Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness Monster

Overview
The Loch Ness Monster is a cryptid
Cryptid
In cryptozoology and sometimes in cryptobotany, a cryptid is a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but is unrecognized by scientific consensus and often regarded as highly unlikely. Famous examples include the Yeti in the Himalayas and the Loch Ness Monster in...

 that is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness
Loch Ness
Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately southwest of Inverness. Its surface is above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for the alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie"...

 in the Scottish Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

. It is similar to other supposed lake monster
Lake monster
A lake monster or loch monster is a purported form of fresh-water-dwelling megafauna appearing in mythology, rumor, or local folklore, but whose existence lacks scientific support. A well known example is the Loch Ness Monster. Lake monsters' depictions are often similar to some sea monsters...

s in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next.

Popular interest and belief in the animal has varied since it was brought to the world's attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with minimal and much-disputed photographic material and sonar
Sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

 readings.
The most common speculation among believers is that the creature represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaur
Plesiosaur
Plesiosauroidea is an extinct clade of carnivorous plesiosaur marine reptiles. Plesiosauroids, are known from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods...

s.
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Encyclopedia
The Loch Ness Monster is a cryptid
Cryptid
In cryptozoology and sometimes in cryptobotany, a cryptid is a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but is unrecognized by scientific consensus and often regarded as highly unlikely. Famous examples include the Yeti in the Himalayas and the Loch Ness Monster in...

 that is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness
Loch Ness
Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately southwest of Inverness. Its surface is above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for the alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie"...

 in the Scottish Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

. It is similar to other supposed lake monster
Lake monster
A lake monster or loch monster is a purported form of fresh-water-dwelling megafauna appearing in mythology, rumor, or local folklore, but whose existence lacks scientific support. A well known example is the Loch Ness Monster. Lake monsters' depictions are often similar to some sea monsters...

s in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next.

Popular interest and belief in the animal has varied since it was brought to the world's attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with minimal and much-disputed photographic material and sonar
Sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

 readings.
The most common speculation among believers is that the creature represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaur
Plesiosaur
Plesiosauroidea is an extinct clade of carnivorous plesiosaur marine reptiles. Plesiosauroids, are known from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods...

s. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a modern-day myth, and explains sightings as a mix of hoax
Hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

es and wishful thinking
Wishful thinking
Wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence, rationality or reality...

. Despite this, it remains one of the most famous examples of cryptozoology
Cryptozoology
Cryptozoology refers to the search for animals whose existence has not been proven...

. The legendary monster has been affectionately referred to by the nickname Nessie since the 1950s.

Origins



The term "monster" was reportedly applied for the first time to the creature on 2 May 1933 by Alex Campbell, the water bailiff
Water bailiff
A water bailiff is a law enforcement officer responsible for the policing of bodies of water, such as a river, lake or coast. The position has existed in many jurisdictions throughout history.-Scotland:...

 for Loch Ness
Loch Ness
Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately southwest of Inverness. Its surface is above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for the alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie"...

 and a part-time journalist, in a report in the Inverness Courier. On 4 August 1933, the Courier published as a full news item the claim of a London man, George Spicer, that a few weeks earlier while motoring around the Loch, he and his wife had seen "the nearest approach to a dragon or pre-historic animal that I have ever seen in my life", trundling across the road toward the Loch carrying "an animal" in its mouth. Other letters began appearing in the Courier, often anonymously, with claims of land or water sightings, either on the writer's part or on the parts of family, acquaintances or stories they remembered being told. These stories soon reached the national (and later the international) press, which described a "monster fish", "sea serpent", or "dragon", eventually settling on "Loch Ness Monster". On 6 December 1933 the first purported photograph of the monster, taken by Hugh Gray, was published in The Daily Express
Daily Express
The Daily Express switched from broadsheet to tabloid in 1977 and was bought by the construction company Trafalgar House in the same year. Its publishing company, Beaverbrook Newspapers, was renamed Express Newspapers...

, and shortly after the creature received official notice when the Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State for Scotland
The Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Scotland. He heads the Scotland Office , a government department based in London and Edinburgh. The post was created soon after the Union of the Crowns, but was...

 ordered the police to prevent any attacks on it. In 1934, interest was further sparked by what is known as The Surgeon's Photograph. In the same year R. T. Gould published a book, the first of many that describe the author's personal investigation and collected record of additional reports pre-dating the summer of 1933. Other authors have claimed that sightings of the monster go as far back as the 6th century (seen below).

Saint Columba (6th century)


The earliest report of a monster associated with the vicinity of Loch Ness appears in the Life of St. Columba by Adomnán, written in the 7th century. According to Adomnán, writing about a century after the events he described, the Irish monk Saint Columba
Saint Columba
-Saints:* Columba , Irish Christian saint who evangelized Scotland* Columba the Virgin, also known as Saint Columba of Cornwall* Columba of Sens* Columba of Spain* Columba of Terryglass* Sancta Columba -Schools:...

 was staying in the land of the Picts
Picts
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval people living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland. There is an association with the distribution of brochs, place names beginning 'Pit-', for instance Pitlochry, and Pictish stones. They are recorded from before the Roman conquest...

 with his companions when he came across the locals burying a man by the River Ness
River Ness
The River Ness is a river flowing from Loch Ness in Scotland, north to Inverness and the Moray Firth. On a hill above the river in Inverness stands Inverness Castle. The river is overlooked by the Eden Court Theatre, one of the largest theatres in Scotland. St. Andrews Cathedral also lies along...

. They 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
Sign of the cross
The Sign of the Cross , or crossing oneself, is a ritual hand motion made by members of many branches of Christianity, often accompanied by spoken or mental recitation of a trinitarian formula....

 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.

Believers in the Loch Ness Monster often point to this story, which notably takes place on the River Ness rather than the loch itself, as evidence for the creature's existence as early as the 6th century. However, sceptics question the narrative's reliability, noting that water-beast stories were extremely common in medieval saints' Lives; as such, Adomnán's tale is likely a recycling of a common motif attached to a local landmark. According to the sceptics, Adomnán's story may be independent of the modern Loch Ness Monster legend entirely, only becoming attached to it in retrospect by believers seeking to bolster their claims. Additionally, in an article for Cryptozoology, A. C. Thomas
Charles Thomas (historian)
Antony Charles Thomas, CBE, FSA is a British historian and archaeologist who was Professor of Cornish Studies at Exeter University, and the first Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies, from 1971 until his retirement in 1991...

 notes that even if there were some truth to the story, it could be explained rationally as an encounter with a walrus
Walrus
The walrus is a large flippered marine mammal with a discontinuous circumpolar distribution in the Arctic Ocean and sub-Arctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. The walrus is the only living species in the Odobenidae family and Odobenus genus. It is subdivided into three subspecies: the Atlantic...

 or similar creature that had swum up the river. R. Binns acknowledges that this account is the most serious of various alleged early sighting of the monster, but argues that all other claims of monster sightings prior to 1933 are highly dubious and do not prove that there was a tradition of the monster before this date.

