Hunter robot finds remains of Loch Ness Monster… prop

13 Apr 2016

A Norwegian robot trawling the depths of Loch Ness has found the remains of a prop of the famous monster, used in a 1969 movie.

Kongsberg Maritime has sent a robot over to Loch Ness in Scotland to look for the illusive Loch Ness Monster, carrying on a fine tradition of fruitless searches.

What marks this search out as different, though, is the team have actually found something: a nine-metre prop of the monster made for a 1969 film.

The figure was created for the Billy Wilder-directed The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes:

The Loch Ness Project, which looks into everything that makes up the loch – including the potential for monsters – is supporting the robotic survey, with the organiser Adrian Shine telling the BBC: “We have found a monster, but not the one many people might have expected.”

Sonar imaging a sank prop

The prop sank as it was being brought out onto the lake back in 1969 because Wilder wanted the iconic humpy back straightened out.

This affected the buoyancy, according to Shine. “And the inevitable happened. The model sank.”

The project MUNIN – Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks – is a collaborative research project, co-funded by the European Commission. In this case, MUNIN is using sonar imaging equipment to map the bottom of the loch.

“Because MUNIN can dive and navigate itself safely at great depth, it can approach features of interest and image them at extremely high resolution,” said Shine.

“We already have superb images of the hitherto difficult side-wall topography and look forward to discovering artefacts symbolic of the human history of the area.”

A global pursuit

Kongsberg Maritime is not the only company that has gone on the hunt for ‘Nessie’ in recent years, though. Google’s Street View team mapped the loch last year, but it didn’t reveal much.

It’s mainly water, some greenery and the side of Google’s boat.

“In 1934, the ‘surgeon’s photograph’ was released, claiming to show the monster in the misty waters of the lake,” said Google.

“It’s the most iconic photo in the history of Loch Ness – and may be one of the most elaborate hoaxes of our age. To celebrate the anniversary of its release, we’re bringing 360-degree Street View imagery of Loch Ness to Google Maps, so you can go in search of Nessie yourself.”

Loch Ness image via PhotoJeff/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic