My Thoughts on the Loch Ness Monster?

Posted by: John Kirk on May 16th, 2014


People ask me about what I think of the Loch Ness monster. My answer is: I don’t. When I became a witness of an unknown animal in a Canadian lake in 1987, I read everything I could on the subject of lake cryptids. One place I always had problems with was Loch Ness. This is peculiar because I am Scottish – the other half of me is Iberian (not Siberian) – and you’d expect me to be elated that there was a freshwater cryptid in freshwater loch.

As I read the story of the LNM over the years, I became increasingly convinced that there is no monster. By the way, I really don’t like that word. Yes, it was in the title of my book, but if I called my book In the Domain of the Cryptids nobody would have bought it.

All the photos – especially the Surgeon’s – are nebulous at best and hoaxed at worst. I remember talking to Marjorie at the Drumnadrochit Nessie exhibition centre in 1995 and how discussed that prior to 1934 no one had ever seen a creature with the upright neck as seen in the Surgeon’s photo. After that people started seeing longnecks galore. Talk about power of suggestion…

My friend Alastair Boyd showed me a mountain of incontrovertible evidence that the famous photo was an absolute canard. No not a French duck, but a hoax. That was the final nail in coffin.

I have been to Loch Ness many times. One of my children used to live in Inverness so we would visit him. I like Loch Ness because it is visual stunning and the bar at Drumadrochit has an incredible selection of single malts! I’ve never seen or felt much mystery there except at BOLESKINE House where Alesteir Crowley once luved and it has a bit of a foreboding aura diminished by the fact that I saw some of the Led Zeppelin guys there once.

Nessie is a manufactured cryptid that has been used as a cash cow for 80 years. I’ve often said tha I would love to be proved wrong because as a proud Scot she would be another thing like haggis, kilts, bagpipes, Kenny Dalglish, finnan haddies, fried Mars bars (yes those chocolate things), William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Texas (the group not the state) and Dario Franchitti that nobody else has got.

We Scots are great at inventing things. We gave the world the television, fridge, telephone, rubber tires, raincoats, macadamia nuts, and a whole lot more. Wee Nessie is another great invention and it has brought wealth to the country. I’m not down on Nessie, but she’s had her day and should just slide into the mists of time.

John Kirk About John Kirk
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.

10 Responses to “My Thoughts on the Loch Ness Monster?”

  1. johnp3907 responds:

    I thought macadamia nuts originated in Australia.

  2. silverity responds:

    No long necks before the Surgeon’s Photo? I have several on file. How about the Spicers case for starters? If that is the level of your research, I am not convinced about the rest of your case against Nessie.

    John, there is more evidence for Nessie than your own favourite, Ogopogo. I think you are just trying to make Ogopogo the No.1 lake cryptid! That will never happen.

  3. kbraun responds:

    Hello John,

    Didn’t Alastair Boyd and wife claim to have seen a large unknown animal in the Loch after claiming the Surgeon’s photos were hoaxed.

    Dr. Robert Rines claims to have seen a large unknown animal (for at least 15 minutes), which prompted his many expeditions to the Lock Ness. I find it hard to believe he would waste so much of his time if had not seen something.

    That said I think Okanagan Lake or lake Lake Champlain are better place to look for unknown aquatic cryptids.

    Take care,


  4. gollumses responds:

    Poor research John. Sorry, but there is a ton more evidence for LNM than Ogopogo!

    1. Dinsdale Video 1960: Declared by British Defense Ministry Joint Air Intelligence Reconnaissance Center to be a living creature, moving at 10mph, and that the section out of the water was six feet wide and five feet high.

    2. LNP Video 1967: Same British Intelligence Exam that concluded video was a living creature of some size.

    3. Dr. Robert Rines UW Pictures of a fin, then neck and head.

    Just to name a few.


  5. springheeledjack responds:

    Yeah, I gotta agree. Just because the Surgeon’s Photo has brought a lot of controversy to the subject as a whole, does not mean there’s nothing there. I’ve studied Nessie for years and the Surgeon’s Photo was never my selling point.

    A couple of hoaxed and touched up photos does not eradicate the decades of accounts and testimony. Sure the Surgeon’s Photo brought Nessie to the forefront, and before that there was little, but it was the Spicer’s incident that really started things, and if you look at the history, it was around that time that they started expanding the road around the loch which made access to the areas around the loch more reachable.

