Monday, 7 October 2013

George Edwards Confesses

As reported in the Inverness Courier, George Edwards finally admits he faked his photograph and is proud of it because it generated interest in the Loch Ness Monster and hence the area. This story received worldwide attention in early August 2012 but Steve Feltham broke the news on the 18th August that the object in the picture was most likely a 1.9m fiberglass prop used in a documentary some years back. George also confesses in a Wall Street Journal article (though insists a picture he took in 1986 is not a hoax).

The news has apparently angered Kevin Carlyon, Nessie's self-proclaimed white witch protector, who has promised to send a "psychic torpedo" in Edwards' direction on Halloween!

What prompted Mr. Edwards to confess is not clear and the article does not quote him saying he used the prop, but this must surely be the most likely explanation. George takes "the end justifies the means" approach in not initially admitting to the true nature of the picture. The reaction to that approach has been mixed but as far as I am concerned it would be short term positive gain versus long term negative gain where "gain" here is of the monetary kind.







Now these photographs are normally the bane of Nessie proponents as they can often be difficult to distinguish from a real monster picture. However, there is an important and unexpected slant to this which needs some attention. Dick Raynor is one of the recognised analysts of the Loch Ness phenomenon who has been involved with the mystery for over forty years. His various critiques of monster films and photographs throughout the years have been well received by those sceptical of any large creatures in Loch Ness.

Now since Dick does not generally miss an opportunity to point out what he thinks are problems with my analysis and those of others, I am sure he won't mind his own coming under the spotlight.

The problem here was his initial analysis of the picture which you can find at his website. Before the fibreglass hump revelation, he conducted an experiment with a 25cm plastic bottle at the location he thought was close to the Edwards picture. He placed the bottle in the water and attempted a size comparison by overlaying the Edwards photo and lining up the contours of the background hills. You can see the results half way down his webpage. Based on this, he estimated the object in the water to be 0.6m long or about 23 inches. The conclusion of Dick's analysis was that the object was an un-monster like length of about 20 inches and hence was dubious.

So, as usual, sceptics would congratulate Dick on his analysis, dump the picture and move on to the next target. That was until Steve Feltham turned up.

When the truth about the fibreglass prop came out, a contour comparison with that object showed it to be about 1.2 metres out of the water. This can be seen just below the bottle experiment on Dick's own webpage where he overlays the Edwards' object with a picture of Adrian Shine standing beside the prop. This means Dick was out by 100% in his estimate. The object was twice as large as he estimated and the combined image was an optical illusion, the hump though closer is actually larger and further away (In fact, since the bottle is further away than the overlaid hump, bringing it closer to the spot where the hump is, makes it slightly larger, increasing the error).

This issue is briefly mentioned on his webpage, but in a series of postings to cryptozoology.com, Dick admits his error in more detail and eventually figures out he got his camera height wrong:

"I finally figured out where I had gone wrong - I missed an upright handrail stanchion on the fly bridge of NH4. If that is the object in the bottom left, GE simply snuck a photo under the handrail while the crew were filming."

So what is Dick saying here? Did he figure out how to get the bottle-hump scaling right or something else? It is not clear but the implication of this is that the difference between standing somewhere different on the same boat at the same distance to the same object can result in a doubling of the estimate! Either way, it does not matter, the initial numbers were wrong.

So, the main point is this, if Steve Feltham had not stepped forward, many would have assumed that Dick's analysis was spot on because it involved maths and hard numbers.  The truth was nearer to four feet than 23 inches which is a more monster like length. It does not matter that the picture was proven to be a hoax on other grounds, a picture cannot be proven to be a hoax for the wrong reasons.

This was a possibly unique opportunity to test the practise against the theory since we have the actual object used. Something important has come out of this sorry episode - a demonstration of the difficulty in assessing alleged photographs of the monster and the lack of peer review.



This raises the question of how accurate are other sceptical analyses of monster evidence? For example, Dick and others attempted to reproduce the Lachlan Stuart photograph from 1951 on another webpage. The problem now is whether this is as accurate as made out? Like the bottle and hump overlay, are the Stuart objects actually bigger in size and subsequently further out in the water where it may be too deep to put hay bales? The reproduced overlay may again be an illusion. Indeed, Lachlan Stuart, being on land, could have taken his picture from a far more diverse range of camera heights than on a boat. Does this mean the possibility of error in estimation is significantly more?

In fact, Lachlan Stuart stated that the three humps were 5 feet across at the waterline and 2, 4 and 3 feet high from left to right.  Using the person in Dick's picture as a scale, it would appear that, like the Edwards hump, the superimposed Stuart humps are half the size of the original account. In other words, 100% out again. If the Stuart picture is overlaid and resized to Stuart's dimensions, the overlay no longer works.

One thing seems clear, just lining up the contours of distant hills on each picture is not enough when it comes to making judgements about close up objects.  I pointed this out in my own reply to this "hay bale" reconstruction back in January. Because the distant hill contours hardly change as one moves along the shore, there is an unscientific temptation to just cherry-pick the best spot to bolster one's own theory. This episode with the George Edwards pictures now proves the folly of presenting just one picture at one location.

