We Found the Loch Ness Monster (Everywhere)

Don Wildman is headed to Scotland to search for Nessie. The rest of us can catch glimpses of her in movies, on television, and in the kitchen(!).

February 13, 2019

On Mysteries at the Museum, Don Wildman will get to the bottom of the Loch Ness monster’s legend — by getting to the bottom of Loch Ness itself. Whether he or anyone else can dredge up evidence of the creature remains, of course, to be seen.

We can say one thing with confidence: since s/he splashed onto the world stage in 1934 (when the Daily Mail printed photographic “proof” on its front page), “Nessie Fever” has been alive and well. Here are some of our favorite pop-culture sightings.

Doctor Who

In a series of 1975 broadcasts, the BBC’s beloved time-traveling alien is summoned to Scotland to investigate a series of attacks on North Sea oil rigs. The culprit is the Skarasen, a massive, armored, dinosaur-like cyborg controlled by a ship full of Zygons, malevolent extraterrestrials that have been lurking at the bottom of Loch Ness for centuries. Said extraterrestrials are defeated and their ship is destroyed — but the Skarasen remains, and returns to the bottom of the loch. “Terror of the Zygons” was penned by the Scottish writer Robert Banks Stewart, who recalled that he “was later told by someone that some of the Royal children had watched it and enjoyed it, possibly Prince Edward, and had said it was their favourite story."

Busch Gardens

The world’s only interlocking, double-looping roller coaster surfaced (in Williamsburg, VA) in 1978, when the Washington Post called it “a marvel of engineering.” In the intervening four decades, the Loch Ness Monster has served more than 58 million riders and become a landmark. The beast can be found in the park’s Scotland neighborhood, which shares borders with England, Ireland and Italy. Look, cryptozoology is the point here, not geography.

Ghostbusters

An open mind is a job requirement if one is to tackle otherworldly infestations, and when Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) interviews with the Ghostbusters, their long-suffering receptionist (Annie Potts) asks if he believes “in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis[.]” “If there’s a steady paycheck in it,” he replies, “I’ll believe anything you say."

The Simpsons

In Season 10 of The Simpsons, Montgomery Burns takes a novel approach to finding the monster: he has Loch Ness drained of water. Spirited to Springfield via helicopter and revealed to the locals, Nessie proves to be a lovable, attention-loving beast — and ultimately takes a job in a casino, as one does. 1999 was a big year for animated Nessie cameos: s/he appears on South Park as well, and has a pesky habit of asking Chef’s parents for money.

The Twilight Saga

When you’re a young werewolf whose former love interest names her half-human, half-vampire baby ‘Renesmee’ (an awkward portmanteau of her maternal grandmothers’ names), you should give that baby a mythical nickname, right? Her mother disagrees.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

J.K. Rowling’s 2001 bestiary, a companion to her Harry Potter books, reveals that the Loch Ness monster is the world’s largest kelpie — that is, a shape-shifting water demon. The photographic “evidence” we non-magical Muggles have amassed in the last century is problematic, as the wizarding world would prefer to keep its existence under wraps. (Naturally, Hagrid once offered to house the creature in the lake at Hogwarts.) Accordingly, the Office of Misinformation works day and night to discount new reports of the monster. Aha!

The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon

Athletically-inclined cryptid enthusiasts, mark your calendars: on October 6th, runners will gather for a race that “start[s] in an atmospheric moorland setting and continues through stunning Highland scenery, taking [them] along the south-eastern shores of Loch Ness, across the River Ness, to finish in Inverness, capital city of the Highlands.” Will they see Nessie? Per the FAQ, “Maybe aye, maybe nae."

OTOTO Design’s Nessie Collection

If 26.2 miles of monster-spotting don’t appeal, one can always conjure a bit of mythic atmosphere at mealtime: “a legendary time in the kitchen is guaranteed” with OTOTO Design’s neon-bright Mama Nessie Colander Spoon, Papa Nessie Pasta Spoon, Miss Nessie Egg Cup and Baby Nessie Tea Infuser. (The design team also offers a coordinating Nessie Tale bookmark.)

Ready to join Don Wildman for the latest chapter of Nessie’s history? Tune in on Wednesday, February 13, at 9pm|8c for Travel Channel’s The Loch Ness Monster Lives: A Mysteries at the Museum Special.

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