Our fascination with the Loch Ness Monster goes back to 1933, when Mr and Mrs Spicer made the wild claim that a beast crossed the road right in front of their car, making its way to the Scottish lake. For over 80 years – as sightings proliferated – Nessie became a world-famous cryptid, or creature whose existence has not been proven. In 2006, she topped a survey of the most famous Scots.
Here are five other facts about the monster of Loch Ness…
Although the monster’s fame has only grown since the Spicer sighting, the first time she is mentioned is back in 565 AD. St Columba, a Christian monk, describes a beast in the water. This should be taken with a pinch of salt however – many writings of the Middle Ages are peppered with monsters.
Big game hunting
A big-game hunter named Marmaduke Wetherall went to Loch Ness in 1933 in the hope of bagging his most significant kill, but all he found was a suspicious footprint on the shore. A cast of the footprint revealed it was a hoax – possibly by Wetherall himself – made with a hippopotamus foot umbrella stand.
There have been many searches of Loch Ness over the last 80 years, the largest being ‘Operation Deepscan’ in 1987. Another plan was to introduce trained dolphins imported from America to seek out the beastie, but this was quickly abandoned when one of the dolphins died while being acclimatised to the low temperature of the water.
Insurance (just in case)
In 2005, a triathlon was organised starting with a swim in Loch Ness. The participating athletes were each insured for £1 million against bites from Nessie.
If a huge, water-dwelling monster was going to successfully hide out somewhere, Loch Ness is an ideal location as heavy deposits of peat make it difficult for instruments to penetrate the cloudy water. The sheer size of the loch make it a great home for Nessie, too – containing more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined, Loch Ness is the largest body of water in Britain. At the deepest point, it reaches down 227 metres.
There are plenty more fascinating facts about the Loch Ness Monster – and other cryptids from around the world – in the August issue of History Revealed.