Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness monster (a.k.a. Nessie) is certainly Europe's and possibly the world's most famous Cryptid (legendary animal). The tales of a strange creature inhabiting one of the deepest and longest bodies of water in Britain go back to a 6th C account of the life of St Columba who is said to have used Christ's power and repelled a beast that had been killing fishermen. It was not until the 1930's though that the modern legend took shape following a report in the Inverness Courier by Londoner George Spicer who claimed to have seen a prehistoric animal crossing the road in front of their car and diving into the Loch.
Photographs of the creature began to appear in the UK National Newspapers, eager for an exclusive. The most famous of which is the 'Surgeon's' photo of a long necked creature sticking out above the water. For many years this was the best evidence and most speculation of the creatures size and shape was built around this. The photo was eventually revealed in the 1990's to be a hoax made with a toy submarine and putty.
Despite elaborate and expensive searches done by researchers from all around the world no real evidence of a 'monster' or any other creature unknown to science has ever been found. As many reputable zoologists have said, it would be nearly impossible for the Loch to sustain a population of large animals unique to biology. Any sightings can be dismissed by hoaxes, wishful thinking or misidentifying more prosaic objects and animals such as logs or otters. Nessie does wonders for the tourist industry but we would say the Loch is beautiful enough without thinking there are monsters at the bottom of it.