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Debates Over the Existence of Loch Ness Monster

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Existence of a monster in Loch Ness is debated among scientists and enthusiasts. Using sonar and tracking devices, no bona fide proof that the Loch Ness monster exists has been produced. However, hearsay and folklore have grasped the attention of some parties. For over 1,500 years, there has been a lack of significant evidence of the Loch Ness Monster. In the depths of Loch Ness, Great Britain’s largest body of freshwater, the unidentified creature, affectionately known as “Nessie”, is believed to take residence (San Souci 14).

However, the loch has many mysteries of its own.

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For example, the temperature of the water should be cold enough to freeze over, but it never does (Berke 21). Only twenty miles away, snow falls occur often on the two mountain ranges Loch Ness harbors. However, it never snows on the loch’s surface, only around it (Berke 10). A mist often hovers over the water’s surface, making it hard to see. The water is thick with peat, slime, silt and mud causing an almost black appearance.

Below a depth of fifty feet it is impossible, even with the best equipment, to see through the black water (Berke 11).

Only the brim of the water’s surface is visible to visitors hoping to get a glimpse of the monster (San Souci 16). The first insight man had to the mysterious creature was from the Pictish people, despite the water’s darkness (Lyons). They inhabited the surrounding areas of the loch in the first century A. D. In the carved stones of easily recognizable animals they left behind, an unidentified animal is said to have been alive in the lake at the time (Lyons). This is known to be the earliest clue of a creature living in the deep and muddy loch. The earliest written reference was produced by St. Columba, an Irish monk who converted most of Scotland to Christianity in the sixth century. He saw a giant water beast while traveling to a nearby town. As the creature was attacking a local swimmer, he raised his hands to Heaven. With only several commanding words, St. Columba drove the unknown animal back down into the darkness of the Loch Ness. Experts, scientists, and technology all support the fact that the Loch Ness monster does not exist. Richard Forrest, a plesiosaurus expert, had stated “I haven’t heard of any sightings that sound anything like a plesiosaur,” (Owen).

He continued, “People usually refer to a series of undulating humps. The plesiosaur, being a reptile, wouldn’t undulate but move from side to side. Such sightings are much more likely to come from mammals – such as a row of otters swimming across the loch” (Owen). The size of a prehistoric plesiosaur is approximately 11 meters in length (Owen). But according to tourists, the size of the Loch Ness monster can range from size of a cow to 9 meters in length (Abels 23). The difference in size between the two creatures has caused a huge discrepancy.

Many photographs of what is believed to have been the Loch Ness monster are always very blurry, gray and grainy with many dark shadows hiding the object that was photographed. It is hard for scientists, experts and critics to identify the object of what is allegedly in the photographs. The British Broadcasting Corporation did an in-depth study in 2003 “using 600 separate sonar beams and satellite technology” to search the loch (Cheung). However, no traces made by animals as big as the monster were found.

The team had hoped to use the air in the beast’s lungs as a reflection, sending the distorted signals back to the sonar sensors (Cheung). The BBC commented that the “only explanation for the persistence of the monster myth- and regular ‘sightings’- is that people see what they want to see” (Cheung). Ian Florence, one of the specialists of the BBC’s survey, stated, “We went from shoreline to shoreline, top to bottom on this one, we have covered everything in this loch and we saw no signs of any large living animal living in the loch” (Cheung).

In the late 1930’s, William Akins, a Loch Ness scientist, composed a list of requirements needed to make a good quality scientific report about the Loch Ness monster (Berke 21). This list included the location of sighting, distance away from the beast, weather conditions, and details on the animal’s appearance (Berke 21). To rule out false sightings, Akins dismissed reports if the sighting was less than ten minutes long or it was a cloudy day (Berke 21). There have been numerous scientific eyewitness reports about the Loch Ness from several sources. On August 11, 1933, A. H. Palmer reported seeing the head of an animal opening and closing its mouth as well as antennas from about 100 yards away (Berke 22). This sighting lasted thirty minutes (Berke 22). Another scientific report occurred in May 1934 when Brother Horan saw a beast 30 yards off shore. The descriptions of the animal most resemble a seal (Berke 22-23). Misidentifications, tourism and selfishness of some individuals are the real Loch Ness monster. Deceptions of the eye by what is thought to be seen and what is an accurate perception can conclude to misidentification.

When birds are flying over the water’s still surface, “V shapes” are created by momentum in flight. These “V shapes” could easily be confused with a sighting of a large animal swimming just under the top of the water’s surface. Seals are a common inhabitant of the Loch Ness. Seals have long and extensive necks, which are also a commonly found trait in the sightings believed to have been the monster. These animals are able to escape from fear with great speed, swim with a paddling action and possess physical characteristics could also account for reported sonar readings.

Seiches are another possible component to misidentifications of the Loch Ness monster. Standing waves occur when seismic waves pass through an area generated by an earthquake. Queen Mary University of London states, “The word seiche is used to express a stationary oscillation of a lake,” (“Movement of Water”) The Loch Ness’s current oscillating system completes one full circuit around the lake in about 32 minutes. Keeping the legend of the renowned Loch Ness monster alive has been a good marketing technique to the surrounding areas.

Tourists can visit the multi-media Loch Ness center in Drumnadrochit, buy a ‘monster- burger’, purchase mementos at the abundance of gift shops, or take a hour submarine ride in hopes to catch sight of the monster (Berke 48). As a natural action, humans strive for attention and the benefits that may proceed in recognition. Dr. Robert Wilson and Mr. M. A. Wetherall both forged an image of the beast that became the strongest evidence of the monster’s existence at their time, in attempts to only hoax the public eye for their own personal gain.

The Loch Ness monster clearly does not have enough evidence or documentation to have been living for the centuries that folklore offers. Dr. Angela Milner, paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, said, “Science relies on having hard evidence and not second-hand reports, eyesight reports and hearsay. And until somebody actually comes up with some good hard scientific evidence that we can evaluate, it must remain just speculative” (“Dinosaur”) The Loch Ness monster has only been kept alive in folklore and in the hearts of those who believe of its existence; not in one of Scotland’s largest lakes.

Cite this Debates Over the Existence of Loch Ness Monster

Debates Over the Existence of Loch Ness Monster. (2017, Mar 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/debates-over-the-existence-of-loch-ness-monster/

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