It's a classic story of gentrification.
The tourists move in and start taking pictures. The lakeside rents skyrocket. The businesses get pushed out. What's a Loch Ness Monster to do but pack up and leave?
In what may turn out to be a huge hoax, a man traveling in Windermere, England captured what appears to be Nessie herself rising from the waters some 300 miles from her mythical Scottish home in Loch Ness. Unlike the typical, grainy picture of the Loch Ness sightings, the animal in this photo is remarkably (unbelievably?) clear.
Here's the original photo,taken by the anonymous traveler:
And here's a magnified version of the alleged lake monster:
We can hear you guffawing all the way from our office in New York City, readers. So what if the photo happens to be blurry on the same plane of focus as the stunningly sharp creature. So what if it happened to be released immediately after Scottish banks promised an exodus if the country votes "Yes" on its independence. And so what if even the Daily Mail happened to raise its eyebrow at the authenticity of the photo.
It must be real because the agency that sold us the photo thinks it might be!
"At first, we thought it was a swan or goose," James Ebdon of Autographer said. "Initially we were excited, then skeptical, and then we started laughing. Who knows what it is -- maybe some kids messing about -- whatever it is we will leave it to the experts."
In the agency's version of the story, the unnamed photographer set up his tripod to take photos automatically throughout the day. When he returned from lunch to download the images, he found the "creature" above.
UPDATE: Some readers have pointed out that this creature could actually be "Bownessie," Lake Windermere's own mythological lake monster named after a nearby town. BBC aired a documentary about Bownessie, and while it does seem illogical that the Loch Ness Monster would travel from Scotland to England -- or that it exists at all -- we'd like to point out the difference in the spinal structure between Bownessie and this new photo. It looks a lot more like the Loch Ness Monster. Also, it's probably photoshopped.
What do you think?
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Windermere is in Scotland. It's not. It's in England.