    I think in Nessie’s case, since so much time has passed and no direct conclusions have come and the mystery has yet to be solved, people are content to move on or even say it never happened. But that doesn’t eradicate what came before. And if you’re willing to toss Nessie off as nothing more than a Scottish con game, it says more about you than it does Nessie’s existence.

  6. dconstrukt responds:

    just wonder why there isnt more visual proof of these things?

    i mean if they come up to the surface or walk on land like some claim, they’d have to breathe air.

    so they’d have to come up frequently, no?

    if so, then why not more sightings?

    river monsters did a 2 hour show on loch ness, it was very very interesting…. talking about what other animals could come into the loch…

  7. David-Australia responds:

    “I thought macadamia nuts originated in Australia.”

    Absolutely correct

    Named in honour of John Macadam (link from above), ” Australian (Scottish-born) chemist”.

    John Kirk’s “research” is exceedingly sloppy.

  8. youcantryreachingme responds:

    “no one had ever seen a creature with the upright neck as seen in the Surgeon’s photo. After that people started seeing longnecks galore. Talk about power of suggestion…”

    That’s like saying no one had ever seen a creature that looks like a gorilla until the first person reported such a creature. After that everone started seeing gorilla-like creatures.

  9. NMRNG responds:

    I agree with John Kirk. If there ever was something cryptid-like in the lake, it no longer exists and I doubt that there ever was such a creature.

    Misidentification and hoaxes are the bane of anyone studying cryptozoology and in this case, I think the evidence can completely be explained by sightings of waves, logs or other floating debris, or other animals such as sturgeon, otters or an errant seal. All of these items or known animals can give a presentation resembling the reports of Nessie and when they are out on the water with no good references points nearby, one can easily confuse their size and find them bigger than they actually are (see e.g. the recent photos of allegedly cougar-sized “black panthers” that actually show a black domesticated shorthair cat crossing a grassy field).

    In contrast, many of the reported sightings of sasquatch are of an animal that has broad shoulders and the side-by-side comparison of a standing bear vs. a composite sketch of a typically reported sasquatch that Jeff Meldrum shows in his book is, I think, very persuasive in showing that a standing bear’s narrow shoulders do not actually resemble most reports of a sasquatch. Now I have no doubt that many, if not most, of the people genuinely claiming to have seen bigfoot have either seen some goofball in a Chewabacca or gorilla costume, or they have in fact seen a bear or other large mammal, but the number of wide-shouldered sasquatches reported convince me that there’s a reasonable chance that people are reporting an actual cryptid.

    DConstrukt is correct that we’d have to see a lot more of these Scottish aquatic cryptids than are currently sighted. Although I think a 21-mile long lake is far too small to hold a breeding population of a large animal (an issue that the proponents of Nessie all like to ignore), if there was such a breeding population, it would have to entail dozens of the creatures. Think about how many tourists are scoping out Loch Ness each and every day – they number in the thousands, and they aren’t sighting Nessie coming up for air.

    Regardless of how extensive John Kirk’s research was, I think his opinions are spot-on and correct. There is no monster living in Loch Ness. If anything, I think the recent footage that has been posted on the internet of oarfish sightings explains a significant portion of the world’s alleged sea monster, sea serpent, and lake monster sightings – on very rare occasion one of the mysterious, normally deep-sea oarfish are swimming up a river and are spotted in a lake. If you haven’t seen one of the oarfish videos, here’s a link:

  10. kbraun responds:

    “There is no monster living in Loch Ness.”

    Oh its a possible oarfish.

    see Bed Radford’s comments on the Folden Film:

    “An investigation I designed and conducted with John Kirk for the National Geographic Channel TV show “Is It Real?” in 2005 revealed that the object Folden filmed was indeed a real animal but its size had been greatly overestimated. It was probably a waterfowl or beaver too far away to be identified, but still leaving an impressive wake in the calm water’

    Both Dr. Robert Rines, wife and friends , Alastair Boyd and wife claim to have seen ( on separate occasions) : (dark , 20-30 feet of an animal that looked the like the back of a whale). Operation Deepscan “there’s something here that’s larger than a fish, maybe some species that hasn’t been detected before. I don’t know.” We don’t know, possible maybe.

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