Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 22nd, 2014
Loch Ness Monster: 80 facts to mark 80 years since Nessie was first spotted – but is she real?
On April 14, 1933, a couple spotted something unusual as they drove past Loch Ness – sparking 80 years of speculation and mystery.
John Mackay and his wife saw “something resembling a whale” as they passed the freshwater loch on a nearby road.
Many sightings of Nessie have since been reported but there is lack of evidence to prove she really exists.
Scientists consider the Loch Ness Monster a myth and the sightings purely hoaxes and wishful thinking.
Sunday marks the 80th anniversary of the Mackays’ first sighting.
So, do YOU believe Nessie is real? Dive into our 80 fascinating facts here…
1) The Loch Ness Monster is known by the nickname “Nessie”.
2) She was first spotted in 565AD by St Columba as he took a swim in Loch Ness.
3) She lives in the Loch Ness lake in the Scottish highlands.
4) Loch Ness is the largest body of fresh water in Britain.
5) The surface area of the Loch Ness lake could hold the population of the world 10 times over.
6) The Loch never freezes.
7) The Loch Ness Monster became famous after the April 1933 sighting.
8) The story of Nessie first appeared in the paper 2nd May 1933.
9) First photographic evidence was also taken of Nessie in 1933.
10) A circus owner promised a sum of £20,000 to anyone who could bring the Monster to his circus alive.
11) In 1933, the Daily Mail reported that Madmaduke Wetherall found footprints on the shore of the loch after they sent him to look for Nessie. The British Museum of Natural History later discovered the prints had been made with a stuffed hippopotamus foot.
12) The most famous photo of the Monster is of her head and neck, taken in 1934.
13) The photo was later discovered as a hoax and became known as The Surgeon’s photo as the photographer refused to be associated with the image.
14) Residents around the loch created an old wives tale to keep their children away from the lake. They said that a beast lived in the loch who transformed into a horse when it was hungry and waited for a traveller to climb on its back. It would then gallop into the loch and eat its victim.
15) The first big organised search for the Monster was in 1934.
16) 20 men were paid £2 a day to be Monster watchers but nothing was found.
17) Its largest hump is estimated at around 50ft long by comparing it to the height of the tower at Urquhart Castle in a 1955 photo.
18) A recording of a dark object heading towards Fort Augustus in 1960 is “classed as the greatest piece of evidence for the Loch Ness monster”.
19) An autogyro – a type of rotorcraft – used to look for the Monster was also used in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.
20) Some believe the Loch Ness Monster is a plesiosaur, a type of dinosaur.
21) Scientists believe if they knew what and how she ate, there would be a better chance of finding her.
22) The 1987 Operation Deepscan was the largest search for the Monster to date costing around £1million. The only information gathered was 3 sonar contacts “larger than a shark but smaller than a whale”.
23) There have been more than 1,000 recorded sightings of Nessie.
24) There are four “Nessie Hunters” who have dedicated their lives looking for the Monster.
25) Celebrities Gavin Maxwell and Compton Mackenzie have reported sightings.
26) Some argue Nessie can’t be a mammal because she’d have to come up more often for air and would have been seen by many more people.
27) Nessie is possibly the most famous cryptid (a creature whose existence has been suggested but not yet proven) in the world.
28) In 1959, Italian journalist Francesco Gasprini claimed he invented Nessie. He said he read a story about two Scottish fishermen finding a weird fish and exaggerated it into a monster and added some eye-witness accounts, drawings and photographs.
29) The last sighting of Nessie was on November 2, 2011.
30) Nessie is said to have two humps, four flippers, a tail and a snake-like head.
31) Margaret Thatcher considered making the Loch Ness Monster a protected species in the 1980s.
32) The Thatcher government also considered a search for Nessie using dolphins imported from America.
33) The Loch Ness Monster was declared the most famous Scot in a 2006 survey.
34) Alex Campbell reportedly spotted the Monster 16 times.
35) There is a 5-star Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition in Loch Ness.
36) The Monster has inspired the films Loch Ness, 1996 and The Water Horse, 2007.