Spicers (1933)


Modern interest in the monster was sparked by the 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 10 foot width of the road; the neck had a number of 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 (18.3 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 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. However some believe this story was intended as a humorous explanation of a motorcycle accident.

Sporadic land sightings continued until 1963, when film of the creature was shot in the loch from a distance of 4 Kilometers. Because of the distance it was shot at it has been described as poor quality.

Chief Constable William Fraser (1938)


In 1938, Inverness Shire Chief Constable William Fraser penned a letter stating that it was beyond doubt the monster existed. His letter expressed concern regarding a hunting party that had arrived armed with a specially-made harpoon gun and were determined to catch the monster "dead or alive". He believed his power to protect the monster from the hunters was "very doubtful". The letter was released by the National Archives of Scotland on 27 April 2010.

C.B. Farrel (1943)


In May 1943, C. B. Farrel of the Royal Observer Corps
Royal Observer Corps
The Royal Observer Corps was a civil defence organisation operating in the United Kingdom between 29 October 1925 and 31 December 1995, when the Corps' civilian volunteers were stood down....

 was supposedly distracted from his duties by a Nessie sighting. He claimed to have been about 250 yards (228.6 m) away from a large-eyed, 'finned' creature, which had a 20 foot long body, and a neck that protruded about 4–5 ft (1.2–1.5 ) out of the water.

Sonar contact (1954)


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. Many sonar attempts had been made previously, but most were either inconclusive or negative.

"Surgeon's Photograph" (1934)



One of the most iconic images of Nessie is known as the "Surgeon's Photograph". Its importance lies in the fact that it was the first photo and only photographic evidence of a “head and neck” – all the others are humps or disturbances. Dr. Wilson claimed he was looking at the loch when he saw the monster, so grabbed his camera and snapped five photos. After the film was developed, only two exposures were clear. The first photo (the more publicised one) shows what was claimed to be a small head and back. The second one, a blurry image, attracted little publicity because it was difficult to interpret what was depicted. The image was originally revealed as a fake in The Sunday Telegraph dated 7 December 1975. Supposedly taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London gynaecologist
Gynaecology
Gynaecology or gynecology is the medical practice dealing with the health of the female reproductive system . Literally, outside medicine, it means "the science of women"...

, it was published in the Daily Mail
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

 on 21 April 1934. Wilson's refusal to have his name associated with the photograph led to it being called "Surgeon's Photograph". The strangely small ripples on the photo fit the size and of circular pattern of small ripples as opposed to large waves when photographed up close. Analysis of the original uncropped image fostered further doubt. A year before the hoax was revealed, the makers of Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications, Inc. is an American global media and entertainment company. The company started as a single channel in 1985, The Discovery Channel. Today, DCI has global operations offering 28 network entertainment brands on more than 100 channels in more than 180 countries in 39...

's documentary Loch Ness Discovered analysed the uncropped image and found a white object was visible in every version of the photo, implying 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 was quite small, only about 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 ft) long.

In 1979 it was claimed to be a picture of an elephant
Elephant
Elephants are large land mammals in two extant genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta, with the third genus Mammuthus extinct...

 (see below). Other sceptics in the 1980s argued the photo was that of an otter
Otter
The Otters are twelve species of semi-aquatic mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals....

 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. Details of how the photo was accomplished were published in the 1999 book, Nessie – the Surgeon’s Photograph Exposed, that contains a facsimile of the 1975 article in The Sunday Telegraph. Essentially, it was a toy submarine bought from Woolworths
Woolworths Group
Woolworths Group plc was a listed British company that owned the high-street retail chain, Woolworths, as well as other brands such as the entertainment distributor Entertainment UK and book and resource distributor Bertram Books...

 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
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

, 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
Henry Bauer
Henry H. Bauer is an emeritus professor of chemistry and science studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University . He is the author of several books and articles on such topics as the Loch Ness Monster and Immanuel Velikovsky, and is an AIDS denialist...

, 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 (when actually it was a popular DIY and modelling material in the early 1930s).

Tim Dinsdale also disputes the claim of this photograph as a hoax in his book Loch Ness Monster. He claims that he studied the photograph so often and from many different angles that he was able to discern objects that prove the photograph is not a hoax. He states "upon really close examination, there are certain rather obscure features in the picture which have a profound significance." Two of the obscure features are: a solid object breaking the surface to the right of the neck, and to the left and behind the neck there is another mark of some sort, Dinsdale states. After making this claim Dinsdale discusses that these objects are too hard to tell what they are, but that just proves that they could be part of the monster. According to Dinsdale either the objects are part of a very subtle fake or genuinely part of the monster. Another object that he points out to prove the photograph is not a fake is the vague smaller ripples that are behind the neck, which seem to have been caused after the neck broke the surface. Dinsdale emphatically states that this is a part of the animal underwater behind the neck. All of his facts prove that it is possible that this photograph is not a fake, at least according to Tim Dinsdale.

Alastair Boyd, one of the researchers who uncovered the hoax, argues the Loch Ness Monster is real, and that although the famous photo was hoaxed, that does not mean that all the photos, eyewitness reports, and footage of the monster were as well. He asserts that he too had a sighting and also argues that the hoaxed photo is not a good reason to dismiss eyewitness reports and other evidence.

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 was in the possession of Maurice Burton
Maurice Burton
Maurice Burton was a British zoologist and popular science author, who produced many natural history encyclopedias and books including a skeptical treatment of the Loch Ness Monster.-Life:...

