Death at Loch Ness

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 3rd, 2009

Adrian Shine plays with a new toy at Loch Ness.

The new season of MonsterQuest begins with a new angle on an old topic, entitling its first show THIS WEDNESDAY, with “Death at Loch Ness.” Here are some descriptions of the first few episodes.



From Bigfoot to Swamp Beast, MonsterQuest reveals the truth of legendary monster sightings around the world. Deploying the latest in hi-tech equipment, each episode scientifically examines the best evidence available, from pictures and video, to hair and bones, as well as the eyewitness accounts themselves. From pilots to policemen to ship captains, a number of seemingly credible people have seen things they can’t explain. One part history, one part science and one part monsters, MonsterQuest discovers the truth behind these legendary creatures.

Robert Rines at Loch Ness


The search for the Loch Ness Monster has captivated the world for decades, but now a startling realization about “Nessie” might shatter this age-old myth. Could the Loch Ness Monster be dead? And do its remains lie hidden at the bottom of the lake? Robert Rines, a world renowned inventor and explorer has spent much of his life searching for Nessie. He believes he may have seen the remains of this mythical beast while mapping the lake floor with sonar. Now he is on a mission to find scientific evidence to prove it. Rines, who says he saw the creature surface in the lake in 1972, now believes that the images explain the recent decrease in sightings, and that they can only mean only one thing. Nessie is dead. MonsterQuest’s search team travels to the lake looking for evidence and deploying the latest technology including remote operating vehicles (ROVs), sonar and specialty cameras as we search for Nessie’s remains.

Gordon Holmes and his remote camera at Loch Ness.

Something mysterious and violent is killing cattle of the North American plains, but what is behind these gruesome attacks: satanic cults, an unknown predator, or something previously unknown to man? For forty years, there have been thousands of cases of cattle found mutilated under abnormal circumstances; these livestock are found dead, often with their blood drained and organs or body parts removed from their bodies. Abnormally high radiation levels have been detected in the soil near the dead animals when they are found, and the deaths often do not match the pattern of known scavengers. With no apparent footprints or tracks leading to or from the carcases and strange circles near the site, the mystery only deepens. A MonsterQuest team will gather samples and head to a laboratory to scientifically analyze the most compelling evidence.

In the marshy swamp land of Texarkana a legendary beast has hunted the residents of a small Arkansas town. Their story was immortalized in a well known movie, “The Legend of Boggy Creek”. The real events were a series of violent nocturnal attacks that left behind not only fear and panic, but also remarkable tracks. But the evidence is not just confined to history. Scientific clues continue to this day, and point to a malevolent monster that stalks the Deep South, with physical encounters by trained trackers and discoveries of tracks and scat. The strongest evidence will be examined using the latest scientific testing and two MonsterQuest teams isolate the search area using both kayaks and horse-back, penetrating deep into territory that may be the hold the swamp stalker.

For over two hundred and fifty years a frightening winged beast has been menacing the residents of New Jersey. The Jersey Devil is described as a winged half-bird half-horse, with hoofed feet and reptilian tail and a penetrating scream that echoes through the forests of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. During one phenomenal week, over a thousand individuals were terrorized: a trolley car was attacked, schools were closed and panic gripped the area. Wildlife experts claim however, that misidentification with a known animal may be responsible for the encounters, but recent witnesses who see the beast are scared for their lives – and say the scientific evidence will prove there is a monster. MonsterQuest launches an unprecedented expedition for the Jersey Devil and sends sixty men into the forbidding forest while detectives meet the witnesses to discover the truth behind the Jersey Devil.

What if one of the most famous and terrifying urban legends was not a legend but a frightening fact? History tells us that Alligators lurking around in the sewers of New York City is based in truth. In the mid 1930s three teenagers pulled an eight-foot alligator from a storm drain. Reports persisted until a skeptical Superintendant of Sewers, Teddy May, was forced to investigate for himself. What May found shocked even him – swarms of alligators alive beneath the busy main street of America’s biggest city. Crews were sent in to kill the deadly reptiles, but the stories of the gators in the sewers lived on. Experts, however, are divided over whether it is scientifically possible for alligators to continue to exist in the sewers, so a MonsterQuest team sets out to search for modern evidence of these monsters and prove that they could not only survive but also thrive. Herpetologists and underground explorers join forces and use the latest in remote-operated camera technology to delve into the depths of New York’s sewers.

