Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Some Stories from Readers

I love to hear from people who have stories to tell of things they have experienced on Loch Ness. These are tales that have not reached the normal public channels and may well have lain dormant forever unless blogs like this picked up on them.

As some of you may recall, it is my belief that most eyewitness reports go unreported and indeed that trend is confirmed to stay and perhaps even escalate as modern day sceptics who have the public microphone re-assure people that they have only seen logs, birds, seals and so on. However, those who have seen strange things may not be so convinced that they were fooled by a passing boat wake and store these things in their mind.

A reader from Seattle posted anonymously to me two weeks ago while I was on holiday with this account:

Hello there, I came across this blog surfing the net for LNM info and would like to share with you my experience at Loch Ness back in May 2009. It was while visiting my relatives in Fort William ( I am from Seattle ) that myself, two brothers, my aunt, and her good friend had seen something large in the water from the banks of Loch Ness. This was closer to Fort Augustus from the North shore. It was late afternoon and calm weather at the time of our sighting.

We saw for what we guessed would be at least for one minute what appeared to be one large greyish hump at first idle in the water from about 80 yards. This was approximately 10 maybe 12 feet long and perhaps 3 feet above the water. It began to head towards the opposite shore and submerged rapidly. We were quite amazed to say the least. I rarely discuss this with people because they simply do not believe it. My aunts friend was first to spot it and not a word was said while we watched what looked simply like the back of a large grey animal cross the loch. It left quite a large wake after it's dive under the surface. 

Sorry that I cannot provide more detail. One moment this thing was there and the next it had submerged. At the very least I was not alone and have fellow witnesses to this brief spectacle. 


The next story came in a month ago from a Mr. Candlish (and like our other witness, if you're reading, please get back to me at shimei123@yahoo.co.uk). His account goes as follows:

Many years ago, while I was based in Aberdeen, my wife, son and myself rented a boat and spent 10 days traveling the lock system from Abdereen to the Atlantic and back. We also spent four days on Loch Ness, sleeping on the boat and exploring the area by foot. Great people!!

We decided to drop anchor in a small cove just a mile or so from the castle (I can't remember its name, but it's in one of the most famous pictures of, "Nessie". We dropped anchor close to the shore and an overhanging branch. However, we kept moving away from the shorline. I could feel the anchor moving along the bottom and, when we had moved away around 150', we stopped moving. I tried, several times, to return to the orginal spot I wished to anchor, with the same result. The last time I tried to position us, I looked into the water and there was an obvious eye looking directly at me.

As I moved left to right, the eye moved with me; the boat had stopped moving. I stood there for at least fifteen minutes watching it watching me. Later, I tried to think of what it could have been other than what it obviously was. It also blinked several times. I have never told anyone about this, but have thought about it for many, many years. I don't know what it was, but it was certainly alive and, in my opinion, was moving the boat away from the original area. There is no doubt in my mind that the "eye" I was looking at was definately some type of eye of some type of living creature. Thanks for listening. 

The first story has much of the classic single hump scenario to it. Note the object was at first stationary which speaks against the oft suggested standing wave. At 10 to 12 feet long, it was not likely to be a seal or similar. Sceptics will at this point default to the "liar" theory whilst asking why no one had a camera.

The second story is curious indeed and almost unique in its genre ... a sighting of the Loch Ness Monster's eye? The only similar story I can think of was the apocryphal tale from Nicholas Witchell's book of the diver who was brought up terrified from the loch with a tale of red, mysterious eyes looking at him from the murky depths.

Did he just see his own reflection? I would doubt anyone would fail to figure that out after fifteen minutes. Can a seal impede a boat's movement to that extent? That does not sound like a seal's behaviour to me (if it even had the strength). Sceptics may nevertheless gravitate towards a seal.

Once again, let everyone make their own judgement. Loch Ness Monsters or something else?



29 comments:

  1. "Sceptics at this point will default to the 'liar' theory whilst asking why no one had a camera."

    It seems you may have recent photographs (publicized on this very site!) in mind whilst writing, as certain individuals WERE called liars, and WERE asked why they didn't have video footage -- and the answer was because they were liars...! The truth points to itself.

    Not all witnesses are called liars, as hard a time as you may have believing this. In regards to the persistent camera question: any sightings during our current time period are hard to swallow without photographic evidence simply because almost everyone has a camera phone. If you can post on Facebook from your Loch Ness boat tour, you can snap a photo -- or even shoot video. Strange how rare the former (and especially the latter occur); but I'll stop before I'm branded a skeptic who considers all eyewitnesses liars...!

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    1. ekm some years back I was reading an account by one of the Vietnam War photographers who later in life was filled with revulsion he'd spent so much time over there looking for kill shots it'd never once occurred to him to stop filming and intervene while someone was preparing to execute a weeping Vietcong or help put kids on fire out instead of repositioning himself so as to ensure he had the best angle.

      The majority of people though'd be too busy helpin' out being insufficiently sociopathic to achieve true photographic greatness.

      Ditto seeing weird stuff.

