The Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, as it has been nicknamed, is among the most well-known urban legends of modern times and it is among the greatest points of interest for cryptozoologists – scientists who study animals that have not been proven to exist.
The first documented sighting of Nessie was in the year 565 when Saint Columba saved a swimmer from becoming its dinner. For nearly 1500 years following, the Loch Ness Monster had appeared in stories, but it is unknown which ones were eyewitness accounts and which ones were invented solely for entertainment purposes. Legends of the monster lived on as they were passed from generation to generation, but the creature’s popularity reached an unprecedented height in 1933. That year, a new road was constructed beside the loch. Travelers reported more sightings than ever before. Later that year the infamous Surgeon’s Photo was published, depicting what appeared to be a head and long neck stretching out of the loch water. In 1994, one of the individuals who shot the Surgeon’s Photo confessed on his deathbed that the photo was a hoax. While some people had their hopes crushed, the succeeding evidence was still not invalidated. Though what was thought to be the best evidence was proven false, the other pieces of evidence kept the monster alive in the minds of many. Today there are stories of similar lake monsters in Lake Champlain, Lake Michigan, Iceland, and elsewhere.