N is for Nessie

Google Earth captured this photo of Nessie from space.

Google Earth captured this photo of Nessie from space.


I have a special affinity for Nessie, the most famous “monster” in the world. She inspired my earliest horror stories. There’s just something about Scotland, with its mists, moors, and gloomy lakes, that makes one want to write a scary story.

One of my top bucket-list items is to sit on the banks of Loch Ness for days, watching for Nessie.

There have been many sightings of this fabled lake creature, but controversy seems to surround each one.

The earliest report of Nessie comes from the seventh century. Saint Columba, an Irish monk, discovered some locals burying a man who had suffered a fatal “water beast” attack.

Courageous man that he was, Saint Columba ordered his follower Luigne to swim across the River Ness. The beast promptly appeared and chased after the hapless Luigne, but Saint Columba was prepared. He made the sign of the cross and commanded the beast not to touch his follower, upon which the lake monster fled in fear.

Hmm…I have no idea why that particular sighting is viewed with suspicion.

The famous "Surgeon Photograph."

The famous “Surgeon Photograph.”

The biggest blow to Nessie lovers came in 1994, when the most famous photograph of the creature was exposed as an elaborate hoax. However, even the hoax claims have been refuted. Some people stubbornly insist that the photos are real (in spite of a string that could be seen pulling the beast when the photo was analyzed with modern technology).

In 2011, a local skipper captured a sonar image of a long unidentified object which followed his boat for two minutes. A scientist from the National Oceanography Centre said that the object was a bloom of algae and zooplankton. However, Roland Watson, a cryptozoologist and Loch Ness Monster researcher, has criticised this analysis. Algae needs sunlight to grow, and the waters of Loch Ness are very dark, and nearly devoid of sunlight.

So does Nessie exist? Or is her legend based upon sightings of otters, beavers, and charlatans, as many claim?

It’s difficult for the Nessie myth to survive close scrutiny. Since she was first seen in the seventh century and continues to be spotted today, she’s obviously not the same creature–unless she’s immortal. Assuming one believes in Nessie, that means there had to be at least a breeding pair of monsters at one point.

One creature could perhaps elude hundreds of eager witnesses for generations, but it’s harder to believe that a family of giant monsters could pull off the same feat.

Even today, Nessie continues to make appearances. She was last seen in an Apple maps photo last year. But if she exists, how come all of the in-depth investigations have failed to find conclusive proof?

Do you believe in Nessie? I still do, much like I once strongly believed in Santa Claus. The world feels like a better place when I envision that plesiosaur freely swimming around her Loch.

P.S. Meet the priest who claimed to exorcise Nessie. 


  1. I do love the Nessie tales.

    The evidence does weigh against it being true but I still like to think that Nessie is real.

    Thanks for a great post and good luck with the rest of the challenge 🙂

    • JH

      Thanks, David! I’m the same way. Sometimes, evidence is just absolutely no fun at all.

      Welcome to my blog. Hope to see you here again.

  2. Thanks J.H. Who knows whether she is ‘real’ or not? Whatever, she is a lovely mystery and thus she remains alive in our imagination. Maybe she’s a giant whale who has over the centuries adapted to salt water?

  3. I think the world is a much better place for the belief in Nessie being real. I really want her to be real, it’s much more fun to live in a world where there’s a giant water monster in the Loch Ness, than in a world where we’ve seen and discovered everything.

    • JH

      I agree, Celine. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! I’d love to see you back here.

      I’d love for her to be real too.

  4. Sure! But how long does this creature live because she’s been around quite a while, hasn’t she? I’d say with the technology we have today, someone should be able to capture really clear pictures of her, whether through Google Earth or a person’s camera.

    • JH

      Every time someone gets a good picture, someone else refutes it. This has been an ongoing problem since the very beginning. I wish the charlatans would back off for a bit–they’re destroying Nessie’s reputation.

      She’s been around since before the seventh century. 🙂

  5. I have stood on the banks of Loch Ness, and there is something magical about the place. Does Nessie exist? Half of those living in Inverness say they’ve seen something in the loch and they believe.

