Friday, July 17, 2015

Loch Ness Monster: "likely a large catfish" ?!?

Loch Ness
Does a monster lurk in these waters? Or just a really big fish?
Say it ain't so.

I'm not a believer in the monster. But if I have to choose between Nessie being . . . umm, well, a monster . . . and not a large fish, then I'm choosing monster all the way.

Now, though, a leading "expert" on the Loch Ness Monster says the monster is "most likely" a "Wels catfish," which can grow up to thirteen feet long and weigh nearly 900 pounds. In the Victorian era, people added these large catfish to Loch Ness for sport fishing.

The so-called expert is a guy who, at age 28, gave up his job and girlfriend in southern England and moved to Scotland to search for Nessie. Which he's been doing for the last 24 years.

"I have to be honest. I just don't think that Nessie is a prehistoric monster," he says. He thinks that many of the reports and sightings fit with the catfish's long curved back.

He's not saying, however, the mystery of the Loch Ness monster is solved. Rather, he thinks it's the best hypothesis right now. And he's going to continue to search for a better explanation.

Those of us who prefer the monster explanation have a thread on which to cling. That's because reports of the Loch Ness Monster go back long, long before the Victorians introduced large catfish to the lake. Our earliest reports of the monster go back to the 500s AD, when St. Columba supposedly banished a "water beast" in the waters.

If you want to hunt for Nessie from the comfort of your own home, you have a new tool available. Earlier this year, Google unveiled a way to search the loch via Google Street View, which allows you to search not only above water, but below water, too.

As for me, I'm standing by Nessie the monster. None of these newfangled, evidence-free hypotheses about large catfish for me.

What do you think? A catfish? Or a monster?

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness
Urquhart Castle, which lies on the shore of Loch Ness, is an excellent vantage point for spotting monsters large catfish.