14 April 1933: the first publicized sighting of the Loch Ness Monster starts a scientific mystery, a local industry, and a legend.
I was sure about Nessie for a long time. The Dinsdale film, the sonar traces, the Rines photographs - how could you doubt it?
Theses days, I more than doubt it. But I'm not happy about consigning Nessie to the mists of time. I wanted the monsters to be there. I still do. But there's not nearly enough food for a colony of large predators to eat. There's no tunnel to the sea. There's no logical construct by which a group of creatures, cut off as the ocean receded and Ness' connection to the sea dried up, bred successfully for thousands of years and were hardly ever seen until the modern era and evaded every tool of science applied in the quest for definitive proof.
I agree there are oddities. The Dinsdale film doesn't look to me like a boat, and all the enlargements and enhancements have failed to resolve its identity. Some of the sonar traces are still anomalous. But that's about it. Beyond that, all we've done is pile more accounts on top of each other. Some of these accounts are unquestionably sincere, A graduate student I knew whose opinion I took very seriously saw a roundish head pop up behind her tour boat. (She thought it looked orange-ish, which I assume was some trick of the light... orange monsters are too much to expect even from the ever-inventive Mother Nature.)
Now, a thousand sighting reports didn't all spring from nothing. Dr. Charles Paxton of the University of St. Andrews is doing a new statistical analysis now, looking for patterns. But he doesn't expect a real creature to pop out of them.
I no longer believe in the monster. But the legend, and the continuing hint of mystery, and enough for now.