      Contrary to what some'd like to believe the vast majority of witnesses to the anomalous don't spend all their time going "Oh look due to a trick of the light the Loch Ness Monster looks like a crisp packet floating across the Loch...how strange that ghost looks like a bit of wet tissue hanging from a branch...and that flying saucer looks like a piece of crumpled tinfoil glinting in the moonlight."

      What a lot of 'em actually do's more along the lines of "No way it's got'o be somethin' else it's got'o be somethin' like a half submeged bin bag or a weird lookin' fish or eel..."

      And those that don't such as I suggest the guy staring down at the eye under the water go into a sort of heightened state of consciousness which allows them to directly perceive what they're beholding without slipping into petty conceptualisation.

      In other words they're seeing more intensely than they've ever seen before but of course since such things ain't possible they therefore must be only sad nutcases.

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  2. ekm: Obviously the specific situation you're referring to here has been rather damaging to eye witness credibility in general, but I disagree that if you can post on facebook you must be able to take a photo/video. I'm posting on this blog right now but if a strange creature suddenly appeared outside my window I wouldn't be able to photograph it because my little laptop doesn't have that function. I'd have to go and grab my camera and there's no guarantee that the creature would still be there when I got back.
    The second story in this article is rather strange though, the guy was watching whatever he was watching for 15 minutes, so that does beg the question of why a photo wasn't taken.... he says it was "many years ago" so he probably didn't have a camera phone. I don't have one even now....

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    1. Note that I said: "ALMOST EVERYONE has a camera phone" (capitalization for emphasis). Missed opportunities are to be expected under any conditions, but if we're seriously discussing the possibility of a colony of Godzilla-sized animals (as depicted in the amusing MacNab photo), who occupy a relatively small body of water, coupled with relatively easy access to mobile recording devices, then why don't we have hours of 1080p video footage to examine? Something to consider.

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    2. LNMs are NOT Godzilla sized!

      How did you come by this "hours of footage" conclusion?

      What maths did you apply to reach this number?

      My 3gs is 3.2 megapixels with 640 × 480 video. HD ready?

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    3. "LNMs are NOT Godzilla sized!"

      Here's a challenge for you: use those Photoshop skills of yours to depict the rest of the body/bodies in that photograph.

      "How did you come by this 'hours of footage' conclusion? What maths did you apply to reach this number?"

      You mean apart from common sense? You seem to skirt the issue at hand: as cameras/video become more accessible, we have less Loch Ness Monster evidence -- and what little we get is almost always a still image despite the fact that the recording devices most often employed (DSLRs, camera phones, etc.) come equipped with a video function. Please address this. Note also that video is always of some ambiguous hump, never a head and neck. Speaking of which, have we noticed that head and neck sightings don't seem to occur these days? Only odd shapes that are rationally explained -- no more of these GREAT WATER HORSE, PREHISTORIC MONSTER! sort of sightings like we used to get...back in the day before (most) everyone had a mobile recording device; when, you know, we just had to "take their word for it."

      "My 3gs is 3.2 megapixels with 640 × 480 video. HD ready?"

      Based on your surveillance footage, you're covered when it comes to gear. I'm awaiting the day you post your head and neck video with great anticipation.

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    4. ekm: I honestly don't think that necessarily follows. Many people who claim to have sightings are not "monster hunters", they're not scouring the loch for hours on end with a camera in their hand waiting for something to happen, they're just people going about their day-to-day business, or on holiday. If the sighting occurs some distance away from the observer, a camera phone is unlikely to capture anything more than an inconclusive shape, or blob. If the sighting is brief (as many seem to be), it makes any photo or video footage close to impossible, and anything captured on film would again be at best inconclusive.

      I also think the suggestion that "believers" think there is a family of Godzillas in the loch in ludicrous...and a little condescending.

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    5. The Godzilla reference relates to an ongoing argument betwixt Roland and I over the (im)probability of the MacNab photo. I don't mean to suggest that all believers fall in with the idea of Loch Ness being inhabited by a creature out of a bad , rubber suit monster movie; but the MacNab photo certainly shifts the discussion in that direction.

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    6. Andy wrote:

      "Many people who claim to have sightings are not "monster hunters", they're not scouring the loch for hours on end with a camera in their hand waiting for something to happen, they're just people going about their day-to-day business, or on holiday."

      You miss my point. At a place like Loch Ness, the average person is prone to be ready (subconsciously or no) to "see" the fabled Loch Ness Monster, so we have to consider that they're more prepared to take a photo. That obvious point aside, if we have:

      1) landlocked body of water, 24-26 miles long, 1-1.5 miles wide

      2) colony of large animals

      ...then the obvious conclusion is that THEY WILL BE SEEN FREQUENTLY. It's not a big loch; the animals, as photographed, have to be large.

      You might argue that they surface rarely, but isn't it odd how head and neck sighting decreased dramatically as technology increased to the point where it was no longer merely the privileged minority who happened to be carrying a camera at all times...? Now we're in Hump City -- caution, Stills Only.

