A view of the Loch Ness Monster, near Inverness, Scotland, April 19, 1934. The photograph, one of two pictures known as the 'surgeon's photographs,' was allegedly taken by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson, though it was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged by himself, Marmaduke and Ian Wetherell, and Wilson. References to a monster in Loch Ness date back to St. Columba's biography in 565 AD. More than 1,000 people claim to have seen 'Nessie' and the area is, consequently, a popular tourist attraction. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

The Loch Ness Monster Has Entered the 2020 Chat

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At this point in 2020, after the plague and murder hornets and aliens, should we really be surprised that the Loch Ness Monster has decided to show her face? Or at least her hump? Nope. This feels completely appropriate for this ridiculous year. But it’s also quite fascinating!

“Loch Ness Monster” started trending this morning thanks to a new picture taken by tourist Steve Challice of South Hampton, who was visiting the famous Loch with a tour. Challice claims he first saw a ripple in the water and then, well, the Loch Ness Monster. The photo is pretty convincing, as seen in the tweet below.

“I started taking a couple of shots and then this big fish came to the surface and then went back down again,” Challice told the Daily Record, adding: “It only appeared in one shot and to be honest that was something of a fluke.”

Challice claims he didn’t think much of what he’d seen, assuming it was a fish or a seal, and didn’t have the chance to go through his photos from Loch Ness until he was on lockdown. Challice posted the picture to a Facebook group and the internet and Nessie enthusiasts went wild.

The Loch Ness monster has been spotted in the loch (which is Scottish Gaelic for lake, in case you were wondering) since ancient times, with sightings and legends of a large animal or dragon with fins living in the body of water going all the way back to the Picts. One story involves a Saint in 565 CE driving away the monster.

For centuries the Loch Ness creature was a thing of myth until the 1930s, when a road made it easier to see the Loch (which is the second largest in Scotland) and people started owning cameras. The most iconic photo of Nessie (above) was taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a doctor, and is thus called “the surgeon’s photo.” The famous shot of Nessie, along with many others, have been refuted as hoaxes, but the myth and the tourist industry supported by it at the Loch persist.

So what does this newest photo mean? Well, who knows. Roland Watson, a Loch Ness monster expert, told the Daily Record: “If this is a genuine picture of a creature in Loch Ness, it would easily rank in the top three of all time. At this point, I am in an ongoing conversation with Steve as to the objections and concerns I have about this being a photoshop picture. So we will see where that takes us.”

Hoax or not, the Loch Ness Monster joining the 2020 party just feels … right. And it’s Twitter gold.

We all look forward to later this week when Bigfoot will emerge from the woods to endorse Joe Biden.

(image: Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.