All scientific experiments where possible carry error ranges. This reflects the fact that making measurements is not a perfect procedure. In this case, it is not enough to assume one camera position, a range is required to highlight the close range uncertainties in the experiment. This, of course, also applies to myself and other proponents of the Loch Ness Monster when we also carry out our pro-Nessie investigations. I am sure I could find similar examples in that regard.

So what is the conclusion of all this? Read the opinions and analyses of both proponents and opponents of the Loch Ness Monster and form your own opinion, readers. None of us are free from errors - no matter what tools we claim to use.

(NOTE: As part of any discussion in the comments section, I may include emails received privately).


From the Inverness Courier:


LOCH Ness cruise boat operator George Edwards has admitted the photo of Nessie he took last year is a fake – and he is proud of it.

Mr Edwards, of Loch Ness Cruises at Drumnadrochit, claimed in August 2012 that he took the picture – which attracted worldwide attention – near Urquhart Castle.

He said at the time: "I did not want to mention my sighting until I was sure that I had not photographed a log or something inanimate in the water in the water. I have friends in the USA who have friends in the military.

"They had my photo analysed and they have no doubt that I photographed an animate object in the water.

"I was really excited as I am sure that some strange creatures are lurking in the depths of Loch Ness."
Mr Edwards has now admitted the picture was a fake and was proud to be following in the tradition of the famous "Surgeon's Photograph" of 1934, supposedly showing the monster's head and neck, which was later proved to be a hoax.

"So as far as I'm concerned it's perfectly valid," he said. "It's just a bit of fun.

"I am quite happy to join the rogues' gallery along with the surgeon who produced the best known picture image of the monster in the world.

"How do you think Loch Ness would have fared over the years without that picture? I have no guilty feelings at all about what I have done."

It is understood Mr Edwards may have used a Nessie fibreglass hump which had previously been used in a National Geographic documentary to create his fake photo.

Yesterday Willie Cameron, of the Clansman Hotel agreed with Mr Edwards that the fake pictures would help boost the Nessie story rather than damage it.

"It brings the story back to the limelight," he said. "It will probably create another wave of interest in Loch Ness which is required to keep the story going.

"It's been running now for about 80 years and I think most people knew George's photos were fake, just like the majority of photographs of the monster."

However, Steve Feltham, who has hunted the monster from Dores beach since 1991, said the admission harmed Mr Edwards' credibility and the Loch Ness Monster brand.

"It does the subject no good and damages his own reputation," he said. "When you read things like this in the papers, people will think it's all just a fairytale.

"But if you read the reports and books you're more likely to think that something is there to be explained. He's supposed to be taking people out on tours but he's nothing more than a faker and a liar."

In 1989, Mr Edwards said he found "Nessie's Lair" after his boat recorded a depth of 812 feet in the loch near Urquhart Castle.

The trench was then named Edwards Deep.

Mr Edwards was criticised last year by the former boss of the Loch Ness centre Tony Harmsworth who said he should not have to resort to "fakery" to keep his customers entertained.

Mr Harmsworth, who lives in Drumnadrochit, subsequently resigned from the Drumnadrochit Chamber of Commerce after fellow members failed to back him.


From the Wall Street Journal:

DRUMNADROCHIT, Scotland—Steve Feltham was surveying the shores of the Loch Ness last summer when his cellphone rang, breaking his concentration. A local reporter was calling to say she had just received a photo of the Loch Ness Monster—its arched hump protruding from the waters—and she wanted to run it by him before sending it to print.


Mr. Feltham, a full-time monster hunter for 22 years, studied the photo.


"It is the best photograph I think I have ever seen," he told the journalist at the Inverness Courier from his home, a van parked on the pebbled shores of Loch Ness.


Many in Drumnadrochit, a village in northern Scotland, and throughout Britain, hailed the photo taken by George Edwards, a tour guide, as one of the most convincing monster pictures ever taken. It is the centerpiece of his tour company which operates out of Nessieland, a Loch Ness tourism center. He sells postcards of his photos to passengers for 50 pence (80 cents) apiece.


Monster hunter Steve Feltham, on Loch Ness, retracted his backing of a photo of Nessie, igniting a controversy.
 

But Mr. Feltham—who says a perfect day involves staring at the loch from dawn to dusk in search of the monster—now says his endorsement was a grave error. He says he soon realized the photo was actually of a 6-foot-long fiberglass hump used as a prop in a documentary filmed on Mr. Edwards's boat in 2011.


Other local experts agreed. Adrian Shine, a Nessie researcher and designer of the Loch Ness Center and Exhibition, and Dick Raynor, another researcher, say the photo is so obviously fake that it's an insult to visitors.


Mr. Edwards's photo has become the centerpiece of a fierce debate ripping through Drumnadrochit. It has exposed a bitter truth: Some key players in the Nessie industry don't believe the Loch Ness Monster exists.


One Monday afternoon recently, Mr. Edwards lashed out at his critics to passengers on his tour boat. Nothing irritates him more than the fact that some of his customers have just walked over from the Loch Ness Center and Exhibition, which sits 300 yards from Nessieland, where they are told the monster may not be real.