ROV activities at Loch Ness.

All photographs exclusively from MonsterQuest, used with their permission. Copyright 2009.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

23 Responses to “Death at Loch Ness”

  1. mystery_man responds:

    I don’t like the write up on Loch Ness up there.

    The wording seems to be suggesting that there is only one Loch Ness monster and that now IT is dead, there IS no monster left. The write up says things like IT’S remains were found, and that IT’S remains mean Nessie IS dead. The whole thing is written in a similar manner. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but this is absurd. If there is an undiscovered creature in the Loch, there would most certainly have to be a breeding population of the creatures, not a single animal that has caused all of the sightings over hundreds of years. If these animals are something from prehistoric times, the idea that there is only one would be even more ridiculous.

    Any large animal that has maintained such a population that is large enough to retain it’s genetic integrity for so long in this Loch, as well as managing to be hardy enough to survive until now, is likely not going to just die out so suddenly. There would be a more gradual decline in their numbers and therefore sightings would diminish over some time rather than all vanishing at once, as is alluded to here. There would have to be some pretty considerable factors involved to cause a sudden extinction scenario like that , none of which I am aware of being present in the Loch.

    But that’s not really what Mr. Rines is saying, is it? Perhaps I am confused, but it seems to me as if he is implying that there was only one of these creatures in the Loch all along. Does he really think, as it seems he does, that he has found images of the remains of the sole specimen of this animal in the lake, and that these remains prove it is gone? Are they really implying that only one was ever there? I have a problem with this line of reasoning.

    Why would finding the remains of a Nessie constitute proof that the entire species is dead? If Mr. Rines has indeed found such remains, it seems that it would likely only be the carcass of a Nessie, not theNessie, as in only one. Exciting, but hardly evidence of the death of a species.

    The episode description seems somewhat sensationalized, and playing to the mistaken belief by some in the general public that there is only ONE Nessie, or ONE Bigfoot, ONE Yeti, etc. Groan.

  2. Weezy responds:

    Interesting, I’m looking forward to the Loch Ness MQ episode. Even though nothing really huge is ever found on the show I still love to watch it, to see people actually looking into the unknown instead of just ignoring it. Plus, they have found some stuff, the episode with the giant squid was great.

  3. cliffhanger042002 responds:

    I agree Mystery_Man, that is a very poor write-up from a crypto show. That’s actually a write-up that one would expect from the main-stream media that tries to appeal to public perception, not from a crypto show that is supposed to deliver scientific evidence in an objective manner. That is very disappointing, and to be honest I’m a bit disappointed with the entire line-up for the season that they have shown so far. Cattle Mutilations have been done to death, and I may be wrong but I thought MQ already covered that??? If not MQ someone did I know, I watched an hour-long show on that last year where a female investigator went out to several recent sites and took samples, looked at the mysterious circles, etc. but concluded nothing…. And Gator in the Sewers isn’t crypto related IMHO, more urban legend type stuff, and even if gators are found in the sewers, there will be a simple explanation of how they got there, so why bother unless they are 50 feet long and have 3 heads and 2 tails?? Then I think somewhere in the season we are supposed to see the Baby Ogopogo episode?? If there were conclusive evidence we would know by now, so it’ll just take an hour for us to find out the DNA tests were either inconclusive or a known species………..Just to be honest, I’m really, really liking Destination Truth more so than MQ, remember that stinking Giant Rats episode that MQ did? Jeez-Louis. At least DT has the entertaining qualities that keep you on the edge of your seat and get your heart rate up a little in some instances…..I’ll take that over the MQ format any day….

  4. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    I know it may seem unlinkely that there was only one left and that one died but the fact is if it is (or was) an unknown animal we don’t know how long it’s life expectancy would be. For all we know it could live 60+ years and all the sightings over the pats few decades have been of this one specimen. Who knows how many species have died out before their existence could be confirmed even within the last couple hundred years.

  5. kev0 responds:

    When is the Ogopogo one going to show, I think that will be the most interesting out of all the monsters that was shown. To be honest I’m getting sick of Nessie and Bigfoot (or any other hairy giant), they’re the Paris Hilton and Britney Spears of cryptozoology.

  6. Mollyscribbles responds:

    I have to say, I’m rather unimpressed with this year’s lineup. The Jersey Devil ep might be interesting, but beyond that . . . eh. Mystery_man covered my thoughts on Loch Ness rather well; the cattle killers ep sounds rather bland — even Supernatural considers it bunk; and Gators in the Sewers is more a job for Snopes.

