Loch Ness Monsters

by jptanabe

Scotland's famous monster Nessie has been the subject of numerous hoaxes and scientific expeditions. But do monsters really exist in Loch Ness?

Loch Ness Monsters, or perhaps just the one known as "Nessie," are reputed to live in Loch Ness in Scotland. The loch, or lake, is a large, deep body of water, that is very dark in color.

Generally grey or dark brown in color, Loch Ness Monsters apparently range in size from an elephant to a whale.

There have been numerous sightings of Nessie, who is described as having a long, slender neck and a rounded body with four large flippers. Some of the sightings of Loch Ness Monsters have been accompanied by photographs and more recently video recordings; but many of these turned out to be fake, such as the famous "Surgeon's Photograph" hoax.

Still, so many people over such a long time period have reported seeing something in Loch Ness, that scientists have made great efforts to locate the creature or creatures, but to no avail (at least as yet).

The idea of Nessie has captured the public's imagination, so the legends of Loch Ness Monsters continue to inspire those who seek to see one for themselves and skeptics who want to debunk the myths once and for all.

Loch Ness Monster
Loch Ness Monster

Evidence or Hoax

Like many mythical and legendary creatures there is much debate over whether the Loch Ness monster actually exists or is merely a figment of people's imagination. There have been reports of Loch Ness monsters going back hundreds of years. The best known, however, come from the twentieth century, beginning in the 1930s. One year, there were several reports of Loch Ness monsters, even three on one day by different people! They all saw some kind of large creature with a long neck and a dark colored body, and it disappeared in the loch leaving ripples of water.

The Surgeon's Photograph

The iconic image of Nessie, later revealed to be a hoax

The most famous photograph of Nessie is known as the "Surgeon's Photograph." Taken by a London doctor named Wilson in 1934, it has since been deemed a fake. Yet, the image in this picture is the one that remains in the imagination of the public.

Photo Taken at 7.30 AM on (Probably) 19 April 1934 by Radcliffe Wilson
Photo Taken at 7.30 AM on (Probably) 19 April 1934 by Radcliffe Wilson

A number of scientific expeditions have also attempted to locate Loch Ness monsters. Some have made sonar recordings that indicate a large creature. Others have recorded sounds that were interpreted as those of an unknown creature using echolocation to find prey.

None of the scientific expeditions have succeeded in photographing, making video recording, let alone capturing an actual Loch Ness monster, however.

In addition to these reports from excited members of the public and serious scientists, there have also been numerous hoaxes. The "Surgeon's Photograph" may be the most well-known, but hoaxes have continued into contemporary times. In 2004 Crawley Creatures, a British company specializing in animatronics and action models for television and film, were commissioned to make a model Loch Ness monster for a television special. "Lucy" was a cross between a plesiosaurus (which some have suggested is surviving in Loch Ness and is the Loch Ness monster), and the popular image of Nessie. "Lucy" was put in the loch in three places over a two week period, and lo and behold there were numerous reports of sightings in exactly those locations!

Before assuming that all sightings are hoaxes, though, just remember that because fake Loch Ness monsters can be made and fool people doesn't disprove Nessie's existence. The truth may still be out there!

Could this be a sighting of Nessie?

NOVA Investigation of Loch Ness

The Beast of Loch Ness

DVD of the PBS NOVA show that followed a scientific expedition to Loch Ness using sophisticated sonar to attempt to locate Nessie.

My Experiences at Loch Ness

I have visited Loch Ness twice, but sadly I didn't see Nessie either time. But it's a great place to visit and I would certainly recommend a trip, with hunting for Loch Ness monsters an added bonus!

