First the Pentagon essentially confirmed that UFOs exist. Now we have our clearest picture ever of the Loch Ness Monster. 2020 has been a heck of a ride–and it’s only halfway done.
We’ve written a lot about lake monsters on Lurking Beyond. There’s something so iconic about these legends, which can be found all over the globe. From Ogopogo to Champ, we love to talk about the cryptids that (allegedly) lurk in lakes.
Of course, Nessie is the OG lake monster. Legends of a monster in Loch Ness seem to date back to prehistory, when the ancient Picts carved stone figures that look a lot like our modern idea of Nessie as a plesiosaur-like creature.
The most famous photograph of Nessie is the “Surgeon’s Photograph,” taken in 1934 by Colonel Robert Wilson. Unfortunately, it was confirmed to be a fake 60 years later. The creature was, in fact, a toy submarine with a head sculpted from wood putty.
Great joke, huh?
The photo was allegedly taken as a prank after the Daily Mail commissioned big-game hunter Marmaduke Wetherell to find Nessie in 1933. Wetherell, who sounds like the villain in a children’s adventure film, reported that he’d found the tracks of “a very powerful soft-footed animal about 20 feet long.”
However, the Natural History Museum determines that the tracks were actually made by an umbrella stand fashioned from a hippo foot.
That’s why we have to approach this latest photo with skepticism. Steve Challice seems to have caught an image of something strange in Loch Ness. He describes it as a “big fish.”
“It only appeared in one shot and to be honest that was something of a fluke,” he told the Daily Record.
However, Roland Watson, moderator of the Facebook group Anomalous Universe where Challice first shared the image, isn’t convinced.
“So I first found out more about our photographer and discovered on his LinkedIn page that he was a 3D graphical artist and he had a portfolio of images of various constructions such as the one below. To be clear, he earns a living creating CGI – computer generated images,” Watson said.
Challice claims he didn’t know the images were on his camera until quarantine lockdown gave him some free time to look through the roll. Or, you know, he had time to create a fake photo and share it online. It seems more likely, at this juncture, that Challice hoped to gain 15 minutes of fame or promote his work as a CGI artist.
In 2019, researchers from New Zealand tried to analyze the DNA in water samples to determine whether certain theories about Nessie could be correct. They were able to rule out the presence of sturgeon and catfish, both of which can grow to an impressive size. They also nixed the idea that a Greenland shark could be trapped in the remote Scottish loch.
Their best bet is a massively overgrown eel. There are plenty of European eels in the lake, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a handful could grow to well over eight feet.
Steven Challice stated that he thought the creature in his photograph was a catfish. Most serious cryptozoologists believe that the photo is a fake, however, and the New Zealand research team has already ruled out catfish in the lake anyway.
However, if proof that Nessie exists did come to light in 2020, given how weird this year has been, would you really be surprised?