thumbnail A monster view in Scotland
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A monster view in Scotland © AWL Images/Danita Delimont
People love a good mystery. Maybe that"s why we"ve been fascinated by mythical creatures like the Loch Ness monster for nearly 1,500 years. We"re looking at Urquhart Castle, a ruin founded in the 13th century, with Loch Ness behind it. As the legend goes, on August 22, 565, an Irish priest named Columba confronted "Nessie" and commanded the "water beast" away. Since then, several other people have claimed to spot, or even photograph, the Loch Ness monster. And then there are the alleged sightings of Bigfoot, the chupacabra, the yeti, and other creatures around the world. These are all examples of a subculture engaged in cryptozoology—the study of hidden animals. Are any of these beasts real? Probably not, but why spoil the fun?