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The elusive Loch Ness Monster appears to have disappeared altogether.
The Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register hasn’t recorded a new entry since October 11 last year, and the first sighting of 2023 has yet to be made.
Nessie fanatic Eoin O’Faodhagain, who keeps watch over Scotland's second deepest, and most mysterious loch in Scotland via webcam, hasn’t made a single sighting this year.
“I think the atmospheric conditions of late are making it unsuitable for Nessie spotting,” he said.
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Then again, Nessie fans shouldn’t be too downhearted. Eoin made the first Nessie sighting of 2022 at the end of March, so perhaps the mysterious – some say mythical – animal has just migrated to warmer waters for the winter.
Certainly, something resembling the most common descriptions of the creature was sighted off the coast of North Carolina earlier this month, and there have been repeated sightings in central Africa, leading many to think he may the beast "may be on holiday".
But overall, the frequency of sightings appears to be on the decline.
Gary Campbell, who logs all the official sightings of the Loch Ness Monster said 2017 was this century's record year, with eight separate encounters with the mysterious beastie.
"This is the most we have had this century,” Gary said in November that year, adding "In recent years the most sightings in a year we have had is 17 – and that was in 1996.
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"Before that the 1960s and 1930s were the times that had most sightings – sometimes more than 20 in a year."
Gary, who has recorded more than 1136 alleged sightings of Nessie over the past 26 years, recently suggested that the start of the year and the end of winter is usually a quiet time for the fabled monster.
The very first sighting dates back to AD565, when Irish missionary St. Columba reputedly saved a man from the clutches of a giant beast in the loch.
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After that, occasional sightings were claimed over the years but the Nessie phenomenon truly exploded in 1933, when George Spicer and his wife saw "a most extraordinary form of animal" cross the road in front of their car as they were driving back to London from a holiday in the Highlands.
A few months later the first ever photograph of the beast was taken and then the following year the world-famous “Surgeon’s Photograph” turned Nessie into a global phenomenon – and a handy cash cow for the local tourist board.
Since 1934, numerous scientific expeditions to the loch have been launched, in hope of obtaining conclusive proof of its existence but none has ever been found.
- Loch Ness Monster
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