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The Legend of the Loch Ness Monster: New Reports of Sea Serpent Sightings — 'My Heart Was Pounding'

NASA Urged to Assist in New Loch Ness Monster Search Taking Place
Source: Mega

NASA being asked to help in new search for Loch Ness Monster.

Sep. 8 2023, Published 4:02 p.m. ET

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Since the sixth century, thousands of people have observed an extraordinary beast in Loch Ness, a vast freshwater lake in northern Scotland. The monster was described as gray-skinned, with a long neck, a small head, sharp teeth, a long domed back and paddlelike flippers. Locals referred to it as a sjo-orm, the generic Scandinavian word for "sea serpent." Many denizens of the area believed an entire family of creatures lived in the murky waters.

But Loch Ness was in a remote area of the country, and the folklore remained fairly local until 1870, when word began to spread that an eyewitness had seen a strange beast slowly "churning" in the water. Its body was long, smooth and curved, similar to an upside-down boat. When the creature submerged, the witness said, it went down quickly.

By the 1930s, the story of that extraordinary sighting had spread throughout the country and, thanks to a road constructed along the banks of the lake to handle automobile travel, drivers had unprecedented access to the area - and, quite literally, a front-row seat to the storied Loch Ness beast.

And when one witness claimed a 25-foot-long amphibious Loch Ness "monster" had passed in front of his car, the name stuck.

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The first photograph of the Loch Ness Monster was taken in 1933. Unfortunately, the image was blurry and indistinct. Many believe the picture does show a creature - just not the Loch Ness.

One night in 1934, just after midnight, a motorcyclist claimed he encountered the strange creature on the desolate road. He was the first to describe the Loch Ness Monster as a plesiosaur — an aquatic dinosaur presumed to have become extinct. Later that year, a photo of the creature's craned neck and level head emerging out of the water seemed to confirm this designation. The entrancing picture became the most famous "proof" of the Loch Ness Monster.

Reportedly taken by Dr. Robert Wilson, the so-called "surgeon's photograph" was front-page news on April 21, 1934. The report and the iconic image accompanying it transformed the quiet lake near Inverness, Scotland, into an international hotspot.

Over the next several years, filmmakers attempted to capture footage of the Loch Ness Monster, while hunters hoped to capture the actual beast. All efforts were unsuccessful.

Teams of scuba sleuths searched for the celebrity creature, but several factors complicated their pursuit.

At 23 miles long, 2 miles wide and as much as 750 feet deep, Loch Ness is, in fact, the largest freshwater body in the entire United Kingdom, giving divers a vast area to try and cover.

The underwater visibility is also extremely poor. An enormous amount of organic debris called peats gets washed into the lake from the surrounding hills, creating a floating collection of dark decay. Separate rivers on both ends of the lake keep the peat circulating, which makes quality underwater photography nearly impossible.

By the 1940s, the Loch Ness Monster had grown to mythical proportions. Hotels and gift shops jammed into the surrounding area, and Loch Ness boat tours began conducting hourly "hunts." Local newspapers even gave their beloved beast a family-friendly nickname: "Nessie."

Yet, despite the added attention, Monster sightings hit a lull. Perhaps the creature was shy and had become spooked by the constant activity?

As technology advanced over the next several decades, the search for Nessie intensified. Expeditions "mowed" the lake with sonar to explore its dark, mysterious depths. One scan located a large unidentified object nearly 750 feet below the water's surface; for two minutes it traveled at the same speed as the boat carrying the scanner, then disappeared.

Toward the end of the 20th century, several Loch Ness Monster hoaxes were exposed. Plaster molds of the supposed beast's footprints were identified as hippopotamus track. And Nessie fans were devastated when an analysis of the "surgeon's photograph" revealed it to be a hoax. The alleged Monster was actually 12 inches of gray-painted plastic and wood mounted on a 14-inch metal submarine toy placed in the water. In a charming twist of fate, the "Loch Ness model" still resides in the lake: It sank shortly after the photo was taken.

Apart from notoriety, what might have inspired Dr. Wilson to stage the 1934 photograph? Perhaps it was the 1933 release of the original King Kong and its sequel Son of Kong. Both featured reptilian rubber creatures pulled on carts through miniature swamps or inlets. Many magazines had described how the special effects had been created.