Incredulous, Mr. Edwards in May escalated his complaint with the town's fathers. "I carry thousands of tourists on Nessie Hunter every year and I am concerned when passengers tell me that after they have visited the self-proclaimed Official Loch Ness Exhibition and Center they come out feeling disappointed after [being] told that Nessie is a myth or a figment of the imagination." 


Mr. Edwards wrote in a letter to the Drumnadrochit Chamber of Commerce. "In recent years we have seen a decline in tourism across Scotland and maybe it is time for Mr. Shine to put up or shut up," he said in the letter.


Tony Harmsworth, another Nessie tour guide and editor of the chamber's website, in a written response accused Mr. Edwards of treating tourists like gullible fools and sending them away with "their heads full of garbage." Says Mr. Shine: "I would concur with that. That is exactly what he [Mr. Edwards] does and what he now admits of doing. He says people like this."


The Chamber of Commerce demanded Mr. Harmsworth remove his rebuttal to Mr. Edwards from the website, along with any other critical comments about Mr. Edwards. Disgusted members of the Chamber of Commerce, including the Loch Ness Center and Exhibition, have resigned in protest. Robert Cockburn, the Chamber chairman, says the group is officially neutral on Nessie's existence, and he is ambivalent on the Loch Ness Center's resignation.


Mr. Harmsworth argues that monsters cannot possibly live in Loch Ness. "Can anyone trust what the chamber is doing anymore?" he said. "To just feed people fake pictures because that's what you think they want is not really the way forward for tourism in the Highlands of Scotland."

 

Another battle front is the competing tourist centers, Nessieland and the Loch Ness Center. Their tours start similarly, with visitors walking through a dark, tunnellike entrance. But at Nessieland, tourists are regaled with tales of monster sightings and secret passages in the loch where Nessie may be lurking; the Loch Ness Center casts the monster as a myth. When it talks about supposed sightings of the monster since 1933, it plays circus music in the background.


The two tourist centers have a history of not getting along. In June, police cautioned and charged the owner of Nessieland, Donald Skinner, for stealing a sign outside the Loch Ness Center. He said he "took custodianship" of the sign because it was blocking one of his own. 


Mr. Edwards, who was laid off from his job as an oil worker in the 1980s, says his critics are trying to destroy Loch Ness, which depends heavily on tourism. "Can you imagine if Mr. Shine or Mr. Raynor came across to America and walked into Disneyland and told all the children there's no such thing as Mickey Mouse—don't be taken in by all this rubbish. That's what they're doing here." 


Mr. Shine says tourists would rather know the truth than be misled. He says Mr. Edwards asked whether he could run his tours out of the Loch Ness Center last summer, but that the center said no.

The Loch Ness monster has stirred debate for nearly 1,500 years. The first sighting may have occurred in 565 A.D., but interest in Nessie was revived in 1933 when a couple told the local newspaper that while driving, one of them spotted a creature rolling and tumbling in the roughly 23-mile loch. The creature then vanished into the foam. Loch Ness is 800 feet deep at its deepest.

Many were skeptical, but a year later, Col. Robert Wilson, a British surgeon, came forward with a photo he said showed the monster rising from the loch. Sixty years later, Christian Spurling, who made the model used in the photograph confessed that the photo was actually of a toy submarine with a sea-serpent head.


Mr. Edwards says he has no doubt that there are some mysterious creatures in the Loch Ness, including Nessie.


But he also has a confession. Throughout the fracas over his photo, he insisted to the local media it was real. He initially declined to comment to The Wall Street Journal. But he has relented, recently telling a boat full of passengers that he manufactured the shot to win attention for Nessie and prove how easy it is to fake photos.


However, he said another photo he took of Nessie—from summers ago—is for real:

"I've taken photographs over the years. One in particular, on the 6th of June, 1986, is an absolutely genuine photograph."

40 comments:

  1. Yippee! It’s a win-win situation for everybody, the believer, the hoaxer, the businessman and the skeptic er, I mean researcher, sorry Dick. Steve Feltham gets the recognition he deserves, George Edwards gets more notoriety, which I'm sure he'll try to turn to his advantage, the businessman gets the…well, the business and Dick Raynor get's at least some credit in his attempt to not let this pass without his scrutiny, it’s his job (forgive my wry sense of humor). I can’t see how this charade by Edwards helps in bringing more attention to the validity of some unknown creature in the Loch. If this story ever reaches more outlets of the main stream media outside the UK it will just add fuel to the claim that there are more hoaxes than valid reasons for taking the matter seriously. “Yes, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus”. Isn’t it interesting that Mr. Cameron sides with Edwards? In the short term a flash of publicity for the principles involved, in the long run a fast burnout. No interest for Government, University or deep pocket Private Institution grants to carry out serious research. Thanks Roland, for breaking this news to us Nessie enthusiasts, you deserve some credit too.

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  2. Dick:

    In case you missed them or weren't expecting replies, please see my comments to your replies directed to me on your earlier comments in "Logs and Nessie" and "Henry Bauer on Abominable Science!" Sometimes we don't go back to the Blogs we think were through with, especially when a newer Blog comes out. Thanks.

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    1. I will get around to it, John. Thanks

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  3. However, he said another photo he took of Nessie—from summers ago—is for real:
    "I've taken photographs over the years. One in particular, on the 6th of June, 1986, is an absolutely genuine photograph."


