The Scottish Highlands are breathtaking, but a group of eager monster hunters are hoping to find more than just sweeping landscapes.
This weekend, hundreds of folklore enthusiasts are set to flood to Scotland’s Loch Ness in an attempt to solve the country’s biggest mystery: the existence of the Loch Ness monster.
On Aug. 26 and 27, organizers from the Loch Ness Centre will lead volunteers on the largest search for the freshwater beast, affectionately nicknamed Nessie, in nearly 50 years.
While monster hunter volunteers search for signs of Nessie’s existence from land, drones with infrared cameras will be flown over the water, and a hydrophone will be used to detect sounds from the creature beneath the surface. Much of this technology has never been used in Loch Ness before now.
The event will also be livestreamed for international hunters unable to make it to Scotland.
The search for Nessie is reportedly the largest since the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau studied the 240-metre-deep loch in 1972. The bureau was established in the 1960s to search for giant creatures in the water.
Alan McKenna, the founder of Loch Ness Exploration who will lead volunteers this weekend, told The Guardian he and his team have always strived to find answers for difficult-to-explain phenomena.
“It’s our hope to inspire a new generation of Loch Ness enthusiasts,” he said. “By joining this large-scale surface watch, you’ll have a real opportunity to personally contribute towards this fascinating mystery that has captivated so many people from around the world.”
All of the data from this weekend’s search will be collected and shared publicly.
Renewed interest in Nessie has triggered a swell of tourism to the area, The Guardian reported. The tourism effort has helped to bolster locally owned hotels and restaurants in the region.
Due to high demand, the Loch Ness Centre is only accepting virtual monster hunters now. To join the livestreamed search for Nessie, the Loch Ness Centre has asked volunteers to fill out a form on its website, complete with one vital screening question: Do you believe in Nessie, nonsense or possibilities?
What is the Loch Ness monster?
The Loch Ness monster is believed to be a mythical beast from Scottish folklore, though some superstitious folks maintain that Nessie is no hoax.
Even in ancient times, people may have seen a large creature in Loch Ness. Stone carvings done by the Pict, an ancient group from Scotland, seemingly depict a big, aquatic creature with flippers.
Reports of the beast continued sporadically over the years until finally, in 1934, English physician Robert Kenneth Wilson captured the iconic photo allegedly depicting Nessie as her head and neck breached the water. The image, known as the “Surgeon’s Photograph,” captured international attention.
Ever since, yearning monster hunters have tried to catch a glimpse of Nessie. Some believe the monster is a water-dwelling dinosaur of a bygone time, called a plesiosaur. (There is no evidence to suggest there are any dinosaurs in Loch Ness.)
Many researchers believe the Loch Ness monster may have actually been a giant eel or squid.
Loch Ness monster may just be a giant eel, scientists say
Still, with tourism in the region booming, finding the actual Loch Ness monster may not even be Nessie-ssary to keep its legacy alive.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.