Loch Ness Monster (also see Ogopogo and Cadborosaurus willsi, also known as Caddy)

Location: Loch Ness, Scotland

Danger Level: Very Low

The Loch Ness Monster (Scottish Gaelic ‘Niseag’) is a cryptid reputed to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, and is one of the most famous examples of cryptozoology. The most frequent speculation is that the creature represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs. It is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next, and was brought to the world’s attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with minimal and much-disputed photographic material and sonar readings. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a modern-day myth, and explains sightings as a mix of hoaxes and wishful thinking. The creature has been affectionately referred to by the nickname Nessie since the 1950s.

The earliest report of a monster in the vicinity of Loch Ness, appears in the Life of St. Columba, by Adomnán, written in the 7th century. According to Adomnán, writing about a century after the events he described, the Irish monk Saint Columba was staying in the land of the Picts with his companions, when he came across the locals burying a man by the River Ness. They explained that the man had been swimming the river, when he was attacked by a “water beast” that had mauled him and dragged him under. They tried to rescue him by boat, but were able only to drag up his corpse. Hearing this, Columba stunned the Picts by directing his follower, Luigne moccu Min, to swim across the river. The beast came after him, but Columba made the sign of the cross and commanded: “Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once.” The beast immediately halted, as if it had been “pulled back with ropes”, and fled in terror. Both of Columba’s men, and the pagan Picts, praised God for the miracle.

Loch Ness MonsterJuly 22, 1933, George Spicer and his wife saw ‘a most extraordinary form of animal’ cross the road in front of their car. They described the creature as having a large body, about 4 feet (1.25 meters) high and 25 feet (8 meters) long, with a long narrow neck, slightly thicker than an elephant’s trunk, and as long as the 10–12-foot (3–4 meters) width of the road. The neck had a number of undulations in it. They saw no limbs, possibly because a dip in the road obscured the animal’s lower portion. It lurched across the road, toward the loch 20 yards (7.5 meters) away, leaving only a trail of broken undergrowth in its wake.

In August of 1933, a motorcyclist named Arthur Grant, claimed to have nearly hit the creature while approaching Abriachan on the north-eastern shore, at about 1:00 am on a moonlit night. Grant claimed that he saw a small head attached to a long neck, and that when the creature saw him, it crossed the road back into the loch. A veterinary student, he described it as a hybrid between a seal and a plesiosaur. Grant said he dismounted and followed it to the loch, but only saw ripples.

In 1938, G.E. Taylor, a South African tourist, filmed something in the loch for three minutes on 16 mm colour film, which was in the possession of Maurice Burton. However, Burton refused to show the film to Loch Ness investigators (such as Peter Costello or the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau). A single frame was published in his book The Elusive Monster; before he retired. Roy P. Mackal, a biologist and cryptozoologist, declared the frame was “positive evidence”.

In May of 1943, C. B. Farrel, of the Royal Observer Corps, was supposedly distracted from his duties by a Nessie sighting. He claimed to have been about 250 yards (130 meters) away from a large-eyed, finned creature, which had a 20-30-foot (6 to 9 meters) long body, and a neck that protruded about 4–5 feet (1.2–1.5 meters) out of the water.

In 1960, aeronautical engineer, Tim Dinsdale, filmed a hump crossing the water in a powerful wake, unlike that of a boat. JARIC, The National Imagery Exploitation Centre of the Intelligence Collection Group (ICG) within United Kingdom Defence Intelligence, declared that the object was “probably animate”. Others were sceptical, saying that the “hump” cannot be ruled out as being a boat, and claimed that when the contrast is increased, a man can be clearly seen in a boat.

On 26 May 2007, Gordon Holmes, a 55-year-old lab technician, captured video of what he said was “this jet black thing, about 45 feet (15 meters) long, moving fairly fast in the water.” Adrian Shine, a marine biologist at the Loch Ness 2000 centre in Drumnadrochit, described the footage as among “the best footage he has ever seen.” BBC Scotland broadcast the video on May 29th, 2007. The STV News North Tonight aired the footage on May 28, 2007 with an interview with Holmes. Adrian Shine, of the Loch Ness Centre, was also interviewed, and suggested that the footage in fact showed an otter, seal or water bird.