Myth or Reality?

The Loch Ness Monster Hunting Project Launched!

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Do you believe the Loch Ness Monster? Some believe that descendants of those ancient dinosaurs still inhabit Loch Ness. How did the hunt initiated to catch the Monster conclude?

Dinosaurs once dominated this planet, their wings covering the sky, their claws enveloping the land in their awesome presence. Their massive strides set the rhythm of the earth, and everything under their shadow bore witness to their power. But one day, they silently vanished from the stage of history. Or, more accurately, we thought they had disappeared. Some believe that descendants of those ancient dinosaurs still inhabit Loch Ness…

Welcome to the second part of our series about Nessie. In this installment, we’ll discuss an intriguing project. Then, we’ll delve deeper into Nessie’s profound history and reveal surprising information not covered in the first part.

Recently, an extraordinary event occurred. In the 21st century, we still uphold certain traditions, as old methods are sometimes hard to abandon. However, this event was not an ordinary hunting party. In the mystical waters of Loch Ness in Scotland’s depths, hundreds of enthusiasts gathered with a clear purpose: to chase the Loch Ness monster! Thus, the most extensive exploration expedition in the last half-century was launched, aiming to discover this legendary creature, believed to exist by countless observers over the centuries. But was the monster finally caught this time?

How Was the Hunting Project Initiated?

In recent weeks (on August 26 and 27), enthusiasts from all over the world rolled up their sleeves for the biggest Loch Ness Monster hunt in 50 years.

Loch Ness Centre in Scotland announced that it would scan underwater using new technologies during this two-day event. “The Quest Weekend” promised to be the largest search for the affectionately named “Nessie” in over 50 years.

The most extensive previous research was conducted by the now-defunct Loch Ness Investigation Bureau, which began operations in 1962. This group was awarded $20,000 (worth over $202,000 today, considering inflation) for their efforts but concluded their research in 1972 without positive findings.

The event was accessible for monster hunters to participate in person and to watch live from their homes. Volunteers registered online to attend. Participants could observe the monster from one of six observation points around the 23-mile-long lake. For those not in Scotland, local tourism authorities provided live web cameras around the lake.

Loch Ness Project

Additionally, an opportunity was announced to explore the lake’s depths with Captain Alistair Matheson of the Loch Ness Project.

The Local Tourism Centre stated that official Nessie sightings needed to show clear facial features. Loch Ness Centre’s General Manager, Paul Nixon, expressed excitement about the event: “We are the custodians of this unique story, and we are committed to creating an unforgettable experience for visitors, as well as continuing to search and uncover the mysteries beneath the famous Loch’s waters. This weekend offers an opportunity to search the waters in a way never done before, and we’re eager to see what we’ll find.”

The Loch Ness Centre in Scotland announced it was looking for “promising monster hunters” for the famous and legendary Loch Ness Monster search.

An announcement on the Loch Ness website called “All Monster Hunters.”

The full announcement read: “The search for Nessie begins with the largest search in Loch’s 50+ year history. Over 90 years since a famous sighting, we need a new generation of monster hunters to uncover the truth. As main sponsors of Loch Ness Exploration (LNE), an independent and voluntary research team, we’re looking for young monster hunters to take part in the largest research of its kind since the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau (LNIB) studied the Loch in 1972.

The event will take place on Saturday, August 26, and Sunday, August 27. Throughout the weekend, research equipment never before used on Loch Ness will be employed to uncover the secrets of the mysterious waters. This includes thermal drones producing thermal images from the water using infrared cameras.

Observing heat from above could provide a critical component in identifying mysterious anomalies. Lastly, a hydrophone will be used underwater to detect acoustic signals for listening to Nessie-like calls, and more technology will be employed in the search for the truth. As part of the weekend events, the Loch Ness Centre and LNE are looking for volunteers to participate in a large surface observation of the Loch.

