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Loch Ness monster
The Loch Ness Monster,
in a highly publicized
photo in 1934.

The Loch Ness monster! For centuries, the very name has conjured up monsters of the deep, mysterious happenings and, in more recent memory, tons of newsprint and famous photos.

But is "Nessie" real?

Skeptics have claimed the creature is nothing more than flights of imagination from witnesses who have mistaken it for lake mists, a large seal, or a floating tree trunk. Millions of people around the world, meanwhile, are keeping an open mind — as the hunt for Nessie continues today as hotly as it did when it was first reported seen in the Dark Ages.

Historic Loch Ness sightings & photos

The earliest know report is from none other than Scottish St. Columba, who reportedly saved a poor unfortunate local who was in the grips of an attack by a "ferocious monster" in the 7th century.

Since then, numerous sightings have included a spate of reports, most notably in the 1930's — from which emerged one of the most famous photos of the creature, "the Surgeon's photo" (see above) years later revealed as a hoax via modern analysis in 1994.

While other Loch Ness monster photos have been revealed as fakes, one picture taken in August, 1972 by Dr. Robert Rines of the Academy of Applied Science revealed what appeared to be the flipper of a large animal resembling a plesiosaur.

Although cynics pointed to the process of photographic enhancement as the reason for its clarity, they stopped just short of calling the photo a fake. It nevertheless touched off fascinating conjecture on the origins of Nessie as a holdover from prehistoric times, along with renewed and feverish interest in visits to Loch Ness by travelers.

Another Nessie sighting?

Loch Ness monster? Or Loch Ness flotsam?
A Loch Ness sighting?

Most recently, a sharp-eyed travel editor returned home to discover this surprise image, at right, in the corner of a much larger photo.

For a bit of fun, the admittedly fuzzy shot was blown up, printed out and circulated throughout the office where most bets were placed on a floating tree trunk (but we'll just let readers decide.)

Traveling to Loch Ness

Today, visitors from around the world still flock to the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre in the scenic Scottish Highlands to learn more about the lake's history & legends. Here is where the curious can embark on their own expeditions to find the Loch Ness Monster, on boat cruises operated from various locations along the loch shore.

There are more than a dozen travel companies with regularly scheduled bus tours to Loch Ness from Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Inverness. These may feature stops at the visitor center and other nearby attractions including historic Urquhart Castle and the Caledonian Canal.

If you go, always remember to keep your cameras at the ready and keep clicking. You never know where or when Nessie will pop up!

also see -> Scottish Castles | Scotch Whiskey Tours | Scotland Luxury Hotels


More about the Loch Ness Monster around the Web:

Loch Ness Monster - Wikipedia

NOVA Online - The Legend of Loch Ness

The Loch Ness Monster - Fact or Fiction?

Loch Ness travel guide - Wikitravel



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