The Loch Ness Monster, or more fondly known as Nessie, is a mystery that has racked the brains of many tourists and paleontologists for centuries. It has been said that Nessie lurks in the depths of the Loch Ness, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting sailors. Nessie has been a hot topic for debate for many and is regarded by scientists as a “phenomenon without a biological basis.” Whether Nessie exists or not, she is one of the most notable tourist attractions in Scotland.
Here are a few fascinating details about the Loch Ness monster and her reign over the Loch Ness.
The ‘Surgeon’s Photograph’
One of the most popular photographs of the Loch Ness Monster was taken by a London physician, Robert Kenneth Wilson. According to Wilson, he spotted the monster’s head, neck, and small back emerge from the water. The physician managed to snap four photographs of the beast but could only be seen clearly in two of the exposures. The photograph was published in the Daily Mail on the 21st of April 1934, but Wilson did not want his name to be associated with the post. This is how the title ‘Surgeon’s Photograph’ came about.
The ‘Surgeon’s Photograph’ was convincing enough to be considered as photographic evidence of the beast’s existence for almost 60 years. The photographs may have sparked controversy but The Sunday Telegraph revealed that they were a hoax in 1975. In the 1999 tell-all book titled Nessie – the Surgeon’s Photograph Exposed, details were revealed of how the photograph was taken using a toy submarine.
The Loch Ness Monster has been a part of Scottish folklore long before the ‘Surgeon’s Photograph’ was published. The legend of an elephant-like beast lurking in the Loch Ness dates back to the first century CE. The earliest report of Nessie appears in the book titled ‘Life of St. Columba by Adomnán,’ which was written in 565 CE. Saint Columba, an Irish monk saw the monster trying to attack a man who was swimming in the Loch but managed to summon the beast back into the waters.
Nessie the plesiosaur
One of Britain’s most renowned ornithologists, Peter Scott speculated that the monster may have been a plesiosaur, a large marine reptile that lived during the Jurassic Period. Scott even suggested that Nessie’s scientific name should be Nessiteras rhombopteryx in order to register the monster as an endangered species. The Daily Mail later pointed out that the name Nessiteras rhombopteryx could have been a clever anagram of “Monster hoax by Sir Peter S.” Was this Scott’s way of confirming the myth?
While there hasn’t been any substantial evidence to prove that the Loch Ness Monster does exist, there are many who are still searching for the beast today. There are several websites dedicated to validating the myth along with photographs and a list of sightings, some as recent as 2014. There is even a live cam set up with a view of the loch just in case the mysterious Nessie decides to show herself.
Whether the Loch Ness Monster is a myth or not, she has definitely paid her share of the rent for occupying most of the Loch Ness. It is estimated that the legend of the mythical creature has brought in more than $37.3 million from tourists hoping to get a glimpse of her!