Iceland’s sea monster unmasked: Experts say it’s a piece of cloth snagged on a branch in fast-flowing river

Iceland’s sea monster unmasked: Experts say it’s a piece of cloth snagged on a branch in fast-flowing river

Footage became a monster hit on the internet

Now experts say it might just be… a fishing net

By Leon Watson

Updated: 19:12 BST, 14 February 2012





There was indeed something fishy about this footage of a ‘serpent-like sea creature’ gliding through the waters of an Icelandic river.

The video, captured by Hjörtur Kjerúlf, shows a mysterious shape swimming through the cold water of the glacial river Jökulsá í Fljótsdal, in east Iceland.

In just over a week, it became a monster hit on the internet. But now experts have come up with an explanation – it’s probably a fishing net.

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Monster hit: This footage of a ‘serpent-like creature’ became an internet sensation

Fishy footage: Some claimed this grainy footage was proof of the existence of the legendary lake beast Lagarfljótsormurinn – Iceland’s Worm Monster

Some had claimed the grainy footage was proof of the existence of the legendary beast Lagarfljótsormurinn – Iceland’s version of Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster.

The notorious ‘snake-like’ creature is said to live in the Lagarfljót lake, which is 25 miles long and 367 feet deep – and it has been the subject of many a supposed sighting since reports of it first emerged in 1345.

Initially, experts on the legendary Lagarfljótsormurinn lake beast said the footage is fake. But now, after serious analysis, there’s a better explanation.





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Investigator Miisa McKeown revealed: ‘Being at least passingly familiar with ice and how frozen objects behave in water (I live in Finland), I couldn’t help but be intrigued by this.’

Speaking to Discovery News, she added: ‘The movement was the most fascinating aspect, but when I realised how quickly the water was flowing I figured that could very well cause that effect on a flexible object trapped there.’

She analysed the video and took several screen captures at different times and compared the location of the animal’s ‘head’ to static reference points to see if the swimming creature was actually moving, or the result of an optical illusion.

She found that the object is stationary in the water; it appears to be moving up the stream but is not.

Close-up: The images appear to show a snake-like appearance – but critics said it is an elaborate hoax


Hoax: This famous picture of the Loch Ness Monster which was published in 1934 was exposed as a fake

The mysterious Worm Monster of Iceland bears similar hallmarks to the legend of Loch Ness.

However, according to reports, the two creatures have a different appearance.

Nessie has been the subject of many sightings in the Scottish Highlands, including this picture taken in 1934 apparently showing the creature.

Some experts believe that  the beast represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs, a type of carnivorous aquatic reptile from millions of years ago.

Nessie is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next.

The myth surrounding the creature has developed since it was first brought to the world’s attention in 1933 when George Spicer and his wife saw ‘a most extraordinary form of animal’ cross the road in front of their car.

They claimed that the creature had a long body and a narrow neck resembling an elephant’s trunk.

Evidence of the creature is mainly anecdotal and many of the supposed photographs are claimed to be carefully staged hoaxes.

However, the regular sightings and the number of photographs suggest that there could be something lurking in the depths.  

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