Photo Credit: livescience.com
A man who has spent nearly 25 years searching for the elusive Loch Ness monster has concluded that the creature is, in fact, a very large catfish. Steve Feltham told Sky News that he was not claiming to have solved the mystery that has baffled scientists and amateur enthusiasts for more than 70 years, but “looking at all the evidence, speaking to eyewitnesses, the most likely solution is a Wels catfish.”
The 52-year-old who left life as he knew it to move to Loch Ness and try to solve the mystery, is determined to not let legend simply remain legend. “This is an explainable phenomena,” he said, adding, “There is something to be explained in Loch Ness.”
First spotted on May 2, 1933, though a legend since the 6th century, when a legend of the Irish monk St. Columba relates that he banished a “water beast” to the depths of the River Ness, which flows from the northern end of the loch. Nessie has drawn millions to visit this body of water in the Scottish highlands where she is said to live.
This famous photo of the “monster” released in 1934 was later revealed to be a hoax. Ever since, interest in Nessie skyrocketed, with the world turning its eyes to this beautiful part of the world hoping for something to surface and reveal the truth behind the legend.
The monster, if such a thing exists, has eluded modern technology as well. In 2003, the BBC funded an extensive scientific search that used 600 sonar beams and satellite tracking to sweep the full length of the loch. The study concluded there was probably nothing there.
Despite the lack of creditable sightings, the loch attracts thousands of tourists annually, and more than a few enthusiastic amateurs who have devoted their life to finding the creature. Feltham falls into the latter category, having left his home, job, and girlfriend in southwestern England to come to Loch Ness in 1991.
“I certainly don’t regret the last 24 years,” Feltham said, telling Sky News, “I’m in my utopia living here on the shores of the loch.”
“I have to be honest. I just don’t think that Nessie is a prehistoric monster,” Feltham explained. “What a lot of people have reported seeing would fit in with the description of the catfish with its long curved back.”
Wels catfish can grow up to 13 feet long, weigh up to 880 pounds, and survive for decades. They are not native to the United Kingdom, having been introduced to the loch in the 19th century for sport fishing.