    I’ve watched an episode of MonsterQuest every now and then, generally checking the episode guides to get an idea of what it’ll be about first, and frankly most of the premises don’t grab me. And the ones that do spend half the episode going nowhere. The vampire episode, for example . . . so what if several kids who died of ‘consumption’ were suspected of being vampires by a quack and their graves desecrated? They spent way too much time tracking down the graves and then ended with the realization that, hey, we need to get permission to dig them up and see if there’s any actual evidence. And had they been able to, what would it ‘prove’? It’s like trying to gather evidence that the Salem witch trials didn’t kill actual witches.

    Sure, they might get footage of the Komodo Dragon or Giant Squid, but these are creatures that just plain exist in the eyes of mainstream science. They’re not any more of a cryptid than the Okapi or Giant Panda.

    I think I’ll check out Destination Truth. It had escaped my notice until now, but if it’s at least a reasonably entertaining yet serious take on Cryptozoology, I’m there.

  7. shumway10973 responds:

    If we have a location of bones, why hasn’t anyone gone down and pulled them up. The argument of Nessie’s death is irrelevant…first let’s get some bones and identify the things. Then we can spend money subbing around looking for any left alive. Has the Scottish ecosystem had a bad time like in California? Could there be less of something in the lake? Something that would be a crucial food source? Just a thought.

  8. Loren Coleman responds:

    Okay, which one of you people are really Joshua Gates commenting under an assumed name?


    Folks, these shows haven’t even aired and you are dumping all over MQ and all the criticisms of DT from last year have turned into love and affection.


    How about let’s wait and see for both of them, and judge each episode of each program on its individual merits, not the pre-broadcast promotional write-ups?

  9. Mollyscribbles responds:

    Loren, I’ve spent much time in different fandoms, so I think it needs to be clarified . . .

    Ranting of this magnitude comes from an intense fanbase. Overanalyzing summaries is just one aspect of fandom; if it turns out to be false, we’ll rant yet again about the deceptive quality of the promotional material.

    If the show was REALLY awful, we plain and simple wouldn’t watch it. But it’s built something of a fandom for itself. Sure, there’ll be rants about unfulfilled potential in plotlines or side stories that annoyed us (such as the ghost episode), but other fandoms help put these things in perspective. Just be glad that the show doesn’t lend itself to shipping wars!

  10. Mollyscribbles responds:

    Nessie/Champ OTP 4EVER!

  11. cryptidsrus responds:

    I also saw the advertisement for MQ featuring the “Carcass” of something and the tagline: “Is Nessie dead?” I thought it kind of weird. not surprising, though. I guess the producers are always finding ways to draw in viewers. C’est la vie. I watch MQ anyway and enjoy it, proof of monster of not.

    I do agree with the general tone of your write-up , Mystery_Man. And you hit the nail straight in the head, Loren. Ultimately, I don’t watch MQ necessarily for “proof”—I watch it more for the enjoyment of seeing stories about these creatures being taken at least semi-seriously by the media. Although I wouldn’t mind proof, either…:)

    And unlike you, MollyScribbles, I will enjoy the episode on Alligators in the Sewer. And I, for one, liked the Giant Rat episode last season, Cliffhanger04002. It’s all right. We all have our own “predilections.”
    I’m also looking forward to the Jersey Devil episode.

  12. Mollyscribbles responds:

    Different sub-interests for everyone, Cryptidsrus!

    (and I figure I may as well specify — I am not Joshua Gates and did not even know who he was until a few hours ago when I pulled up an episode of the show on YouTube)

    Thinking about it, I guess that the Gators in the Sewers ep is a reasonable choice for them . . . budget-wise, if nothing else. They need to bring in something new every week to keep viewers tuning in with interest. And Gators in the Sewers doesn’t require a huge travel budget like the Loch Ness episode or the trip to Komodo.

  13. graybear responds:

    Mollyscribbles; whaddaya mean, “No shipping wars”? Don’t you know about the high-grade shipping war going on between the Nessie-Champ camp and the Nessie-Ogopogo cheerleaders? The Champ-Ogopogo shippers are going wild right about now because, hey, their ships are at least on the same continent. See, that’s why there has been a downturn in Nessie sightings lately; the Big N is visiting its significant other.
    Did I just weird anybody out?

