A CENTRAL European version of the Loch Ness monster has been caught on camera according to local residents in Albania.
The creature was filmed in the Albanian section of the Great Prespa Lake, which is shared by Albania, Greece and Macedonia.
The footage, which appears to show the head and neck of a large creature emerging from the water, is proving popular with viewers online.
The silhouette resembling the infamous “surgeon’s photograph” hoax in Loch Ness can be seen moving up and down before disappearing beneath the water.
And believers claim it matches up with another clip from five years ago said to show the “beast” in the Greek section of the lake, near the village of Nivica.
The new footage has sparked an investigation by journalists who were led on a tour of the lakeside by retired geography Professor, Sima Jonoski.
However, they failed to see any further sign of the mysterious sea monster in the area where it was seen, near the Albanian tourist village of Pretor.
Many local residents believe in the legend of the monster of the lake but others are certain that it is a giant catfish.
Professor Jonoski, a nonbeliever who became the first man to swim across the lake back in 1970, said: “I remember when a ship sank in Albania, near Mali grad, a lot of children drowned in Prespa Lake.
“Then I found out that the divers who searched for them saw great catfish. They were so scared that they stopped the search. I think that it was one of those catfish that the Greek fishermen saw.”
But he added: “Sometimes things happen in Prespa Lake that don’t happen in other lakes.
“When I was a teacher in 1976 I saw a large pillar of water rising near the border with Greece, shaped like a mushroom. It came down only after 10 to 15 minutes.”
The Great Prespa Lake, and the nearby Small Prespa Lake, are the highest tectonic lakes in the Balkans, at an altitude of 853 metres.
There are legends of monsters living in a number of lakes around the world, including Nessie in Loch Ness, Scotland; Morag, in Loch Morar, Scotland; Lagarfljot Worm, in Lagarfljot, Iceland; Ogopogo, in Canada’s Okanagan Lake; and Lariosauro, in Lake Como, Italy.