“Hundreds of monster hunters equipped with drones and infrared cameras have gathered in the Scottish Highlands with a singular goal,” reports the Washington Post: “to be the ones to finally find the Loch Ness monster.”
But it won’t be easy. On Saturday, the rain was lashing and the skies were gray, hampering visibility in the search for the folkloric creature, affectionately known as Nessie. The mythical monster, which legend says lives in a freshwater lake in Scotland, has eluded capture, or any definitive proof of existence, since its first recorded sighting in the 6th century.
But trying to find Nessie is an age-old tradition, and the volunteer hunters who showed up Saturday are dedicated — and better equipped than those who came before. The search for the monster, organized over two days by the local Loch Ness Center in Inverness, is the biggest in a half-century, and certainly the most high-tech. Some people drove hours to be here, while others flew in from overseas… The Loch Ness Center launched the event — which it called “The Quest” — in partnership with Loch Ness Exploration, a research group that studies the lake and other unexplained phenomena. It put out a call for volunteer hunters “fascinated by the legendary tales of Nessie” and with “a passion for unraveling mysteries and exploring the extraordinary.”
The center was later forced to close online registrations for volunteers “due to an overwhelming surge in demand,” according to the website…
Some hunters with drones are equipping them with infrared cameras to seek out heat spots in the lake — as well as sending them underwater. They’ve also come armed with a hydrophone to pick up acoustic signals 60 feet below the loch’s surface — although nobody really knows what the monster would sound like. Other participants can join several surface-watch locations staged by organizers or cruise the 23-mile-long lake by boat. They have been asked to document everything they see — from surface movements to weather changes — and are getting lessons on how to capture potential sightings on their phones.
The BBC notes that “Almost 300 have signed up to monitor a live stream from the search, which is taking place on Saturday and Sunday.”
NPR has some audio excerpts of past witnesses who said the’ve seen the monster — and some of the current crop of monster hunters. (While Wikipedia has its own detailed debunking of the famous Loch News monster “Surgeon’s Photo”.) But the Washington Post sums up the whole story with this two-word quote from a woman who’d traveled from France for a Loch Ness vacation.