Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster (nicknamed "Nessie") is a shy vermiform beast supposedly roaming the murky depths of Scotland's Loch Ness, making the odd teasing surface appearance only to shaky-handed photographers with poorly-focussed cameras, the elderly, and others of poor judgement or limited vision.
Eyewitness accounts and popular culture tend to cast the dreadful beastie as a plesiosaur, making it more attractive to a juvenile audience (leaving aside the fact that plesiosaurs were physically incapable of holding their neck in the manner depicted). The reality of it is far more horrible than most folk are able to stomach; if you wish to see the creature's actual disgusting appearance, hover over here, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Nessie is worth a large fortune to the Scottish tourism industry, and to the economies of Inverness and the Highlands in particular. It should therefore be treated as a fact, not a scam, and all scepticism should be put aside for the greater good of the puir wee bairns. At least believing in it doesn't incur dire consequences, unlike many other things.
History and sightings
As legend goes, Nessie was born around 1.8 million B.C. in Falkirk, Scotland. There, he took a visit to Loch Ness in the Highlands; it was at this time that the first ice age was beginning and the loch was frozen, trapping the beastie inside. Many years later, c. 12,000 BC, Nessie was unfrozen and decided to make the loch his new home.
In 565 AD, Nessie came across a Pict swimming in the lake. Bitter that he hadn't tasted human (or in Bigfoot's case, semi-human) flesh in thousands of years, Nessie ate the poor fellow. Later, a monk named St. Columbo and his sidekick Legume Moccumin came looking for the Pict's body. Nessie attacked Legume, but Columbo held up a cross and commanded the beast to go away, and so he did. The Picts praised God for this miracle and crowned St. Columbo their king.
The most famous photograph of the Loch Ness Monster is the "Surgeon's Photo", taken by Colonel Robert Wilson, a surgeon (actually a gynaecologist, but that might get unexpected search results) in the British Army in 1934. Although convincing in the cropped version, a full-sized version of the photograph eventually emerged showing that the "head" of the monster was actually remarkably small. It was later revealed to be a complete hoax.
Nessie resides in Loch Ness to this day, taking on a more shy and playful attitude in recent sightings — a step up from the bone-crushing monster he used to be.
Attempts at capture
Local Nessie expert Willie Cameroon is such a fearsome red-bearded Scot, that during his frequent TV appearances viewers are convinced that a surviving dinosaur from the Jurassic era actually exists. Offers by Cameroon to catch a special sighting of his monster are best avoided, as nobody who has accepted this offer have been seen again. To this day, Cameroon still needs his £3.50 million.
Jealous of Loch Ness, other Scottish lakes have claimed their own beasties. Lochs Morar, Maree, Arkaig, Awe, Duich, Linnhe, Lochy, Lomond, Oich, Quoich, Shiel, and Suainaval, in addition to being the sounds a Scotsman makes falling down a flight of stairs, have monsters of their own.