Attention must be paid to interruptions and inexplicable movements on the water. Each morning, Alan McKenna from LNE will provide live information from the Loch Ness Centre to volunteers on what to look out for and how to record their findings. Additionally, there will be a daily review of the day’s findings from the redesigned centre.

A Message from Alan McKenna of Loch Ness Research Bureau and Loch Ness Exploration to Adventurers:”

“Since we started Loch Ness Exploration, our goal has always been to record, study, and analyze all natural behaviors and phenomena that are harder to explain. We hope to inspire a new generation of Loch Ness enthusiasts, and by participating in this extensive surface observation, you’ll have a real opportunity to personally contribute to this fascinating mystery.”

“Premium Deepscan (Deep Lake Scanning) Trips During the Hunt:”

Additionally, participants could join Alan McKenna for four Premium Deepscan trips throughout the weekend. Costing £45 per person, these tours offered an extended experience using a 60-foot-long hydrophone to listen to sounds from the depths of the lake. Guests also had the option to book a tour on a vessel named after the famous 1987 Loch exploration.

“High-Tech Equipment Used in the Loch Ness Exploration Research:”

According to the institution’s statements, the joint research with the Loch Ness Exploration team utilized previously unexperienced high-tech equipment in the area. This included thermal drones capable of detecting life signs and temperature changes in the lake, and hydrophones to detect “Nessie-like sounds.”

“What Happened During the Hunting Project?”

Authorities presented a detailed report on their findings on August 31st and indicated that a more comprehensive report would be shared at the end of September. Here are the report results:

Multiple potential sightings were reported through The Quest observation forms during the surface search.

A virtual volunteer described a large shadow moving just below the surface, then disappearing.

An example of a volunteer’s observation report:

  • Surface water conditions: Appeared quite calm
  • Duration of sighting: Approximately 5 minutes
  • Were there any boats or boat wakes nearby? NO
  • Do you believe the object was debris? No. It was too large. A large form appeared on the screen, moving from right to left under the water surface. You can see in the photos that it moved about 15-20 feet before going down again. Then, just a minute later, it returns to the surface and continues on its way. Look at the photos in order (timestamped or also numbered); you can see the movement. I have six photos.

Matty and Aga from Hull, two volunteers, canceled their trip to the Lakes District to join the Quest weekend. On the morning of Sunday, August 27, at 6:30 am, they noticed something unusual in the lake; it was described as moving ‘humps’ that later disappeared. They told us, “We can’t explain what it was, but it was quite impressive.”

Another virtual volunteer recorded a screen capture of an object emerging from the lake. They commented: “At 11:05 am, a boat headed towards Fort Augustus, and that’s the wake you can see in front. I don’t think the object is related to the wake, it seemed like a singular event. First, something long and narrow rises to the surface, then a black hump, a round object, rises and sinks. Look at the screenshots and see for yourself! Could it be an otter or a seal? What do you think?”

“Hydrophone Findings:”

Alan McKenna took a Deepscan Cruise just one day before the start of The Quest weekend to ensure the hydrophone’s functionality. They initiated tests to verify the reliability of the equipment alongside the boat’s curious guests. Four mysterious and previously unheard loud sounds were detected coming from the depths of the lake. Unfortunately, the critical moment was not recorded due to the excitement. However, all guests on board heard the sounds. No other strange sounds were heard during the searches on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

“Thermal Imaging Drones:”

Explanation: A few weeks ago, Dragonfly Films approached us and offered to conduct a thermal imaging drone search in the bay during The Quest weekend. The potential of this technology and the new evidence it could help uncover excited us, and we were delighted to have them join the extensive research. We are happy to report that the search proceeded as planned and that the footage will be viewable later this year when the documentaries are released. Like everyone, we eagerly await the results!

Searching for the elusive Nessie in a lake 23 miles long and 754 feet deep was always going to be challenging, even with the help of hundreds of volunteers! Alan McKenna is currently reviewing all observation reports, so we will share a more detailed report at the end of next month.