      Besides: we have passerbys shooting video of random freeway accidents, 911, a kid falling off a skateboard into a pile of cow poo, and all sorts of fodder for these Funniest Home Video shows. Loch Ness Monsters ought to be videoed all the time.

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    7. ekm: I didn't " miss" your point, I just don't agree with it. I don't believe that people who visit loch ness are in a permanent state of alert which would enable them to cooly and calmly take out their camera and capture a definitive piece of evidence. As I said before, the distances involved are in any case likely to make that difficult if my video/camera phone is not particularly powerful.

      Obviously, if someone reported a sighting lasting a few minutes these days then you could expect a photo or video to be shot and yours would be a valid point, but if a sighting only lasts a few seconds...

      I don't buy the Funniest Home Video argument either...seems irrelevant to me.

      However, the point you make about the lack of head/neck sightings as levels of technology have increased is an interesting and valid one in my opinion... I'd be curious to know what Roland has to say about that one.

      Maybe people aren't as ready to report sightings now as they once were for fear of ridicule?

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    8. I don't know how to make this any clearer. Camera access is exponentially greater now than it was during the LNM hey-day, and people take impromptu photos every day. This isn't rocket science.

      Greater camera access and less photos speaks for itself.

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    9. I feel another article coming on to knock down your arguments, Erik.

      But for now, exponentially greater? Also, have you deducted the non mobile-cameras that people used to carry/use from your calculations? You have done calculations, haven't you?


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    10. Write as many knock-downs as you'd like. I enjoy reading them. In the meantime, I'll happily eat my hat the day there is conclusive evidence of the Loch Ness Monster. Until then, analyzing old photographs to find the evidence that is curiously absent during an era when evidence ought to be piling up seems an exercise in futility. Just my two cents.

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    11. I'll be at Loch Ness next week with my own modern mobile camera to see how well it performs.

      But there are various reasons why it is not so logical as it sounds. You can reply to my logical reasoning later as I prefer to publish in an article so it gets a wider coverage to those who may be asking the same question.

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    12. Looking forward to it!

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  3. I love the story about the "eye". It seems that Nessie has a playful sense of humor! It would be interesting to get a full description of this eye, as the witness saw it for 15 minutes. I loved your book and always check your blog along with "Nessie on the Net". Keep up the good work.
    Richard

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  4. Hello,

    The 'blinking eye' part is interesting. It reminds me of the Kon Tiki crew member who watched a squid's eye observing him from the depths. I wonder if the blinking could possibly narrow down the list of LNM contenders? Do all creatures blink? My pick for Nessie is a very large eel, but of all the times I've caught them on hook/line, I cannot recall them blinking. ? Great blog, a daily read.

    richard

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  5. Re: the blinking eye- in the Witchell book 2nd edition, chapter 5, he mentions Beppo the clown "went for a dive in the loch and was dragged out delirious, mumbling about 'unseen eyes' looking at him from the slimy black depths"

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  6. "We decided to drop anchor in a small cove just a mile or so from the castle (I can't remember its name, but it's in one of the most famous pictures of, "Nessie". We dropped anchor close to the shore and an overhanging branch. However, we kept moving away from the shorline. I could feel the anchor moving along the bottom and, when we had moved away around 150', we stopped moving."

    Hardly surprising that the anchor didn't hold, the skipper was doing it the wrong way round. Drop the anchor in deeper water so it bites into the slope, then you don't end up on the beach when the wind changes.

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  7. As always Mr. Raynor cuts through the speculation with common sense. Just one question re eyes did not the Hugh Ayton sighting when he sought to chase after Nessie end with him getting a view of the eye or has that sighting now been discredited?

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    1. I don't know. A second opinion on droping anchors wuold be useful and of course Mr. Candlish ought to have the right of reply here.

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    2. As for Hugh Ayton, Some may be of the opinion that Ayton told porkies.


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    3. is it seriously suggested that some people may have been less than truthful regarding Loch Ness?
      my faith in human nature is diminished, you will be claiming that the nice Mr. Searle forged pictures next

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    4. Liars and hoaxers are the bane of the pro-Nessie camp. They drag down the rest of the data and provide grist for the sceptic mill.

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  8. I would like to add to the GODZILLA argument if i may? Firstly the mcnab photo is clearly a boat wake as you can see the lines coming away from the shore above the photograph, secondly however i dont agree that these monsters ( if there are any) are that big for this loch. 25 miles is a big loch and if you ever see a normal boat ( 20-30ft) sailing down the loch from an overhead viewpoint you can see how small they are on this huge body of water.

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    1. The lines have no signficance as they are always there on summer afternoons at loch ness. Uruqhart Bay is a major source of boat traffic. Back in 1955, I don't doubt boats passed regularly past the castle leaving their wakes.

      Refer to my MacNab article for more details.

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  9. GB. I admire your enthusiasm but this is clearly a boat wake. It comes in line with the ones coming from the far shore. I see these all the time when im fishing on loch ness. But i do add that mcnab has done a great job in taking this photograph to look like a hump ,because not many have been able to match this, and im quite sure a few people have tried.

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    1. So you think further doctoring of the picture was required?

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