Loch Ness Monster Experts Are Dubious About New Alleged Sighting

Put on your cryptid hunter hat, because a new photo that allegedly shows the Loch Ness Monster is making rounds on the internet, but the original photographer and the experts are skeptical.

The photo was taken by Southampton man Steve Challice, while he was vacationing in Scotland in 2019. He said that the snap, which shows a seemingly large, fish-like creature, is the only example of the monster captured in the photo set. According to The Daily Record, his guess was that the creature was 30 feet away and over eight feet long.

Challice told Newsweek that upon discovering the photo he was surprised to see the image appearing much bigger than he remembered. "I thought, 'Wow that's a lot bigger than I remember it being.' It's much bigger than I remember it being but it was only there momentarily and I was using a wide angle lens which makes it smaller," Challice said in a message.

Despite capturing what appears to be a cryptid on film, Challice said that he doesn't believe in the Loch Ness Monster and guessed that he photographed a fish. "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," he told The Daily Record. "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 that's what it is and that would explain why these sightings are so few and far between."

Challice said that even though he's long been a skeptic, he felt like his photos may provide some insight into a logical explanation for Nessie sightings. "I have always thought that it was impractical for a family of monsters to live in the lake or they would have been seen much more frequently as there would have to be a lot more than one of them to be around for such a long time but it did occur to me that there may be a logical explanation and maybe, just maybe this could be it," he wrote to Newsweek.

Despite thinking he only caught a big fish in the pictures, Challice said that his photos are authentic, as other pictures showing alleged Loch Ness Monster sightings usually show a staged, snake-like creature.

Shortly after the photo started making rounds on the internet, Loch Ness Monster expert Roland Watson began investigating the photo. In a blog post, he wrote that he had doubts after learning that Challice did some work with CGI. Watson also analyzed the photos' data to determine whether they were real or fake, but said other questions needed to be answered before proceeding. "I could have performed further analysis, but at this stage, there are discrepancies which need to be answered first and which currently render this photograph unusable as evidence for a large creature in Loch Ness," he wrote in his post.

Challice said that even though Watson has been vocal to try to disprove his photos' credibility, he doesn't really take him seriously. "As for Roland I am finding it hard to take him seriously any more. My theory that it's a [catfish] that comes in from the sea occasionally will pretty much destroy the credibility of his several books on the [Loch Ness Monster] so I guess he has a vested interest in saying my photo is a fake. He's been trying to [claim] its a fake because it was taken on a sigma camera and the file isn't in the native sigma file format to which I have replied that sigma also gives you the option to save as a jpg file," he said. "I don't want to decry Roland but I suspect a level of sour grapes is involved."

When contacted for comment, Watson emailed Newsweek a link to his latest blog post that determines that the photos don't show the Loch Ness Monster. "Okay, so the previous article and the analysis of the photograph's EXIF data led me to conclude this was not a photograph of the Loch Ness Monster," he wrote, also sharing a photo of a large catfish indicating that it was probably just that. "As you can see, the spots on the catfish all line up nicely with the spots on our Nessie."

Loch Ness Monster
A view of the Loch Ness Monster, near Inverness, Scotland, April 19, 1934. The photograph, one of two pictures known as the 'surgeon's photographs,' was allegedly taken by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson, though it was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged by himself, Marmaduke and Ian Wetherell, and Wilson Keystone/Getty

The new photo has taken the internet by storm, with many people wondering if Nessie has finally been captured on film, but others are just reveling in the oddity, citing it as just another eccentricity of 2020.