Monster hunters and researchers have converged in the Scottish Highlands this weekend for an ambitious quest – to find the ever-elusive Loch Ness Monster, marking the most extensive search for the legendary creature in over half a century.
Beneath the glistening waters of Loch Ness, an enigma has persisted for nearly 1,500 years – the legendary sea beast known as Nessie. Monster hunters and Nessie enthusiasts from across the globe are determined to provide evidence of its existence during this weekend’s search, organized by the Loch Ness Centre and the research group Loch Ness Exploration. This expedition represents the most significant effort since 1972 to unravel the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster.
“Our purpose is to observe, record, and study the natural behavior of the Loch and phenomena that may be more challenging to explain,” states the Loch Ness Exploration Facebook page. “If you believe that the Loch Ness Monster exists, then we invite you to join the search. We equally invite you to support the study of the Loch and the natural behavior of the elements that may be the root cause of these strange reports from Loch Ness.”
Researchers are deploying advanced technology never before used on the freshwater lake, including surveying equipment. Drones equipped with infrared cameras will take flight over the lake, while a hydrophone will be submerged to detect “Nessie-like calls,” as reported by the Centre. Volunteers will conduct an extensive surface watch of the loch, diligently scanning for any anomalies.
However, due to overwhelming demand from enthusiasts, the group is no longer accepting in-person applicants. Nevertheless, those still eager to participate can virtually join the search through a live stream.
Loch Ness, covering 22 square miles with a maximum depth of 788 feet, is the largest lake by volume in Great Britain and the second-largest by surface area, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Although the first written accounts of a Loch Ness Monster date back to the encounter of the Irish monk Saint Columba in 565 A.D., ancient stone carvings in the area depict reports of a creature in the lake.
The legend of the monster gained significant attention in April 1933 when a couple driving along the newly constructed road around the lake reported seeing an animal resembling a “dragon or prehistoric monster,” as documented by the Scottish Maritime Museum. Subsequent sightings followed, leading to the commissioning of big-game hunter Marmaduke Wetherell to track down the creature in December 1933. While Wetherell claimed to have found large tracks along the shoreline, zoologists from the Natural History Museum debunked them.
In the following year, English physician Robert Wilson captured an iconic photo known as the “Surgeon’s Photograph.” The image appeared to show Nessie’s head atop a long, slender neck emerging from the water. It was published in the Daily Mail, catapulting the Loch Ness Monster to international stardom. However, one of the participants in the search later confessed on his deathbed that the photograph was staged, as reported by the Daily Mail.
According to the Loch Ness Centre, over 1,140 official Nessie sightings have been recorded. Paul Nixon, the Centre’s general manager, expressed his anticipation for the results of this weekend’s extensive search, saying, “We are guardians of this unique story, and as well as investing in creating an unforgettable experience for visitors, we are committed to helping continue the search and unveil the mysteries that lie underneath the waters of the famous Loch.”