Loch Ness Monster May 15, 2007 16:01:13 GMT -5
Post by Brad-LaSpirits on May 15, 2007 16:01:13 GMT -5
The Loch Ness Monster is a cryptid, claimed to inhabit Scotland's Loch Ness, the most voluminous freshwater lake in Great Britain. Along with Bigfoot and the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster is one of the best-known mysteries of cryptozoology. Most scientists and other experts find current evidence supporting the creature's existence unpersuasive, and regard the occasional sightings as hoaxes or misidentification of known creatures or natural phenomena. However, belief in the legend persists around the world.
The creature's disputed "scientific" name, chosen by the late Sir Peter Scott, is Nessiteras rhombopteryx (Greek for "the wonder of Ness with the diamond shaped fin").
Local people, and indeed many people around the world, have affectionately referred to the animal by the feminine name of Nessie.
Description of Nessie
Many explanations have been postulated over the years to describe what kind of animal the Loch Ness Monster might be:
Plesiosaurs, by Heinrich Harder, 1916.The most common eyewitness description of Nessie, is that of a plesiosaur, a long-necked aquatic reptile that became extinct during the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. Supporters of the plesiosaur theory cite the survival of a fish called the coelacanth, which supposedly went extinct along with the plesiosaur but was rediscovered off the coast of Madagascar in 1938.
Moreover, there is no substantive evidence in the bone structure of fossilised plesiosaurs that indicate sonar capability (similar to that possessed by dolphins and whales). Such a system would be necessary in the loch, as visibility is limited to less than 15 feet due to a high peat concentration in the loch. Consequently, sunlight does not deeply penetrate the water, limiting the amount of photosynthetic algae, thereby reducing the number of plankton and fish in the food chain. Fossil evidence indicates plesiosaurs were sight hunters; it is unlikely that the loch's peat-stained water would allow such animals to hunt the limited food supply at sufficient levels.
In October 2006, Leslie Noè of the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge pointed out that, "The osteology of the neck makes it absolutely certain that the plesiosaur could not lift its head up swan-like out of the water", precluding the possibility that Nessie is a plesiosaur. 
According to the Swedish naturalist and author Bengt Sjögren (1980), present day beliefs in lake monsters such as "Nessie" are associated with the old legends of kelpies. He claims that the accounts of lake monsters have changed over the ages, originally describing a horse appearance, they claimed that the "kelpie" would come out of the lake and turn into a horse. When a tired traveller would get on the back of the kelpie, it would gallop into the lake and devour its prey. This myth succesfully kept children away from the loch, as was its purpose. Sjögren concludes that the kelpie legends have developed into more plausible descriptions of lake monsters, reflecting awareness of plesiosaurs. In other words, the kelpie of folklore has been transformed into a more "realistic" and "contemporary" notion of the creature. Believers counter that long-dead witnesses could only compare the creature to that which they were familiar -- and were not familiar with plesiosaurs.
Peter Costello posed the theory that Nessie and other reputed lake monsters were actually an unknown species of long-necked seal. This theory is supported by several sightings of the monster on land, during which the creature supposedly waddled into the loch upon being startled, in the manner of seals and sea lions. However, all known species of pinnipeds are usually visible on land during daylight hours to sunbathe , something that Nessie was never known to do.
A theory presented by Neil Clark, the curator of paleontology at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow has suggested that Nessie could merely be a swimming elephant, as there was a travelling circus passing through the area during the heyday of the sightings.
Some have theorized that "Nessie" could actually be a large eel. There are those who believe that an eel might have grossly enlarged in order to eat the bigger fish, or that a larger eel species inhabits the loch. But an eel could not protrude swanlike from the water as described in various sightings. .
Some theorists attribute the monster sightings to large pike (Esox lucius) , sturgeon, dolphins, a Dragon, dogs (as in "The Spray Photograph"), otters, birds, and large molluscs (such as a large cephalopod or nematode).
History of alleged sightings
Rumours of a huge animal living in the loch have existed for centuries. Some believers have argued that a lengthy history of monster sightings in the loch provides ample circumstantial evidence of the creature's existence. Others question the accuracy of such tales, and argue that they were generally unknown before the early 1960s when a strong wave of interest focused on the first clear examples of Nessie sightings in the 1930s. For example, an alleged sighting in October 1871 by a "D. Mackenzie", who supposedly described seeing something that moved slowly before moving off at a faster speed, has been repeated in several places , no original 1871 source for this report has been discovered, indicating that it may be an invention.