    ...Of something he told his mates at the time he'd had great difficulty dragging out the back of his vehicle! I remember it because I was one one them. One would be advised to place no reliance on anything he says, as he is a liar, a fraud and a thief.
    see:http://www.lochnessinvestigation.com/deepscanvideo.html

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  4. As far as I know, Edwards is the only hoaxer who has ever owned up to faking a picture. Frank Searle never publically owned up, Wilson was never explicit, Shiels is saying nothing and so on. Spurling could be argued for, but he never took the Surgeon's picture or visited the loch.

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    1. Edwards has little choice but to own up, as Steve Kulls's statement that he SAW Edwards taking pictures from the upper deck has been on my website for months.

      GB misses some of the subtleties of the matter. I initially tried to reconcile Edwards stated location with the alignment of the castle tower and Carn Dearg. He was clearly lying about that. I then tried to reconcile the contents of the photograph, particularly the pale strip at the left hand edge, with features visible on his new boat, and I could not, so I tried to fit it in with his previous boat, which fitted with he handrail just outside the skipper's window.George is a lazy person and it was not surprising that he would take the photo out of the window instead od getting up and walking to the aft deck From that I calculated the camera height and hence the range to the object. My error was that when looking for the matching feature in the photograph I had forgotten that when he first used his "new" 25 year old 8 berth cabin cruiser it had davits for a dinghy sticking out over the stern. These are clearly visible in the photos later added to my website, and it is one of these that is shown in the photograph. The increased height obviously means that the object was larger than I previously calculated (not estimated) but I left the original flawed section on the page for the sake of completeness.The rest of your comments about being 100% out fall into the category of logical fallacies hat Henry has been at pains to point out elsewhere on this blog.
      Regarding Lachlan Stuart's photo, I would really urge you to do some experiments yourself. The alignment of the hill intersections across the loch pinpoint the position quite precisely - to within 20 metres or so; the features in the photograph determine which way the camera was pointing from that location (which is almost along the loch rather than across it) and the water is that shallow , much though it pains you to know that Richard Frere's account is validated by the geography. Another reason for carrying out the hoax where he did, and not at the bottom of the present steps to the beach, is that there was a contractors camp there at the time - it was they who made the concrete steps. To carry out a staged hoax in the presence of so many men would be unwise; equally had a Nessie swam around in from of their camp would they not surely have seen it? I think so. Frere 1,GB 0.

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    2. I admitted you had not made your argument clear, but the main point is still there - without Steve Feltham's work, your analysis would be deemed as accurate. Overlaying pictures is not enough.

      Not 100% inaccurate? You put it at 23 inches long and it was more like 46 inches which is a 100% difference.

      Sorry, your hill alignments for the Stuart experiment are now as relevant as the alignments for the Edwards experiment. Too much scope for error and I have done my own experiments and alignments and I give them as much credence as to pointing to the correct spot as yours - not much!

      Which Frere account is that? The one he claimed to see the hoax in progress or the one he claimed Stuart shows him the bales some indeterminate time later?

      So no talk about precise locations, it is not achievable.
      Frere 0 GB 1

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    3. GB Rather than use contemporary comments from cryptozoology.com I would recommend visiting my website http://www.lochnessinvestigation.com/georgeedwardsclaims.html for the full story.

      In fact, Lachlan Stuart stated that the three humps were 5 feet across at the waterline and 2, 4 and 3 feet high from left to right. Using the person in Dick's picture as a scale, it would appear that, like the Edwards hump, the superimposed Stuart humps are half the size of the original account. In other words, 100% out again. If the Stuart picture is overlaid and resized to Stuart's dimensions, the overlay no longer works.
      Another point you appear to ignore is that both Edwards and Stuart were lying! I do hope Dr Bauer carries out a sweep of your blog for the logical fallacies he points out in the Abominable Science - he will find them in equal abundance.

      Finally, if Dr Bauer happens to read this, I would ask him to submit the first four seconds of the right-to-left section of his 16mm copy of TD's film to the undoubtedly competent Computing Science dept at Virginia Tech and ask them to stack the 100 or so frames registered on the front of the disturbance. $100 says they will reveal an object where a helmsman ought to be. They didn't find one before because they were not looking for it.

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    4. Dick, I did refer to your webpage right up to publishing this article. It did not mention your 0.6m estimate, but the cryptozoology.com quote did. Do you have an updated bottle-hump overlay photo based on your corrections? I presume you had to rephotograph to verify your corrected suppositions?

      If Stuart was lying then that would be a logical fallacy (unless his haybales were the same dimensions as his "monster" - do you know they were not?). But that is your conclusion not a cast iron fact. You can't use your own conclusions and feed them back in as "a priori" facts - that would be a logical fallacy. Others can read my previous articles to demonstrate why "Lying Lachlan" is not the slam-dunk they make it out to be.

