The Loch Ness monster is one of the most beloved mysteries on the planet. The monster is debated, discussed, and occasionally photographed. Called Nessie for short, the Loch Ness monster is treated as a sort of mascot, a beloved legend, and a sighting is a treat. Nessie's relatives have even been sought out -- a claim surfaced earlier this year of a creature like the Loch Ness monster in Lake Champlain.
However, conservationist group, Woodland Trust, says there's a simple answer to the most recent spate of Nessie sightings, and it's not a monster at all.
Instead, the group says what appears to be a prehistoric monster is really just wood -- twisted branches and deadfall from Urquhart Bay.
"[I]t's one of the UK's few remaining intact floodplain woodlands with tree species that thrive in wet conditions such as alder and willow - and late autumn is a peak time for deadwood to be washed away. The two rivers that flow through the wood into Loch Ness are high and fast moving at this time of year, and large long logs being carried off into the loch could account for some of the recent sightings."
According to BBC News, the most recent sightings follow an 18-month period with no sightings at all. That led some to wonder if the elusive monster had disappeared forever.
The Woodland Trust says that the Urquhart Bay woods are responsible for many Nessie sightings over the years. Others have been attributed to the wake of boats, and in one case, to a troupe of circus elephants being exercised in the water.
The conservationist group warned that monster enthusiasts would be disappointed with their explanations, and they were quickly proven correct; comments on their Facebook page are asking Woodland Trust to keep out of the monster business and stick to trees.
"Woodland Trust, please stick to what you do best. Save our dwindling natural world. Leave crypto-zoology to me & my pals, we look after the whisky & yes, Nessie exists."
"Nessie is there, not just a stick, or log....."
"They are finding new depths all over the place now-a-days, finding new animals and creatures we as humans have never discovered before, so in theory what ever creature the "loch Ness monster" is could actually be real."
There's no doubt that learning at least one Loch Ness monster sighting was likely nothing more than a branch is disappointing to enthusiasts, but there's even less doubt that they'll go on looking.
[Photo: Woodland Trust Facebook]