There have been far too many sightings to list in a single article. Many were questionable because of distance or other poor conditions; some sightings are cases of misidentified deer or boat wakes, and of course, there have been several hoaxes. There are some sightings, however, which cannot be easily explained.
Saint Columba (565)
The earliest known report occurred in the Life of St. Columba by Adamnan, written around the 7th century. It describes how in 565 Columba saved the life of a Pict, who was being supposedly attacked by the monster. Adamnan describes the event as follows:
"...(He) raised his holy hand, while all the rest, brethren as well as strangers, were stupefied with terror, and, invoking the name of God, formed the saving sign of the cross in the air, and commanded the ferocious monster, saying, "Thou shalt go no further, nor touch the man; go back with all speed." Then at the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified, and fled more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes, though it had just got so near to Lugne, as he swam, that there was not more than the length of a spear-staff between the man and the beast. Then the brethren seeing that the monster had gone back, and that their comrade Lugne returned to them in the boat safe and sound, were struck with admiration, and gave glory to God in the blessed man. And even the barbarous heathens, who were present, were forced by the greatness of this miracle, which they had seen, to magnify the God of the Christians".
Sceptics question the reliability of the Life of St. Columba as evidence for the Loch Ness Monster's existence, noting that the book describes implausible events, such as an incident when Columba slays a wild boar by the power of his voice alone. They argue that the monster encounter is said to have occurred on the River Ness, not in the Loch, and that Adamnan reports Columba encountering and conquering assorted "monsters" at various locations in Scotland, throughout his life. Moreover, sceptics assert that there are no other accounts of the Loch Ness monster attacking anyone, as the creature is normally portrayed as shy. In fact, biographies of the early saints were often embellished or invented for purposes of religious persuasion rather than historical record.
Although sightings of the creature on land around the loch reputedly date back to the sixteenth century , modern interest in the monster was sparked by a 22 July 1933 sighting, when Mr George Spicer and his wife saw 'a most extraordinary form of animal' cross the road in front of their car. They described the creature as having a large body (about 4 feet high and 25 feet long), and long, narrow neck, slightly thicker than an elephant's trunk and as long as the 10-12 foot width of the road; the neck had a number of undulations in it. They saw no limbs because of a dip in the road obscuring the animal's lower portion. It lurched across the road towards the loch some 20 yards away, leaving only a trail of broken undergrowth in its wake. 
On 5 January 1934 a motorcyclist called Arthur Grant claimed to have nearly hit the creature while approaching Abriachan on the northeastern shore, at about 1 am on a moonlit night. Grant saw a small head attached to a long neck; the creature saw him and crossed the road back into the loch. Grant dismounted and followed it to the loch, but only saw ripples where it had entered.  .
In another 1934 sighting, a young maidservant named Margaret Munro supposedly observed the creature for about 20 minutes. It was about 6:30 am on 5 June, when she spotted it on shore from about 200 yards. She described it as having elephant-like skin, a long neck, a small head and two short forelegs or flippers. The sighting ended when the creature reentered the water. 
Sporadic land sightings continued until 1963, when a poor-quality film of the creature was made from a distance of several miles. 
Sightings in the loch
In May 1943, CB Farrel of the Royal Observer Corps was supposedly distracted from his duties by a Nessie sighting. He was about 250 yards away from a large-eyed, 'finned' creature, which had a 20-30 foot long body, and a neck that protruded about 4-5 feet out of the water. 
In December 1954 a strange sonar contact was made by the fishing boat Rival III. The vessel's crew observed sonar readings of a large object keeping pace with the boat at a depth of 480 feet. It was detected travelling for half a mile in this manner, before contact was lost .
Three sightings in one night
On June 17, 1993, Edna MacInnes and David Mackay, both of Inverness, reportedly saw the monster which they described as forty feet long, pale brown, and with a long neck held high above the water. . After swimming along the surface, it sank into the water. Although the monster was a mile from the shore, MacInnes claimed to have run along the shore to keep up with it. "I was scared when the wash from its wake lapped on the shore, but I just kept running behind it. By the time it plunged below the surface I was running as fast as I could go," She added. Forty minutes later they saw it again, and Mackay attempted to take a photograph, but only managed to get a picture of its wake.  .
Later the same evening it was reportedly seen by James MacIntosh of Inverness along with his son James . Young James saw it first, saying "Dad, that's not a boat ." They described a pale brown, long-necked creature heading away from shore .
The final sighting of the night was reported by Lorraine Davidson, who saw a large wake in the loch, when no boats were visible for miles. The wake appeared to be different from a typical boat wake, in a manner not described in the report. .