Friday, 6 September 2013

The Man Who Filmed Nessie (Review)



Twenty six years after his untimely death, a biography on the greatest hunter of the Loch Ness Monster has finally arrived. The author is that hunter's own youngest son, Angus Dinsdale, who was born the night the BBC televised Tim Dinsdale's famous footage on their Panorama programme.

Perhaps that juxtaposition of Loch Ness Monster and family life sums up the man who devoted twenty seven years to the hunt for that most elusive of quarries. It was some weeks earlier that he had shot a minute of film showing a dark object crossing Loch Ness. The author of the book is in no doubt as to what he filmed. He was the man who filmed Nessie.

Angus' book fill in the gaps left by his own father's works. Tim had written of his times at Loch Ness in his books "Loch Ness Monster" and "Project Water Horse".  However, not much is known of the child, youth and man prior to 1960 or the man in his twilight years. This book reveals more of the man who began life in Aberystwyth, Wales in 1924.

Tim's life continued in the Far East where his father worked and in those Depression years, we learn something of his formative years which took in the normality of school life but also the tale of pirates hijacking the ship which was taking him back to school for a new term.

Needless to say, he survived to tell the tale and the story continues into the war years as Tim joined the Royal Air Force and afterwards as he pursued a career in avionics. Add to this his marriage to Wendy and the arrival of children and you have the formula for a normal, happy life.

Then the Loch Ness Monster came along.

We read how Tim's interest in Fortean phenomena began with a haunted house in Quebec. When he moved back to England, a curious magazine article entitled "The Day I saw the Loch Ness Monster" piqued his curiosity further. Before long, he was off on a week long trip to investigate it for himself and the rest is history.



Did I say happy, normal life? We read that within some years Tim gave up his aeronautical career to pursue Nessie and constantly skirt on the edge of financial insecurity held back by book sales, TV appearances and the lecture circuit.

Once the book enters monster territory, the author draws on Tim's own words from his two main books, but especially from "Project Water Horse" which tracks Tim's activities up to the early 1970s. The man's determination is evident and is bolstered further by two head and neck sightings. But the conclusive proof he sought never comes and the 1970s fade into the 1980s.

I was especially interested to see what Tim got up to in the 1980s but that which comes upon all men as the eye grows dim and the natural force abates came upon Tim Dinsdale. It was evident that health issues and a damaged boat put an end to the long days of drifting by boat along the loch shores and pulling his weight with the LNI and Rines team.

The end came with a heart attack on the 14th December 1987.

I had recently read "Project Water Horse" and so the stories of various personalities, experiments and events around the loch were familiar. So, in some sense I am the wrong person to speak on the book as the impact is somewhat lessened by this familiarity. I am sure others will not be so "disadvantaged" as they read it.

Angus also tells the story from a child's point of view since he was a school boy throughout these times. We have tales of family ventures, injuries, frivolity and the time his Dad ruined the washing machine in the name of Nessie research. Angus relates his own volunteer work for the LNI (despite being only ten years old) while one reads with amusement of the "leisure activities" such as the races to empty the latrines in the quickest time.

The human element is very much present in this book but do not expect a long and detailed defence of the Loch Ness Monster. Certain photos, films and sightings will be cited but the ongoing debate about various items is left for others.

The Man Who Filmed Nessie completes the story of the man who summed up the search for the Loch Ness Monster. I am not sure we will see his like again as scepticism rolls over the loch like a Highland mist. Individuals still visit the loch in search of the prized picture of Nessie, but not at the sacrifice and cost we saw exercised by Tim Dinsdale. It may take another better Dinsdale type film to start the circus again. However, I suspect most are convinced that will not happen.

The book is also prefaced with an introduction by Tim's widow, Wendy. Further details can be obtained at this link.





16 comments:

  1. I look forward to receiving my copy of the book. My only observation so far is that when someone in the production chain decided to horizontally flip the cover photo of Tim on the hillside for artistic reasons they created a "left-handed Bolex" camera that professional users will know never existed.

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    1. It's funny: before you mentioned that to me, I was thinking the exact same thing. I had a good laugh.

      As someone personally familiar with the camera, I would recommend that anyone seriously studying the Dinsdale footage seriously acquaint themselves with the operations and limitations of the camera, particularly in regards to the inconsistencies created by the clockwork motor. The frame rate changes as the 28-32 second runtime winds down, making detailed analysis of speed and movement a challenge in my opinion.

