By Tim Binnall
While we can always count on Bigfoot to make news throughout the year, its aquatic kin in the cryptid world, sea monsters, were also surprisingly busy in 2018. From an array of Nessie sightings to the reemergence of its Canadian counterpart Ogopogo as well as witnesses spotting weird water-based creatures in a number of countries around the world, this past year proved to be particularly newsworthy for the oddities that lurk beneath the deep.
2018 saw no fewer than nine possible appearances by the Loch Ness Monster which were captured by bewildered individuals watching over the iconic site in Scotland. Among the many people who might have caught a glimpse of Nessie this past year were tourists from Canada and America as well as a schoolgirl who snapped what may be the first moonlit image of the creature ever taken. Meanwhile another youngster was heralded for having captured an image of the creature that was called the "best in years." And, thanks to modern technology, there were also sightings via Google Earth and the Loch Ness webcam.
Beyond difficult to decipher videos and photos, the creature also made news in 2018 when a much-anticipated scientific expedition collected water from Loch Ness with the intention of extracting environmental DNA from the site which would allow researchers to create a catalog of all the creatures living there. Whether or not the project found Nessie DNA in the water will be revealed sometime in 2019. And there may be a lot riding on the results as it was determined in 2018 that the creature accounts for a whopping $53 million spent by tourists visiting the site each year.
Meanwhile, back here on the other side of the Atlantic, Nessie's Canadian cousin Ogogpogo popped back up in the news in a big way thanks to a string of sightings which occurred this past autumn. The proverbial wave of encounters began with a family's visit to British Columbia's Okanagan Lake that turned into a wondrous occasion when they spotted a weird creature thought to be the site's resident monster. Their experience was echoed over the next month when two more witnesses emerged saying that they, too, had seen Ogopogo emerge from the waters of the lake.
Beyond those two fairly famous creatures were a number of lesser-known and, in some cases, unnamed 'sea monsters' that were spotted in an array of locations across the globe in 2018. Whether it was a weird oddity filmed emerging from a lake in Albania, river monsters seen in Germany and England, or an intriguing anomaly noticed at an infamous lake in China, strange swimming beasts sure seemed to snatch some of the spotlight this past year.
Unfortunately, the most compelling creature case to make waves in 2018 turned out to be a cruel joke. Back in March, a stunning video from a beach in Georgia showed a carcass which bore an uncanny resemblance to the classic depiction of Nessie. The footage captured the imagination of many who wondered if perhaps these were the remains of a beloved local 'sea monster' known as the Altamaha-ha. Alas, it was not to be, as the bizarre sight was later revealed to be the work of an artist out of New York City.
Despite that disappointing setback, it's safe to say that 'sea monsters' had a pretty splendid year which saw Nessie honored on a coin in the UK and topped off by recent news that the state of Vermont may soon celebrate their own resident cryptid, Champ, with a commemorative license plate. It remains to be seen if such creatures will be continue to challenge Bigfoot for newsworthiness in the new year or if the next twelve months will see an altogether different type of oddity take center stage and leave us looking back at 2019 as the year of the thunderbird or chupacabra.