. However, Burton refused to show the film to Loch Ness investigators (such as Peter Costello
Peter Costello (author)
Peter Costello is a Dublin-born author, and biographer, an eminent cultural historian and scholar of James Joyce. He attended the University of Michigan. He has written biographies of James Joyce, Flann O'Brien and Jules Verne. He has also written books about Clongowes Wood College, Clerys, and...

 or the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau). A single frame was published in his book The Elusive Monster; before he retired. Roy P. Mackal
Roy Mackal
Roy P. Mackal is a retired University of Chicago biologist best known to the general public for his interest in the Loch Ness Monster and other cryptozoological entities.-Academic background:...

, a biologist and cryptozoologist, declared the frame was "positive evidence". Later, it was shown also to the National Institute of Oceanography, now known as the National Oceanography Centre
National Oceanography Centre
- The National Oceanography Centre :The National Oceanography Centre is a marine science research and technology institution based on two sites in Southampton and Liverpool, United Kingdom...

, Southampton.

Dinsdale film (1960)


In 1960, aeronautical engineer Tim Dinsdale
Tim Dinsdale
Timothy Dinsdale, ARAeS was famous as a seeker of the Loch Ness Monster. He attended King’s School, Worcester, served in the Royal Air Force and worked as an aeronautical engineer. He was survived by his wife, Wendy Dinsdale and four children.Tim believed Nessie was real, and he was eager to...

 filmed a hump crossing the water in a powerful wake unlike that of a boat. JARIC
JARIC
JARIC - The National Imagery Exploitation Centre, part of the Intelligence Collection Group within United Kingdom Defence Intelligence, is an imagery analysis and intelligence centre based at RAF Brampton near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, and historically known as MI4, by which name it is still...

 declared that the object was "probably animate". 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
Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications, Inc. is an American global media and entertainment company. The company started as a single channel in 1985, The Discovery Channel. Today, DCI has global operations offering 28 network entertainment brands on more than 100 channels in more than 180 countries in 39...

 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 that 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 non-believers) 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. Nonetheless, the enhancement did show a smaller second hump and possibly a third hump.

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 analyse it. Shine also described the footage as among "the best footage [he has] ever seen." BBC 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
Cryptozoology
Cryptozoology refers to the search for animals whose existence has not been proven...

 creatures, and sells a self-published book and DVD claiming evidence for fairies
Fairy
A fairy is a type of mythical being or legendary creature, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural or preternatural.Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term...

. His video also has no other objects for size comparison. The Monster Quest
Monster Quest
MonsterQuest is an American television series that originally aired from October 31, 2007 to March 24, 2010 on the History channel...

 team investigated this video as well in their TV episode "Death of Loch Ness", where they examine evidence that Nessie has died, as well as other photos. In this documentary, Holmes asserts he spotted two creatures. A CNN news report showed the footage and an interview with Gordon Holmes.

Sir Edward Mountain Expedition (1934)


Having read the book by Gould, Edward Mountain decided to finance a proper watch. Twenty men with binoculars and cameras positioned themselves around the Loch from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., for five weeks starting 13 July 1934. 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 by Norman Collins
Norman Collins
Norman Collins was a British writer, and later a radio and television executive, who became one of the major figures behind the establishment of the Independent Television network in the UK...

, R. S. R. Fitter, David James, MP
David James (politician)
David Pelham James, MBE, DSC was a British Conservative Party politician, author and adventurer. Eldest son of Sir Archibald James and Bridget James Miller...

, Peter Scott
Peter Scott
Sir Peter Markham Scott, CH, CBE, DSC and Bar, MID, FRS, FZS, was a British ornithologist, conservationist, painter, naval officer and sportsman....

 and Constance Whyte "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 charge, 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. From 1965 to 1972 it had a caravan camp and main watching platform at Achnahannet
Achnahannet, Inverness district
Achnahannet is a small hamlet and farm estate located near the northwest shore of Loch Ness in Invernesshire, Highland, Scotland. It lies south of Drumnadrochit along the A82 road, just southwest of Lenie and Urquhart Castle.-Loch Ness monster:...

, 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.

LNPIB sonar study (1967–1968)


Professor D. Gordon Tucker, chairman of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

, England, volunteered his services as a sonar
Sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

 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 m (2,624.7 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 6 m (19.7 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:

Andrew Carroll's sonar study (1969)


In 1969 Andrew Carroll, field researcher for the New York Aquarium
New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, having opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan in 1896. Since 1957, it has been located on the boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The aquarium is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society as...

 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 submersible
Submersible
A submersible is a small vehicle designed to operate underwater. The term submersible is often used to differentiate from other underwater vehicles known as submarines, in that a submarine is a fully autonomous craft, capable of renewing its own power and breathing air, whereas a submersible is...

s with biopsy
Biopsy
A biopsy is a medical test involving sampling of cells or tissues for examination. It is the medical removal of tissue from a living subject to determine the presence or extent of a disease. The tissue is generally examined under a microscope by a pathologist, and can also be analyzed chemically...

 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 feet (3 m) pilot whale
Pilot whale
Pilot whales are cetaceans belonging to the genus Globicephala. There are two extant species, the long-finned pilot whale and the short-finned pilot whale . The two are not readily distinguished at sea and analysis of the skulls is the best way to tell the difference between them...

. On returning to the University of Chicago, biologist Roy Mackal and colleagues subjected the sonar data to greater scrutiny and confirmed dimensions of 20 feet (6 m).

Submersible investigations


Earlier submersible work had yielded dismal results. Under the sponsorship of World Book Encyclopedia
World Book Encyclopedia
The World Book Encyclopedia is an encyclopedia published in the United States. It is self-described as "the number-one selling print encyclopedia in the world." The encyclopedia is designed to cover major areas of knowledge uniformly, but it shows particular strength in scientific, technical, and...

, 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
General Dynamics
General Dynamics Corporation is a U.S. defense conglomerate formed by mergers and divestitures, and as of 2008 it is the fifth largest defense contractor in the world. Its headquarters are in West Falls Church , unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, in the Falls Church area.The company has...

 and an unnamed two-man submersible built by Westinghouse
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
' was created by Northrop Grumman's acquisition of Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group in 1996. The Electronic Systems sector is a leading designer, developer, and manufacturer of a wide variety of advanced defense electronics and systems. The division has 120 locations worldwide, including 72...

 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.
Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd
In 1994 VSEL was subject to two takeover proposals, one from GEC and another from British Aerospace . VSEL was willing to participate in a merger with a larger company to reduce its exposure to cycles in warship production, particularly following the "Options for Change" defence review after the...

