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Is the Loch Ness Monster Dead?

A veteran custodian of Loch Ness monster sightings is concerned that Nessie has not been seen in well over a year, and may be gone, according to a news report. This is the first time in nearly 90 years that such a lengthy lag in sightings has occurred.

Gary Campbell, who lives in Inverness in the United Kingdom, has been keeping records of Loch Ness monster sightings for the past 17 years and has put together a list of sightings that goes back some 1,500 years, according to the BBC News.

"It's very upsetting news and we don't know where she's gone," BBC News quoted Campbell as saying. "The number of sightings has been reducing since the turn of the century but this is the first time in almost 90 years that Nessie wasn't seen at all." (Apparently three reports of possible Nessie sightings in 2013 were discredited after closer scrutiny, The Inverness Courier reported.)

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This is not the first time Nessie has been a no show; in fact, there are no reports of the beast until less than a century ago. The Loch Ness monster first achieved notoriety in 1933 after a story was published in a local newspaper describing not a monstrous head or hump but instead a splashing in the water that appeared to be caused "by two ducks fighting." A famous photograph showing a mysterious head and neck brought Nessie international fame, but was revealed to be hoax decades later. [Rumor or Reality: The 10 Creatures of Cryptozoology]

Some claim that the Loch Ness monster was first reported in A.D. 565, when St. Columba turned away a giant beast threatening a man in the Ness River, which flows into the lake. However it is only one of many Catholic Church legends about righteous saints vanquishing Satan in the form of serpents and dragons.

Skeptics would suggest there is likely no monster in the lake at all. But this news about the lack of sightings poses a big problem for those who believe in the creature's existence. The fact that no Nessie report has been registered in 18 months means that, even if it existed, it is likely no longer there.

— Benjamin Radford, LiveScience.com

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of "Skeptical Inquirer" science magazine and author of six books including "Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures." His Web site is www.BenjaminRadford.com.

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