New Loch Ness Monster Photograph?

Last week, I wrote about the giant squid that washed ashore in South Africa, and how interesting it was that I was concurrently reading Nick Redfern’s new book, Monsters of the Deep. Well, today my feed is abuzz about this new photo allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, which is obviously also covered in Nick’s book. I’ve always been a bit dubious about the existence of Nessie. I believe something is occurring in Loch Ness, I just don’t know if it’s a monster. Years of photos that either fall into the “too good to be true – and they are” or “here’s a blurry photo of something taken from 6 miles away” categories have done nothing to really help the case for her existence either. But I guess we were due for another photo that will divide the internet. Read and see for yourself, and my thoughts will follow…

Loch Ness Monster by Steve ChalliceA tourist has captured an incredible series of photographs that have sparked online claims that he has snapped a picture of the Loch Ness Monster.

Steve Challice, from Southampton, was on holiday in Scotland in September with his brother last year, when they decided to visit Urquhart Castle on the banks of the famous loch.

Spotting the chance to get away from the majority of the other tourists who had just arrived in a couple of coaches, Steve explained that he initially photographing the opposite shore when he saw a “sort of ripple in the water”.

Adding that at first he spotted what he assumed at the time was some sort of fish, he said: “I started taking a couple of shots and then this big fish came to the surface and then went back down again.

“It only appeared in one shot and to be honest that was something of a fluke. I watched for a while as you can see from the last picture but didn’t see it again.”

After sharing the image of what appears to be a large creature emerging from the water online and people commenting that it might be the monster, Steven himself stated that he believes it to be something more mundane like a big fish or a seal, he said: “Personally I know there has been some interest and some people are saying it’s the monster but I don’t believe that.”

Steve added he initially thought it was a catfish and only posted it so people could try and identify it for him, he said: “I have to say I don’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster and frankly I think if anything is there then there is a logical explanation for most of the sightings.

“My guess would be that what I captured was a catfish or something like that. As seals get in from the sea then I expect thats what it is and that would explain why these sightings are so few and far between.”

Author Roland Watson, who runs the Loch Ness Mystery blog, has been in discussion with Steve since finding the pictures on Facebook.

The writer and Loch Ness monster expert is dubious about the authenticity of the photos, he said: “Up until now this year we only had distant webcam blobs due to the lockdown at Loch Ness, then this image turned up.

“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.”

A digital photography expert has also cast doubts on the picture, stating that it is likely photoshop may have been used due to the colour saturation and indistinct lining of the supposed animal in the main picture.

Steve has defended the images though stating that they are genuine.

He said: “There are pics on Google showing large monsters with lots of loops like a snake or something and my image is nothing like that.

“I genuinely think, to this day, it’s just a big fish.”

Now, this photo is problematic on many levels. The first is the “too good to be true” caveat. It’s nice and clear. It seems to be very close. On a superficial level, this looks to be an amazing, once in a lifetime photo. But let’s dive a little deeper (no pun intended). First of all, there’s nothing really to use for scale in this photo. This could be 4 feet long, or 20 feet long. Who can tell? Okay, maybe we can extrapolate an approximation of size from the waves in the water, or the tree. Maybe. The next thing that bothers me is the color. The purple immediately draws the eye – almost as if that was intentional. Odd, but okay, maybe a surviving prehistoric monster would have some bizarre coloring. Fine. Let’s continue analyzing. The wake the creature is creating, or rather, not creating, just looks wrong. There is some disturbance in the water, but also, in some places where it looks like there should be water disturbance, there is none. So is this creature moving and creating a wake? Or simply bobbing up to the surface gently? It can’t be both simultaneously. Lastly, I’m a little suspect of Mr. Challice himself. He says doesn’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster, but admittedly posted this on Facebook (other articles state the Facebook page was a phenomenon page, ostensibly about Nessie) and says he just wanted to know what kind of fish this was. And why is he posting now, rather than in September, when he initially saw the creature and photographed it? Perhaps most eyebrow-raising is the fact that Mr. Challice works (i.e., earns his living) as a 3D graphical artist. Roland Watson does an amazing, in-depth analysis of the photos Mr. Challice submitted, and to put it bluntly, there’s some glaring inconsistencies in Challice’s Nessie photo. Read for yourself if you want to see a thorough accounting of the problematic issues he found.

I’m not saying the photo is fake. I’m not saying Mr. Challice PhotoShopped this. Individually, none of the talking points I mentioned are completely damning, but when taken all together, the details surrounding this photo just don’t make much sense. And as Judge Judy likes to say, if it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true.

What do you think this is? Catfish? Clever PhotoShop hoax? Or the real Loch Ness Monster?

Loch Ness Monster by Steve Challice
Larger Version
Nessie by Steve Challice
Wider angle, showing a long wake

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