In folklore, the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, is an aquatic being which reputedly inhabits Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, and is often described as being large in size, with a long neck and one or more humps protruding from the water. Popular interest and belief in the creature has varied since it was brought to worldwide attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with a few disputed photographs and sonar readings.
The creature commonly appears in Western media where it manifests in a variety of ways. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a being from folklore without biological basis, explaining sightings as hoaxes, wishful thinking, and the misidentification of mundane objects.
The word "monster" was reportedly applied for the first time to the creature on 2 May 1933 by Alex Campbell, water bailiff for Loch Ness and a part-time journalist, in an Inverness Courier report. On 4 August 1933 the Courier published a report by Londoner George Spicer that several weeks earlier, while they were driving around the loch, he and his wife saw "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 with "an animal" in its mouth. Letters began appearing in the Courier, often anonymously, claiming land or water sightings by the writer, their family or acquaintances or remembered stories.The accounts reached the media, which described a "monster fish", "sea serpent", or "dragon" and eventually settled 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; the Secretary of State for Scotland soon ordered police to prevent any attacks on it. In 1934, interest was further piqued by the "surgeon's photograph". That year, R. T. Gould published an account of the author's investigation and a record of reports predating 1933. Other authors have claimed sightings of the monster dating to the sixth century AD.
A number of explanations have been suggested to account for sightings of the creature. They may be categorised as misidentifications of known animals, misidentifications of inanimate objects or effects, reinterpretations of Scottish folklore, hoaxes, and exotic species of large animals.
Misidentification of known animals
Wakes have been reported when the loch is calm, with no boats nearby. Bartender David Munro reported a wake he believed was a creature zigzagging, diving, and reappearing; there were reportedly 26 other witnesses from a nearby car park.better source needed] Although some sightings describe a V-shaped wake similar to a boat's, others report something not conforming to the shape of a boat.
A large eel was an early suggestion. Eels are found in Loch Ness, and an unusually-large one would explain many sightings. Dinsdale dismissed the hypotheses, because eels undulate side to side like snakes. Sightings in 1856 of a "sea-serpent" (or kelpie in a freshwater lake near Leurbost in the Outer Hebrides were explained as those of an oversized eel, also believed common in "Highland lakes""
In a 1979 article, California biologist Dennis Power and geographer Donald Johnson claimed that the "surgeon's photograph" was the top of the head, extended trunk and flared nostrils of a swimming elephant photographed elsewhere and claimed to be from Loch Ness. In 2006, palaeontologist and artist Neil Clark suggested that travelling circuses might have allowed elephants to bathe in the loch; the trunk could be the perceived head and neck, with the head and back the perceived humps. In support of this, Clark provided a painting.
Angler and television presenter Jeremy Wade investigated the creature in 2013 as part of the series River Monsters, and concluded that it is a Greenland shark. The Greenland shark, which can reach up to 20 feet in length, inhabits the North Atlantic Ocean around Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and possibly Scotland. It is dark in colour, with a small dorsal fin. According to biologist Bruce Wright, the Greenland shark could survive in fresh water (possibly using rivers and lakes to find food) and Loch Ness has an abundance of salmon and other fish.
In July 2015 three news outlets reported that Steve Feltham, after a vigil at the loch which was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, theorised that the monster is an unusually-large specimen of Wels catfish (Silurus glanis) which may have been released during the late 19th century.
It is difficult to judge the size of an object in water through a telescope or binoculars with no external reference. Loch Ness has resident otters, and photos of them and deer swimming in the loch which were cited by author Ronald Binns may have been misinterpreted. According to Binns, birds may be mistaken for a "head and neck" sighting.
