The Loch Ness Monster “Nessie”
Hundreds of people through the years claim to have seen Nessie, the mysterious creature that inhabits the deep waters of Scotland’s Loch Ness. The Loch’s amazing depth (over 800ft.) is deeper than that of the North Sea. It was not until fairly recent times that it was discovered that this lake contains a large population of Arctic char. Reports the monster go back to the missionary St. Columba in AD 565. Many of the eyewitnesses accounts, from a Benedictine priest to dedicated researchers, are chronicled in Tim Dimsdale’s book The Leviathans. These reports commonly describe a long neck, humped body and a creature of amazing speed, able to rapidly sink and hide somewhere in the murky depths or subterranean caves of this remote waterway.
Unfortunately, all of the famous pictures of Nessie are also highly disputed. The top right picture from Readers Digest’s Strange Stories, Amazing Facts (1978, p. 424) was taken by photographer Frank Searle and is widely accused of being a hoax. The most famous picture of all, the Surgeon’s photo (left), was taken in 1934. It defined Nessie for 60 years until a curious death bed confession seemed to discredit it. But zoologist Dr. Karl Shuker and other experts still holds to its authenticity based on analysis of the wave patterns (Shuker, In Search of Prehistoric Survivors, 1995, p. 87.) Below are two blurry pictures taken utilizing underwater flash photographic equipment mounted 45 ft below the ship. Obtained by the Academy of Applied Sciences, these photographs show what might be a creature’s head and neck (left) and a diamond-shaped flipper (center). Research continues and a new submarine search attempt has begun. If plesiosaurs really have survived, then the mysterious loch with its dark waters, remote location, and amazing depth would surely be a prime location for them.
Perhaps the best evidence for Nessie is sonar contacts from boats. Sonar can penetrate the loch’s dark, peaty waters like no normal camera can. In 1987 Operation Deepscan, involving 24 motor launches traversed the whole length of Loch Ness providing a nearly complete sonar scan of the Loch. “All this effort was rewarded by three strong contacts. One of these – a sonar echo from a ‘large and moving’ object 200 feet (67 m) down – remains unexplained.” (Picknett, Lynn, The Loch Ness Monster, 2001, p. 20.) In the summer of 2002 Genesis Park staff visited the Loch Ness region. A a sonar image (above right) from that April was photographed, along with the skipper of the Royal Scot. This provides continued evidence of a huge animate object deep in the Loch. While no undisputed photographic evidence has been obtained, it has been said that many a person has been hanged on less evidence than we have of a monster existing in Loch Ness!