Does the fabled Loch Ness monster of Iceland really exist?
Scientists are skeptical. But a new video alleged to have captured images of the monster has gone viral online, raising the debate over its existence anew.
The video was shot Feb. 2 by local resident Hjortur Kjerulf and then posted on the website of Icelandic broadcaster RUV. The footage shows what looks like a creature slithering through the icy waters of the Jökulsá í Fljótsdal river in east Iceland.
The alleged monster, known as Lagarfljótsormurinn, Iceland's version of Scotland's Loch Ness Monster, has been a part of Icelandic folklore since 1345.
The story goes that the mythical creature has lived in the 25-mile long and 376-feet deep Lagarfljót lake ever since a young girl who wanted her ring to grow placed the ring around a tiny worm. When she returned, the worm had grown and, frightened by it, she hurled the worm into the river where it grew into the now legendary Iceland Loch Ness monster.
While the sighting is intriguing, experts doubt that the footage is real.
Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, who has researched and written a book on the Icelandic creature, believes the new video is a hoax.
"Frankly this video shows something that looks like a constructed snake-like object, with rigid sections, being propelled through the water," Coleman wrote on his website, Cryptomundo. "From the movement on the water's surface, it would have to be something other than a mammal, like a giant worm, a reptile or a fish."
The last sighting of an unusual creature in Lake Lagarfljot, according to Coleman's website, was in 1998, when a group of schoolchildren and their teacher claimed to see one close to shore.
Other experts believe this most recent sighting of a supposed creature is really a collection of discarded fishing nets that have been shaped and pulled together, according to the UK's Mirror.