But is the dramatic photo that appears to be the head of a sea creature breaching the waters of the scenic and mysterious lake in the Scottish Highlands the real deal? Or are Nessie-watchers just seeing what they want to see in the enhanced, infrared photograph?
The shot was snapped by self-described paranormal investigator Jonathan Bright in November of 2011. Now, three years later, the Greece-based Loch Ness monster hunter says he plans to return to Loch Ness to take more photographs of the enormous, freshwater lake in hopes of catching another sighting of the legendary creature.
Reports of a large monster supposedly inhabiting Loch Ness date back hundreds of years. The first known report believed to refer to a “water beast” there appeared in a 7th-century text. But in modern times, worldwide fascination with the supposed Loch Ness monster dates back to 1933, with a sudden rash of sightings.
The famous “Surgeon’s Photograph” in 1934 purported to show the head and neck of a lizard-like creature extending from the water’s surface, and remains today the image most closely associated with the Loch Ness monster. But that photo is widely believed to be a hoax.
Bright said that he took thousands of photographs of Loch Ness during his 2011 trip there, and it wasn’t until months later as he closely inspected each photo, that he spotted the shot of what appears to be a lizard-like head breaching the surface of the lake, whose depths at their lowest point reach more than 750 feet down.
But what does the photograph really show? Is that the head of a mysterious animal? Or just an illusion produced by shadows and light on the choppy surface of Loch Ness?
Matching the photo to an artist’s rendering guides the perception of the shot as showing actual evidence of an underwater creature.
“It was only a brief trip in the Highlands, but on the day that I was actually cruising the Loch, my infrared camera had captured a picture that, in my opinion, proves that the ‘monster’ is much more than a tall tale,” Bright said. “Of course, a picture alone will never be able to stand out as ‘unambiguous’ evidence, let alone provide adequate answers to all of our questions on the exact nature of the phenomenon that we call Nessie.”
Whether Bright’s photo is actually new evidence that the Loch Ness monster is real, or just another false alarm, one fact is 100 percent certain. As VisitScotland boss Malcolm Roughead said, commenting on Bright’s appearance at the Paranormal Festival, “it would difficult to overestimate the importance” of the Loch Ness monster legend when it comes to attracting tourists to Scotland.