, the submersible had been rented out to produce The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a 1970 film directed and produced by Billy Wilder; he also shared writing credit with his longtime collaborator I. A. L. Diamond. It starred Robert Stephens as Sherlock Holmes and Colin Blakely as Dr. Watson...

, a 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 capitalised 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 foot 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.

"Big Expedition" of 1970


During the so-called "Big Expedition" of 1970, Roy Mackal
Roy Mackal
Roy P. Mackal is a retired University of Chicago biologist best known to the general public for his interest in the Loch Ness Monster and other cryptozoological entities.-Academic background:...

, a biologist who taught for 20 years at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, devised a system of hydrophone
Hydrophone
A hydrophone is a microphone designed to be used underwater for recording or listening to underwater sound. Most hydrophones are based on a piezoelectric transducer that generates electricity when subjected to a pressure change...

s (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 (213.4 m) of water. Two hydrophones were secured at depths of 300 and 600 feet (182.9 m). After two nights of recording, the tape (sealed inside a 44 gallon 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
Animal echolocation
Echolocation, also called biosonar, is the biological sonar used by several kinds of animals.Echolocating animals emit calls out to the environment and listen to the echoes of those calls that return from various objects near them. They use these echoes to locate and identify the objects...

. 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 were 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 (30.5 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.

Robert Rines's studies (1972, 1975, 2001 and 2008)


In the early 1970s, a group of people led by Robert H. Rines
Robert H. Rines
Robert H. Rines was an American lawyer, inventor, researcher, and composer. He was also well known for his efforts to find the legendary "Loch Ness Monster."-Biography:...

 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. One of the flipper photos is available here. On the basis of these photographs, British naturalist Peter Scott
Peter Scott
Sir Peter Markham Scott, CH, CBE, DSC and Bar, MID, FRS, FZS, was a British ornithologist, conservationist, painter, naval officer and sportsman....

 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
Nicholas Fairbairn
Sir Nicholas Hardwick Fairbairn, QC was a British politician.He was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Kinross and Western Perthshire, elected in 1974 and 1979, and Perth and Kinross, elected 1983, 1987, and 1992. He was Solicitor General for Scotland from 1979 to 1982...

 pointed out that the name was an anagram
Anagram
An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once; e.g., orchestra = carthorse, A decimal point = I'm a dot in place, Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort. Someone who...

 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. Rines knew the water was murky and filled with floating wood and peat, so he made precautions to avoid it. A submersible camera with an affixed, high-powered flood light (necessary for penetrating Loch Ness's notorious murk) was deployed to record images below the surface. If he detected anything on the sonar, he would turn the lights on and take some pictures. Several of the photographs, despite their obviously murky quality, did indeed seem to show an animal resembling a plesiosaur
Plesiosaur
Plesiosauroidea is an extinct clade of carnivorous plesiosaur marine reptiles. Plesiosauroids, are known from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods...

 in various positions and lightings. One photograph appeared to show the head, neck and upper torso of a plesiosaur-like animal. The body photo can be seen here. A rarely publicised photograph depicted two white lumps, suggesting animals living in the loch. Another photo seemed to depict a horned "gargoyle head", consistent to that of several sightings of the monster. The head photo can be seen here. Skeptics point out that a log was later filmed underwater which bore a striking resemblance to the gargoyle head.

A few close-ups of what would be the creature's 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
Museum of Hoaxes
The Museum of Hoaxes is a website created by Alex Boese in 1997 in San Diego, California as a resource for reporting and discussing hoaxes and urban legends, both past and present....

 shows the original unenhanced photo. Team member Charles Wyckoff
Charles Wyckoff
Charles Wales Wyckoff was an American photographic innovator, a photochemist specializing in high speed photography, also noted today for his innovations in the field of high dynamic range imaging....

 claimed that someone retouched the photo to superimpose the flipper, and that the original enhancement showed a much smaller flipper. No one is sure how the original came to be enhanced.

On 8 August 1972, Rines' Raytheon
Raytheon
Raytheon Company is a major American defense contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics. It was previously involved in corporate and special-mission aircraft until early 2007...

 DE-725C sonar unit, operating at a frequency of 200 kHz and anchored in Ness at a depth of 35 feet (10.7 m), identified a moving target (or targets) estimated by echo strength to be 20 to 30 ft (6.1 to 9.1 ) in length. Specialists from Raytheon, Simrad (now Kongsberg Maritime
Kongsberg Maritime
Kongsberg Maritime is a Norwegian technology enterprise within the Kongsberg Gruppen . Kongsberg Maritime deliver systems for positioning, surveying, navigation and automation to merchant vessels and offshore installations...

), and Hydroacoustics, Inc.; Marty Klein of MIT and Klein Associates (a producer of side scan sonar); and Dr. Ira Dyer of MIT's Department of Ocean Engineering were all on hand to examine the data and come to this conclusion. Further, P. Skitzki of Raytheon suggested that the data showed a protuberance, 10 feet (3 m) in length, projecting from one of the echoes. Mackal proposed that the shape was a "highly flexible laterally flattened tail" or the misinterpreted return from two animals swimming together.

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 lochs, which they suggest gives some connection to the sea and a possible entry for Nessie.

In 2008, Rines theorised that the monster may have become extinct
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

, citing the lack of significant sonar readings and a decline in eyewitness accounts. Rines undertook one last expedition to look for remains of the monster, using sonar and underwater camera in an attempt to find a carcass. Rines believes that the creature may have failed to adapt to temperature changes as a result of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

.

Operation Deep Scan (1987)


In 1987, Operation Deepscan took place. Twenty-four boats equipped with echosounder equipment were deployed across the whole width of the loch and they simultaneously sent out acoustic waves. BBC News reported that the scientists had made sonar contact with a large unidentified object of unusual size and strength. The researchers decided to return to the same spot and re-scan the area. After analysing the echosounder images, it seemed to point to debris at the bottom of the loch, although three of the pictures were of moving debris. Shine speculates that they could be seals that got into the loch, since they would be of about the same magnitude as the objects detected.

Darrell Lowrance, sonar expert and founder of Lowrance Electronics
Lowrance Electronics
Lowrance Electronics is a manufacturer of consumer sonar and GPS receivers, as well as digital mapping systems. Lowrance is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma and employs approximately 1,000 people....