“Loch Ness and Its Legendary Monster:”

Loch Ness is an impressive lake in Scotland, reaching depths of up to 230 meters. At first glance, 230 meters might not seem very deep, but with a length of 39 km, it is the largest freshwater source in Great Britain by volume. In fact, it contains more water than all the other lakes in England and Wales combined. With such a vast area covered by water, it’s conceivable that there is enough space for a monster to hide!

The size adds to the grandeur of the mystery!

For about 1400 years, people have sensed something in the waters of this lake. This mystical entity is known as the “Loch Ness Monster,” but many affectionately refer to it as “Nessie.”

Now, let’s delve into the details of this legendary creature, affectionately referred to by some as a “lovable monster”…

The Loch Ness monster is seen by many as a non-threatening, fun, and humanistic “monster,” but a delve into the past reveals it as quite aggressive.

“Did Saint Columba See Nessie?”

Saint Columba (521-597) was a Christian saint born in Ireland, renowned for his missionary work in Scotland.

Columba caught attention early on with his interest in the church and religious education. As a young priest, he founded and managed many monasteries in Ireland.

In 565, he arrived in Scotland and established a monastery on the Isle of Iona. This monastery became a center for Celtic Christianity and played a significant role in spreading Columba’s teachings.

Columba achieved great success in spreading Christianity among the Picts in Scotland. He also wrote many Christian poems and hymns. His teachings, missionary work, and the monastery he founded had a significant impact on the history of Christianity in Medieval Europe.

Saint Columba’s encounter with Loch Ness Monster

Saint Columba’s encounter with Nessie is one of the earliest written stories about the Loch Ness Monster.

Around 565 AD, while on a missionary trip to convert the Picts in Scotland to Christianity, Columba visited Loch Ness. According to legend, Columba saw a man being attacked and dragged into a river (likely the River Ness) by the monster. The man was pulled under the water and killed.

After the creature allegedly tore apart the man, his funeral was held. Saint Columba, having heard what happened, sent his follower Luigne moccu Min to the lake to swim to the opposite shore. As the monster rapidly swam towards Luigne, Columba raised his hand and shouted, “Know your place! Go no further! Do not touch the man! Return immediately!” The monster then stopped and retreated as if being pulled back by chains, sparing Luigne.

This incident was regarded by Columba’s followers and witnesses as a demonstration of his holy power and faith. However, the historical accuracy of this story is not definitively known and may have been altered over time. Still, it remains one of the earliest written accounts of the Loch Ness Monster.

The origin of the legend, however, predates even this event. Let’s go back to a time before this incident, which is estimated to have occurred approximately 1400 years ago.

“Was the Pictish Beast Actually Nessie?”

The history of this stone dates back approximately 2200 years and was erected by the Picts, a subgroup of the Celts. The image on the upper part clearly represents a fish. However, the figure below is more enigmatic. Similar depictions exist on other stones. This legendary “Pictish creature,” although not resembling any known animal, somewhat resembles a seahorse, especially when held upright.

Some interpret it as a dragon, others as an elephant. “Pict” refers to one of the early tribes of Scotland. Hence, the term “Pictish Monster” might suggest that the Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) was known to the Picts, indicating that the story of the Loch Ness monster may have an even more ancient past. Another ancient account, occurring about 600 years after Saint Columba’s incident, involved a clergyman who claimed to have encountered a massive entity with flaming eyes in the River Ness. However, this being’s depiction was quite different from the modern image of Nessie. Either this witness’s drawing skills were lacking, or the entity resembled a giant bear!

“Nessie in the Modern Age”

In 1933, a well-known businessman, George Spicer, and his university-educated wife reportedly witnessed the creature while driving along the north shore of the lake. They described their encounter as follows: “It moved by rolling and plunging for a full minute, its body resembled that of a whale, and the water churned like a boiling cauldron.” This story marked the beginning of referring to this mysterious entity as a “Monster.”