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The legend of the Loch Ness Monster took another hit when experts refuted the plesiosaur premise. The problem wasn't that the dinosaur existed more than 60 million years ago — after all, crocodiles have been around for 200 million years. But, as reptiles, plesiosaurs would need to surface frequently to refresh their air supply. With that type of exposure, the Loch Ness Monster should have been visible above the water several times a day!

Plesiosaurs were also cold-blooded creatures that lived in tropical waters. The temperature in Loch Ness averages 40 degrees, much too frigid for the fabled Monster. Also, due to its geological structure, the lake lacks an abundance of fish. Such a massive creature — and its offspring — would need a monster-sized "food pyramid" to feast on in order to survive.

In the early 2000s, scientists organized the ultimate Loch Ness investigation. Using 600 sonar devices, survey teams simultaneously scanned the entire lake, leaving no room for a large animal to hide or sneak around undetected. In the end, no sizeable aquatic animal was discovered.

Despite the lack of legitimate evidence, some facts support the possibility that a mysterious creature could exist in Loch Ness. The north end of the lake connects to the River Ness, which flows into the North Sea. In theory, a large predator, perhaps seeking a mate, could travel from the sea, remain briefly in the lake, then retreat. This scenario could explain the creature's long absences — and seemingly immortal lifespan.

One monster in the Loch Ness tops the list of Loch Ness Monster suspects: the elusive 24-foot Greenland shark. The creature was only recently identified by scientists, meaning that the general public would still be unfamiliar with the beast. Vikings, however, reportedly encountered the creature more than 1,000 years ago, which would align with early eyewitness accounts of the Loch Ness Monster.

Unlike most sharks, the Greenland shark has an unusually small dorsal fin on its massive, gray-skinned back — which, to the casual observer, could look like a smooth mound. This unique physical attribute fits the most frequent descriptions of Nessie.

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Of course, the shark theory can't account for all Loch Ness Monster sightings. In some cases, Nessie's well-documented long neck has been shown to be the limb of a submerged tree. The bordering hills are densely forested, and uprooted trees often tumble into the water.

Photographs showing multiple humps breaching the water have also been identified as several seals caught mid-dive.

But perhaps the best support for the creature comes from outside Loch Ness — far outside.

Similar beasts have been spotted around the world, often predating the first official Nessie sighting. A 25-foot water serpent nicknamed Champ, first spotted in 1819, reportedly dwells in the 107-mile-long Lake Champlain in upstate New York.

Since 1922, eyewitnesses in Argentina have told of a 100-foot-long, fishlike snake named Nahuelito that lurks in the 204-square-mile Nahuel Huapi Lake.

And Ogopogo — a 20-foot serpentine, horse-headed monster — is said to reside in the 84-mile-long Okanagan Lake in British Columbia. The first recorded sighting was documented in 1873.

Other similar sightings have been reported in recent years, too.

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In July, reported that Nessie hunter Eoin O'Faodhagain claims to have spotted a mysterious underwater shape in Loch Ness that he suspects was the famed Monster. O'Faodhagain was initially frightened by seeing the so-called monster, but he later was thrilled to have had such an interesting sighting.

"My heart was pounding because I knew I was on to something here. And when the creature resurfaced and moved parallel to the boat, what a picture that was," O'Faodhagain said.

In June, a pharmacist from Lyon, France, Etienne Camel claimed to have seen Nessie in Loch Ness as well. “I am a man of science, so I never believed that the Loch Ness monster is a prehistoric animal,” Camel told Britain’s Telegraph as quoted by the Daily Star. But he says he and his wife “saw the shadow move.”

In February, tourists in England claimed to have seen Nessie, as well. They believe they saw the famous monster in waters off Clevedon. "[We] were sitting on one of the benches before the pier," Anna Purse told SomersetLive. "The shape was right next to the pier, and I noticed it moving.

In fact, there was even an alleged sighting in the United States. In January, personnel at a bait and tackle shop in North Carolina saw something strange in the water. "Something you don’t see every day…. WHALES or the LOCK NESS MONSTER in the Port this morning, never seen one inside the inlet like this!" a video posted to Facebook by Capt. Friffiee of Chasin Tails Outdoors Bait & Tackle was captioned.

Could these creatures be members of the same species? Or is there a wide diversity of sjo-orm across the globe that scientists know absolutely nothing about?

We may never know the answer. But one thing we can be sure of: that the centuries-old mystery of the Loch Ness Monster will live on for many centuries more.


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