  14. springheeledjack responds:

    I’ll agree the Loch NEss thing is definitely panhandling to media hype…probably goes with the territory in shows like these…as was pointed out, often MQ does not come up with the ultimate answers on these cryptid shows and so they have to tease it up (it may not even be up to those who are doing the research and the bulk of the work for the show…could be the ones holding the purse strings deciding they want flashier tag lines).

    I have seen other shows on Nessie that have showed a possible carcass at the bottom…no conclusive proof so far, so we will see, just another tantalizing possibility…but I’m with MM…there is obviously more than one critter in Loch Ness, and even if the blob at the bottom would turn out to be a carcass, doesn’t mean the show’s over in Ness…there have been no dramatic changes to the eco system that I am aware of, and even in NEssie’s hey-day, she wasn’t doing free photo shoots any time a tourist walked by.

    So, yeah, I’ll watch with hope–hope that they put together something professional (better than DT), and hope that they can at least come up with some new data on their topics…

  15. mystery_man responds:

    springheeledjack- Right, there is no major ecological problem that I have seen that would explain the sudden disappearance of a whole species of creatures that have managed to survive in this environment and all of the changes the Loch has undoubtedly gone through in the last few million years. Climate change wouldn’t seem to make sense as an explanation as the climate has varied wildly in that time frame, and it isn’t as if the things have been hunted down by humans (unless their bodies are being stored in that big warehouse, next to the Lost Ark of the Covenant). I don’t believe overfishing is a problem, or that the environment is in some sort of particular crisis. The Loch seems to be just as viable an ecosystem now as it has ever been in that time frame.

    If Nessie is real, then even if there were problems along these lines, it seems a bit of a dubious claim to assume that the discovery of a corpse means it is the last one because of the lack of sightings. This is a completely unfounded notion that cannot be proven by the presence of a single carcass, and is a bit of a muddled argument anyway.

    Through what means was this conclusion reached? Even if as Mr. Rines claims Nessie had in fact not been seen by anybody since the 70s, which is incidentally false anyway, the finding of a carcass does not indicate anything other than the existence of the animal, no more no less. Many animals have gone a lot longer than that without being seen, only to pop up again. A single carcass found in the Loch means nothing with regards to determining the extinction of an entire species. I find it laughable that that such a dramatic conclusion was reached merely by the image of a single possible carcass. Even if this was the last one left, there is no way to know that by finding a single carcass.

    Anyway, it is not described as “the last one.” It seems to be implied that it is the only one. One of these creatures trapped in the Loch for millions of years? Is it a unique mutant creature that developed independently from some other creature in the Loch and caused all of the sightings by itself? The idea of only one is wrong on so many levels, do I really have to explain why?

    To anyone actually reading this, make no mistake, I am not bashing Monster Quest as a whole. This is not a dump on MQ. The show actually seems pretty level headed for the most part. I am directing my comment solely at the write up for the Loch Ness episode listed here. I see claims that I find scientifically questionable and maybe a bit irresponsible, so I felt the need to call it out and point out the absurdity of these claims.

  16. cliffhanger042002 responds:

    Loren – There was alot of negative feedback on DT, but it was never from me, I’ve always been more on DT than MQ, just because DT is far more entertaining to me. The only comment I ever made that could possibly be misconstrued as negative (and I’m not saying that is the case) was when we had a huge thread going about DT’s 1/2 hour vs. full hour per cryptid format, and I would like to see some slight changes there in some instances, but not for all. I’m just getting less and less impressed by MQ after every episode I watch, I mean really, and then sometimes (example Giant Rats Ep.) I wondered why I even bothered and what the point was in making such an episode. It was just like MQ couldn’t find anything more interesting and decided that they could fill an hour with giant rats. So, Honestly, who enjoyed the Giant Rat episode from last season of MQ?? Anyone?? I just feel like DT is heading in one direction (IMHO, the right direction) and MQ is way off in left field.

  17. coelacanth1938 responds:

    The idea of a dead Nessie kind of ruins my calm. With so many life forms going extinct and expected to go extinct, if there there was a Nessie, are we guilty of it’s death?