“Second Sighting”

The second observation happened two months after the first report, in July 1933. A wealthy individual and his spouse, while driving, described the creature as having a neck thicker and longer than an elephant’s trunk, and excitedly added: “It was the closest thing to a dragon or prehistoric animal that I have ever encountered in my life.” This entity was now not only being identified as a monster but also as a dinosaur resembling a plesiosaur.

Dinosaurs once roamed this earth. Could some have survived in a lake like Loch Ness? What does science say about this?

“What Does Science Say About Nessie?”

Our studies on the ecology of plesiosaurs indicate that this species became extinct about 65 million years ago. However, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario. If a group of these dinosaurs managed to survive in an isolated lake ecosystem like Loch Ness, how would that be possible?

Scientific analyses suggest that there was no lake in this region about 10,000 years ago. Have you ever wondered how many individuals would be needed to maintain genetic diversity for a species to survive over 10,000 years? Biodiversity studies indicate that a population would need at least 20 individuals to sustain itself over this period. If the population were lower than this number, the species’ survival would be at risk in the long term. Based on this demographic data, if more than 20 plesiosaurs lived in this lake, we would expect to observe Nessie more frequently.

Moreover, the idea of a species, believed to have been extinct for 65 million years, living in a lake that is at most 10,000 years old seems impossible to scientists. So, if Nessie is real and can be found, it might completely change our understanding of scientific history.

Can Nessie live in freshwater?

Focusing on modern-day creatures, the Greenland shark would be our second option. It’s an impressive marine creature that lives at depths of 200-600 meters and can grow up to 7 meters. However, its natural habitat is the ocean, and it is adapted to saltwater. Despite some biologists’ claims that it could survive in freshwater, such an adaptation occurring in a freshwater lake like Loch Ness is considered improbable by science.

One of the largest creatures known to live in freshwater is the catfish, which can grow up to 4 meters. However, genetic analyses conducted in the lake did not find any catfish DNA. The most common species found in the lake through DNA analysis is the eel. The largest known European eel is 1.8 meters long, but some scientists suggest that this species could grow larger in the lake.

Is Nessie actually a big eel?

Some scientific circles think the monster could be a large eel. However, Henry H. Bauer, a professor of chemistry and scientific research at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, disagrees with this theory, stating, “All evidence points to these creatures living in the depths of Loch. However, our data does not confirm the theory that these creatures are giant eels.” Enthusiasts of the Loch Ness Monster, rooted in historic Scottish folklore, have long believed it to be a prehistoric reptile with a small head and a long neck, similar to a plesiosaur.

However, skeptics, citing scientific explanations, assert that plesiosaurs, requiring a saltwater environment, could not live in Loch Ness. Yet recent findings suggest British researchers believe the existence of the Loch Ness Monster is a “positive” possibility.

Could Nessie be a Plesiosaur?

This claim emerged following the discovery by scientists of plesiosaur fossils (long-necked marine creatures from the dinosaur era) in an ancient 100 million-year-old river bed in what is now Morocco. These fossil findings bolster the idea that these creatures could have lived in freshwater.

According to a recent publication by the University of Bath, new findings make the existence of the Loch Ness Monster “somewhat plausible.” The university’s article in the Cretaceous Research journal suggests that plesiosaurs adapted to freshwater environments and may have adopted a lifestyle similar to today’s river dolphins.

Discovered fossils include bones and teeth of adult individuals three meters in length and a 1.5-meter-long juvenile’s arm bone. These fossil findings offer clues that plesiosaurs regularly lived and fed in freshwater habitats alongside frogs, crocodiles, turtles, fish, and giant aquatic dinosaurs like Spinosaurus. However, the shared results still report the species’ extinction 66 million years ago. “Plesiosaurs were not limited to the seas; they lived in freshwater. However, the fossil record shows that the last plesiosaurs finally died out 66 million years ago, along with the dinosaurs.”