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    5. GB, the outcome of my early work, prior to Steve's discovery was a demonstration that George Edwards was lying about the location, range, date and size. I could have published a table of sizes for the object depending on the height of the camera above the water, but instead used the height of a camera on my own boat, which would have been similar to Edwards' previous boat. A camera held by someone on the upper deck of his present boat would be about 4.1 metres above water level, and so the object of interest would be twice as far away and so twice as big. I don't mind that Steve got the credit for revealing the details of the hoax, because that proved my maths were along the right lines. There was no need to do another bottle test, and my webpage did state that the size was directly related to the camera height. Your statement that I was "100% out" is also misleading to a lay-reader because it equates with "completely wrong". The 0.6 m size was out by a "factor of 2", which in many fields is pretty damned good.

      Suggestions of peer review are pointless in this subject area, there are people who can understand arguments involving maths, physics, photography, astronomy, photography , fluid dynamics and animal physiology, and those who cannot.

      Regarding your continued attack on Richard Frere, why not simply read what he wrote, rather than use Tony Harmsworth's recollections of a discussion some 30 years earlier. The statement by Adrian Shine is entirely consistent with the former, while the BBC version "Lachlan Stuart's photograph taken on 14 July 1951 was of a different kind of Loch Ness monster, with a long thin body arching out of the water.
      The remnants of this hoax were witnessed by local author Richard Faire. He spoke to Lachlan Stuart the next day, who confessed that he had constructed the image from hay bails and tarpaulin. Researchers later recreated the image and found the water where the monster was seen was in reality very shallow."
      is obvious nonsense and bears little resemblance to anything AS would say.

      Finally for now, your own experiments and alignments may well be flawed, but I will stand by mine.

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    6. Geraint Gibson owned up, and we now the size of his rock....(just over a foot, in about 6 inches of water). maybe worth looking back at various peoples estimates as to what size that was before the rock was found.

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    7. Hay bales have remained of pretty constant cross-section for decades, and are about 18" x 14" x a length that can be conveniently lifted, so the length depends on the density of the material being baled at the time.

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    8. Dick,

      My point is you came out with a result of 23 inches showing out of the water and deduced this was not a monster size. However, the true measure of nearer four feet showing is a lot less arguable as evidence. The conclusion is one needs to more careful in making confident assertions based on lining up hill contours in the future. They could turn out to be wrong.

      Going back to Frere, Tony's recollection was of a discussion abut five years earlier, not thirty. However, Frere's letter to Alastair Boyd was indeed a recollection of a conversation with someone (Lachlan Stuart) over thirty years earlier!

      Also, regarding your earlier statement about workers being present on the beach in their bothies. I can agree with that, but they would have not been there at the weekend and Stuart claimed he took the picture on a Saturday.


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    9. less arguable as evidence ... of not being a monster. Blogger should put an edit facility on comments.

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    10. Regarding hay bale sizes, I tried to find typical local images for that period. There are the cylindrical ones we are familiar with today plus the smaller cuboid ones. But there were also conical ones which looked to have a bigger base. if Stuart did do the hay bale hoax, who knows how much he shaped them or how much the tarpaulin added to the overall size. So, making an estimate of alleged final hay bales dimensions is an exercise in speculation. However, the overlaid Stuart objects in your experiment look a bit on the small side to me.

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    11. I will try one more time:
      1/ "My point is you came out with a result of 23 inches showing out of the water and deduced this was not a monster size. However, the true measure of nearer four feet showing is a lot less arguable as evidence. The conclusion is one needs to more careful in making confident assertions based on lining up hill contours in the future. They could turn out to be wrong." It should be clear to anyone reading my page carefully and understanding it that the size of the object is entirely dependent on the camera height above the water. If Edwards' photo had been taken from the same height as my bottle photo it would have been the size stated. I correctly showed that he was lying about the date, location, range etc and that was enough to prove the photo was not a Nessie monster. The alignment of the distant hill feature with the cap house on the Grant Tower of Urquhart Castle is entirely correct and accurate. The principle is also accurate when used with the Lachlan Stuart photo because I am not "lining up hill contours" but using specific intersections of unique skylines at radically different distances, something like 3 to 7 km on the left and 6 to 10 on the right, looking up Glenurquhart. The spot is as good as triangulated. The height above the water is pretty much settled as well; if you step back a few yards from the waters edge you are in the "alder or hazel" bushes.
      2/ "Going back to Frere, Tony's recollection was of a discussion abut five years earlier, not thirty." Your reference is unclear to me.
      3/ "Also, regarding your earlier statement about workers being present on the beach in their bothies. I can agree with that, but they would have not been there at the weekend and Stuart claimed he took the picture on a Saturday." The contractors camp was not "on the beach" but about halfway up towards the road level, parallel with the older ruin to the north east, but apart from that is not your assertion that they "would not have been there at the weekend" pure speculation as to how many days they worked? And even then, as the photograph was clearly taken in evening light , it could not have been "that" Saturday as there would not have been enough time to get the photo into the newspaper. Sunday papers are normally "put to bed" well in advance and printed on Saturday afternoons at the latest, but I will leave it to you to locate some old-time print workers and ask them how late they could get a photo-story into a Sunday edition.On balance, I would say that LS took his photo on a weekday evening, was spotted by one of the contractors who then tipped off the Press, who then spirited away the film and edited the details to suit their house style. How often do you read tabloids referring to things being revealed "late last night" to add a sense of urgency to the story? It is a common ploy.
      4/ "Regarding hay bale sizes, I tried to find typical local images for that period." Bale sizes have not changed significantly; as I wrote earlier they are about 14" x 18" x a length that can be handled. I will take a look in the barn when I go for a walk past the farm in a few minutes time; you do likewise. The "round" bales are for mechanical handling, and the "conical ones" you mention are possibly corn stooks, made of sheaves hand-reaped and leaning against each other, waiting for the threshing machine. Not a country lad, are you :-) Hay bales cannot be "shaped" , and neither would LS have covered them with tarpaulin as they would have floated high out of the water. Richard Frere refers to "strips" of tarpaulin, which LS would have used to connect the bales together so they could not drift apart, or out into deeper water. There is an art to photographing hay bales in Loch Ness, GB, especially when doing it in the "near dark"!

