Latest purported photo of “Nessie” appears to be seals

The Sun (UK) tabloid is well known for paying for exclusive photographs to publish with sensational stories about celebrities, ghosts and monsters. The latest is a new photo of Loch Ness which, if really taken in the Loch, shows three playful seals near shore. Normally, we don’t link to tabloids like the Sun but this pic is interesting and tells a story in it’s own right, one that is a bit more complicated than “It’s Nessie!”

Here is the photograph so we can examine what it actually may be.


Credit: Ian Bremner

As you can see, the shallow water in the foreground looks to be shoreline so the creature(s) are not that far away. Let’s zoom in on the head.


This is a very good match to a seal. Here is a grey seal in comparison. The image may not be clear enough to determine what type of seal though experts may be able to based on the shape of the head.


The photographer, Ian Bremner, says he didn’t notice the object(s) in the picture until later. He says he took it “between the villages of Dores and Inverfarigaig” but there is no discerning features to be able to tell. Hmm… It seems very strange he did not notice this object since it’s in focus. Bremner also invoked the avowal of prior skepticism, saying he was skeptical, until now. That is a common attempt to bolster credibility and sound rational. Though this clearly looks like a row of seals, and the article DOES note this, Bremner is not willing to accept that so easily:

“I suppose it could be seals – but I’m not so sure. The more I think about it, the more I think it could be Nessie.”

I don’t wonder why…

Could Nessie be a seal or a group of seals? It’s plausible. Researcher Dick Raynor has documented seals in the Loch before. He filmed one in 1999. Another had been photographed and documented in 1984-5 and several reports exist prior to that. But Raynor thinks this particular photo is suspicious: “We don’t have shallows showing brown beyond blue areas. The left hand bit does resemble a seal.”

Well, I’m calling seal(s) on this one but the question remains if it was doctored or really taken in Loch Ness. Evidence does not currently support the latter. Nessie itself is a legend, it is not one animal but collection of reports from many people that popular culture has crafted into a great story. Reports of Nessie have certainly been misinterpretations of seals, birds, fish, logs, other swimming animals, waves and wakes, etc., but not a new species or living plesiosaur. This picture is certainly not convincing of anything other than guaranteed publicity for the Sun. Too bad.

  14 comments for “Latest purported photo of “Nessie” appears to be seals

  1. James R
    September 15, 2016 at 7:15 PM

    I wonder what Nessie pics go for nowadays? Still a market for them no doubt, to break up the daily avalanche of Kardashian pics. Now much older (and hopefully wiser), I can’t help wondering why a rational scientist like Robert Rines, in his 50’s, actually believed a family of plesiosaurs lived in the cold, murky, food-lacking Loch Ness. He certainly fell for the myth hook, line, and sinker.

  2. Catspaw Assassin
    September 15, 2016 at 7:50 PM

    The game is afoot! Or in this case, aflipper!

  3. Douglas Locke
    September 16, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    I think the photo was doctored to make it not look like the Loch Ness Monster.

  4. America
    September 16, 2016 at 1:03 PM

    clearly harbor seals. geesh.

  5. Mark
    September 17, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    The photo is obviously 3 seals trying to escape the jaws from a submerged Nessie.

  6. Bob
    September 17, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    “The more I think about it, the more I think it could be Nessie.” I suspect the more he thought about it, the more it became a nice cheque from The Sun.

  7. Judy Young
    September 22, 2016 at 8:30 AM

    Definately not a sea monster…lol

  8. September 22, 2016 at 8:46 AM

    Well it is if you are a fish. And good enough if you run a tour boat business.

  9. Michele Irwin
    September 23, 2016 at 6:20 PM

    I’m not sure, but it would be a find. There have been other “exinct” species found to still be alive and well. I’m confident that one day we’ll know one way or the other if ‘Nessie’ is real or not. But with the way people treat rare animals I hope if it’s real it stays hidden😟

  10. September 23, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    The loch has been searched to death. There is no single explanation for reports. They can be different known animals, logs, waves, etc. we pretty much know right now there is no plesiosaur or unknown animal there. But Nessie as a phenomena is real enough.

  11. J. Davis
    October 3, 2016 at 6:35 PM

    Probably seals indeed… But there is no particular reason to believe that the photo was doctored (follow the leader isn’t that uncommon) or that it wasn’t taken at Loch Ness.

  12. October 3, 2016 at 7:21 PM

    Actually there are several reasons to think it was not at Ness. No one else saw it. Where are the pictures that reveal the landscape to show the location. Seals are rare in Ness – they would have been noticed by many other people who peruse the loch daily.

  13. Stuart atton
    November 2, 2016 at 3:04 PM

    i have seen Loch Ness, the water is black from particles of the rock from the northern bank. if you put your hand straight in the water, you lose site of your fingers, the water has so much suspended in it. this picture is not Loch Ness. but then, its so murky anything could be down there.

  14. November 2, 2016 at 3:07 PM

    The particles are peat, not rock. This is well known. It doesn’t make an unknown animal there any more probable. It’s been pretty definitively established, Nessie is a combination of many things. But not a mysterious monster.

Comments are closed.