At this point, the Loch Ness Monster is Scotland's worst kept secret. The scaly cryptid has appeared so many times in popular culture that it requires its own Wikipedia page.
But how much do we really know about old Nessie? Dive into the depths with us and learn about the history of the world's most famous cryptozoological creature.
The monster of old.
The earliest report of a monster in the Loch Ness area was written in the seventh century. The abbot Adomnan wrote of Saint Columbia seeking revenge after a beast killed a man in River Ness. A simple sling of the cross made the monster flee.
The first hoax.
The monster stayed fairly quiet until 1933, when sightings suddenly ramped up. The lake's water bailiff Alex Campbell was perhaps the first to report sightings of Nessie, followed by an Englishman named George Spicer. Stories of the marine creature soon made international news, and the rest was history. The first photo taken of the beast is the iconic "Surgeon's Photograph," which is now widely believed to be a hoax that was conjured up to fool The Daily Mail.
Regular sightings of the monster continued all the way up through the seventies. There was even a supposed video of the monster taken 40 feet from shore. In 1977, the clearest photos of the monster were taken, featuring the classic Plesiosaur head. But the "Loch Ness Muppet" photos, as they came to be known, were quickly debunked as being part of a hoax, as evidenced by the lack of ripples below the creature.
There have been sightings of the fabled monster as recently as 2014, but not a single one has fully proven its existence. In 2015, in honor of the anniversary of the Surgeon's Photograph, Google Maps added a feature that allowed people to remotely explore the lake in its entirety. So far, no Nessie.
Explanations are diverse, but the most realistic of these theories is that people are really just seeing large lake eels. Many still believe that the creature is an ancient Plesiosaur, but scientists assure us that such creatures would still have to come up for air every few minutes.
So does the Loch Ness Monster exist? Scientists have yet to fully prove or disprove its existence, but given the fact that we've never found a specimen, it seems rather unlikely. That doesn't seem to bother the millions who visit Loch Ness every year in hopes of spotting a legend.