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    12. Regarding your points.

      1/ Yes, I am sure you have a ready explanation of why your initial analysis was "flawed" (quoting your own website) and perhaps we will see a corrected photo one day to back up your re-analysis. The point is you went through your usual analysis and it was wrong. Nothing is going to change that and without Steve Feltham, you would have believed it was correct! You even stated the fibreglass hump revelation was irrelevant as you had determined the object was only about 20 inches long. And again, you may repeat your claims that you have got the LS location down to a tee, but in the light of your Edwards analysis, that can only ever be called an assumption until - like the Edwards hump - we know the true size of the LS objects.


      2/ It's all in my prior article regarding Tony Harmsworth conversation with Richard Frere. I won't repeat myself.

      3/ Dick, it was you yourself that told me in an email that the workers were not there at the weekend! And, again, the photograph is "not clearly taken" in the evening. I refer you to my previous article on that theory. Just another point on Frere's story. he said LS took him to the beach and showed him the bales hidden behind the bushes. It's amazing that no workers or investigators has ever come forward saying they found these poorly hidden bales - even when winter reduced the foliage! Your story about the tipped off Press of course is of course speculation. It's also surprising the workers who Constance Whyte interviewed did not get back to her either.

      4/ Perhaps, but as the water expands the bales? You will of course understand that I take anything Mr. Frere says about this incident with a pinch of salt - be it strips of tarpaulin or otherwise.

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    13. GB,
      1/ I am not going to climb onto the roof of my boat to take a photograph from an elevation of 4 metres for you or anyone else. The explanation of the size difference has been made clear enough times. One person on the internet disputing my conclusions is fine by me.
      2/ Tony admits - albeit indirectly - that he could be wrong, he has similar factual errors on his website, everyone else says something consistent with RF's own accounts so I am content.
      3a/ The "workers" referred to in my email were at a different location - Aldourie Estate - in a different year.
      3b/ To a professional and experienced photographer it is clear enough, and Stuart himself is reported by RF to have used the phrase "near dark", and the hillside opposite is in shadow despite there being sunlight reflecting off the water into the camera. It all adds up.
      3c/ It's amazing that no workers or investigators has ever come forward saying they found these poorly hidden bales - there you go slipping the naughty words "poorly hidden" which replace the word "concealed" in RF's report. Tut tut. The camera location is many metres from the workmen's camp, and as Stu P and Rebecca X will attest, it is a struggle to move along that shoreline, and also difficult to spot "concealed" bales of hay - which are still there.
      3d/ No-one - not even Constance Whyte - was looking for hay bales, they were looking for evidence of a monster.
      3e/ Did not CW herself write "News of the adventure, however, reached Inverness and a representative of the Scottish Daily Express arrived post-haste and offered to take the camera and have the film developed and so it happened that the same afternoon an untouched proof was brought round to us at the Canal Office at Clachnaharry for an opinion as to whether or not this was the Monster." How long does it take for news of someone seeing a monster photo being taken at Whitefield to travel to a Press office in Inverness, persuade a reporter to drive out to Whitefield, find and strike a bargain with Lachlan Stuart to part with his camera and film, take them to Nairn to get the film developed and printed, and then drive back in to Inverness to the Canal Office with an "untouched proof" the same afternoon? I don't think it is possible. And before you dismiss my opinion as "just another of Dick Raynor's claims", I would add that before the advent of digital photography local press photographers used my services to get their films developed and printed when they needed prints in a hurry. I humbly suggest that I know what I am talking about.
      4/ Water does not "expand" hay bales, it just soaks into them making them denser and more difficult to handle. Your comments about rolling them back up to the croft - well - go ahead and try it.

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    14. Another "fake photo" story which holds no water - which does not prove the photo to be of a lake monster either. But as GB as very clearly laid out in his analysis of this photo Frere's story is very weak.

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    15. Indeed, often the task lies more in critiquing opposing theories.

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    16. GB, did you receive my reply to your post "Glasgow Boy 10 October 2013 05:06"? It has not appeared on your blog.

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    17. 1/ One person disputing your conclusions is rather a sad inditement of the lack of criticism of sceptical arguments on the Internet. I'll let others quietly decide whether your flawed analysis is indicative of future and past critiques.

      2/ Tony may admit the possibility of error but after nearly 30 years since he printed his RF version - well you are always keen to tell us how bad memories get after so long a period! I am also content with my critique of the flaws in the RF story. But, again, it is not my contenment or yours that matters, but what others think. They are the judge and jury in this and other Loch Ness matters.