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  2. As I understand it, the Dinsdale family has the original film which they will not allow (?) to be further analyzed to lay to rest once and for all whether it was in fact a boat. One would think in advance of a book release, getting as much good publicity would be helpful. If they had it analyzed with the the latest software and the boat idea could be discounted, I'm sure the Daily Mail and others would print an article seen by tens of thousands if not more.

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    1. I wonder what state the original 53 years old film would be in? Beyond detailed analysis?

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    2. A american discovery show computer enhancement specialist found a large shadow of a big submerged body connected to and behind the "notboat" .Also an interview 2 days ago on coast to coast am/ fm w dinsdale who stated the pisces sub bounced radar or sonar at several hundred feet on an object of at least 40 feet long and massive in loch ness.its on you tube.

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    3. That was LOCH NESS DISCOVERED. All the contrast correction did was darken the rear wake, which suddenly has become the shadow of a body to believers.

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  3. the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film is nearly as old and was certainly enhanced and made more relevant by MK Davis. I'm surprised nobody in authority has offered him the chance to do so with this film. It really is the Loch Ness analogue to the PG film and would revive interest in Nessie if a boat could be ruled out. From what I've read, somebody strongly concluded 'man in a boat' after merely fiddling with the contrast on a version being shown on TV, I'm sure MK Davis could do much more with the original. Maybe the book mentions that it's too fragile at this point ... if not, "the silence is deafening" as the saying goes.

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    1. Perhaps MK Davis or other could enhance the online version?

      Also, someone who is not so inclined to looking for a boat should do this image satacking process for the sake of repeatability.

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  4. I agree that someone else should repeat the procedure for the sake of putting the matter to rest. I trust the initial attempt; I'm confident that a seperate attempt would yield similar results.

    However, that being said, if one watches the "new" version posted online, it's clear that we're looking at a boat. One doesn't need image stacking to see that it looks like a boat, moves like a boat, and is nearly identical to the boat in the control film -- right down to the helmsman. He's right there, clear as day.

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    1. Chasing Leviathan13 September 2013 13:55

      Very respectfully, I think 'clear as day' might be something of an exaggeration. If anything in the Dinsdale film were clear as day we wouldn't be here debating it 50+ years on! The sheer LACK of clarity in the images recorded is the very thing that has kept the debate rolling down the decades, wouldn't you say? :)

      That said, I think the image stacking exercise has raised a valid alternative explanation to the claim that the film shows an animal. I think the onus is now on those who believe otherwise to rebut this with further evidence to the contrary.

      And regardless of all of the above, filmed he Beiste, boat or anything in between, Tim Dinsdale will always be one of my heroes. He had the independence of thought, the imagination, determination and very real courage needed to step outside convention and pursue something that mattered to him. In so-doing he showed a better way to live a life than many of us will ever know. He was and is an inspiration.

      Cheers, Tim. I raise my glass to you.

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  5. From the Coast to Coast radio show in the U.S.A. (coasttocoastam.com), an interview with Angus Dinsdale. on his book "The Man Who Filmed Nessie". Uploaded to YouTube, title: “Search for Nessie & Who Killed JFK - September 17 2013”. Starts 9 min. into program, lasts 30 min.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T7UMbRUUH8

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    1. Thanks, I'll add that to the article and listen to it.

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    2. Roland:

      Just a heads up. The interview with Angus Dinsdale on YouTube has unfortunately been removed. The only explanation is "This video has been removed by the user.” whatever that means. In fact, the entire channel posting that segment, AlienCodeTV has been shut down displaying “This channel has no videos”. Hopefully it’s just temporary. Maybe it’s just “user” maintenance. On the other hand it could be a problem with copyright infringement issues. It might still be on YouTube on another channel, I’ll try finding an alternative post. I hate it when that happens! Anyway, hope you got a chance to give it a listen.

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    3. I didn't. Let me know of any others and I will listen more quickly!

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    4. Roland:

      Can’t find an alternative posted on YouTube yet, but try this web site. Use the free download option otherwise you'll have to pay for a subscription, which you won’t need for this purpose. You download it as an mp3 file to your computer, rather than real time streaming, for your own personal use, without having to rely on YouTube, where things have a tendency to disappear into the ether. Don’t know what the risk would be, legal wise, if you wanted to embed it in your Dindale book Blog as a link on a server, if you wished to do so. You would know better than me. If you do, maybe you can edit the interviewer’s intro and JFK stuff out. Alternatively readers may do the same. I downloaded the file just fine, it worked for me. Try it before it to is gone.

      http://uploaded.net/file/9rfnix9y

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