37) In April 2008 David Garside and dad Graham were videoing their holiday boat trip on the loch when they spotted something in the water and zoomed in. See what they filmed here:
38) The water underneath the top 100 metres of Loch Ness never alters from 44 degrees Fahrenheit.
39) An average of 20 sightings are reported every year.
40) In 2009, a man claimed he saw the Loch Ness Monster on Google Earth.
41) The BBC sponsored a search for Nessie in 2003 but no animals were found at all.
42) Scientists involved in the BBC expedition after ruled the Loch Ness Monster a myth.
43) Bookmaker William Hill has paid the Natural History Museum £1,000 a year to prove Nessie’s identity if the monster is ever found.
44) 100 athletes performing in a Scottish triathlon were each insured £1 million against bites from the Loch Ness Monster in 2005.
45) The club chairman of the official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club said that “she’d (Nessie) beat everyone” if she wanted to get involved in the race.
46) There are 106,000 results on YouTube for the Loch Ness Monster.
47) Nessie inspired the film Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness Monster.
48) In 1970, a series of Dr Who was set in Loch Ness.
49) Toyota, Abercrombie & Fitch, Orange, Vodaphone, Ballygown Spring Water and Kit Kat have used the loch in their adverts.
50) Neil Clark, curator of palaeontology at Glasgow University’s Hunterian Museum, suggested sightings may have been of elephants swimming.
51) The author of Monster, Nicholas Witchell, is one of the BBC’s top news journalists.
52) There is a board game called The Nessie Hunt.
53) The Loch Ness Monster isn’t the only creature said to inhabit Scottish waters.
54) Scientist Adrian Shine has been looking for Nessie for more than 25 years.
55) Around 1 million people visit Loch Ness each year and create about £25million in the economy.
56) It is estimated more than 85% of them are drawn in by the Monster.
57) A ‘monster body’ was found in 1972 but turned out to be a dead elephant seal.
58) BBC aired a cartoon series called Family Ness about a family of Scottish monsters.
59) Werner Herzog wrote and produced a mockumentary film, Incident at Loch Ness in 2004.
60) There are rumours the Loch Ness Monster could be a seal or an overgrown eel.
61) George Edwards claimed to take the “best picture ever” of Nessie in 2012 after looking for her for 26 years.
62) In 1976, a group of people threw bacon into the Loch in hope of finding her.
63) The Loch Ness is 754ft deep.
64) Canadian band the Real McKenzie’s released a single in 2001 called Nessie which protests the capture and search for Nessie.
65) Lagarfljótsormurinn is believed to be Iceland’s version of the Loch Ness Monster.
66) Dr Rines, who helped find the Titanic, spent 37 years trying to find Nessie before he died in 2009.
67) A Buddhist monk moved to Loch Ness in 2012 to look for the Monster.
68) She was given the scientific nickname Nessiteras rhombopteryx in 1975.
69) Although the Monster is “the most iconic mystery creature”, it is the one with the least amount of evidence of its existence.
70) The loch is 22.5 miles long and between 1 and 1.5 miles wide.
71) Tim Dinsdale left his career in aeronautical engineering to search for Nessie.
72) An Italian geologist claims that there is no monster and that it’s just bubbles and splashes caused by earthquakes under the lake.
73) Locals are willing to rewards serious Nessie hunters with an online diploma.
74) A police man wrote to the government in 1930 asking for protection of Nessie from a group of 20 men hunting the monster down.
75) 1st April 1972, papers around the world announced Nessie had been found dead. It was part of an Aprils Fools organised by John Shields, Flamingo Park’s education officer, who planted a dead bull elephant seal in the Loch.
76) William Hill and The Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club set up a competition offering a £1000 prize each year for “the best Nessie sighting of the year”.
77) The Loch is only around 750ft deep but coastguard George Edwards got a reading of 812ft which has been dubbed Nessie’s Lair.
78) A North sea oil company offered him equipment and experts to help seek it out.
79) Nessie is a Scottish name meaning ‘pure’.
80) American hunter Bob Rines suggested that climate change in the Highlands killed the Loch Ness Monster.
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.