      3a/ So why is it relevant to the whole LS story? You state they went home at the weekends when LS got this picture? Is that relevant or not? If not, why is any other part relevant?

      3b/ Again, RF's testimony is too full of holes to accept his "near dark" statement. I have already covered your "sun in the photo" argument elsewhere.

      3c/ I have been along the shore, I would like to know how LS got those alleged bales so well hidden. They must have stood out like sore thumbs when the foliage disappeared in the autumn. I of course dispute the accuracy of the spot where you took your hay bale pictures until, like the Edwards object, we know the true size of the LS objects. You could be 100% out yet again.

      3d/ I doubt that is true of the Express investigators.

      3e/ I don't think we need to invoke the "superior knowledge" clause here. The Sunday Express for 15th July 1951 said it was taken the day before ... unless you want us all to don tin foil hats and say the Express was lying too. Your reference to Nairn is surprising and suggests a lack of research on this point. The man who developed the film (MacPherson) *lived* in Drumcharrel outside of Nairn and in the middle of nowhere. Hardly the place for a photographic development shop - unless you think the Express did not trust anyone in Inverness and preferred someone's back garden shed?

      4/ Hmm, well, my basic physics would suggest hay would expand on absorbing water, but perhaps it miraculously retains the same volume. A bit academic considering Frere's testimony is as watertight as a hay bale.

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    18. "GB, did you receive my reply to your post "Glasgow Boy 10 October 2013 05:06"? It has not appeared on your blog."

      I did, Dick and it has appeared. I tend to hang on to your comments longer as they often present more of a challenge and I like to think them through first. I won't discard them in the interest of open debate.

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    19. ... though whether anyone else is reading our exchanges is a complete unknown to me!

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    20. I am... I don't think Dick's incorrect calculation of the hump size is quite as bad as you make out GB. In fact the maths are 100% accurate when you keep in mind Dick says its based on the camera height he used. With hindsight, it might have been better for Dick to make a stronger point of the camera height being crucial to the calculations, or perhaps offer a range of possible sizes calculated from a range of possible camera heights.

      Sometimes, after borrowing down to a deep level of detailed analysis, it helps to do the opposite and take a big step back and look at the big picture. Here I think some of the details being debated aren't going to change the argument for the LS picture been faked with bales of hay. After reading a lot of facts, it seems to me the case for a hoax is "beyond a reasonable doubt" Since its such a long time ago, minor details like where the film was processed might not be able to be proven 100% but we can still deduce the most likely scenario. GB, these points you are questioning really don't go anyway to suggest it wasn't bales of hay, just that the detail of how it happened can be questioned. We also need to consider how likely the bales of hay theory is compared to other possibilities.

      Asking people to believe the LS pic is a large unidentified creature is quite a different thing. Try this thought experiment. Imagine someone is holding a gun to your head and asks if the LS picture is Nessie, or bales of Hay, if you get it wrong, you die. What are you going to say? What would be your best guess?

      Its not just Occam's Razor, its common sense and reason.

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    21. Well, I am. Keep firing away 'cos it's cracking stuff.

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    22. Thanks guys.

      Les, I agree - a range of values does more justice to the uncertainties involved. But again, Frere is unreliable, surely it is a given that eyewitness testimony on the other side of the debate needs to be equally scrutinized? I see no sign of such a process.

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    23. There is a huge amount of research gone into the reliability of eye witness testimony by criminologists and psychologists. I don’t think any current analysis of the eye witness reports would be complete without bringing that into that into the report. Some of the books go some way towards this, but I feel if it was updated the eye witness reports would appear weaker. One of the problems with amateur research like most of us do here is that we don't want to do the boring work. The huge amount of reading and referencing we would need to do in order to make a case that would be a worthwhile read for a scientist; we do tend to be very insular. This is actually what needs to be done by anyone claiming (say) the LS picture is Nessie. If you think its Nessie, prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. I think it’s been proven as bales of hay beyond a reasonable doubt. Even though GB, you might try and throw some doubt in, like a desperate defence lawyer.

      Keep in mind that the eye witness testimony (I think) you are referring to in the LS story is just a small part of the case, the case doesn't depend on it the way an eye witness report does when someone declares "I saw Nessie" Even if you manage to throw a huge amount of doubt on the LS hoax hypothesis, none of that actually proves it’s not bales of hay, just that there are some doubt on the exact way events played out. Even if some people were persuaded there was no evidence at all to suggest LS hoaxed the picture we still don't know what it is, it could still be bales of hay by another method or it could still be unknown objects. All that is a large distance away from it being Nessie.

      I might claim there are fairies at the bottom of my garden. I wouldn't expect people to then prove that there were not, no, people would expect me to prove there were, and the proof would need to be pretty good! Do you think the LS picture is Nessie? If so what are you basing that on? If you don't think its Nessie and you don't think its bales of hay, what do you think it is?

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    24. I don't think there is any desperation in proving the LS picture is a monster. The inconsitencies in the Frere story is not meant to prove "monster" but prove there is a reasonable doubt is his testimony.

      As for memory theories, in the context of the Loch Ness Monster, I think they are over-rated ... as I hope to explain in a future article.

