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Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness Monster

A persistently reported monster or colony of monsters in the vast area of Loch Ness in northern Scotland. The loch is some 24 miles long and about a mile wide, with a depth from 433 to 754 feet. A monster was reported here in ancient Gaelic legends as well as in a biography of St. Columba circa 565 C.E. The modern history dates from 1933, when the monster began to receive a significant amount of media attention. Research efforts to produce conclusive proof of the monster's existence were initiated by different researchers in the 1970s.

In 1972 Robert Rines, an MIT physics graduate who went to Loch Ness to search for "Nessie," obtained some now famous computer-enhanced "flipper" photographs. The photographs were taken by an underwater camera after a sonar device detected what appeared to be two large moving objects. The pictures clearly showed a rhomboid shape that appeared to resemble the flippers on seals and similar aquatic mammals.

Other films and photographs of an unidentified object in the loch have been obtained in the last few decades. An impressive picture of a large unknown creature in Loch Ness made the front page of the New York Times (April 8, 1976); the photograph was captured in 1975 with an underwater camera using a sonar echo technique. A scientific report by Martin Klein and Harold E. Edgerton appeared in Technology Review (March-April 1976).

Two widely known photographs of the head and neck of the monster were taken by monster-hunter and conjurer Tony "Doc" Shiels on May 21, 1977, near Castle Urquhart at Loch Ness, Scotland. One of these photographs was reproduced in both Cornish Life and the London Daily Mirror for June 9, 1977, and both photographs were reproduced and discussed in Fortean Times (No. 22, summer 1977). Interest in the Loch Ness and similar monsters was stimulated by reports and photographs of the decomposing body of a sea creature caught by Japanese fishermen April 25, 1977, off the coast of New Zealand.

In 1983, Rikkie Razdan and Alan Kielar, two young electrical engineers, visited Loch Ness and spent six weeks trying to spot the monster with 144 sonar devices, covering an area of 6,400 square feet. After failing to find any significant traces of the monster that could not be explained as gas bubbles, floating debris, etc., they decided to study the sonar tracings obtained by Robert Rines.

They contacted Alan Gillespie of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who had handled the computer enhancement of the Rines pictures, and asked for copies of the shots. To their surprise, the images were vague and indistinct, quite unlike the distinctive "flipper" shape that had been given such prominence in press accounts. It seems that the pictures were retouched after being returned to Rines. An unretouched picture was reproduced in the journal Discover (September 1984) alongside the retouched "flipper" images of Rines. However, the basic shape remains, although somewhat hazy.

After centuries of sightings, it seems reasonable to suppose that there might be a continuing colony of creatures rather than a single monster. Biologist Roy Mackal made the case for the "possibility" of the existence of the monster, though definitive evidence remains elusive. Known in Great Britain affectionately as "Nessie," the creature was recently named Nessiteras rhombopteryx by Sir Peter Scott and Robert Rines (see "Naming the Loch Ness Monster," Nature, December 11, 1976) in an attempt to secure official protection as a rare species qualifying for conservation. In the late 1970s the existence of a "nessie" religious cult was revealed by European New Religions scholars, who made contact with the priestess who led the group.

The Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau was founded at 23 Ashley Place, London S.W.1, England, in 1961, though it became inactive after 1972. It was succeeded by the Loch Ness & Morar Project, concerned with claims of the Loch Ness Monster as well as "Mhorag." On October 9-11, 1987, the project instituted "Operation Deepscan." Twenty small boats equipped with sonar apparatus were deployed abreast, sweeping up and down Loch Ness in line, forming a "sonar curtain." At a press conference on September 17, organizer Adrian J. Shine stated that the project had scientific objectivesa study of fish distribution, water temperatures, and the contents of the loch. The results of this scan were inconclusive, although there were three unexplained sonar contacts, indicating something that might be large fishes or perhaps debris. No colony of monsters was located.

The Loch Ness and Loch Morar monsters are not unique, since similar creatures have been reported in lakes in a number of different countries. Their study is one of the main objects of cryptozoology.

Sources:

Binns, Ronald. The Loch Ness Mystery Solved. London: Star (W. H. Allen), 1984.

Campbell, Steuart Campbell. The Loch Ness Monster: The Evidence. Wellingborough, England: Aquarian Press, 1986.

Clark, Jerome. Encyclopedia of Strange and Unexplained Phenomena. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993.

Costello, Peter. In Search of Lake Monsters. London, 1974.

Dinsdale, Tim. The Story of the Loch Ness Monster. London, 1973.

Gould, Rupert T. The Loch Ness Monster. London, 1934. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1969.

Heuvelmans, Bernard. In the Wake of the Sea Serpents. London, 1968.

Holiday, F. W. The Dragon and the Disc. London, 1973.

Oudemans, A. C. The Loch Ness Animal. Leyden, 1934.

Witchell, Nicholas. The Loch Ness Story. London, 1974.

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Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster, known affectionately as Nessie, is a legendary marine animal associated with Loch Ness, the largest and deepest lake in Scotland. Legends about the monster have been told for centuries.

The first reported sighting was made in the a.d. 500S by St. Columba, an Irish missionary who had come to Scotland to spread Christianity. According to legend, Columba stopped the monster from attacking a man by making the sign of the cross and ordering the beast to leave.

The Loch Ness Monster is not just a beast from medieval mythology, however. A number of people have reported sighting it in modern times, describing the creature as about 30 feet in length with a long neck and flippers in the middle of its body. Such descriptions are similar to that of an extinct dinosaur called the plesiosaur.

medieval relating to the Middle Ages in Europe, a period from about a.d. 500 to 1500

Various attempts to find evidence that would either prove or disprove the existence of such an animal in Loch Ness have not been successful. As a result, the legend of the Loch Ness Monster continues.

See also Animals in Mythology; Dragons; Modern Mythology; Monsters; Serpents and Snakes.

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Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness Monster a large creature alleged to live in the deep waters of Loch Ness. Reports of its existence date from the time of St Columba (6th century); the number of sightings increased after the construction of a major road alongside the loch in 1933, but, despite recent scientific expeditions, there is still no proof of its existence.

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"Loch Ness Monster." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Loch Ness Monster." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/loch-ness-monster

"Loch Ness Monster." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/loch-ness-monster