Misidentifications of inanimate objects or effects
In 1933, the Daily Mirror published a picture with the caption: "This queerly-shaped tree-trunk, washed ashore at Foyers [on Loch Ness] may, it is thought, be responsible for the reported appearance of a 'Monster'". In a 1982 series of articles for New Scientist, Maurice Burton proposed that sightings of Nessie and similar creatures may be fermenting Scots pine logs rising to the surface of the loch. A decomposing log could not initially release gases caused by decay because of its high resin level. Gas pressure would eventually rupture a resin seal at one end of the log, propelling it through the water (sometimes to the surface). According to Burton, the shape of tree logs (with their branch stumps) closely resembles descriptions of the monster.
Seiches and wakes
Loch Ness, because of its long, straight shape, is subject to unusual ripples affecting its surface. A seiche is a large oscillation of a lake, caused by water reverting to its natural level after being blown to one end of the lake (resulting in a standing wave); the Loch Ness oscillation period is 31.5 minutes.
Wind conditions can give a choppy, matte appearance to the water with calm patches appearing dark from the shore (reflecting the mountains). In 1979 W. H. Lehn showed that atmospheric refraction could distort the shape and size of objects and animals, and later published a photograph of a mirage of a rock on Lake Winnipeg which resembled a head and neck.
Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi has proposed geological explanations for ancient legends and myths. Piccardi noted that in the earliest recorded sighting of a creature (the Life of Saint Columba), the creature's emergence was accompanied "cum ingenti fremitu" ("with loud roaring"). The Loch Ness is along the Great Glen Fault, and this could be a description of an earthquake. Many reports consist only of a large disturbance on the surface of the water; this could be a release of gas through the fault, although it may be mistaken for something swimming below the surface.
According to Ronald Binns, there is probably no one explanation of the monster. A wide range of natural phenomena have been hypothesised, including otters, swimming deer, and unusual waves. Binns wrote that an aspect of human psychology is the ability of the eye to see what it wants, and expects, to see.
In 1980 Swedish naturalist and author Bengt Sjögren wrote that present beliefs in lake monsters such as the Loch Ness Monster are associated with kelpie legends. According to Sjögren, accounts of loch monsters have changed over time; originally describing horse-like creatures, they were intended to keep children away from the loch. Sjögren wrote that the kelpie legends have developed into descriptions reflecting a modern awareness of plesiosaurs.
The kelpie as a water horse in Loch Ness was mentioned in an 1879 Scottish newspaper, and inspired Tim Dinsdale's Project Water Horse. A study of pre-1933 Highland folklore references to kelpies, water horses and water bulls indicated that Ness was the loch most frequently cited.
Loch Ness Facts - Loch Ness is the largest body of fresh water in Britain.
(1) There is more water in Loch Ness than all the other lakes in England, Scotland and Wales put together.
(2) It is around twenty two and a half miles long and between one and one and a half miles wide, a depth of 754 feet with the bottom of the loch being as flat as a bowling green.
(3) It holds 263 thousand million cubic feet of water which is around 16 million 430 thousand million gallons of water with a surface area of 14000 acres and could hold the population of the world 10 times over.
(4) It is fed by 7 major rivers the Oich, Tarff, Enrich, Coiltie, Moriston, Foyers and Farigaig plus numerous burns, with only one outlet the River Ness which flows 7 miles through Inverness into the Moray Firth 52 feet below the loch surface.
(5) During a heavy rainfall the lochs level has been known to rise by as much as 7 feet and a rise of 2 feet is common place.
(6) The rain catchment area for Loch Ness is so large that a rainfall of just quarter of an inch adds 11.000.000 tons of water to the loch.
(7) It is said that the loch never freezes and this is true.
(8) Because of the great amount of water in the loch a thermocline lies at around 100 feet down in the loch. The top 100 feet of water alters temperature depending on the weather conditions but below the thermocline the temperature never alters from 44 degrees Fahrenheit. So as the surface water cools in winter and nears freezing point it sinks and is replaced by the warmer water from below. This can cause the loch to steam on very cold days, in fact it as been estimated that the heat given off by the loch in a winter is the equivalent to burning 2 million tons of coal.