THIS DAY IN HISTORY
May 02
1933
May 02

Loch Ness "Monster" sighted for the first time, igniting the modern legend

The modern legend of the Loch Ness Monster is born when a sighting makes local news on May 2, 1933. The newspaper Inverness Courier relates an account of a local couple who claim to have seen “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface.” The story of the “monster” (a moniker chosen by the Courier editor) becomes a media phenomenon, with London newspapers sending correspondents to Scotland and a circus offering a 20,000 pound sterling reward for capture of the beast.

WATCH: America's Loch Ness Monster on HISTORY Vault

After the April 1933 sighting was reported in the newspaper on May 2, interest steadily grew, especially after another couple claimed to have seen the animal on land.

Amateur investigators have for decades kept an almost constant vigil, and in the 1960s several British universities launched sonar expeditions to the lake. Nothing conclusive was found, but in each expedition the sonar operators detected some type of large, moving underwater objects. In 1975, another expedition combined sonar and underwater photography in Loch Ness. A photo resulted that, after enhancement, appeared to show what vaguely resembled the giant flipper of an aquatic animal.

Further sonar expeditions in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in more inconclusive readings. Revelations in 1994 that the famous 1934 photo was a complete hoax has only slightly dampened the enthusiasm of tourists and investigators for the legendary beast of Loch Ness.

READ MORE: If the Loch Ness Monster Exists, It Has DNA—And There’s a Quest to Find It

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