A satellite image taken from Apple Maps of the Loch Ness in northern Scotland has given renewed hope to Loch Ness Monster believers, and fueled rumors that it's all a hoax to draw attention to Apple's competitor to Google Maps.

The image, accessed by Apple's iPad- and iPhone-only mapping software six months ago, would be the first sighting in 18 months, according to the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club.

Hope and skepticism alike have exploded on social media as believers and non-believers renew the debate on whether the mythical creature exists at all.

Many observers saw the potential for the image to be a publicity stunt driven by the harsh reviews of Apple's mapping application in its early days.

For his part, Fan Club president Gary Campbell told the Daily Mail, "We've been looking at [the image] for a long time trying to work out exactly what it is," concluding "unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie."

As with every debate over a longstanding mystery like "Nessie", both sides will surely find evidence to support their cases. And if it does turn out to have been a doctored image to draw attention to Apple Maps, then all will surely agree that it was a resounding success.