, donated a number of echosounder units used during Operation Deepscan. After examining the echogram data, specifically a sonar return revealing a large moving object near Urquhart Bay at a depth of 600 feet (182.9 m), Lowrance said: "There's something here that we don't understand, and there's something here that's larger than a fish, maybe some species that hasn't been detected before. I don't know."

Discovery Loch Ness (1993)


In 1993 Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications, Inc. is an American global media and entertainment company. The company started as a single channel in 1985, The Discovery Channel. Today, DCI has global operations offering 28 network entertainment brands on more than 100 channels in more than 180 countries in 39...

 began to research the ecology of the loch. The study did not focus entirely on the monster, but on the loch's nematode
Nematode
The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

s (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
Seiche
A seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water. Seiches and seiche-related phenomena have been observed on lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools, bays, harbors and seas...

) due to stored energy (such as from a wind) causing an imbalance between the loch's warmer and colder layers (known as the thermocline
Thermocline
A thermocline is a thin but distinct layer in a large body of fluid , in which temperature changes more rapidly with depth than it does in the layers above or below...

). 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.

Searching for the Loch Ness Monster BBC (2003)


In 2003, the BBC sponsored a full search of the Loch using 600 separate sonar beams and satellite tracking. The search had enough resolution to pick up a small buoy. No animal of any substantial size was found whatsoever and despite high hopes, the scientists involved in the expedition admitted that this essentially proved the Loch Ness monster was only a myth.

Explanations


A variety of explanations have been postulated over the years to account for sightings of the Loch Ness Monster. These may be categorised as: misidentifications of common animals; misidentifications of inanimate objects or effects; reinterpretations of traditional Scottish folklore; hoax
Hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

es; and exotic species of large animals.

Bird wakes


There are wake sightings that occur when the loch is dead calm with no boat nearby. A bartender named David Munro claims to have witnessed a wake he believed was a creature zigzagging, diving, and reappearing. (There were 26 other witnesses from a nearby car park.) Some sightings describe the onset of a V-shaped wake, as if there were something underwater. Moreover, many wake sightings describe something not conforming to the shape of a boat. Under dead calm conditions, a creature too small to be visible to the naked eye can leave a clear v-shaped wake. In particular, a group of swimming birds can give a wake and the appearance of an object. A group of birds can leave the water and then land again, giving a sequence of wakes like an object breaking the surface, which Dick Raynor says is a possible explanation for his film.

Eels


A giant eel
European eel
The European eel, Anguilla anguilla, is a species of eel, a snake-like, catadromous fish. They can reach in exceptional cases a length of 1½ m, but are normally much smaller, about 60–80 cm, and rarely more than 1 m....

 was actually one of the first suggestions made. Eels are found in Loch Ness, and an unusually large eel would fit many sightings. This has been described as a conservative explanation. 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.

On 2 May 2001, two conger eel
European conger
The European conger, Conger conger, is a conger of the family Congridae, found in the eastern Atlantic from Norway and Iceland to Senegal, and also in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. It is sometimes seen in very shallow water by the shore but can also go down to depths of 1170 m...

s were found on the shore of the loch; however, as conger eels are saltwater animals and Loch Ness is a freshwater body of water, it is believed that they were put there to be seen as "Mini-Nessies".

Elephant


In a 1979 article, California biologist Dennis Power and geographer Donald Johnson claimed that the Surgeon's Photograph was in fact the top of the head, extended trunk and flared nostrils of a swimming elephant, probably photographed elsewhere and claimed to be from Loch Ness. In 2006, palaeontologist and artist Neil Clark similarly suggested that travelling circuses might have allowed elephants to refresh themselves in the loch and that the trunk could therefore be the head and neck, with the elephant's head and back providing the humps. In support of this he provided a painting.

Resident 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 that could be taken as a "head and neck" sighting.

Seals


A number of photographs and a video have confirmed the presence of seals in the loch, for up to months at a time. In 1934 the Sir Edward Mountain expedition analysed film taken the same year and concluded that the monster was a species of seal
Pinniped
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

, which was reported in a national newspaper as "Loch Ness Riddle Solved – Official". A long-necked seal was advocated by Peter Costello
Peter Costello (author)
Peter Costello is a Dublin-born author, and biographer, an eminent cultural historian and scholar of James Joyce. He attended the University of Michigan. He has written biographies of James Joyce, Flann O'Brien and Jules Verne. He has also written books about Clongowes Wood College, Clerys, and...

 for Nessie and for other reputed lake-monsters. R.T. Gould wrote "A grey seal has a long and surprisingly extensible neck; it swims with a paddling action; its colour fits the bill; and there is nothing surprising in its being seen on the shore of the loch, or crossing a road." This explanation would cover sightings of lake-monsters on land, during which the creature supposedly waddled into the loch upon being startled, in the manner of seals. Seals could also account for sonar traces that act as animate objects. Against this, it has been argued that all known species of pinniped
Pinniped
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

s 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 and the sightings are sufficiently infrequent to allow for occasional visiting animals rather than a permanent colony.

Trees


In 1933 the Daily Mirror showed a picture with the following caption 'This queerly-shaped tree-trunk, washed ashore at Foyers
Foyers
Foyers is the name of a village in the Highland local government council area of Scotland, lying on the east shore of Loch Ness...

 may, it is thought, be responsible for the reported appearance of a "Monster"'. (Foyers is on Loch Ness.)

In a 1982 series of articles for New Scientist
New Scientist
New Scientist is a weekly non-peer-reviewed English-language international science magazine, which since 1996 has also run a website, covering recent developments in science and technology for a general audience. Founded in 1956, it is published by Reed Business Information Ltd, a subsidiary of...

, Dr Maurice Burton
Maurice Burton
Maurice Burton was a British zoologist and popular science author, who produced many natural history encyclopedias and books including a skeptical treatment of the Loch Ness Monster.-Life:...

 proposed that sightings of Nessie and similar creatures could actually be fermenting logs of Scots pine
Scots Pine
Pinus sylvestris, commonly known as the Scots Pine, is a species of pine native to Europe and Asia, ranging from Scotland, Ireland and Portugal in the west, east to eastern Siberia, south to the Caucasus Mountains, and as far north as well inside the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia...

 rising to the surface of the loch's cold waters. Initially, a rotting log could not release gases caused by decay, because of high levels of resin
Resin
Resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents; as an important source of raw materials...

 sealing in the gas. Eventually, the gas pressure would rupture a resin seal at one end of the log, propelling it through the water—and sometimes to the surface. Burton claimed that the shape of tree logs with their attendant branch stumps closely resemble various descriptions of the monster.

