Loch Ness Monster


Looking for an excuse to avoid working, studying, or parenting? Interested in making some easy cash? Are your Photoshop skills good to excellent?

Then head to Scotland, capture the Loch Ness Monster in a photo, then submit it to win a £1000 cash prize (approx. $1,500).

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a quick primer. Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater lake in the Scottish Highlands (loch is a Scottish Gaelic word for lake). And the Loch Ness Monster has been one of the world’s most fabled monsters for centuries.

It’s a mysterious hump-backed creature that supposedly hangs out in the loch. This beast has never been captured and photos are murky and distant. It’s technically a ‘cryptid’, which Oxford defines as “an animal whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the yeti.”

Existing photos show a long-necked, three-humped animal that’s as long as three cars, moving through water at rapid speed, and diving out of sight before it can be:

(a) filmed

(b) befriended like a talking Disney character, or

(c) clubbed, dragged into the boat, and stuffed in a slow cooker

If you believe (and can understand) the local Scotsmen, the Loch Ness Monster, a.k.a. Nessie, is a dinosaur that swims, like a Plesiosaurus. Others say it’s a snake that eats bad children (that’s what I tell my friends’ kids). Others dismiss it as a pile of old tires. Still others say Nessie is a hoax created by the Scots to boost tourism while mocking tourists.

So with all our modern gadgets and expertise at killing things that scare us, how come Nessie has never been found? Here’s one reason:

Loch Ness is the 2nd-largest lake in Scotland but due to its extreme depth (230 metres at its deepest point), it’s the largest Scottish lake by volume. According to the Internet, if you collected all the water from every lake in Wales and England combined, Loch Ness would contain more fresh water than all of them.

Which means a lot of hiding places for a swimming dinosaur.

So those are your challenges to winning this contest, chief of which is ‘Find a Possible Bald-Faced Lie or a Whisky-Fuzzy Hallucination’. As always, the prize money is being offered by William Hill who are a ‘respected Scottish gambling house’ which may be as rare as Nessie herself.

Their contest is officially called the Best Nessie Sighting of the Year. It’s ready to be awarded each March, but the prize hasn’t been handed out since 2002.

Gary Campbell, president of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club told the Daily Mail, “In the past seven years there have been very few sightings.”

But that could change this March. Apparently this part year was a good one for Nessie spotting, with three strong photo/Photoshopped submissions. According to Discovery News, the sightings were:

  1. “While on vacation in May, William and Joan Jobes saw what appeared to be a head peeking above the water 200 to 300 yards off shore in Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire.
  2. In June, Jan and Simon Hargreaves caught a glimpse of Nessie in the Loch near the village of Foyers, but didn’t manage to get the monster on film.
  3. Then in September, fish farm worker Jon Rowe snapped an idyllic photo of a large, dark shape and two humps in the water beneath the arch of a rainbow.”

Meanwhile, by this time next year, here’s hoping you will stare down the great beast, capture him/her/it in a good, steady high-definition shot, and drag home a $1,500 prize purse.

If you do spot Nessie, here’s some quick advice: zoom in as much as you can but not too close. Try to capture a castle or something in the background for perspective, and don’t waste precious time or footage by spinning the camera around to show you Completely Freaking Out.

Finally, don’t call Nessie a monster to its face. That’s just mean.

— Ken Hegan

Bing: Seriously, is the Loch Ness Monster real?

Read all of Ken’s MSN posts here and follow Ken to victory on Twitter

Undated file photo courtesy CP Images

If you go:

check out Scotland’s tourism website for ideas on hotels, transportation, and attractions

P.S. Happy Friday the 13th