First Photo of Nessie
Loch Ness in Northern Scotland is about 23 miles long and up to a mile-and-a-half wide; it is also tremendously deep in places, nearly 800 feet at the maximum and more than 400 on average. The perfect place to hide a monster.
The legend of the Loch Ness monster is far from new. St Columba in the 6th century is said to have banished such a beast after a man was bitten in half by it. But the loch was pretty inaccessible until a new road was constructed along one edge in the early 1930s, coincidentally or otherwise the time when reports of the creature began to appear with increasing frequency. In 1930 three young fishermen in a boat claimed to have seen a large creature disturbing the water and moving towards them, only to dive beneath the surface when about 300 yards away. In April 1933 a Mrs Mackay told a water bailiff she had seen something like a whale in the water. That same year in July a couple driving past the lake said they had seen a huge beast, like something prehistoric, crossing the road before them with a lamb in its jaws. And it was in 1933 that the first purported photo of Nessie, as the press dubbed the thing, was taken.
Stretching his legs after church Hugh Gray was strolling along the east shore of the loch on November 12, near the village of Foyers. Suddenly he spotted a disturbance in the water, where something of considerable size was splashing. For whatever reason he had his camera on him, and proceeded to take a picture that nessiephiles claim as the first pictorial evidence of the creature. Mr Gray said that what he captured was the rear of the thing, projecting two or three feet above the water’s surface, with what he took to be the tail moving rapidly.
Some dismiss the photo as a hoax, perhaps a dog splashing about while recovering a stick from the loch. Others say that the picture, blurred by the spray and the rapid movement of the tail, is for real. Who knows? But the legend grew with the snapped image, and it lives on, providing a nice boost to business for the local tourist trade and the hope for some of us that something truly extraordinary will one day be found in Loch Ness .
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