Four Scottish lochs are very deep, including Morar
Loch Morar
Loch Morar is a freshwater loch in Morar, Lochaber, Highland, Scotland. It is the fifth-largest loch in Scotland, with a surface area of and the deepest freshwater body in the British Isles, with a maximum depth of ....

, Ness and Lomond
Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond is a freshwater Scottish loch, lying on the Highland Boundary Fault. It is the largest lake in Great Britain by surface area. The lake contains many islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh-water island in the British Isles, although the lake itself is smaller than many Irish...

. Only the lochs with pinewoods on their shores have monster legends; Loch Lomond—with no pinewoods—does not. Gaseous emissions and surfactants resulting from the decay of the logs can cause the foamy wake reported in some sightings. Indeed, beached pine logs showing evidence of deep-water fermentation have been found. On the other hand, there are believers who assert that some lakes do have reports of monsters, despite an absence of pinewoods; a notable example would be the Irish lough
Lough
A lough is a body of water and is either:* A lake* A sea lough, which may be a fjord, estuary, bay, or sea inlet.It can also be used as a surname, with various pronunciations: law, loch, low, lowe, loth, loff....

 monsters.

Seiches and wakes


Loch Ness, because of its long, straight shape, is subject to some unusual ripples affecting its surface. A seiche
Seiche
A seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water. Seiches and seiche-related phenomena have been observed on lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools, bays, harbors and seas...

 is a large, regular oscillation of a lake, caused by a water reverting to its natural level after being blown to one end of the lake. The impetus from this reversion continues to the lake's windward end and then reverts back. In Loch Ness, the process occurs every 31.5 minutes.

Boat wake
Wake
A wake is the region of recirculating flow immediately behind a moving or stationary solid body, caused by the flow of surrounding fluid around the body.-Fluid dynamics:...

s can also produce strange effects in the loch. As a wake spreads and divides from a boat passing the centre of the loch, it hits both sides almost simultaneously and deflects back to meet again in the middle. The movements interact to produce standing waves that are much larger than the original wake, and can have a humped appearance. By the time this occurs, the boat has passed and the unusual waves are all that can be seen.

Optical effects


Wind conditions can give a slightly choppy and thus matte 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 loch. In 1979, Lehn showed that atmospheric refraction
Refraction
Refraction is the change in direction of a wave due to a change in its speed. It is essentially a surface phenomenon . The phenomenon is mainly in governance to the law of conservation of energy. The proper explanation would be that due to change of medium, the phase velocity of the wave is changed...

 could distort the shape and size of objects and animals, and later showed a photograph of a rock mirage
Mirage
A mirage is a naturally occurring optical phenomenon in which light rays are bent to produce a displaced image of distant objects or the sky. The word comes to English via the French mirage, from the Latin mirare, meaning "to look at, to wonder at"...

 on Lake Winnipeg
Lake Winnipeg
Lake Winnipeg is a large, lake in central North America, in the province of Manitoba, Canada, with its southern tip about north of the city of Winnipeg...

 that looked like 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
Great Glen Fault
The Great Glen Fault is a long strike-slip fault that runs through its namesake the Great Glen in Scotland. However, the fault is actually much longer and over 400 million years old.-Location:...

, 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.

Binns concludes that it would be unwise to put forward a single explanation of the monster, and probably a wide range of natural phenomena have been mistaken for the monster at times: otters, swimming deer, unusual waves. However, he adds that this also touches on some issues of human psychology, and the ability of the eye to see what it wants to see.

Folklore


According to the Swedish naturalist
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 and author Bengt Sjögren (1980), present day beliefs in lake monster
Lake monster
A lake monster or loch monster is a purported form of fresh-water-dwelling megafauna appearing in mythology, rumor, or local folklore, but whose existence lacks scientific support. A well known example is the Loch Ness Monster. Lake monsters' depictions are often similar to some sea monsters...

s such as the Loch Ness Monster are associated with the old legends of kelpie
Kelpie
The kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic folklore that is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland; the name may be from Scottish Gaelic cailpeach or colpach "heifer, colt".-Description and behaviour:...

s. He claims that the accounts of loch monsters have changed over the ages, originally describing creatures with a horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

-like 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 current descriptions of lake-monsters, reflecting modern awareness of plesiosaur
Plesiosaur
Plesiosauroidea is an extinct clade of carnivorous plesiosaur marine reptiles. Plesiosauroids, are known from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods...

s. In other words, the kelpie of folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 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
Tim Dinsdale
Timothy Dinsdale, ARAeS was famous as a seeker of the Loch Ness Monster. He attended King’s School, Worcester, served in the Royal Air Force and worked as an aeronautical engineer. He was survived by his wife, Wendy Dinsdale and four children.Tim believed Nessie was real, and he was eager to...

.

A study of the Highland folklore literature prior to 1933 with specific references to Kelpies, Water Horses and Water Bulls suggested that Loch Ness was the most mentioned loch by a large margin.

Hoaxes


The Loch Ness monster phenomenon has seen several attempts to hoax the public, some of which were very successful. Other hoaxes were revealed rather quickly by the perpetrators, or exposed after diligent research. A few examples are mentioned below.

In August 1933, Italian journalist Francesco Gasparini submitted what he claims was the first news article on the Loch Ness monster. In 1959, he confessed to taking a sighting of a "strange fish" and expanding on it by fabricating eye witness accounts. "I had the inspiration to get hold of the item about the strange fish. The idea of the monster had never dawned on me, but then I noted that the strange fish would not yield a long article, and I decided to promote the imaginary being to the rank of monster without further ado."

In the 1930s, a big game hunter named Marmaduke Wetherell went to Loch Ness to look for the Loch Ness Monster. He claimed to have found some footprints but when the footprints were sent to scientists for analysis, they turned out to be hippopotamus
Hippopotamus
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...

 footprints. A prankster had used a hippopotamus foot umbrella stand to make the footprints.

