Thais are hooked on the legend of the Loch Ness Monster

Nessie European T-shirts are selling like hot cakes in Thailand.

The latest international expedition to Scotland’s Loch Ness hasn’t dredged up any monsters, even though the organizers say that DNA samples taken from the water now suggest Nessie might be an eel. Presumably, a really big one. Yet the attempt has revealed that Nessie-mania has spread far afield, even to Thailand. According to the Taiwan Times, two Thai nationals joined the 100 or so volunteers at the latest underwater search with hydrophones, thermal images and infrared cameras. They in turn confirmed a surprisingly keen interest in Nessie matters from the Land of Smiles.

There are at least four Thai language sites, including Shopee and Ubuy, selling Nessie paraphernalia such as skirts and T-shirts. There’s a roaring trade in these clothing items which are machine-washable and 88 percent polyester. Thais can also order online DVDs such as Scooby Doo in Loch Ness as well as schoolbooks which contain Nessie stories to assist in translation from Thai to English. You can even hook up to an internet site which enables you to keep watch on the choppy waters of the lake 24/7 at home in case something of interest actually happens.

Thai story books on Nessie reveal a character which could be mistaken for Godzilla.

Thailand itself has a couple of sort-of Nessie legends. A dam near Petchaburi supposedly contains a creature which randomly surfaces and eats whole kids without leaving any trace of bones. There is even a sign indicating No Swimming, but otherwise little to report. More promising, Sakon Nakhon actually has a lake which locals say contains an underwater presence, although the one photo available suggests a turtle which has lost its shell. A recent Thai story book Black Magic and the Loch Ness Monster talks of bloody ghosts and zombies appearing from time to time, especially at Halloween.

The Loch Ness saga was devised in Scotland to increase tourist numbers (another example is golf) and the ploy has certainly proved successful. In reality the loch, with a greater volume of water than the rest of the lakes in England put together, is too cold for any prehistoric mammals to survive very long which dismisses most of the tales. Loch Ness teems with eels but too small to be legendary as far as anyone knows. A Thai, who has recently returned after a UK package tour which included a trip to Loch Ness, told Pattaya Mail he didn’t believe a word of the legend. “If there really was a monster, it would definitely be on Instagram,” he surmised.