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My Amazing Nessie Photo!

Updated on August 23, 2017

Is the Loch Ness Monster Real?

I've loved the Loch Ness Monster ever since I was a child. I had books about Nessie. My grandparents brought me back a Nessie sculpture and Nessie playing cards which lived on my desk for years. I studied all the Loch Ness Monster pictures that were available in the seventies, avidly waiting for Woods Hole or one of the other scientific groups surveying the loch to get the first photos of the Loch Ness Monster.

No such luck. I'd given up hoping that Nessie was real after the famous "Surgeon's Photo" was revealed to be a hoax, and the Loch Ness flipper photo was explained away.

Then I moved out to California, closer to the ocean than I'd ever lived before. Southern California is a far cry from the bleak beauty of Scotland! And yet...

My Picture of the Loch Ness Monster...

It's NOT at Loch Ness... Not Even in the Same Hemisphere... But What IS It?

1997. It was a cold winter's day, and there weren't many tourists or locals out. The beach was nearly empty. I had come to watch the sunset from an overlook on the limestone bluffs, where a cave in the cliff below always makes me think of the sea-cave in Susan Cooper's Over Sea, Under Stone. I was looking down towards the entrance to the marina... and snapped this picture.

I posted this photo on my second website, but that site's been gone for years. I just had to dig it out of my old Mac Clone (talk about a mythical beast!) to find it. Until now, I've only shared this picture with a few friends and relatives. So...

Is It "Nessie" or "Nonsense"?

What do you think?

More Information About the Loch Ness Monster - Nessie Lovers and Loch Ness Monster Hoax Hunters

Nessie by Heinrich Harder, 1916. From this excellent article on the Loch Ness Monster.

The Conclusion of the $5 Nessie Challenge

And a Big Cheer for Janusz

In my Guestbook, I posed the following challenge:

Yep. If you can show me one thing about my "Nessie" photo that proves, beyond an absolute shadow of a doubt, that "this is fake", I'll give you $5 via Paypal. (Which means you'll have to have a Paypal account and be willing to give me your Paypal username or email via the "Contact Me" button on my profile.)

I'm not talking reasonable doubt. I'm not talking "It looks fake." I'm talking proof that my grandma could see without her glasses proof.

If you find it, post what you found here. More importantly, tell how you found it.

Good luck, hoax hunters. ;)

Many people made keen-eyed observations. However, the things people pointed out really WERE part of the original photo! There was one exception. Janusz observed: "I thought maybe it´s a Rock, that is really there with neck & head added..."

He got me! I'm sure some other people suspected it, but he was the first to say it. However, when I caught up with him asking for his Paypal addy so I could give him his prize, here's what he said:

"Thanks, could you donate it to 'First Coast No More Homeless Pets'? The donation box is on my Angel Lens."

Isn't that sweet? I donated $10 instead. Let's support critters closer to home in honor of Nessie!

But WAIT! That Was NOT the Easter Egg!

How to Prove My Loch Ness Monster is Fake (Awww)!

In 1999, a member of my online forum kept posting photos "proving" the existence of Nessie and other paranormal phenomena. I finally retouched and posted a photo of Corona Del Mar I'd taken, in order to make a point. When someone started posting similar photos in SquidU, I was inspired to dig out my old "Nessie Photo" and teach the same lesson.

We need to be aware that anything we see on TV or on the web could be digitally enhanced or created from scratch. After all, I'm not a pro! Think what someone who knows what they're doing could accomplish. Heck, think of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings!

Just in case someone took my photo and posted it elsewhere, I slipped an Easter Egg into it for experts to find. If you put the picture in Photoshop or another graphics program that lets you change the saturation, here's what you'll see (scroll down):


I think even my grandma could tell that "this is fake". ;)

I love Nessie! Even though I don't think the Loch Ness Monster is real, I would love to be proved wrong. But I'm not going to believe in Nessie just because of pictures or videos posted on the internet that "prove" she's real. Nor, for that matter, do I trust everything I see on the news, which routinely employs photomanipulation, sometimes to the point of distortion.

The contest is over, but I'm very happy to hear from you all! And I'm saving your clever comments.

How did I get that Easter Egg in there?

That's the oddest thing about this picture. I'm guessing I did it with Selective Colors, but I can't seem to duplicate the effect!

© 2009 Ellen Brundige

Guestbook for Loch Ness Monster Hoax Hunters! - Thanks For Participating Everybody!

Submit a Comment

  • Brandi Bush profile image


    6 years ago from Maryland

    What a fun lens! I am skeptical of every thing I see now that I know how easy it is to manipulate photos. :)

  • TrentAdamsCA profile image


    6 years ago

    Such fun -- thanks! I want all my favorite mythical beasties to still be living out of sight, thriving and well, somewhere.

    Excellent point about how easy it is to manipulate images. I've been following Nessie news as long as you have -- and I get a kick out all kinds of news bits about sea monsters and improbably creatures.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I was watching a YouTube video a couple of days ago, and now I wish I had saved the link to share. Its called something like "unknown creatures", and i was amazed at what I saw. Made me wonder if aliens and sea creatures were doing the wild thing together. There was something about the Loch Ness Monster on there, and I was thinking about this lens. ~ Blessed!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I spotted the wave movement around it and assumed it was a fixed object that had been altered but didn't think of another rock! Very sneaky!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I love the stories of the nessies, and would love to believe they are real.

    That is a very nice photo, I zoomed in on that one...hmmm, I just wonder!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Was waiting for the solution, Thanks

  • Kate Phizackerl1 profile image

    Kate Phizackerl1 

    9 years ago

    Great photo

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    brilliant idea...

  • Timewarp profile image


    9 years ago from Montreal

    Verrrry clever...glad the mystery has been solved...for now!

