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Monday, 25-Jun-2007 10:40 Email | Share | Bookmark
The Legend of Nessie (Loch Ness Monster) of Loch Ness, Scotland


The Loch Ness Monster, also reffered to as "Nessie", is a creature or group of creatures said to live in Loch Ness, a deep freshwater lake (known in Scotland as a loch) near the city of Inverness. Nessie is generally considered a lake monster. Along with Bigfoot and Yeti, Nessie is perhaps the best-known mystery in cryptozoology. "Nessie" was born by a journalist in a newspaper article in 1933 after the first modern sighting of a monster in loch ness was reported. The oldest sighting on record dates back to AD 565 when St Columba was said to have seen a large monster in the water. Since the first newspaper report thousands of sightings have been reported on the loch and on land, many report the long neck and head emerging from the loch, others see moving shapes and objects on the loch surface or a large beast crossing the road in front of them.

Urquhart Castle


Description of Nessie

Plesiosaurs, by Heinrich Harder, 1916.The most common eyewitness description of Nessie, is that of a plesiosaur, a long-necked aquatic reptile that became extinct during the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. Supporters of the plesiosaur theory cite the survival of a fish called the coelacanth, which supposedly went extinct along with the plesiosaur but was rediscovered off the coast of Madagascar in 1938.

On the other hand, mainstream science does offer plausible reasons why such an animal could not exist in Loch Ness. Apart from its apparent extinction, the plesiosaur was probably a cold-blooded reptile 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.

Moreover, there is no substantive evidence in the bone structure of fossilised plesiosaurs that indicate sonar capability (similar to that possessed by dolphins and whales). Such a system would be necessary in the loch, as visibility is limited to less than 15 feet due to a high peat concentration in the loch. Consequently, sunlight does not deeply penetrate the water, limiting the amount of photosynthetic algae, thereby reducing the number of plankton and fish in the food chain. Fossil evidence indicates plesiosaurs were sight hunters; it is unlikely that the loch's peat-stained water would allow such animals to hunt the limited food supply at sufficient levels.

Picture not taken from Loch Ness, but does this prove that Plesiosaurs still living in this era?

One of the most iconic images of Nessie is known as the 'Surgeon's Photograph' which many consider to be good evidence of the monster, although doubts about the photograph's authenticity were expressed from the beginning. The image was revealed as a hoax in the 1990s. The photographer, a gynecologist named Robert Kenneth Wilson, never claimed it to be a picture of the monster. He merely claimed to have photographed "something in the water". 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.

In 1975 the biggest breakthrough for Dr. Rines (President of the Academy of Applied Science, Boston, Massechusetts) and his team came when a set of close-up underwater photographs were taken which when released in December of that year caused a worldwide sensation. The pictures which show the head and body of one of the creatures in remarkable detail, were taken with the Edgerton strobe camera during the expedition the previous June.

Raytheon sonar set up by Dr. Rines and crew detected in its sound beam the presence of large moving objects from which shoals of fish were taking evasive action. It tracked one object as it passed about 20ft from the underwater camera, which was at a depth of 45ft and was set to flash every 15 seconds. The picture obtained, although indistinct due to the murkiness of the water, show the offside hind quarter, flipper and part of the tail of a large animal with a rough textured skin of a greeny-brown colour. Experts estimated the flipper to be from 6 to 8 ft in length. The New England Aquarium stated that the flipper-like structure certainly did not appear to resemble the structure of any known mammilian creature.

This photo, taken in 1972, seems to show the Loch Ness Monster moving toward the right with its hump protruding well above the surface and its mouth open.

Other captured images of Loch Ness Monster...

For this reason, many Nessie fans suggest she's a dinosaur that's somehow still alive.

Picture of flipper and part of the tail of a Nessie captured by Dr. Rines and his crew (fined image).

Pictured by Finn Olav and Rune during their visit to Loch Ness in their sailing around the world project in 2000.

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