in fact the world's largest kelpie.
  • The Loch (2005) by Steve Alten is a novel about the Loch Ness monster which incorporates many historical and scientific elements into the story line.
  • The tabloid Weekly World News often reports on the creature, claiming that it has been captured, pregnant, sold, or killed.

Music

  • The Sensational Alex Harvey Band wrote a song based on the Loch Ness Monster called "Water Beastie", which can be heard on their 1978 album Rock Drill.
  • "Synchronicity II" by The Police from their 1983 album Synchronicity, recounts the ever-deepening frustrations of a suburbanite middle-manager as, unbeknownst to him, "many miles away" the Loch Ness Monster encroaches ominously on a lakeside cottage.
  • Composer Guto Puw wrote a piece for SATB choir in 1998 called "The Loch Ness Monster's Song".
  • The Real McKenzies' 2001 album Loch'd and Loaded features a song titled "Nessie," which protests the capture and search for Nessie.
  • American progressive metal band Mastodon have a song entitled "Ol'e Nessie", named after the Loch Ness Monster, on their 2002 album Remission.
  • The Judas Priest song "Lochness" from their 2005 album Angel of Retribution is about the Loch Ness Monster.

Movies

  • The monster is treated in a rather tongue in cheek fashion in a 1961 film What a Whopper.
  • In the 1970 film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes the monster is revealed to be a miniature submarine in disguise.
  • The monster is featured in the 1981 American horror film The Loch Ness Horror, directed by Larry Buchanan.
  • In the 1987 comedy film Amazon Women on the Moon, a fictional television program similar to In Search Of.. explores the posibility that the Loch Ness Monster was responsible for the crimes of Jack the Ripper.
  • In the 1992 animated movie Freddie as F.R.O.7 Nessie befriends an enchanted frog prince called Frederick who uses powers of telekinesis to free her tail trapped under a fallen boulder. It is later revealed she has a family, who later helps Freddie defeat an enemy invasion of Britain.
  • Ted Danson starred in the 1996 film Loch Ness in which he plays an American scientist trying to disprove the existence of the Loch Ness monster.
  • The 2001 horror movie Beneath Loch Ness deals with a series of attack allegedly made by the monster.
  • In the 2004 movie Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster the characters from the Scooby-Doo telivision show travel to Scotland to solve the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster. It turns out that the monster is just a machine, though the existence of an actual one is hinted at in the ending.
  • A film starring director Werner Herzog entitled Incident at Loch Ness (2004) shows the director filming scenes around Loch Ness in an attempt to disprove the theories of the monster. His writer/producer continually tries to make a "blockbuster" film that Werner does not want. They eventually run afoul of the real Nessie with eerie results.
  • The 2007 film The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep featured a young boy who discovers and hatches an egg belonging to the legendary Celtic creature, the Water Horse. Naming it Crusoe after the fictional character, he eventually is forced to release it into the Lake Loch Ness and the world begins to notice.
  • Beyond Loch Ness(at one point named Loch Ness Terror[1]) is a 2008 horror television movie made for the Sci Fi Channel, directed by Paul Ziller.

Television

  • In the 1975 Doctor Who story Terror of the Zygons, the Loch Ness Monster is revealed to be an alien cyborg controlled by the extraterrestrial race known as the Zygons and is used in a bid for world conquest. When that scheme is foiled by the Doctor and its masters killed, the creature returns to its watery home. In the 1985 story Timelash (and somewhat contradictory to the previous adventure), the Loch Ness monster was revealed to be the Borad, a tyrant whose DNA got mixed with a dinosaur type monster. In the 2006 episode "School Reunion", Sarah Jane Smith trumps new companion Rose Tyler, who believes she has met far more interesting beings in her travels with the Doctor, by mentioning the time she encountered the Loch Ness Monster (in Terror of the Zygons), causing Rose to respond, "Seriously?!"
  • The BBC television series The Family-Ness showed the adventures of a family of "Loch Ness Monsters" and their human friends, Elspeth and Angus McTout.
  • An animated series, Happy Ness: The Secret of the Loch, featured two groups of the creatures. The friendly Nessies included Happy Ness, Brave Ness, Forgetful Ness, Silly Ness and Bright Ness (representing intelligence), while the villains included Pompous Ness (their leader), Mean Ness and Dark Ness. A trio of human characters befriended the good Nessies, assisting them in occasional conflicts with the bad Nessies. Both groups wore Loch-ets, each capable of performing a "Ness Bless", making its target feel the same, temporarily, as the caster. For example, in one episode Forgetful Ness cast a Ness Bless on Pompous Ness, and she forgot all about who she was and what she was trying to do. The Ness Bless wears off after a time. Smaller (and less potent) Ness Bless-ettes can also be created and carried to another location to use, rather than being used directly from the Loch-ets. In addition, the Loch-ets protect the wearer from prying eyes, rendering them invisible to all but other Nessies and their trusted human friends. Pompous Ness tries on many occasions to steal the other Loch-ets from their owners, but always fails.
  • There was a British spoof of the documentary style titled Loch Ness: Real or Pretend?. One of the scenes had tourists standing by the castle looking at the lake. When the monster did not appear, the film crew handed out 'special glasses' which had silhouettes of the monster on the lenses. The tourists immediately "saw" the monster, pointing at it in whatever direction they were looking, including one tourist looking at the sky shouting "It's flying! It's flying!"
  • In the episode entitled The Succubus from animated series South Park, Chef's father repeatedly talks about interactions with the Loch Ness Monster, and how the monster always requested "tree fiddy" ($3.50) from his and his wife.
  • In the TV series How I Met Your Mother one of the main characters Marshall has a continuing obsession with the Loch Ness monster. He in fact believes that Nessie is a 'gentle creature' and derides the fact that the it is referred to as a 'monster'. He also plans to go to Scotland for his honeymoon so that he could search for Nessie.
  • Dojo the dragon from Xiaolin Showdown is related to Nessie, and hid the Shen-Gon-Wu called the Tangle Web Comb in the loch during one of his visits.
  • In an episode of the Simpsons, C. Montgomery Burns drains Loch Ness and captures Nessie.

Games

  • In the Super Nintendo videogame EarthBound, there exists Tessie, a friendly purple parody of the Loch Ness monster, Nessie.
  • In the PlayStation Portable game Lemmings, there is a level named Hunt the Nessie! Where stones are arranged in a way to look like Nessie.
  • In SimCity 2000 Nessie makes rare appearances in large bodies of water.
  • In Megaman Star Force 2 there is a boss at Loch Mess named Messie.


See also


Sources

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