Second Thoughts on Second Life: Loch Ness Monster Not Shy in SL

August 5th, 2009  |  Published in Real Life in Second Life, SL Entrepreneur Magazine  |  4 Comments

By Compe Lockwood
Few mysteries are more famous then Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster. After decades of research and investigation, questions remain. Does the creature exist? What does it look like? Why can’t we find it?
“Nessie” is indeed an elusive creature lurking in the self-imposed solitude of watery depths. But the serpent is not quite so shy in Second Life. In fact, you can ride on her back. I did.
More on monster rides later. The adventure begins with a tour of Second Life’s The Highlands, a virtual site reflecting the beauty and charm of real-life Scottish real estate.

Tour guide and curator, Tony Harmsworth aka Gerald Wylie in Second Life.

(Tour guide and curator Tony Harmsworth aka Gerald Wylie in Second Life.)

My tour guide is renowned Loch Ness and Highlands authority and curator, Tony Harmsworth (SL – Gerald Wylie). He created the real-life Loch Ness exhibit in Drumnadrochit, Scotland. “But this is more than monster sightings,” he offers. The exhibit serves several purposes:
1. To promote the Highlands.
2. To tell the story of Scotland.
3. To explain the Loch Ness Monster with science, not hype.

And that it does. Tourist information is available throughout the land with a click of one’s mouse. The castles and most buildings are geographically correct representations of real-world counterparts in real-life Scotland. But like real-life Scotland, the Second Life aqua beast is the prime drawing card.
The problem with Loch Ness, according to the site’s leader, is that real science is lost in the satire and farce long associated with Nessie. People have become wealthy and famous promoting monster scams. Second Life’s Highlands wants to change that.

Exhibit in Inverness City recounts the history of the Loch Ness monster.

(Exhibit recounts the history of the Loch Ness monster.)

To visit the Highlands, one is teleported to Inverness City – one of three main areas. It serves as a good overview point with information panels explaining various activities and features. The two adjoining SIMs are Augustus and Urquhart. Drop by the Loch Ness Inn, a popular restaurant with a daily breakfast club. It offers panoramic views of the water and a smoke-breathing snorting giant living within. Rental houses, shops, and beautiful walking paths dot the landscape of cyber Scotland –  it almost makes me want to take bagpipe lessons.

Nessie Quest game leader board.

(Nessie Quest game leader board.)

There is the popular Nessie Quest game offering serious cyber-dough (27 thousand in Lin prizes annually) “I came to try the game,” says avatar visitor and USA resident ‘Mistic.’ “After reading about the Highlands game in Second Life’s activity site, it looked fun and a chance to win some linden cash.” So much for bagpipes.

The land includes Crystal Maze, another game,  and lots of camaraderie and lively banter for Scots and those who want to be. But today I have a rendezvous with Nessie – I mean destiny. Okay, maybe both.

And what about this monster? I ask my tour guide Gerald Wylie as we walk the shores of the River Ness. Is it real? He answered with a smile, “Turn around, she’s right behind you.”
And there it was: the Loch Ness Monster in all her green glory. “Go ahead, hop on her neck,” Wylie offered.  “Take a ride.” It’s not everyday one hitchhikes transportation from atop a 60 foot sea serpent. What a view.

SLENTRE reporter takes a ride on SL's Loch Ness Monster

(SLENTRE reporter Emmett Burnett takes a ride on SL’s Loch Ness Monster)

Is it a legend, a tourist attraction – or both? For decades, doctors, police officers, farmers, townsfolk – people from all walks of life – have witnessed the underwater phenomenon. Photographs have been taken. Most are fakes. The good, the bad, and the just plain goofy are displayed at the Highland’s SL Loch Ness Tour.

My favorite is a black and white print of the monster ominously breaking the water’s surface. After closer observation, experts revealed the creature as a Labrador Retriever swimming with a stick in its mouth.
Some say the animal is a non-extinct dinosaur. Others believe it is a large fish. I know the thing I rode in Second Life is no tuna.

Draw your own conclusions about the real critter after visiting the SL collection sponsored by Interactive information panels, photos, and note cards offer some of the most comprehensive Loch Ness Monster data offered to the general public. Fact or fiction, you decide.  But it’s a fascinating visit.

As for Gerald Wylie, he believes something is down there. In 1986, the man who has devoted his life to studying something whose existence is questionable, had his one and only sighting. He photographed it breaking the water’s surface with a four to six foot long back visible above the waterline.
Other stories are discussed in this Nessie information clearing-house, including one of the first credible eye-witnesses, ‘Mrs. Mackay.”  She reported seeing something “hugely enormous, like a whale” in 1933. And one of the most compelling accounts belongs to Scotland’s Father Gregory Brusey.

He was standing on a jetty and reported the water churning and spray lashing out above the surface. A great neck protruded from the water – about 5 feet long. Within 20 seconds it had disappeared.

But the legend never will.

Loch Ness Exhibit

Loch Ness Game


  1. Sigmund Leominster says:

    August 19th, 2009at 12:14 pm(#)

    Nessie hunters may be interested to know that the SL men’s fashion designer, Wavie Haller, has a large skeleton of a plesiosaur smack bang in the middle of his “Valiant” store. A Scotsman by birth, Wavie added this as a nod toward his heritage and the suggestions that Nessie is/was a plesiosaur.

  2. Gerald Wylie says:

    April 30th, 2010at 7:09 am(#)

    An update on that article.

    We have now added a fourth sim which takes in the neighbouring Loch Oich and contains a full size replica of Glengarry Castle, not just as the ruin it is today, but also as it was in 1671.

    Also our imagineering team have worked with sponsors Jacobite Cruises to create a series of boat trips on our virtual Loch Ness.

    So still plenty to do, the Nessie Quest is going great guns and we have a new orientation area here:

    Hope to see you there sometime.

  3. Geoff Hinterland says:

    June 17th, 2010at 12:45 am(#)

    I found the tourism info very good. We have just returned from the RL Inverness and found our B&B in the SL Scottish Estate. We also took the real Jacobite Cruise, but didn’t see the real Nessie!

  4. admin says:

    June 21st, 2010at 8:11 am(#)

    Hi Geoff,

    Thanks so much for your feedback. Sorry the RL Nessie was so elusive.

    Take Care,
    Avarie Parker