  18. cliffhanger042002 responds:

    Well, despite my feelings and opinions about MQ that were formed last season, Loren has a point about giving MQ Season 3 a chance, I will still be tuned in tonight at 8:00 PM central time. I just hope that the popcorn isn’t the most interesting part of the hour, because like others the description of Ep 1 doesn’t sound too promising, but we’ll see. 🙂

  19. DavidFullam responds:

    I feel that the first ep was an hour of my life I can’t get back. Pretty disappointing. In other words par for the course of Monster Quest lately. Nothing was proven, nothing was disproven, the usual.

    Personally I would rather have seen a documentary that explores the friendship between Adrian Shine and Robert Rines. I find it fascinating that these two men on opposite sides of the fence are good buddies with great respect for the other’s scientific knowledge.

  20. Nasser responds:

    I absolutely agree with you DavidFullam. I too would have rather watched a documentry about the friendship between Robert Rines and Adrian Shine. Too often I expect to see something truly amazing on the show or even a clear picture or footage of a supposed cryptid. I for one am and will always be a Loch Ness enthusiast. I have recently received a signed copy of Adrian Shine’s new book on the subject matter and have been trying to contact Robert Rines regarding his recent discovery of a supposed carcass. I was disappointed to find out that the actual spot where the ‘carcass’ was found is no longer there! This confirms to me that the actual carcass was part of the terrain or rotted vegetation that gave the illusion of a carcass. Why don’t they do a story on Cadbrosaurus! Has anyone seen the photo of this supposed animal? Its possibly the most credible I have ever seen and definitely fits the description of this animal.

  21. DavidFullam responds:

    I Like both Rines and Shine a great deal. Two very dedicated, interesting individuals. A really in depth show about Caddy would be most welcome. Are you referring to the photo that showed the carcass that was re moved from a whale, the baby Caddy shot?

  22. Nasser responds:

    Hello David Fullam,

    yes that’s the photo I am referring to sorry for being vague there. Despite the many years that have gone by without any follow up at Loch Ness, I think it will always hold a facination with the public and cryptids alike whether there was or not an animal living within its deeps.

  23. Dr. Strings responds:

    Sorry for being a little late to the dance, folks, but I wanted to add my two cents on the “Death of Loch Ness” episode and DT. I was quite disappointed with the “Loch Ness” opener, as the previews for it led me to believe it was going to cover quite a bit of interesting speculation on possible environmental conditions that have effected the Loch and many other things as well. I enjoy many of the episodes just for the science and speculation behind the subjects, as I don’t honestly expect absolute proof of anything from the cryptid camp showing up.

    I really like listening to Dr. Rines, but this new theory that Nessie is dead or long dead comes off as a last grasp at straws; if you can’t prove the creature exists, then it must have existed at one time and must be dead now. It falls into that “can’t disprove a negative” area for me; it was never proven to exist, but now it’s dead so you can’t prove it didn’t exist. I echo the sentiment that the implication is a lone creature survived extinction 65 million years ago to swim the loch for all these years, an absurdity that defies common sense, which tells you there would have to be a breeding population that would certainly result in more tangible sightings.

    I think the advancements of science, technology, and people’s thinking is no coincidence to the fact that lake monster and sea serpent sightings (especially at Loch Ness) have dwindled down to nearly nothing as time marches on. The fact that most of the photographic or film evidence that points to Nessie being a plesiosaur has been exposed as fraudulent, “enhanced”, or misidentified mundane objects or animals as time wears on is also a factor in the decline of sightings. If somebody keeps telling you a plesiosaur lives in a lake and that’s what you must have seen, then you believe it. When you see something “strange”, whether it’s an otter, fish, wake, boat, or anything else, you immediately think of it as Nessie. The power of suggestion is strong. The power of evidence is also strong, and as much as I’ve always wanted to believe, I now think Nessie was nothing more than a great, mythical tourist attraction for Scotland. I still want to go there just to visit, but I don’t expect to see a monster in the loch. The facts and evidence just don’t bear it out.

    Concerning ‘Destination Truth’, I really enjoy the show. The fact that it’s really a myth chase doesn’t detract from the fun, adventure, and research Josh has, goes through, and does. You learn interesting facts about the locales, as you do in most shows concerning cryptids. Proving even one of these creatures to be true is the Holy Grail, but the things you learn along the way about different cultures, lands, environments, etc. are the great thing about these types of shows. Only complaint I have is with the ‘Blair Witch’-style night vision green camera stuff; I can’t stand it and it’s completely overused in just about every so-called “creepy” or “scary” show on TV today. I understand the stealth purposes behind it, just wish there was less of it.

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