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    OMG, Ellen! I am touched and so are all the cats out back along with the rest of the gang from First Coast No More Homeless Pets that they were the lucky recipients of this donation! And, a special thanks to our angel Janusz for his keen eye of observation for spotting the rock -- ah, leave it to a graphic designer! ;)

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    That was so fun! Thank you for posting the solution. I was in danger of losing sleep over the suspense of it. :)

  • Christene-S profile image


    9 years ago

    I'm so glad you told us because it was driving me crazy! I was in photoshop playing with everything and never found it. :P

  • mythphile profile imageAUTHOR

    Ellen Brundige 

    9 years ago from California

    [in reply to OneFootPutt] You may be onto something there :D

    Nope, no one has found the actual "my grandma could see this without her specs" Easter Egg.

    At this point I'm about ready to just give away the secret, but first I want to award a prize to the closest not-what-I-was-looking-for-but-still-a-good-answer answer! I have emailed that person. But that person needs to tell me which paypal addy to use, or I can't send the $5. *hint hint*

    In the MEANTIME, if anyone actually finds the trick -- Photoshop, Photoshop! -- let me know.

  • ILoveLegosToo profile image

    Tom Fattes 

    9 years ago from Naperville, IL

    If you zoom in real close and stare at it long enough, it turns into one of those 3-D posters. With the image of the Squidoo Eye staring back at you. Did anyone guess this correctly yet?

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    You can see the cut line in the photo where the waves have been transferred, but only around Nessie. Anything this size moving through the water would create a larger wake around it, with ripples continuing for quite a distance. Also, that close to shore you would see more of the creature and begin to see splashes.

  • kerbev profile image


    9 years ago from Upstate, NY

    When the sun sets on the water it casts a reflection in a line straight from it. How high it is in the sky dictates how far from the horizon it begins. When the sun is at the horizon, the reflection starts at the horizon. In this photo it is brighter away from the sun then close to it.

  • Janusz LM profile image

    Janusz LM 

    9 years ago

    LOL Im not to sure, I thought maybe it´s a Rock, that is really there with neck & head added... but I´m not to sure :D

  • mythphile profile imageAUTHOR

    Ellen Brundige 

    9 years ago from California

    ThomasC-- A specialist would probably agree with you, but I'm not sure what you mean by "different", and I'm sure my grandma couldn't see it. (Nor, for that matter, could I at this point; maybe this is karmic justice for my cracking jokes about bad eyesight.)

    For whomever finds this Easter Egg... it'll be screamingly obvious. ;)

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    When looking at your photo in photoshop, you can see the pixels are different around the image of Nessie!

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Interesting! And that is why this lens is being featured...

  • mythphile profile imageAUTHOR

    Ellen Brundige 

    9 years ago from California

    [in reply to flighty02] Flighty, bless ya! As far as I can recollect, that really is what the waves were doing and looked like.

    Okay. It's Easter -- Happy Easter, everyone! -- and I'm going to give a HUGE tip so someone can find the Easter Egg.

    When there's more to an image than meets the eye

    PHOTOSHOP often knows why!

  • Sniff It Out profile image

    Sniff It Out 

    9 years ago

    So much for my critical thinking :-/ ok how about..... the wave around your nessie is travelling the wrong way ie. seaward instead of landward... could your Granny see that without her specs? :-)

  • mythphile profile imageAUTHOR

    Ellen Brundige 

    9 years ago from California

    Nochipra: Ah, but I could be faking everyone out when it's real because...oh nevermind, there IS an easter egg, but I'm still waiting for someone to find it. ;)

    Ramkitten: Sharp eyes! The coast of southern California runs west-northwest to east-southeast, and if a beach is a cove (note the coastline out behind the jetty), it can actually run east-west. I'm always getting confused driving down here, because I expect the Pacific to be "west" and not "south"!!!

    dsoltesz-- it's wave action. That I'm sure of. ;) Donno about the reflection, but as far as I know, that's all as it should be. (And grandma can't see that small.)

    flighty-- all very good logic and critical thinking, which is quite important when you run into one of these "Amazing" photos, but my grandma probably wouldn't be able to read your note without her specs. :D

    Tip to everyone: Sometimes "Amazing" photos look even more "Amazing" when you examine them in Photoshop. ;)

  • Sniff It Out profile image

    Sniff It Out 

    9 years ago

    Well, your photo shows Nessie, a plesiosaur, which has been extinct for 65 million years and studies show that these long necked reptiles could not lift their heads 'swan like' out of the water, they used their long neck to feed off the sea floor (Loch Ness "monster" or "Nessie" - The Skeptic's Dictionary)... so your photo simply has to be a fake ;-)

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    There isn't a reflection/shadow cast by The Monster falling towards the camera like I'd expect to see. There are strange shadows in front and behind it, but those could just be water disturbance caused by wave action.

  • SusannaDuffy profile image

    Susanna Duffy 

    9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

    Where did you meet my grandmother? She could always tell if anything were real without her glasses

  • Ramkitten2000 profile image

    Deb Kingsbury 

    9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

    Okay, wait ... California, winter, sunset. Now, looking at the angle of this photo ... well, the sun doesn't set directly west all the time (actually, only two days of the year, I believe). There's an arc to it, and, depending on what time of year it is, the sun sets either south of west or north of west, but ... does the proof that it's fake in where the sun is setting in this photo? Or am I a complete dork? I need to take out my alternative navigation stuff (from Search & Rescue) and check that out.

  • Nochipra profile image


    9 years ago

    Great idea! The way your talking makes it sound like you know it is a fake and the fact that you know it's a fake is the proof that it is a fake? Oh well, I tried, LOL. 5* for each dollar your giving away, eventually:)

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    HA! Great traffic trick. ;) You never cease to amaze me.


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