    • JH

      That’s so cool, Alex! I would love to go there–even the ruins look interesting to me.

      It’s awesome that there’s been so many local sightings.

  6. I like “Nessie” a lot more than “Loch Ness.” It’s easier to say and prettier too. I don’t think we’ll ever know all the lives and lurks in the water, so I like to think Nessie is out there somewhere.

  7. Bonnie

    I will join you sitting for hours waiting for a peek at Nessie. Scotland is full of wonderful history and myths. I believe the Loch Ness monster exists, just not as a monster. It will be exciting one day to actually know what type of creature she really is. Seems to me that I read somewhere that the loch is extremely deep and that’s why no one has been able to find a real answer. We certainly haven’t discovered every creature in our oceans so…

    • JH

      Exactly, Bonnie! Let’s make it a summer vacation jaunt soon. I think we call everything monsters when we don’t understand something. I don’t like the term for Nessie, either. 🙂

      The Loch is extremely deep and murky, with a flat bottom.

  8. While I’m not sure I believe in Nessie, let’s just say I’m not eager for scientists to prove she doesn’t exist. The world is a better place with a little bit of magic. 😉

    • JH

      It definitely is interesting, Janet. I think specializing in cryptozoology would be fascinating, but I wonder if it’s difficult to make a living.

      Welcome to my blog!

    • JH

      Exactly, Emilia. My mom had the best response when I asked her if Santa Claus was real.

      She said, “As long as you believe in him, he’s real.” So true.

  9. I love the Nessie stories. My partner swam in Loch Ness as a child. He never saw anything. The Lochs are very deep, many are linked and tidal. It is conceivable that creatures can exist deep down. Creatures as big as Nessie? Not sure, but I’m not ruling it out.

    TD Harvey
    A to Z participant

  10. Nessie, or any lake monster story for that matter, has always made me laugh. I don’t know, there’s something hilarious about people fearing the mysterious monster and so making their lives evolve all around that fear by giving offerings and stuff.

    • JH

      I’m not afraid of Nessie, although I’m sure I might feel differently if I ever saw her up-close and personal. I’m just fascinated by her.

      I do believe that there are still species we have yet to discover, and for their own good, I kind of hope they stay hidden.

  11. She’s not the only critter in lakes. There’s also the one in Okanagan lake (ogopogo) and Lake Tahoe (Tahoe Tessie). They have both been witnessed by the native tribes since the 1800s and other people.

    So why not.

  12. When I was quite young, I sat on the banks of that Loch, searching the surface for Nessie. She didn’t appear, but I knew she was there. Who could doubt it? All the elements conspired to make her real. Loved reading the story about Luigne’s experience. But why didn’t Columbo dive in? For heaven sakes what’s wrong with those saints?

    • JH

      Ah, there’s an easy answer to that question, C.

      Because he didn’t have to.

      Thanks for sharing your story. Did Loch Ness seem eerie to you?

  13. This has X-File written all over it.
    Oh wait, they did a version of that. 🙂

    I agree about Scotland. So on my bucket list of places to see.
    But, I’ve heard a watched lake never shows a Nessie. 🙂

    Heather M. Gardner
    Co-host: Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    Blog: The Waiting is the Hardest Part [http://hmgardner.blogspot.com/]

  14. I’ve been to Loch Ness once & driven past it twice but never seen anything; my brother was spotting monsters in every wave ;-). I do love the idea of Nessie though. I can believe that something might have swum in hundreds of years ago and never left, though whatever would be in there now would have to been the original Nessie’s great-great-great-great-great etc. grandchildren.

    Plus the loch is huge and deep, it’s very hard for them to scan it all. Perhaps each time they get the scanning equipment out Nessie treats it like a game of tig. 😉

    • JH

      Welcome to my blog, Cait, and thanks for visiting. Hope to see you back here!

      I’m so envious that you’ve actually seen Loch Ness! It’s a dream destination for me. If Nessie is a prehistoric creature, as some people believe, she could be extremely long-lived. But your great-times-ten grandchild theory is easier to believe. 😉

      Thanks for commenting!

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