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  5. Roland, I'm not surprised that you are using this mistake in Dick Raynor's analysis to throw doubt on some of his other analysis of loch ness evidence, but I'd like to provide some balance to what has been said above.
    We've had the conversation before about peer review, but since you raise this again I'd like to ask why you feel it’s necessary for Critical analysis of evidence to be per reviewed but you don't seem to require "evidence" to be peer reviewed when its presented in the first place, nor do you indicate that your own analysis or articles are peer reviewed. Is it reasonable to only expect critical analysis to be peer reviewed but nothing else?
    Keep in mind that discrediting Dick's analysis doesn’t go any way to proving the existence of Nessie. It’s too easy for researchers to forget the fact that it’s up to the people presenting the evidence in the first place (like the Lachlan Stuart picture) to prove that it’s Nessie. It’s not up to the critics to prove it’s not.

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    1. Yes, everything should be peer-reviewed and in this case that means someone else coming along, having a look and offering their possibly contrary comments. Happens all the time in these comments sections and I don't filter them out.

      I don't need to "require" peer review of initial evidence, it's either already out there or I can rely on people like Dick to present their analyses of their own volition. Such is the way of freedom of speech. Same goes for my own articles, I don't have a "team" of critics standing by at my command, the Internet will provide any responses.

      And I know this doesn't prove Nessie's existence, that doesn't mean I don't point out the problems with various non-monster critiques.

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  6. In regard to the question on a few peoples minds, as to why George would choose now, at the end of his tourist season, to confess, and thus generate a whole new raft of national and international publicity, (especially given his own statement that "any publicity regarding the Loch Ness Monster is good publicity" to an STV reporter last summer). I can fill in some of the details.
    It was actually Jenny Gross, the Wall Street Journal reporter who got george to confess for the very first time, by repeatedly asking him if the photo was genuine or not, ( hes still lying when he claims that he admitted it any earlier than that,) on the 10th of september. she was here to write the eventual story that was published in the WSJ this weekend about the whole fall-out in Drum. That same day she came to see me for an interview, and happened to mention that George had admitted it was a fake.... I pointed out to her that this was the first time hed said that.
    ..... Then, as soon as she had left my van, in my excitement.... I phoned Olivia Bell at the Inverness Courier, and told them that seeing as they had started the whole story back last august, maybe they could up date it with Georges confession.
    The Courier merely had to go and tell George that they knew what he had said to the WSJ, and ask him to admit the same to them, then write their story.... naturally that took them over two weeks.
    Because their report ended up coming out before the WSJs it looked like the courier had wrung the confession out of George.... they hadnt.

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  7. There is also Steve Kulls blog from 8th Feb 2013 in which he tells of George Edwards failing a lie detector test - http://squatchdetective.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/the-george-edwards-loch-ness-photos-debunked-as-a-hoax/

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  8. Just as I expected, nary a word on the hoax over here in the U.S., as far as I could tell. None of the main newspapers or TV networks picked up the story, not even a popular radio talk show devoted to the paranormal, UFOs, and Cryptids, they are pretty quick to report on such things. The radio show initially reported the story last year when it was thought to be genuine, but not this time. I'll give it some time, hardly earth shattering news. The closest I could come to any mention of the LNM was a story of an alligator measuring 13-feet, 4.5-inches long and weighing 727 pounds, caught and killed in the Mississippi River in Claiborne County. As one of the local yokels declared “When we first saw him, I yelled, 'Oh my gosh, we caught the Loch Ness Monster!”. If it were only that easy at Loch Ness! By the way, I wonder what the WSJ was doing covering the possibility of a hoax? Their main focus is on business and economics. Perhaps their angle was on how a hoax would affect the economy of Loch Ness. Whatever the case, they got Edwards to spill his guts.

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    1. Jenny Gross spotted the article title "Stop The Science - It's Bad For Business" when I cross-posted it at Cryptomundo.com, back when the debacle started and Tony Harmsworth first resigned from the Drumnadrochit Chamber of Commerce. I guess the word "business" would have naturally caught her eye.

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    2. Steve:

      You're probably right. Took a cursory look at your Nessie as giant salamander Blog site, quite an intriguing theory. I'll have to study it in further detail. I believe you are not the first to suggest that. Good adjunct to this Blog site as a possible candidate, in lieu of a live or dead specimen. Preferably live. I remain openminded.

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  9. i followed this story and i am stunned anybody fell for it in the first place. people are getting plaudits yet they believed in it. george ' s story was absolutly ridiculous from the start. so no more of these ' so so cracked it'
    nobody is any wiser to anybody else and in fact it was someone who owned the hump who cracked the hoax after a friend pointed it out to him!

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  10. me and my friend Dan Parker played the hoax in loch tarff. it was a wind up on Geraint but went too far. he stayed in fort augustus forva drink with a friend off the royal scot. check my fb of the date and u will see i was there. so why lie steve felham saying he has admitted the hoax? he had nothing to do with it. get ur facts right. he is a believer and still is. why lie?????

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  11. I'd like to have some of what Ian and Dan were drinking!

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  12. But it did have people fooled for a while lol only a bit of fun sorry. We couldnt resist it playing a trick on Geraint because he is a believer ! Never mind lol no harm done. Happy hunting fellas

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