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A Short Introduction to Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland


You might have heard about Nessie, the famous Loch Ness Monster of Scotland. But is it real or just a hoax? Answers on that and more in this article!

Today we are going to dedicate our article to the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, as many fondly call this mysterious creature. 

But, when was the first time the world heard about the obscure Loch Ness Monster, hiding in the waters of the Scottish lake? Is the Loch Ness Monster real? And what exactly is Nessie?

Answers to all these questions and even more can be found below!

Loch Ness Scotland home of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster
A view of Loch Ness, Scotland. Taken by Daniel Svoboda via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Before We Begin: In Irish, Scots, and Scottish Gaelic, “loch” is simply the word for “lake.” Loch Ness is a large, deep lake located in the Scottish Highlands about 23 miles (37 km) away from Inverness. It is named from the river Ness which connects to the lake in the north, a name likely from old Celtic meaning “roaring one.”

What is the Loch Ness Monster?

We should probably start this report on Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, with the answer to the most crucial question: is the Loch Ness Monster real? Sadly for many dreamers and fans of inexplicable mysteries, there has been no scientific proof of Nessie’s existence for almost a century since it was first mentioned in a local newspaper.

However, though the existence of Nessie is likely either wishful thinking or a hoax that took on a life of its own, the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster still draws the interest and attention of many people around the world each year. Researchers from different countries organize expeditions, extract DNA from water samples, and scrutinize the lake backward and forward. Nowadays, Nessie brings more than £40 million to the local economy annually and attracts approximately 2 million tourists each year! 

What’s even more peculiar is that, even though scientists have not been able to find any proof of the Loch Ness Monster cruising in the waters, Nessie sightings still occur regularly every year!

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History of the Loch Ness Monster

The beginnings of the Loch Ness Monster story go back to ancient times. In 565 BCE, the story of a large monster living in the loch first appeared in a work called Life of St. Columba. It tells the tale of a creature, which attacked men, swimming in the River Ness. An Irish monk commanded the monster to stay away and not to hurt people anymore. The beast obeyed and fled away.

The story of Nessie started to gain momentum by the end of the 19th century, when a couple of different people claimed to see a large, unknown creature swimming in Loch Ness.

However, the biggest Nessie commotion happened in the 1930s, when stories of the Loch Ness Monster along with eyewitness statements started to appear in the press. Many of them compared the beast to a dragon or dinosaur, with a long, narrow neck. In May of 1933, the Inverness Courier ran a story called “Strange Spectacle in Loch Ness” about a Loch Ness Monster sighting by Aldie Mackay. An excerpt from it says:

“The creature disported itself, rolling and plunging for fully a minute, its body resembling that of a whale, and the water cascading and churning like a simmering cauldron. Soon, however, it disappeared in a boiling mass of foam. Both onlookers confessed that there was something uncanny about the whole thing, for they realised that here was no ordinary denizen of the depths, because, apart from its enormous size, the beast, in taking the final plunge, sent out waves that were big enough to have been caused by a passing steamer.”

Soon after, the first pictures appeared as well, with the most famous one being the “surgeon’s photograph.” Taken by English doctor Robert Kenneth Wilson and published in the Daily Mail in 1934, it became “proof” to many of the creature’s existence. The photo showed what appeared to be the monster’s small head and long neck, looking a lot like a plesiosaurus, sticking out of the water. After this photograph, interest in the Loch Ness Monster skyrocketed, and many monster hunters throughout the years and decades to follow would set off on a quest trying to encounter this mythical creature of Scotland. 

In 1994, the mystery of the “surgeon’s photograph” was revealed to be a hoax, with the object in the picture being a toy submarine with a wooden head attached to it.

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Possible Explanations

Wonder how it’s possible that, even after many searches conducted and pictures proven to be hoaxes, the story of the Loch Ness Monster remains so popular?

There are two pillars that mostly keep the story of Nessie alive: hoaxes and random objects that people believe to be the Loch Ness Monster. Among the long list of Nessie-looking objects, you can find birds, eels, catfish, and trees. Moreover, the shape of the lake and the water itself can cause different water disturbances and weird optical effects.

One of the possible Nessie explanations from the past also includes elephants, as there were a lot of fairs and circuses taking place in the area in the 1930s. Some experts say it is plausible that circus elephants might have swum in the loch in between shows. Their trunks could possibly look like a long neck of our creature Nessie.

Nevertheless, the Loch Ness Monster is still very lucrative for many people who’ve claimed to have seen it. To gather all the reported sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, a volunteer, Gary Campbell, created a register with the number of reported sightings being over 1100!

Visitscotland.com has its own description of Nessie, “…she’s long and thin, usually green and with black humps, tail and snake-like head. And she’s shy.” We’d like to think this bashfulness is why not so many people have spotted her yet. And, for those who would like to see what Nessie looks like in real life, you can check out its sculpture in the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition. 

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Well, that’s all for now on Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster of lore, and we hope you now have a better understanding of this Scottish mythical creature! Got any questions, feedback, or other things to know about the Loch Ness Monster that we should add to our article? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Mariia Kislitsyna
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Mariia Kislitsyna
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