In 1972 a team of zoologists from Yorkshire's Flamingo Park Zoo had gone out in search of the legendary monster and soon discovered a large body floating in the water. The corpse, was 16–18 feet long and weighed up to 1.5 tonnes, described by the Press Association as having "a bear's head and a brown scaly body with clawlike fins." The creature was put in a van to be taken away for testing, whereupon police chased them down and took the cadaver under an act of parliament which prohibits the removal of "unidentified creatures" from Loch Ness. But it was later revealed that Flamingo Park's education officer John Shields had shaved the whiskers and otherwise disfigured a bull elephant seal
Elephant seal
Elephant seals are large, oceangoing seals in the genus Mirounga. There are two species: the northern elephant seal and the southern elephant seal . Both were hunted to the brink of extinction by the end of the 19th century, but numbers have since recovered...

 which had died the week before, and dumped it in Loch Ness to dupe his colleagues.

On 2 July 2003, Gerald McSorely found a fossil supposedly belonging to Nessie when he tripped and fell into the loch. After examination, it became clear that the fossil wasn't from Loch Ness and that it had been planted there.

In 2004, a documentary team for television channel Five, using special effects experts from movies, tried to make people believe there was something in the loch. They constructed an animatronic model of a plesiosaur
Plesiosaur
Plesiosauroidea is an extinct clade of carnivorous plesiosaur marine reptiles. Plesiosauroids, are known from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods...

, and dubbed it "Lucy". Despite setbacks, such as Lucy falling to the bottom of the loch, about 600 sightings were reported in the places they conducted the hoaxes.

In 2005, two students claimed to have found a huge tooth embedded in the body of a deer on the loch shore. They publicised the find widely, even setting up a website, but expert analysis soon revealed that the "tooth" was the antler of a muntjac
Muntjac
Muntjac, also known as Barking Deer and Mastreani Deer, are small deer of the genus Muntiacus. Muntjac are the oldest known deer, appearing 15–35 million years ago, with remains found in Miocene deposits in France, Germany and Poland....

. The Loch Ness tooth was a publicity stunt to promote a horror novel by Steve Alten
Steve Alten
Steven Robert "Steve" Alten is an American science fiction author. He is best known for his Meg series, a set of novels around the fictitious survival of the megalodon, a giant prehistoric shark...

 titled The Loch
The Loch
The Loch is a science fiction novel and Legal thriller by Steve Alten, and was first published in 2005. The novel is the story of marine biologist Zachary Wallace.-Plot summary:...

.

In 2007, a video purported to show Nessie jumping high into the air showed up on YouTube. This was revealed by the online amateur sceptic's community eSkeptic to be a viral ad promoting the then-upcoming Sony Pictures film The Water Horse. The release of the film confirmed the eSkeptic analysis: the viral video comprises footage from The Water Horse.

Plesiosaur



In 1933 the suggestion was made that the monster "bears a striking resemblance to the supposedly extinct plesiosaur
Plesiosaur
Plesiosauroidea is an extinct clade of carnivorous plesiosaur marine reptiles. Plesiosauroids, are known from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods...

", a long-necked aquatic reptile that went extinct
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

 during the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. At the time this was a popular 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
    New Scientist
    New Scientist is a weekly non-peer-reviewed English-language international science magazine, which since 1996 has also run a website, covering recent developments in science and technology for a general audience. Founded in 1956, it is published by Reed Business Information Ltd, a subsidiary of...

     headlined an article "Why the Loch Ness Monster is no plesiosaur" because Leslie Noè of the Sedgwick Museum
    Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
    The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, opened in 1904, is the geology museum of the University of Cambridge in England. It is part of the Department of Earth Sciences and is located on the University's Downing Site in Downing Street, central Cambridge, England.The Sedgwick has a collection of more...

     in Cambridge
    Cambridge
    The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

     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".

  • 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.

  • If creatures similar to plesiosaurs lived in the waters of the Loch Ness, they would be seen very frequently as they would have to surface several times a day to breathe.


In response to these criticisms, proponents such as Tim Dinsdale
Tim Dinsdale
Timothy Dinsdale, ARAeS was famous as a seeker of the Loch Ness Monster. He attended King’s School, Worcester, served in the Royal Air Force and worked as an aeronautical engineer. He was survived by his wife, Wendy Dinsdale and four children.Tim believed Nessie was real, and he was eager to...

, Peter Scott
Peter Scott
Sir Peter Markham Scott, CH, CBE, DSC and Bar, MID, FRS, FZS, was a British ornithologist, conservationist, painter, naval officer and sportsman....

 and Roy Mackal
Roy Mackal
Roy P. Mackal is a retired University of Chicago biologist best known to the general public for his interest in the Loch Ness Monster and other cryptozoological entities.-Academic background:...

 postulate a trapped marine creature that evolved either from a plesiosaur or to the shape of a plesiosaur by convergent evolution
Convergent evolution
Convergent evolution describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.The wing is a classic example of convergent evolution in action. Although their last common ancestor did not have wings, both birds and bats do, and are capable of powered flight. The wings are...

.

Amphibian


R. T. Gould suggested something like a long-necked newt
Newt
A newt is an aquatic amphibian of the family Salamandridae, although not all aquatic salamanders are considered newts. Newts are classified in the subfamily Pleurodelinae of the family Salamandridae, and are found in North America, Europe and Asia...

 and Roy Mackal
Roy Mackal
Roy P. Mackal is a retired University of Chicago biologist best known to the general public for his interest in the Loch Ness Monster and other cryptozoological entities.-Academic background:...

 discussed this possibility, giving it the highest score (88%) in his list of possible candidates.

Invertebrate


In 1968 Frank Holiday proposed that Nessie and other lake-monsters such as Morag
Morag (loch monster)
Morag or Mòrag is a loch monster reported to live in Loch Morar, Scotland. After Nessie, it is among the best known of Scotland's legendary monsters....

 could be explained by a giant invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

 such as a bristleworm
Polychaete
The Polychaeta or polychaetes are a class of annelid worms, generally marine. Each body segment has a pair of fleshy protrusions called parapodia that bear many bristles, called chaetae, which are made of chitin. Indeed, polychaetes are sometimes referred to as bristle worms. More than 10,000...

, and cited the extinct Tullimonstrum as an example of the shape. He says this provides an explanation for land sightings and for the variable back shape, and relates it to the medieval description of dragon
Dragon
A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that feature in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern...

s as "worms". Mackal considered this, but found it less convincing than eel, amphibian or plesiosaur types of animal.

See also


  • Bear Lake Monster
    Bear Lake Monster
    The Bear Lake Monster is a cryptid appearing in local folk-lore near Bear Lake, on the Utah–Idaho border.The myth originally grew from articles written in the 19th century by Joseph C. Rich, a Mormon colonizer in the area, purporting to report second-hand accounts of sightings of the creature...

