Thursday, 04 August 2005 00:00

The Loch Ness Monster

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The Loch Ness Monster is affectionately known as "Nessie". She is thought to be some sort of water dwelling monster that lives in Loch Ness in Scotland. She is reported to have an elongated neck that quite often protrudes from the water with a small head, diamond shaped flippers, three distinct humps on her back followed by a tail.

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Many have speculated that she lives under or around Urquhart Castle and many photographs (lots of them fake) have been taken of her in the vicinity of this castle.

Nessie has been sighted as far back as the 6th century a.d. and the first recorded sighting of her on land was by Mr Spicer and his wife, on July 22nd 1933. He and his wife were driving down the road between the Loch Ness side villages of Dores and Inverfargaig when they spotted a large cumbersome animal crossing the road ahead, which was approximately 20 yards from the water. They first saw the long neck of Nessie which formed a number of arches, a bit thicker than an elephant's trunk followed by a huge lumbering body heading towards the Loch. It dissapeared into the bushes out of sight. Following this reported sighting more reports came flooding in and public interest grew on an international scale. Speculators offered huge prizes for the animal, dead or alive. A circus owner by the name of Bertram Mills promised a sum of ?20,000 to any man who could bring the creature alive to his circus.

The first photograph of the moster was thought to be taken by a British Aluminium Company worker, Mr Hugh Gray, near Foyers. The photograph showed a huge creature creating a disturbance on the surface of the Loch. He saw only part of the animal which he estimated to be approximately 40ft long, which included a thick rounded back and also a muscular looking tail.

A motorcyclist almost collided with the monster in January, 1934 as he was coming home from Inverness in the early hours of the morning. In April of the same year the most famous photo of Nessie was taken by a London surgeon as he was heading towards Inverness along the new road. The picture later proved to be a fake.

There were a number of privately funded investigations of the Loch Ness monster that year, most of which were not successful. The only one which did have a degree of success was led by Sir Edward Mountain in July of 1934. During his research he managed to take five still pictures of the monster, he managed to observe the monster along with members of his team.

In 1951 a new photograph appeared which to some confirmed the existence of the monster. A woodcutter employed by the forrestry commission saw something large moving out on the Loch. With a friend he ran to the waters edge and there about 50 yards away they saw three humps, each about 5ft long moving at a fast speed. The woodcuter, who had picked up a small camera before leaving his house managed to take a photograph of the monster.

Another intriging sighting was in 1954 on a fishing drifter. The ship captured an unusual graphical recording of a large object at a depth of around 480ft - 100ft or so above the bottom - the object kept pace with the ship for half a mile then dissapeared into the depth of the Loch.

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge joined together in 1960 to make a scientific study of the Loch paying particular attention to the possible existance of the Loch Ness monster. 30 volunteer graduates and undergraduates used cameras and echo sounders mounted on a boat. They did manage to encounter one visual sighting of what appeared to be the mosters back moving through the water. Another sighting they had was of an object that continuously changed shape on the surface of the water. Of the numberous echo soundings that were taken many were of unusual character.

most scientists and zoologists around the world admit to believing that a large aquatic animal does in fact exist in Loch Ness. Nessie was even given a scientific name "Nessiteras rhombopteryx" so named by Sir Peter Scott so that Nessie could be added to Britains schedule of officially protected wildlife. The name, translated from Greek means "The wonder of Ness with the diamond shaped fin", a reference to the flipper photographed by Dr. Rines in 1972. It was also noted that if you rearranged the letters of Nessiteras rhombopteryx it can read "Monster hoax by Sir Peter S" or "Yes, both pix are Monsters R."


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