“Returning to Eyewitness Accounts…”

“Nessie’s First Photograph”

Later the same year (1933), four months after the second incident, the first photograph of the creature was captured.

The image was not very clear, similar in quality to modern-day UFO photos. Considering the limited technology of the time and those massive Kodak cameras, the result was quite impressive for a first attempt.

“The First Book and Photographs About Nessie”

With the addition of photographs to eyewitness statements, a wealth of information had accumulated about the Loch Ness Monster. Based on this information, the first book on the subject was published in 1934. The book, with detailed drawings and illustrations, turned tracking the monster into a kind of hunt.

In recent weeks, we witnessed one of the latest examples of this “mystery hunting,” showing how the process started with that first photo and book. However, did you notice the prominent photo on the book’s cover? This figure, now almost a symbol representing the Loch Ness Monster, was prominently featured on the book’s cover. This famous photo, known as the “surgeon’s photograph.

Photo 1951

In 1951, photographs of strange protrusions emerging from the surface of the lake were recorded.

Photo 1955

Near Urquhart Castle in 1955, a bank manager captured a mysterious square.

Photo 1970

An old captain came to the lake in pursuit of the monster in 1970 and took a photograph there.

Photo 1972

In a 1972 frame, the hump of the Loch Ness Monster appeared to be rising high out of the water with its mouth open.

Another underwater frame from the same period seemed to silhouette a creature resembling a plesiosaur.

Photo 1977

In 1977, a person camping near Urquhart Castle captured a quite clear photograph.

With the 2000s, we began encountering aerial images of the lake. For instance, an image emerged on Google Earth in 2009 or a shadow resembling a 30-meter-long fin found in Apple Maps in 2014.

A photo captured by a drone in 2021 was indeed striking. In this frame, a creature remarkably resembling a plesiosaur is seen. Could this be an optical illusion created by the combination of rocks on the shore and light? The capturer of this striking frame was a 54-year-old pilot. I mention the professions and titles of witnesses more than their names due to their roles in spreading this legend. A pilot, satellite imagery, a retired soldier, a bank manager, an engineer, a renowned doctor, a wealthy couple, a businessperson, a knowledgeable spouse, a theologian from the past, even historical figures like Evliya Çelebi…

Surgeon’s Photograph

The sources of this legend seem extremely credible, perhaps that’s why this legend has spread so far to our day. But could the images be fake? Let’s come to the most iconic photo…

The iconic photo of the Loch Ness monster, taken by a well-known doctor (Robert Kenneth Wilson), was accepted for 60 years without questioning its authenticity due to the photographer’s reputation.

However, it was later understood that this photo was actually a hoax. This “monster” was just a plastic figure placed on a 60 cm long toy submarine.

So much effort was put into this conspiracy. Those who took the photo delivered it to this “reputable” doctor to send to the newspaper. An acquaintance of Wilson, resentful towards him, created a scene on the water with a toy submarine and encouraged Wilson to sell this frame to the newspaper.

Perhaps after this photo gained much attention, some may have created a scenario they wanted us to know to distract perception.

“Does a Fake Picture Necessarily Mean the Monster Doesn’t Exist?”

Of course not. Even the person who exposed the hoax did not lose their belief in the existence of the monster. According to public opinion, Nessie is definitely a water dinosaur that has continued its lineage since the age of dinosaurs, hiding itself from humans. However, its elusiveness despite all searches raises questions among skeptics.

Those who believe in the monster’s existence argue that Nessie retreats to hidden caves deep within the lake during searches. The murky, mud-mixed waters of the lake could facilitate such a creature’s concealment. It is thought that these caves may have a labyrinthine structure, allowing the monster to hide in these dark, hard-to-reach places, isolated from the outside world. This could explain where Nessie hides during periods when it does not surface.

