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When you look out at the white-caps on a wind-swept lake, you can see a dark, undulating pattern under the crests of the white-caps.

Could this shadow-like area explain the sightings? Revised, see below.

Edit First of all, it must be a rogue wave, rogue wave, so it stands out from the rest of the waves (if any). This could be the hump of some monster just breaking the surface!

Question on Cognitive Science.SE about eyewitness perceptions.

Edit You are walking along a country lane, when a sudden motion on the water catches your eye. Followed by the sound of a crashing wave. Within seconds, only ripples remain on the surface. You remember the image as shown above. It could be a white-cap on a wave, but everyone who has been to the beach knows that waves come in one-after-another, and there are no other waves, so it can't be a wave. You notice the darker area under the white-cap and realize the only possible explanation is: you have just seen a large animal dive under the surface. Like a sounding whale. (Or monster?).

Loch Ness is located near a major fault line that has seismic activity. Physicists can explain that a wave created by seismic activity is a rogue wave or tsunami. They can also explain why the wave does not reach shore and, why the area under the white-cap is always darker.

So, could a collaboration between physics and psychology show this illusion is a possible explanation for Nessi?

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closed as off-topic by John Rennie, Brandon Enright, jinawee, Qmechanic Dec 16 '13 at 21:38

  • This question does not appear to be about physics within the scope defined in the help center.
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Would skeptics.stackexchange.com be a better home for this question? –  Qmechanic Dec 16 '13 at 13:09
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This question appears to be off-topic because it isn't about physics –  John Rennie Dec 16 '13 at 18:54
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I think it's an interesting question but could use more details. –  Iguananaut Dec 16 '13 at 19:41
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It is an interesting question indeed, but it needs both psychology and physics so that the former can answer how human perceptions respond to proposed physical mechanisms. The physics side of things would be to find out what phenomena (I don't know, soliton water waves, maybe) can be mooted to explain effects and then to analyse how likely and often they would arise at Loch Ness. Then, psychology would need to analyse the likely perceptual response to each. –  WetSavannaAnimal aka Rod Vance Dec 17 '13 at 7:18
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Seeing the picture I vote to reopen. After all perception is what we gather data to study physics with. Seems to me one could fit a monster under that rogue wave. –  anna v Dec 18 '13 at 4:55

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