Loch Ness is a deep lake in Scotland. The lake is so dark, it is very hard to see anything underwater. But one girl saw something that she will never forget.
In 1960, Alice Logan visited Loch Ness for a day of sailing with her parents.
She had heard stories about a sea monster that lived in the lake. It had a long neck and even had a nickname. People called the creature "Nessie." They said it lived deep below the surface of the lake.
"Alice, why don't you put away those binoculars and play?" her father asked.
"I am going to get proof that Nessie is real," she explained.
Alice looked down into the water. She thought she saw something move. She leaned over the edge of the boat and fell into the cold water.
For a few seconds, she was underwater. It was dark, but she could see a shape right in front of her. It was a swimming beast, with a long neck and a tiny head. It had to be Nessie!
Just then, Alice's life preserver lifted her back to the surface. She rubbed the water from her eyes and searched the murky water again. But the strange creature was gone.
Stories about the Loch Ness Monster go back hundreds of years. The ancient Scottish people who lived near the lake told tales about the creature.
In 1933, more than ninety people said they saw the Loch Ness Monster. Many stories appeared in newspapers all over the world.
Altogether, more than four thousand people have reported that they saw something unusual in the waters of Loch Ness. The stories are hard to prove because it is so hard to search in the dark lake.
Loch Ness is a long, narrow lake. It is almost like a wide river, but it is also very deep. Diving is difficult in the lake because it is so dark. The water is full of tiny floating pieces of brown coal.
Scientists have to use machines to search the mysterious waters. Not even the most expensive cameras, submarines, and other devices could find Nessie. The rocky bottom of the deep lake makes it easy for a clever sea beast to hide.
Some scientists took photographs in the lake. The photos show an animal that is almost as big as a school bus. The beast has a wide body, fins, a skinny neck, and a tail.
The photographs are real, but many of them are cloudy or unclear. There is still no proof that Nessie exists.
Even though so many people have seen and even photographed the Loch Ness Monster, there are still many questions about the creature. Is there only one monster? Does Nessie have a family? If it really exists, where did it come from? What kind of creature is Nessie?
Scientists have many ideas. Some think Nessie could be a strange type of giant eel. Maybe it is a type of whale or seal that no one has ever seen before.
Another theory is that Nessie is a relative of a prehistoric fish called the plesiosaur. Scientists always thought the last plesiosaur died millions of years ago. But maybe Nessie's relatives have lived in the lake for all these years.
Scientists think there might be a lot of mysterious creatures living in deep lakes all around the world. People have seen strange sea monsters in New York, Canada, and Russia. Could these be Nessie's relatives?
Will anyone ever be able to prove that the Loch Ness Monster exists? If the creature exists, it knows how to hide well. It has been hiding from people for hundreds of years.
It is possible that Nessie and all of her relatives have lived in Loch Ness for millions of years. Will Nessie or one of her family members ever reveal themselves to us?
Sometimes things aren't what the seem. Read about a man who meets a mysterious driver in the next story, "Night Coach."