9,000 eyewitnesses!

To date, there have been over 9,000 eyewitness accounts of Nessie. Most of these testimonies came after 1933, a significant year to highlight. That year, a road was constructed around the lake, leading to an increase in tourists. People have spent both time and money in pursuit of this mystery, and they continue to do so. This unsolved mystery has become a golden goose for the locals, reportedly bringing in $52 million annually.

Loch Ness Centre, Drumnadrochit.

Who knows? Maybe there really is a creature. Or perhaps they’ve created a remote-controlled machine that they occasionally float on the surface to attract tourists. Of course, this tourism argument is what those who don’t believe in Nessie put forward. But we know this is not a situation unique to Nessie.

Throughout history, humanity has turned almost everything into a part of commerce. However, this does not mean that every value, belief, or phenomenon is merely a commercial commodity. Behind every object or being, there are depths, meanings, and stories independent of commerce. We know there are people who dilute every event and exploit it for their interests. In this context, even if many things are fake, we should not forget the history that dates back to Saint Columba and should not view the situation solely through the lens of tourism.

Moreover, the number of recorded eyewitness accounts is over 9,000, which is not a figure to be dismissed lightly. Although I don’t think it applies to every situation, there’s a proverb that fits here: “There’s no smoke without fire.” So, there must be something in that lake. But perhaps we may never know what it is.

Could someone be hiding the real story from us?

According to Daily Express, citing the YouTube channel All Time Conspiracies, the Loch Ness Monster has indeed been found and is being concealed by the government. Reportedly, the remains of this monster have been a subject of dispute between the Natural History Museum of England and the Royal Scottish Museum. Allegedly, there were even secret negotiations between these two museums about where the remains would be displayed. All Time Conspiracies claims this information is being kept from the public.

Do you think this could be true? What are your thoughts on the possibility of Nessie’s existence? If such a being has been discovered and is being hidden from us, what could be the reasons for this concealment? The emergence of a being that science has definitively declared non-existent could force us to rewrite everything we know. Are they hesitant to reveal this potential truth?

Why are we looking for Nessie?

The Nessie that we believe is hiding in the depths of Loch Ness becomes a reflection of humanity’s deep curiosity about the unknown. Why are we constantly in search of it? The mystery of the unknown both frightens and fascinates us, doesn’t it? Why? Because there are secrets that nature has not yet revealed to us. When we shed light on these secrets, perhaps it will be time to confront our deepest questions, our very existence. Maybe what we are really looking for is not in the depths of a forest or the dark waters of a lake, but within ourselves. It’s just a reminder to ask ourselves about the secrets of our existence.

And these secrets might be the greatest mysteries waiting to be discovered…

Stay curious, farewell…

To read our first article about the Nessie legend, click here.

You can also access our article about other unproven creatures here.

There are many works related to or inspired by the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie.

Click to read our first part

Click to watch our video

  • “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” (1970) – In this film directed by Billy Wilder, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson try to solve the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster.
  • “Loch Ness” (1996) – Starring Ted Danson, this film follows an American scientist investigating whether the monster exists.
  • “The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep” (2007) – Based on the Loch Ness Monster legend, this film tells the story of a child’s friendship with the monster.
TV Series:
  • “Doctor Who” – “Terror of the Zygons” (1975) – This episode of the popular sci-fi series explores the concept of the Loch Ness Monster being an alien creature.
  • “Loch Ness: The Mystery Unraveled” – This documentary examines the efforts of scientists and researchers seeking Nessie.
  • “In Search of… Loch Ness Monster” – This episode of the popular 1970s documentary series thoroughly investigates the monster legend.
  • “The Loch” by Steve Alten – This book offers a modern thriller story based on the Loch Ness Monster.
  • “Loch Ness Monster: The Unsolved Mystery” by Terri Sievert – This children’s book explores the legend and theories surrounding it.

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