Questions about the existence of the Loch Ness monster exist to this day. There have been photos, eyewitness accounts, and even a scientific expedition to get to the bottom of the mystery once and for all. While the larger question of whether the Loch Ness monster truly exists at all remains, there are several facts as well as a timeline of sightings and reports. And with modern technology, there are more ways than ever to try to catch a glimpse of Nessie.
The Loch Ness Monster Lives in the Largest Lake in Britain
The Loch Ness monster is said to live in the Great Glen of Scotland, that's known as Glen Mor. The lake itself is known as Loch Ness.
Loch Ness is 22 miles long and 1.5 miles wide at the widest place with a depth of 800 feet. This makes it the largest freshwater lake in Britain. It's plenty deep enough to provide a habitat for all manner of wildlife.
Nessie Is Very Distinctive
Nessie, the nickname for the Loch Ness Monster, has been described as having a snake-like head and flippers like a seal. The creature is also said to have horns and humps like a camel. According to VisitScotland, she's green, with black humps.
There are similar creatures in Japanese and Chinese mythology described similarly that were called water dragons and were considered to be gods.
St. Columba Met Nessie
In 565 A.D., the Irish monk, St. Columba, reportedly was visiting the area around Loch Ness, and came upon a group of people burying someone. When he asked what had happened, the mourners said that the person had been attacked by a great water beast. Columba sent one of his own followers to swim in the water to see if they could figure out what had attacked the man, and the beast attacked him as well. According to The Life of Saint Columba, St. Columba made the sign of the cross and the monster let him go.
Nessie Has Been Seen Out of Water
In 1933, the Inverness Courier newspaper reported a couple named Spicer claimed to have seen a frighteningly large creature along a road.
In fact, the monster had emerged from the brush alongside the road and proceeded to cross in front of the car. The couple watched the unusual creature hurry off in the direction of Loch Ness. The Spicers described the creature as "having a large body (about 4 feet (1.2 m) high and 25 feet (8 m) long) and a long, wavy, narrow neck, slightly thicker than an elephant's trunk and as long as the 10-12-foot (3-4 m) width of the road."
This report started a wave of other sightings along the shores of Loch Ness, augmented by the fact that the road along it had recently been improved and was now open to much more traffic than it had been before.
A Surgeon Took the Most Famous Loch Ness Monster Photo
In 1934, surgeon R.K. Wilson took a photo of the alleged Loch Ness Monster. This photo became the most famous Nessie photograph that was later dubbed, the Surgeon's Photo. As you might expect, controversy over the authenticity of the photograph quickly escalated. Over the following years, different people stepped up to claim they'd assisted in staging the photo. It has largely been written off as a hoax.
BBC Did a Sonar Sweep
Nessie is believed to be some type of plesiosaur, a leftover from the dinosaur period. In 2003, in an effort prove or disprove the existence of Nessie once and for all, BBC television undertook an expedition to Loch Ness.
The group used sonar to sweep the entire lake but were unable to capture any evidence of Nessie. Did this lack of evidence prove that no such creature exists? For some people it did. For others, they believe that since the lake is 800 feet deep and filled with caverns and caves, the creature had ample room to hide.
Did Nessie Appear on an Apple Map?
On April 19, 2014, a satellite image on Apple Maps seemed to capture what looked to be a very large creature just beneath the surface of Loch Ness, and some believed it was Nessie. The image was taken at the far north end of Loch Ness, and the creature appears massive--almost 100 feet long--and it's a mystery to many as to what it could be. Some have said it could be the wake of a ship, floating wood, or other debris, but it's hard to say, and the image definitely looks like it could be some kind of sea creature.
Nessie Was Photographed Near Urquhart Castle
The 1950s saw a surge of Nessie sightings. Some people provided what they claimed to be photographic evidence. One of the most talked about photos from that era was taken at Urquhart Castle.
In 1955, Peter A. MacNab was taking a long-range photograph of Urquhart Castle, when he saw a huge creature with two humps in the water a few yards from the castle. He quickly snapped the now famous photograph.
What made the photo so impressive was that the huge castle gave scale to the size of the massive creature.
There Have Been Hundreds of Sightings
There have been hundreds of Nessie sightings over the past 50 years. These sightings have been cataloged and listed on various websites dedicated to the Loch Ness Monster.
The sightings have been broken down into distinct categories designed to help researchers distinguish them easier:
- Single hump
- Multiple hump - sea serpent type
- Head and neck sightings
- More than one animal account
- Land sightings
There Were Three Sightings in One Day
People search for Nessie via boat. In fact, on June 1, 2003 near Fort Augustus, a remarkable series of sightings occurred. Nessie was seen three times during an eight hour period.
Two of those sightings were made from the Royal Scot, a cruise boat. The first happened at 2:00 p.m., and the second occurred at 8:00 p.m.
The second sighting had 28 witnesses onboard who saw a large hump three feet above the surface and five feet in length. Interestingly, the previous week, the same ship had picked up a 20-foot object on its sonar.
The third sighting was made by a fisherman later that evening around 10:00 p.m.
Watch for Nessie on a Webcam
While there are certain tourist traps along Loch Nest and even whimsical topiaries as well as Nessie statues, there are serious researchers involved in trying to capture irrefutable photographic evidence that Nessie exists.
These dedicated investigators have set up webcams at various places along Loch Ness where Nessie sightings have been reported. You can jump online and view a live webcam and even participate by watching the live feed for any signs of Nessie. You never know, you might be the one to see the Loch Ness Monster splash to the surface of the lake.
The Search for Nessie Continues
As you can see, there are a lot of basic Loch Ness monster facts. These are also mixed with quite a few hoaxes that range from tampered photographs to fake Nessies constructed out of various materials. One fact everyone can agree on is that no definitive proof has been presented that Nessie exists. Loch Ness remains a destination for those hoping to capture the elusive creature.