Mist hangs over Loch Ness
Mist hangs over Loch Ness

The first time I went was when I was a child. We drove to Fort Augusta at the Southwest end of the loch. I recall the loch being very misty, surrounded by mountains, and the water was so dark it was just the place for Loch Ness monsters to live! We went out on a cruise around the loch, or at least part of it. It was damp and mist swirling around, like in those scary movies where they use the fog machine, so everyone was just waiting for Loch Ness monsters to rise up from the depths of the loch! After that, even though I didn't seen any monsters, I was quite ready to believe Nessie lived there.

Loch Ness with Urquhart Castle in the foreground
Loch Ness with Urquhart Castle in the foreground

My second visit was just a few years ago. This time I went with my husband, daughter, and sister to Drumnadrochit at the Northeast end of Loch Ness. It's rather touristy there, but still really picturesque. We stayed a couple of nights and the hotel had a statue of Nessie outside! We went on a boat ride which took us past Urquhart Castle with a guide who was busy telling us all about the many failed attempts to find Nessie or any other Loch Ness monsters. We also went horseback riding and part of the trek took us through the loch, just at the shallow end. My horse got spooked at one point, so we joked he saw Nessie even if we didn't!

Anyway, the whole atmosphere of Loch Ness is very conducive to mystery and the possibility of Loch Ness monsters. The loch is so deep and dark, and the weather is quite unpredictable and changeable, with lots of waves and moving waters and strange shadows. Definitely a good place to lurk if you were some kind of creature that didn't want to be found!

Artists' Impressions of the Loch Ness Monster

Since there are no definitive descriptions or photos of what Nessie actually looks like, artists have been free to create their own versions. Here are a few examples, some fiercer than others!

Loch Ness Monster by Hugo Heikenwaelder
Loch Ness Monster by Hugo Heikenwaelder
Loch Ness 2 by Yuichi Tanabe
Loch Ness 2 by Yuichi Tanabe

Do you believe Loch Ness Monsters exist?

Are all the photos and other evidence fakes, or does/did Nessie live in Loch Ness?
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Loch Ness Webcam

If you're curious and think that Loch Ness monsters just might exist, check out this live webcam of Loch Ness and maybe you'll see Nessie!

I've seen the sheep so far, but no Nessie ... yet. Even if Nessie doesn't appear, though, it's a cool view of Loch Ness. Just make sure you're watching in Scotland's daytime hours or it'll be completely black.

Videos about Loch Ness Monsters

Movies Featuring Nessie

From mysterious to heart-warming, adventurous to humorous, these movies capture some aspect of the character of Nessie and those who believe or don't believe in her.

Want your own Nessie?

You can buy this Nessie figurine on Etsy!
Nessie 1
Nessie 1
Or this one!
Nessie 2
Nessie 2

More about Loch Ness Monsters

Updated: 10/01/2023, jptanabe
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What Do You Think about Loch Ness Monsters?

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frankbeswick on 10/19/2015

Henry has hit a vital scientific point that inbreeding would occur in a small population, but Jennifer has hit a vital point of logic that it is hard to prove a negative. In my article on the monster I state that I think that there is something there, but that it is not a monster, but a known species. If as Jennifer says it entered from the sea, then the river Ness is the way, as the western route through the Caledonian canal is impeded by locks, which would be an insuperable barrier to a large fish species.

jptanabe on 10/18/2015

I know! It's really hard to prove there's nothing down there!

Veronica on 10/18/2015

I never believed in it ever but having been there and seen the water so dark and knowing about the underground caverns , yes I can see how it can be true

jptanabe on 10/18/2015

Yes, Veronica. Creatures can certainly enter from the ocean and take up residence in the loch.

Veronica on 10/18/2015

The Loch is linked to the sea underground and I am sure several creatures must have swam along and surfaced on occasion. Who is to say it's always the same creature. Loch Ness is HUGE.

jptanabe on 10/18/2015

Ah, these loch monsters live long lives!

blackspanielgallery on 10/17/2015

The sightings, or were they sightings, have appeared over so many years that I wonder how many years old the minster could live. If there are others it is apparently a small population, so inbreeding would certainly likely end the species.

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