The mystery of the Loch Ness Monster is one that dates back thousands of years, passed down from generation to generation with any number of strange sightings, eye-witness accounts and even photographic proof produced over the years.
But does the Loch Ness Monster actually exist or is it all part of some elaborate hoax or attempt to pull the wool over our eyes? That’s the question loaded put to world-renowned expert Malcolm Robinson.
Author of the book The Monsters of Loch Ness (The History of Mystery) loaded spent an hour with the man many regard as the authority on all things Loch Ness.
By the end, we didn’t know who or what to believe anymore.
loaded: When did you first come into contact with the story of the Loch Ness monster?
Robinson: As a small boy growing up in Scotland, my father often told me about this creature that inhabited Loch Ness. Those stories fuelled my interest and passion so, when I was older, I decided to go up to Loch Ness and find out for myself.
I spoke to a lot of the local people and almost all of them had a tale to tell about this creature which this long neck and small head which projected out of the water for seconds at a time before diving back into the depths.
I soon realised there was something going on then and decided I had to find out whether or not they were just making these stories up for publicity or all very genuine. As the years have rolled by, I have started to believe it too.
But they all seemed very genuine and I believed them and as the years rolled by I began to believe it too.
loaded: Am I right in thinking you’ve actually explored the Loch in a submarine? What did you see?
Robinson: I was fortunate enough to go down into Loch Ness in a submarine back in 1994 to a depth of just under 800-feet which was fantastic.
At one point, we reached the floor of Loch Ness and the submarine was at an angle whereby you could clearly see the sandy silts of the loch beds loch floor. But then, suddenly the floor of the loch fell away into complete darkness.
I asked the skipper ‘Can we go down there?’ and he said unfortunately we had to stick to our allotted course. But it still made me wonder.
loaded: So are there certain areas of Loch Ness that remain unexplored?
Robinson: No, I think Loch Ness has been pretty well explored over the years, using things like sonar. From my research it’s pretty easy to conclude there are no underground caverns or subterranean tunnels going to different Lochs – that’s a load of nonsense.
But back in 1987, Project Urqhart discovered some interesting anomalies. They had deployed a flotilla of small ships to traverse up and down the lock in a line.
“For any creature to survive there must be some sort of colony”
They had the most sophisticated sonar equipment available at the time and conducted several sweeps of the Loch. During this sweep, they came across unusual sonar returns. These guys were experts in reading sonar returns and confirmed that what they discovered simply could not be as shoal of fish or debris from the floor.
To this day, these strange sonar blips have not been identified. One of the boats even turned back to look at one of the objects, which was coming up at about the size of a thumbnail on the sonar – which could represent an object anywhere up to 30 feet in length.
But as they got closer, they found the reading just faded, and faded, and faded until finally it was gone.
loaded: Have you spoken to any eyewitnesses who have convinced you the Loch Ness monster exists?
Robinson: There are thousands of people who claim to have seen Nessy over the years and for me personally I would say the vast majority have been mistaken.
You get many holidaymakers coming from all over the world to Loch Ness. It might be the only time they visit so they are already in high anticipation of seeing something. Who is to say they don’t.
What they usually mistake Nessy for is something called a standing wave. You get tourist vessels that traverse the lock. One goes south, one goes north and the waves they create meet in the middle of the lock and creates what looks like several humps. But it’s two waves meeting together in the lock.
But there have been some.
I once interview Reverend Gregory Brusey, a Benedictine monk at a big monastery in Fort Augustus at the southern end of the loch. He’s a man of the cloth and what he told me was that back in 1971, the organist from Westminster cathedral came up to see him. They went down to the Loch at around 9:30 in the morning.
At that point the Loch was like a sheet of glass – not a ripple. Suddenly, as if it were scripted, this long grey neck came out from the depths of the Loch. It had a small head, like a sheep’s head, and it was thrashing about for a few seconds before it cascaded back into the loch.
Now, he could be lying – plenty of people do – but you would expect a man of the cloth to tell the truth.
I also interviewed the former water bailiff of Loch Ness, Alex Campbell. He informed the world about Loch Ness in the Inverness Courier back in the 1930s and told me about was he saw. Yet again, the same attributes came up; the long neck, the small head.
loaded: What type of animal do you think the Loch Ness monster is?
Robinson: We are discovering new species of insects and new species of frog on a daily basis. That might sound bizarre but it’s the truth. Same goes with fish in the sea.
For example, they found a fish called a Coelacanth off the coast of Madagascar in 1938. These species are always being discovered.
Some have suggested it’s some sort of large fish, like a Sturgeon. But while these types of fish can grow up to 15 feet long, it doesn’t have that kind of telescopic neck that has been seen to protrude out of the lock, so it can’t be that.
Seals have been seen in Loch Ness, which deceive some tourists.
I personally believe we are dealing with a strange creature unknown to science at this time because we have to remember that the ancient sea mariners that traversed the oceans of the world claimed to have seen sea serpents which were drawn into maps.
Where are those sea serpents now? It deserves recognition.
loaded: Could anyone ever capture the Loch Ness Monster? Is that something you would be keen to do?
Robinson: It’s funny you should ask but back in 1993, I got a call from the Scottish Sun. They were doing a story on the Ted Danson Loch Ness movie at the time and asked me, hypothetically, how I would go about capturing Nessy. So I devised a trap of sorts.
It was like a boxing ring complete with ropes on the end of a massive, tower-like structure. Now, on these ropes were these balls, containing radio biopsy darts so that any large creature swimming towards these ropes, there would be an instantaneous release of these darts which would be projected into a creature, neutralising it in the process.
The release would also trigger an alarm for those boats on the surface.
Well, they did a big story about it and then a few days later I got a phone call telling me Steven Spielberg was interested in putting up hundreds of thousands of dollars to help build this device.
Alas, he moved on to other things so it never came to fruition but to this day I still believe it’s a viable proposition, given the funding.
loaded: Could the Loch Ness monster be dead?
Robinson: For any creature to survive there must be some sort of colony. My estimation is that there are upwards of six or seven large creatures in Loch Ness and they are repopulating. If you think these sightings have been going on since the 1930s, it’s really the only logical answer.
The Monsters of Loch Ness (The History and the Mystery) is available to purchase on Amazon today. You can keep up with what Malcolm is up to via Facebook.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.