There was at time, less than 100 years ago, when a sighting of the Loch Ness monster was world news that captured the interest of both the public and the scientific community. There was a time, less than ten years ago, when looking for the Loch Ness monster required a trip to Loch Ness in Inverness, Scotland, to peer across the water for a head, a body or a wake in person. Both of those times are gone. While the number of sightings has gone up in recent years, the public yearns for better photos and videos, while the scientific community has been unsuccessful in finding unique DNA or any remains or fossils whatsoever. And, with the installation of a webcam pointed at the loch and streamed on the Internet, a sizeable portion of the sightings have been made by people – particularly one man – sitting in their home anywhere in the world. An organization has recently added more online webcams and the top online spotter recently used them to report two sightings which have caused a flurry of controversies in the Loch Ness monster world. Remember when looking for Nessie was a fun vacation distraction? Let’s see if we can figure out what happened.
"I captured two very interesting video clips on two of the new webcams recently.”
The witness is the famous Eoin O’Faodhagain, also known as Eoin O’Fagan for the Irish name spelling challenged, who manages to hold down a full-time job while watching the original Loch Ness webam and now the four new ones to become the top official Nessie spotter of all time. Eoin’s first sighting accepted by the Official Loch Ness Monster Sighting Register occurred in April of 2018 while he sat at home in Drumdoit Castlefin, County Donegal, watching the live 24/7 feed from a video camera pointed at Urquhart Bay. He recorded a video of the video feed showing what he described as “something big--it dived down and up again and dived and disappeared. It was not a boat and not a log" to Gary Campbell, the Keeper of the Official Register of Sightings, who was excited at the time because it was such a long sighting. Since then, O’Faodhagain has been the top Nessie spotter every year and his frequency, along with the objections by purists who think the witness must be physically on the shore or the waters of Loch Ness, has forced Campbell to set up a special category on the registry for webcam sightings.
“The first at the Clansman webcam Loch Ness at 20.13 pm on September 6, is of a water disturbance, and a long dark shape which was recorded for four minutes and was the only darkened water visible in the recording of the loch in that time."
That seemed to pacify the masses until recently, when five new online cameras were installed at more locations on Loch Ness by Visit Inverness Loch Ness – a tourism organization. Not surprisingly, the new 24/7 cameras are located at hotels, B&Bs and inns -- Craigdarroch Hotel, Foyers; Drovers Lodge near Drumnadrochit; Shoreland Lodges Fort Augustus; Loch Ness Clansman Hotel; and Airanloch B&B, Lochend. Of course, the “official” reason for the video cameras is to entice tourists by showing the beautiful scenery around the loch as the seasons change, and to promote the places providing accommodations. Nothing wrong with that – Nessie is the overwhelming driving force for businesses in Inverness. However, the double spotting by O’Faodhagain while using the cameras has uncovered a serious problem.
"An object visibly appears on the left near the shore and moves steadily to the right of the screen and out of webcam coverage. This object is black and long in the region of 6 to 8 feet long, like an eel, or rather a very large or giant one. Its dark black colour breaks the surface occasionally as it moves to the right."
O’Faodhagain saw what he claimed to be Nessie on the webcam at the Clansman Hotel on September 13, and then on the webcam at the Shoreland Lodges on September 15. (Photos of each here, plus one video.) It was when he sent the two videos to The Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register that the controversy with the new webcams arose.
"The Register says that you have to report any sightings from the new webcams to the owners first, and if they like them, they will contact Gary [the official records keeper].”
No problem, thought Eoin. However, when he sent the videos to Visit Inverness Loch Ness, he was told that “… any potential sightings will have to go directly to Gary Campbell to be considered, as they have 'only opened windows to the wonderful Loch' for people to see from afar." Apparently, the VILN People are taking the high road and distancing themselves from their moneymaker – the Loch Ness monster – and the responsibility of collecting the video sightings that they must know are the only reason why millions of people around the world are watching their webcam feeds. O’Faodhagain believes Gary Campbell and Visit Inverness Loch Ness will resolve the problem and set up an official procedure for submitting videos from the new cameras.
While Eoin is waiting for his new videos to be accepting and added to his tally, he should start worrying about the second can of giant worms he’s opened. In his description of what he recorded in the second “Shoreland Lodges” video, he described the “object” as “black and long in the region of 6 to 8 feet long, like an eel, or rather a very large or giant one.” O’Faodhagain told the Scottish Daily Record that he now believes the theory of Professor Neil Gemmell – the geneticist who recently completed a year-long DNA study of samples from Loch Ness, reported that he found no unusual DNA and concluded that the monster is probably a giant eel. That means he doesn’t think it’s a small, freshwater plesiosaur those the ones whose fossils were identified recently in a desert io Morocco. Whatever Nessie is, it is impossible to tell from the “Shoreland Lodges” video he submitted, which is actually a cell phone recording of the video screen he was watching. That doesn’t seem like it should be accepted as “official” evidence … does it?
Things were certainly a lot easier back when Nessie witnesses stood on the shore with their Instamatic film cameras and convinced themselves that their grainy photos were of a legendary monster, not a log.