You can be a skeptic all you want, but decades without definitive proof of its existence haven't dimmed the public's fascination with the Loch Ness monster. Tourists still flock to the famed Scottish lake hoping to catch a glimpse of a fin, a tail or a head at the end of a long neck. Researchers and documentary crews still head out year after year to probe the depths for any sign of something unnatural lurking there, and an eager public still consumes story after story purporting to reveal new evidence in the search. Nessie is alive and well in our imaginations, even if she's not alive and well in real life.
To reaffirm the Loch Ness Monster's place in pop culture, Google unveiled a couple of new amusements today in celebration of the 81st anniversary of the "surgeon's photo," the famous black-and-white image seen above that was once thought to be proof of Nessie's existence, but turned out to be a toy submarine with a false monster head attached to it.
To commemorate the photo, and the ongoing search for the monster, Google unveiled this adorable Google Doodle featuring an alternate explanation for the famous photo:
But there's also a more interactive element to today's Nessie celebration. Google also sent a mapping camera out onto Loch Ness itself, and the result is a detailed 360-degree view of the lake and its banks, including the ruins of Urquhart Castle and some rather magnificent views of the Scottish countryside. The "photo sphere" offers us a view of the Loch no matter where we are in the world, and even allows for a few glimpses into the murky depths of Loch Ness. Check it out. If we stare at the map long enough, we might just see a monster.