Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monster Mash

When talking unsolved mysteries, The Loch Ness Monster reigns as one of the genre's A-listers!

By Mike Payne from Unsolved Mysteries

Why does he have to be a monster?

When was it decided that whatever is - or was - in Loch Ness is something to fear, something out to hurt us, something evil ... a monster?

There have officially been zero deaths associated with an encounter with the Loch Ness being (see, isn't that nicer?) so can we just cool it with the "monster" talk just a bit? Maybe the same is true with Bigfoot, but he doesn't have that Monster surname attached to him (or her). It's not "The Bigfoot Monster" - nobody calls him that. Like Cher and Madonna, Bigfoot is known around the world by a single name. But the inhabitant of Loch Ness? Yeah, he's still being called a monster.

Maybe that's because there has never - or rarely - been an actual encounter with the creature. Oh, there was the time back in 1933 when a Mr. and Mrs. George Spicer of London were driving along Loch Ness Lakeshore Road and they reported their car had nearly been struck by a huge, long-necked creature that slithered through the bush and back toward the waters of Loch Ness, causing a significant splash when it reached the water.

But that encounter, if true, represents the exception and not the rule. There have been an estimated 7,000-plus reported sightings of the creature. Few have ever actually seen the beast up close, and to date nobody has jumped into the water when sightings have occurred to take a wild ride. But back to the business of being a monster. It helped that in the 1940s the locals in the Scottish Highlands began referring to the creature as "Nessie," and in some ways that softened the image for some. Yet for others, he's still something to be feared.

The theory with the Loch Ness Monster is that - for those who believe he exists - he's a link to the prehistoric plesiosaurs, a huge underwater-dwelling species. One particular sonar image taken in the depths of Loch Ness seemed to capture what looks like a fin, which has many believing the plesiosaurs angle may have merit. But with every grainy and out-of-focus image purporting to show the creature come with them the cries of the non-believ-ers asking why nobody has ever gotten a clear picture of the creature in the deep.

How can something called a monster have its own website? The Loch Ness Monster does, and it details hundreds of sightings. It also provides plenty of images of Loch Ness. The site details arguments for, and against, the likelihood of a large creature swimming the depths of the loch.

Sightings of something are said to have originated more than 1,500 years ago with stories passed down of the big "monster" waiting just below the surface of Loch Ness near the 13th Century-era Urquhart Castle on the banks of the loch. This is the area where most of the sightings have come. According to the website, the first "modern" sighting came in May 1933. The local newspaper, the Inverness Courier, featured a story on the aforementioned sighting of the creature by Mr. and Mrs. Spicer.

And from then on, everyone wanted to see the "monster." And many have stepped forward and claimed they have.

One of the more recent sightings occurred in 2011 when George Edwards saw a slow-moving hump at about 9 a.m. And then in late 2013, an image shot from a satellite shows something large that appears under the water line. Of course, some were quick to explain the spot as a wake from a boat (but where is the boat?), logs floating or a group of seals out for a cruise on the lake. Whatever that is, there do appear to be fins to the sides.

Or is that what we want to believe?

"Whatever that is, it's under the water and heading south," said Gary "Glen" Campbell, president of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club. "So unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie."

Earlier this year, another theory was introduced - one that suggests the creature is actually a giant catfish, a species first introduced to the lake in Victorian times. That is the opinion of longtime Loch Ness hunter Steve Feltham.

Of course, not everyone buys into that.

 It's doubtful that we will ever know for sure what is in the waters of Loch Ness. Seals playing, floating logs, a boat wake ... there are plenty of opinions.

But can we just ease up on the monster talk?

To Nessie, we may very well be the monsters.

Source: Unsolved Mysteries

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