  • Bunyip
    Bunyip
    The bunyip, or kianpraty, is a large mythical creature from Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes....

  • Champ (cryptozoology)
  • Chessie (sea monster)
    Chessie (sea monster)
    Chessie is a legendary sea monster said to live in the midst of the Chesapeake Bay. Over the years there have been many alleged sightings of a serpent-like creature with flippers as part of its body....

  • Ethereal creature
  • Gaasyendietha
    Gaasyendietha
    Gaasyendietha, according to Seneca mythology, is a dragon that dwells in the deep areas of rivers and lakes of Canada, especially Lake Ontario. This dragon could fly on a trail of fire, and it could also spew fire....

  • Jiaolong
    Jiaolong
    Jiaolong or jiao is a polysemous aquatic dragon in Chinese mythology. Edward H. Schafer describes the jiao.Spiritually akin to the crocodile, and perhaps originally the same reptile, was a mysterious creature capable of many forms called the chiao . Most often it was regarded as a kind of lung – a...

  • Lake monster
    Lake monster
    A lake monster or loch monster is a purported form of fresh-water-dwelling megafauna appearing in mythology, rumor, or local folklore, but whose existence lacks scientific support. A well known example is the Loch Ness Monster. Lake monsters' depictions are often similar to some sea monsters...

  • Lake Tianchi Monster
    Lake Tianchi Monster
    Lake Tianchi Monster is the name given to what is said to be a lake monster that lives in Heaven Lake located in the peak of Baekdu Mountain within the Baekdudaegan and Changbai mountain ranges encompassing Jilin Province of China and Ryanggang Province of North Korea...

  • Lake Van Monster
    Lake Van Monster
    The Lake Van Monster is a legendary creature that allegedly lives in Turkey.235px|right|thumb|Lake Van-History:The Lake Van Monster was not reported until 1995 in Lake Van, a large alkaline lake in Eastern Turkey...

  • Laky monsters (list)
  • Leviathan
    Leviathan
    Leviathan , is a sea monster referred to in the Bible. In Demonology, Leviathan is one of the seven princes of Hell and its gatekeeper . The word has become synonymous with any large sea monster or creature...

  • Manipogo
    Manipogo
    Manipogo is the name given to the lake monster reported to live in Lake Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada. Sightings of this serpent like sea monster have been going on since roughly 1908. The creature was dubbed Manipogo in 1957, the name echoing British Columbia's Ogopogo.The monster is thought to be...

  • Memphre
    Memphre
    Memphre is a reptile-like lake monster that is said to live in the murky Lake Memphremagog, Quebec, Canada.-History:Memphre is often described as much like the Loch Ness Monster. While Memphre and most other lake monsters are disputed by many scientists, sightings persist and Memphre was last seen...

  • Mokele-mbembe
    Mokèlé-mbèmbé
    Mokèlé-mbèmbé, meaning "one who stops the flow of rivers" in the Lingala language, is the name given to a large water-dwelling cryptid found in legends and folklore of the Congo River basin. It is sometimes described as a living creature and sometimes as a spirit. It could be considered loosely...

  • Morag
    Morag (loch monster)
    Morag or Mòrag is a loch monster reported to live in Loch Morar, Scotland. After Nessie, it is among the best known of Scotland's legendary monsters....

  • Nahuel Huapi Lake Monster
  • Ogopogo
    Ogopogo
    Ogopogo or Naitaka is the name given to a cryptid lake monster reported to live in Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia, Canada. Ogopogo has been allegedly seen by First Nations people since the 19th century...

  • Sea monster
    Sea monster
    Sea monsters are sea-dwelling mythical or legendary creatures, often believed to be of immense size.Marine monsters can take many forms, including sea dragons, sea serpents, or multi-armed beasts. They can be slimy or scaly and are often pictured threatening ships or spouting jets of water...

  • Stronsay Beast
    Stronsay Beast
    The Stronsay beast was a large, dead carcass or globster that washed ashore on the island of Stronsay , in the Orkney Islands, after a storm on September 25, 1808...

  • Wani (dragon)
    Wani (dragon)
    was a dragon or sea monster in Japanese mythology. Since it is written using the kanji 鰐 wani is translated as "crocodile", or sometimes "shark" ....

  • Water Horse
    Water Horse
    A Water Horse is a Celtic mythical creature, such as the Ceffyl Dŵr and Kelpie, as well as other water dwelling cryptids.-Name origin:The term "water horse" was originally a name given to the kelpie, a horse like creature similar to the hippocamp that has the head, neck and mane of a normal horse,...



Books

  • Bauer, Henry H. The Enigma of Loch Ness: Making Sense of a Mystery, Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 1986
  • Binns, Ronald, The Loch Ness Mystery Solved, Great Britain, Open Books, 1983, ISBN 0 7291 0139 8 and Star Books, 1984, ISBN 0-352-31487-7
  • Burton, Maurice, The Elusive Monster: An Analysis of the Evidence from Loch Ness, London, Rupert Hart-Davis, 1961
  • Campbell, Steuart. The Loch Ness Monster – The Evidence, Buffalo, New York, Prometheus Books, 1985.
  • Dinsdale, Tim, Loch Ness Monster, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1961, SBN 7100 1279 9
  • Harrison, Paul The encyclopaedia of the Loch Ness Monster, London, Robert Hale, 1999
  • Gould, R. T., The Loch Ness Monster and Others, London, Geoffrey Bles, 1934 and paperback, Lyle Stuart, 1976, ISBN 0806505559
  • Holiday, F. W., The Great Orm of Loch Ness, London, Faber & Faber, 1968, SBN 571 08473 7
  • Mackal, Roy P., The Monsters of Loch Ness, London, Futura, 1976, ISBN 0 8600 7381 5
  • Whyte, Constance, More Than a Legend: The Story of the Loch Ness Monster, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1957

Documentary

  • Secrets of Loch Ness. Produced & Directed by Christopher Jeans (ITN/Channel 4
    Channel 4
    Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

    /A&E Network
    A&E Network
    The A&E Network is a United States-based cable and satellite television network with headquarters in New York City and offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, London, Los Angeles and Stamford. A&E also airs in Canada and Latin America. Initially named the Arts & Entertainment Network, A&E launched...

    , 1995).

External links