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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Nessie The common name given to the mythical Loch Ness monster. It is said that about A.D. 565, the Irish priest who became Saint Columba went to Scotland to convert the Picts to Christianity. When the monster threatened a follower of Saint Columba, the good man made the sign of the cross and thwarted the beast.
      Nessie has been reported regularly over the years since, though some sightings have been shown to be hoaxes or honest mistakes. The likelihood of a creature anywhere near the size of the one described existing in the lake is very small——small, but not to the point where it must be entirely discounted.
      Several other factors speak against the reality of the monster, however. There certainly must be more than one of them, and never more than one is reported seen. No physical remains or other traces exist. Sophisticated sonar equipment has been used to track Nessie, and no good supportive data have resulted, even though five separate serious investigations have been conducted. More importantly, lakes in Canada and the United States are now producing equally ephemeral beasts of a similar nature.
      It has been postulated that since groups of seals are sometimes seen in the lake traveling in single file, such a group could be falsely reported as a single beast and identified as Nessie.
      Persons who doubt the reality of Nessie are unpopular visitors at Loch Ness.
      See also Abominable Snowman.

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