Graphic by: Vincentia Thatcher
Graphic by: Vincentia Thatcher

Freaky Friday: Legend of the Loch Ness Monster

April 14, 2023

There are many legends around the world about mystical creatures. There’s the Yeti, Mothman, the Kraken, and many more. One famous creature lurks in the waters of Scotland. Her name? The Loch Ness Monster.

A Scottish Monster

The Loch Ness Monster, otherwise known as Nessie, is a creature that supposedly lives in a lake in the Loch Ness region of Scotland. There are many supposed sightings of Nessie, all of them beginning in the mid-18th century. There is, however, one sighting that occurred thousands of years before then.

In 565, the book Life of St. Columba contained a passage about an event that happened around a century before. The text said that an Irish monk by the name of Saint Columba was with his associates when they came across a man burying a body by River Ness. The man then told them how the person was killed while swimming in the river when a ‘water beast’ attacked him. Saint Columba then had one of his followers swim across the river, and when the beast approached him, Columba made the cross sign and told the beast, “Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once,” to which, the monster then fled.

Beginning with a Photo

When modern popularity for the monster rose, it was no coincidence that people wanted to try to get a photo of Nessie. In 1934, an Englishman named Robert Kenneth Wilson was looking at the lake when he saw the creature. He then claimed to have grabbed his camera and taken four photos, only two of which you could clearly see, with the first one showing the creature’s back and a small head, and the second depicted the head in a diving position.

After the photos were taken, people thought Nessie was real for many years. It wasn’t until 1994 that everyone agreed that the first photo was a hoax. Evidence was shown after the photo was examined that the creature was being towed by something, causing ripples in the water. This was supported when people from Discovery Communications, that were making a documentary, uncropped the photo and found that a white object was visible in all of the different variations of the picture, which is what was thought to be causing the ripples.

The second photo taken by Wilson was ignored by researchers because of its poor quality and blurriness. It apparently also had a lot of differences compared to the first photo which most likely deterred people from looking at it as closely as the other picture.

The Search for Nessie

Several searches for the monster have been carried out through the years, conducted by everyone from independent cryptozoologists to accredited academic organizations. 

One of the earliest organized attempts to identify Nessie took place in 1934. In a search funded by Edward Mountain, twenty men spent five weeks watching the loch from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. armed with cameras should any of them spot something. More than twenty photographs were taken during the search, but zoologists have concluded that most of them were of seals. This expedition, though inconclusive, would pave the way for much larger-scale investigations in the future. Such as the Robert Rines studies. 

In 1972, a group of researchers led by Robert H. Rhines went out on the loch with a sonar and underwater camera. When the sonar detected a moving target, the camera would be sent to get an illuminated photo. Believe it or not, the camera did find something unusual, returning two photographs of what appeared to be a large, diamond-shaped flipper. In 1975, naturalist Peter Scott announced that based on the photographs, he would be giving the Loch Ness monster a scientific name, Nessiteras rhombopteryx (Ness inhabitant with diamond-shaped fin), which would allow it to be added to the British register for protected wildlife. Another photo from the 1972 expedition showed what appeared to be two large creatures surrounded by bubbles. Rhines would conduct three more searches in his lifetime, one in 1975, one in 2001, and one in 2008. The 1975 search would produce photographs of what appeared to be unknown animals in various positions and lighting conditions, and some interpret them to be plesiosaur-like creatures. Unlike the previous photos, these notably did not have concurring sonar readings. Skeptics believe these photos merely depict logs, a conclusion supported by data from the Operation Deepscan search from 1987. In 2008, Rhines concluded that the creature might have gone extinct due to a lack of sonar readings and a decline in reported sightings. He led one final search in an attempt to find the creature’s remains, but the results were inconclusive.

Nessie or Kelpie

Before the more modern idea of the monster being some kind of plesiosaur became mainstream, Nessie was widely believed to be some kind of water kelpie. 

The Kelpie is a shape-shifting water spirit found in Scottish folklore. This creature is usually malevolent in nature and typically takes the form of a large, black horse, sometimes with reversed hooves or serpents in its mane. While in this equine form, it is said to trick people into riding it, then drown them and eat their flesh. 

Several bodies of water in Scotland have Kelpie myths associated with them, and Loch Ness is no exception. Stories about these creatures inhabiting the area go back as far as the 6th century CE. One story from the 19th century details the defeat of a Kelpie at Loch Ness. The story goes that a man living by the loch cut off its bridle, the source of its life force. And refused to return it. The Kelpie told him that he wouldn’t be able to carry it into his house because of the cross above the door, but the man got around this by simply tossing it in through a window. The Kelpie accepted its fate and disappeared, never to be seen again, and the bridle was said to have healing powers.

The Creature in the Lake

Nessie is a creature that many people have tried searching for, like Bigfoot or the Kraken. Is the Loch Ness monster real, or is it just another made-up creature?

Next time you’re swimming in a lake, be cautious. Make sure you know your surroundings at all times. If you’re not careful, you could be a victim of the Loch Ness monster.

Leave a Comment

Breaking Blue • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All comments are moderated and can be tracked back to the original user/computer.
All Breaking Blue Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *