Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The F. C. Adams Photograph




Here is a photograph that has been on the periphery of the Loch Ness literature for decades, yet for Loch Ness Monster researchers, it has remained an ambiguous image. I would rank it as one of the "classic pictures" in the Loch Ness panoply, being one of those seminal black and white pictures taken between 1933 and 1960 that so often formed the backbone of many a Nessie book. However, one may be forgiven for getting the impression that this one was made the "runt of the litter".

Opinions have been varied as to what it shows. Dr. Roy Mackal declared it as "positive evidence" of the creature in his 1976 book, "The Monsters of Loch Ness". He mused that the object is akin to a flipper or fin comparable to the [1972] underwater photograph of an appendage”.

Likewise, Peter Costello found in its favour in his 1974 work, "In Search of Lake Monsters", where he reflects the opinion of A. C. Oudemans in saying the head is turned away from us” in the manner of forced perspective. This was offered in explanation of why the presumed neck looked so foreshortened.

But others pro-monster authors have barely given it a mention, neither declaring it monster, misidentification or hoax. Of such, we find that Holiday, Dinsdale and Whyte act as if the photograph never existed.

Perhaps Nicholas Witchell best summed it up in his 1974 book, "The Loch Ness Story". He reproduced the picture, but adds the simple description: "An unidentified object in Loch Ness". One suspects the problem lay in the fact that the object on view did not fit into the normal plesiosaur mould. But then again, it didn't have to.

Sceptical authors, of course, will have a different opinion on the object's identity. Maurice Burton, ever keen to promote his vegetable mat theory in the 1961 work, "The Elusive Monster", tells us that the picture is like a trunk or a branch brought up from the depths by some underwater explosion.

Finally, Tony Harmsworth, in his recent work, "Loch Ness Understood", plumps for the dorsal fin of a species such as the dolphin.

So much for the variety of opinions, but what more can we learn of this picture? The picture itself came to light in the form of two press articles. The first was published by the Daily Mail on the 25th August 1934. In this regard, good old fashioned research trumped over online and digital as I paid for a photocopy of it from the British Library and reproduce it below for your interest.




The short text under the picture runs thusly:

This exclusive and latest photograph of the Loch Ness Monster (which has been in retirement for some time) was taken recently by a reader of "The Daily Mail" on holiday at Fort Augustus. The picture has been enlarged, but not retouched. On the right we reproduce, for the purposes of comparison, the picture of the monster published in "The Daily Mail" last April. It was a photograph taken by R. K. Wilson, a surgeon, of Queen Anne Street W., at a distance of 200 yards.

The picture was again printed in the 1st September issue of the Illustrated London News (picture at the top of this article). Its even briefer text says:

The latest photograph of the Loch Ness "Monster", after an interval during which it had not been seen for some considerable time: an enlargement of a picture taken recently by a visitor on holiday at Fort Augustus.

As an aside, I would point out that the monster had not been in retirement or been unseen for a considerable time. July and August of 1934 proved to be the most monster intensive period in the history of the phenomenon. After that, apart from Maurice Burton dismissing it in 1961, the picture sunk without trace until Peter Costello included it in his aforementioned work forty years later.


MISTER F. C. ADAMS

Thanks to Peter Costello, the authorship of the picture seems to have landed by default at the feet of a Mr. F. C. Adams. If we look back at the press clippings of the time, there is indeed an F. C. Adams who claimed to have seen and photographed the creature. The account below is from the 3rd August 1934 edition of the Inverness Courier, three weeks before the picture appeared in the national newspapers.




Mr. Adams was in the tower of Urquhart Castle when he took his picture. A recent picture of my own from that vantage point shows the vista that formed the back drop of his picture. I would imagine that the creature he photographed would have occupied the top centre of the waters. An attempt to pinpoint the creature's location based on the account is reproduced further down.





Now since the object is stated to be mid loch and in a line with Whitefield, this would suggest the object was at a distance of  over one mile away from Mr. Adams. This leads me to question whether the photograph under consideration was indeed taken by him. I say that because the clarity of the object is not consistent with a photograph of an object over one mile away. Mr. Adams himself was quoted as being sceptical of anything coming out on film at that distance and I do not doubt his word on that matter.

Moreover, the two newspaper articles suggest that the incident may have actually happened closer to Fort Augustus, over ten miles away. I would also add that the photograph was taken side on whereas the object described by Adams should be heading away from him.

In that light, I do not agree with Peter Costello's assessment that Adams is the photographer. I suspect Peter took this line because the Adams story was the one closest to the Daily Mail article that mentions a photograph being taken. That is a logical deduction, but the internal evidence suggests we need to look elsewhere.

I did make an attempt to find the true Adams picture during the course of this investigation with no success. Given the distance of the object involved, I am of the view that the potential prize is not worth the effort (apart from the historical aspect of the story). Mr. Adams lived in Clapham, London and the wartime census of the 29th September 1939 still placed him at Granville Mews (or Granville Mansions). That census actually names him as "C. F. Adams" but the census administrator (despite my payment to submit a query) would not give me any further details unless I could prove he was deceased. A chicken and egg situation ensued as I needed his full name to confirm his demise! 


DOCTOR JAMES LEE

So I moved on. Going back to the original articles, the first clue I had was that the picture may have been taken at Fort Augustus. The second was a comment in Witchell's "The Loch Ness Story". Though he makes no commitment as to what the object is, he does attribute the picture to not F. C. Adams but to a Dr. James Lee.

So we have Fort Augustus and Dr. James Lee. What could be found out about this doctor? A search of the online British Newspaper Archive website turned up only one Dr. James Lee from that period. He was the senior surgeon at the Buchanan Hospital at Hastings, Kent.  Here is one clipping regarding him and a dispute over an unpaid bill from the Hastings and St. Leonards Observer for June 13th 1936.




However, further searches of the various archives proved unfruitful in connecting him in any way with this photograph or even Loch Ness. However, I am certain that he is the man who took this picture and how ironic that we have a second "Surgeon's Photograph" taken only four months after its more famous predecessor!

How Nicholas Witchell came by the name is not certain. My own guess is that he got it from Loch Ness researcher, Constance Whyte, author of More Than A Legend. He had consulted her for his book and since she was old enough to have been researching the monster in 1934, I suspect she had asked the Daily Mail (or perhaps Rupert Gould) for the name of the person behind the picture.

But could I find a descendant of James Lee to find further information? By a fortuitous sequence of searches which linked Dr. lee to nobility and the peerage, I managed to find the grandson of James Lee, who still resides in that general area of England. I must say that it is normally a bit of a trial trying to find existing descendants of Loch Ness characters, so I was glad to make his acquaintance via email.

As it turns out, Dr. Lee was born James Carrell Lee in Quebec, 7th March 1888 which means he was 46 years old when he took this picture of the Loch Ness Monster. He lived at St Leonard-on-Sea and was married to Ethel. Unfortunately, his grandson had no knowledge of the photograph or whether he had visited Loch Ness. In his own words:

 "I'm afraid I have no idea whether or not my grandfather ever visited Loch Ness ... I have one old photo album, but there are no pictures of anywhere looking like Loch Ness.

However, I have left it to his grandson to discover any further information, be it by accident or design. Admittedly, I could not tell you what my own grandfather was doing in the 1930s, so I cannot expect other people to have ready answers. It is the kind of scenario that either requires the living descendant to have been explicitly told about it or some tangible item such as the photograph being preserved.

Let me say that the main thrust of this kind of investigation is to uncover specific information. In this particular case, the most important item of information is the uncropped photograph. What we have seen in books and newspapers is again the bane of research, the blown up photograph which excludes all other detail which can aid the researcher. But let us move on.


OTHER WITNESSES

But the investigation into this photo may yet produce another witness. According to the newspapers, the taker of the photograph was on holiday at Fort Augustus. However, a search of newspaper reports prior to the publication of the picture in the Daily Mail turns up nothing in that area. That scenario changed when I looked out beyond the publication of the picture in the Daily Mail. This clipping from The Scotsman of 1st September 1934 proved illuminating.




So here we have a nobleman with family and guests spending a holiday at Fort Augustus who saw something resembling a fin careering up Loch Ness. Could this be the very same fin that appeared in the Daily Mail taken by someone the paper says was "on holiday at Fort Augustus"? The story does not date the incident, rather using the vague term, "the other evening", and so could have occurred a week or so before. The account also states the object was creating a wash comparable to a speed boat to which I suggest the Mail photo also gives a hint of water turbulence to the right of the object.

But who could this "well-known Scots Baronet" have been? There are over a hundred such people in Scotland, but the clues led me to conclude it was Sir Alistair Gordon-Cumming, 5th Baronet of the Altyre Estate near Forres, Morayshire (only 60 miles on the road to Loch Ness). He was born in 1893 and died in 1939 and so fits our timeframe. Here he is pictured below with his family from the Aberdeen Press and Journal dated March 28th 1933. As you can see, he was married and was the father of two daughters, which fits in with the description of our Scots Baronet from The Scotsman account.



Moreover, Sir Alistair was a keen naturalist and I'll wager was also a follower of the stories coming out of Loch Ness. By way of example, a story concerning him was found in The Scotsman for the 22nd May 1934. Here we read how he drove twice from his estate to Findhorn Bay to investigate a "sea serpent" like creature which turned out to be a ribbon fish. So, it seems from this story that accounts of sea serpent like animals in Loch Ness would doubtless also encourage some visits to that nearby loch!




Finding the grandson of Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming was always going to be an easier affair as he is now the 7th Baronet and still based in Forres. But, an email to him did not elicit the desired response when asked about this story: 

Never heard this one! Sorry, Alastair


CONNECTIONS

But can James Lee and Sir Alistair Gordon-Cummings be linked? Was James Lee a guest of Sir Alistair on that day, and did he take that famous alternative "Surgeon's Photograph" while Sir Alistair examined the object through a spyglass? As you can see, answers from descendants have not taken us further. However, when I asked Dr. Lee's grandson about the Cumming connection, he did say that although he was not aware of any connection to his grandfather, there was one snippet of information.

By strange coincidence, when I looked up the Cumming baronetcy, I found a member of the extended Cumming family living in the house where I spent 12 years of my childhood, 1946 to 1958.

So were the two families indeed linked? This does not prove who was present on that August evening in 1934, but it provides enough incentive to continue to pursue the matter. In fact, putting this information into the public domain may yet elicit further information as people search for related facts about Dr. Lee or Sir Alistair.


THE PHOTOGRAPH ITSELF

Whatever the connections with this photograph, I am sure Sir Alistair would have taken an interest in the picture under discussion. What can we glean from the picture as we have it? First, the idea that it was a branch being forced to the surface by gases should be discounted. I have a hard time conceiving of that dark, smooth object as being part of a tree.

But when I first began to delve further, I had the hypothesis, like Costello, that this was the head and neck of the creature. Unlike the other researchers, I take the view that the neck is non-skeletal and can shorten and retract. However, even allowing for a theoretical retraction and extension of this part of the anatomy, I concluded the way the object extended into the water was not indicative of such a feature. So, could it be another appendage such as a fin or flipper? Again, a flipper did not look likely which left us with a fin.

This leads us to the prevalent sceptical position that this is no more than the dorsal fin of a species of dolphin or whale.  Let us compare this object to the dorsal fin of a generic Bottlenose Dolphin by overlaying it against this image taken from Wikipedia.




The problem here is not whether it is a fin, but what kind of fin? Note that the Lee fin when overlaid upon our dolphin is more blunted at the top and narrower as it extends downwards. This is a pattern I have discerned with various other fins I have compared it against.







Now, I am told that dolphin dorsal fins are a bit like human noses and come in all manner of shapes and sizes. I may also be accused of merely picking the dorsal fin images that suit my case. In fact, if it was merely the dorsal fin of a local dolphin photographed off the Scottish coast, it should not be a problem looking for a match. To avoid the charge of selection bias, I point readers to a photo catalogue of dolphin dorsal fins compiled by the universities of Aberdeen and St Andrews between 1990-2012.  These dolphins inhabit the coastlines of Scotland and so are an appropriate group.

All in, there are just under 200 separate images of dolphins. As far as I can see, none of them are a good match for the object in the Lee photograph. They are either more pointed or broader than our object. I show a small montage of 24 of these fins with the Cumming-Lee fin as a comparison, the rest are pretty much the same.




One could try and present a dolphin at an angle in an attempt to flatten its fin, but that does not work either. In fact, the object in the picture is evidently being photographed side on as my white line suggests along the waterline.




So, it is not likely to be a Bottlenose Dolphin. However, I did find one image that was a reasonable fit and that was Rossi's Dolphin. I found this image and overlaid it. This candidate still has two problems. Firstly, the fin has that "sharp" end to it, unlike the blunted Loch Ness object. Secondly, the overlay suggests we should see more of the upper body, and I do not think that is convincingly seen in the Loch Ness photo (one also wonders how hydrodynamic (streamline) is the Loch Ness object compared to other fins?).




I would point out that the majority of dorsal fins from this species were not a good fit. Indeed, I did not find this image using the search phrase "dolphin scotland" or "dolphin dorsal fin scotland" but rather had to focus on narrower terms. Now, in terms of selection bias, one has to be careful. The fact that I found a reasonably fitting image is not the whole story. The use of Google Images can be an abused tool despite its apparently logical use.

The problem is statistical and can be summed in the phrase "The harder the image is to find, the less likely it is to be the solution". That is a generalisation and one may argue for specific cases, but a rare image can be taken to mean a rare circumstance in terms of time, location and object. If that is the case, one may present it as a plausibility, but the probability is harder to argue.


SOME FIN OF INTEREST?

With that in mind, suppose we do find that elusive uncropped photograph and we confirm the picture was taken at Loch Ness? I would suggest that dolphin candidates should immediately be discounted. This blog has talked previously about an alleged sighting of porpoises in Loch Ness in 1914, but even some sceptics are not convinced that such creatures could negotiate the various obstacles to get into Loch Ness. 

In that case, a dorsal fin in Loch Ness is not likely to be a known animal, but the problem is that most Nessie researchers do not believe the Loch Ness Monster has such a dorsal fin.  It seems we have a sighting which is a square peg to round holes. We are told plesiosaurs do not have such fins, nor giant eels, sturgeons, long necked seals or super sized invertebrates.

This is no wonder since witnesses explicitly describing fins can probably be counted on all your fingers with some left over. But there is one curious and potentially open door to Loch Ness Monster dorsal fins. I am referring to eyewitness reports that describe triangular "humps". Are these objects in fact fins seen side on, giving the impression they are bulkier than they really are? 


CONCLUSION

So, it cannot be deduced from a blow up whether the picture was taken at Loch Ness. There is only the merest hint of a distant shore on the picture, but certainly not enough to say it is at Loch Ness. This is the sine qua non of this case and without which the subject settles into abeyance.

This is a supposed boon to sceptical researchers who can merely turn around and say "there is no evidence this was taken at Loch Ness" without having to exert themselves any further. In fact, the photo cannot be proven to have been taken anywhere, let alone Loch Ness. The drawing below traces out a suggested route for the creature seen by Alistair Gordon Cumming and James Lee.




If this route approximates to the truth and the photographer was located in the general vicinity marked by the circle, then it is a fair bet that the familiar backdrop of Loch Ness and its hills will be in the uncropped picture.

I have searched high and wide for this uncropped picture. I have enquired of the Daily Mail and Illustrated London News archive departments, the online British Newspaper Archive, descendants of witnesses, private archives and reverse image Internet searches. As an example of private archive research, I found some of Alastair Gordon-Cumming's personal letters at the National Library of Scotland. As it turned out, they were of no consequence, but who knows what that line of enquiry may yet reveal?

A few avenues are still open, but the options are rapidly running out. Nevertheless, it is great that we live in an age where a vast library of literature can be analysed and searched so easily via online and digital websites. So, a final verdict on the matters covered here escapes us and the search for the uncropped picture continues.











104 comments:

  1. Seems the provenance of the photo is the big issue here.

    There's really nothing tangible to confirm it is from Loch Ness.

    I've always thought it looked like the dorsal fin of an orca, which of course is part of the dolphin family. The whole shape of the image in the photo seems very very close to that species.

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    1. Yes, but remember "not proven to be taken at Loch Ness" does not equate to "not taken at Loch Ness".

      I checked Orcas, not much different to bottlenoses in terms of matches. The fact that we now have a link to loch ness via a press report makes me 55-45 in favour of this being taken at Loch Ness as opposed to 50-50 (inconclusive).

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    2. Yep,you're right. It *could* be Loch Ness. It could also be a whole lot of other places though.

      Sadly, until we are able to establish provenance - or at least come much closer to identifying the location than we are now - we're urinating in the wind with this one.

      It is intriguing that this image seems to have been sidelined somewhat, as you say. I suspect the lack of back story on the who, what, where and when is the main reason for this.

      The first time I saw this pic I immediately thought of the dorsal fin of a dolphin species. It leaps out at me. Admittedly I'm no naturalist though.

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    3. I am 100% certain there is no evidence this photo wasn't taken at sea.

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    4. I am 100% certain there is no evidence this photo wasn't taken at Loch Ness.

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    5. I am 100% certain that the onus is on you to prove it was, not for anyone to prove it wasn't.

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    6. Sounds very much like my words in the article. Sceptics who don't need "to exert themselves any further".

      Don't worry, the pro-Nessie will continue to do the work as you guys issues edicts from your armchairs.

      And I am 100% certain that's the end of this sub-thread.


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    7. Glasgow boy you sound so convinced that this is evidence, it is nothing but a picture that could have been taken anywhere on the planet.. imagine this as the only evidence in a court of law.. but yeah it's kinda interesting but it's not going to lead to anything is it

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    8. Well, if you look at the comment above, I am 55-45 in favour. Hardly a resounding "convinced"?

      As far as I am concerned, this photo is on the back burner until the uncropped version turns up. The main thurst of the article was the new info on the related press report and people involved. Plus questioning the idea that this was a bottlenose dolphin.

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  2. It's an interesting photo.

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  3. The picture is not completely side on. It seems to me that the bulk of the animal is pointed slightly towards the camera/

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    1. I thought the same.

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  4. bodge from Suffolk19 June 2015 at 15:13

    One of my favourite photo's & one that I always thought deserved a more detailed examination than its usually gets . my thoughts on it are that it's front flipper of a creature that's rolling on the surface & not a dorsal fin at all . great research as usual but as you say difficult to know where it was taken

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  5. It may be an animal rolling, so could be a flipper

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  6. I feel you've conclusively proved it's the dorsal fin of a known animal. Case closed for this reader. Liked the article by the way.

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  7. I think there's more to analyze in the picture than the "fin". I find the right side quite interesting, with details that beg for an explanation. What are the "bubbles" in front of the "fin"? And I find the left side of the animal intriguing as well, as the "dorsal line" doesn't continue smoothly from right to left, like in dolphins, but suddenly drops down after the "fin". For me that detail alone does a lot to rule out the "fin" theory. I'd love to hear your thoughts about these aspects of the picture. Perhaps a picture or two could be created highlighting the things I am talking about.

    - Guam

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    1. Yes, I mentioned in the Rossi overlay that there seemed to be a lack of body in comparison.

      The "bubbles" to me are turbulence due to motion, but I did consider the foam like commotion that is sometimes associated with hump appearances and submergences.

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    2. I disagree with Guam and Glasgow Boy here. I believe the Rossi's dolphin shows almost exactly the same drop off to the left of the fin. The slight difference could be accounted for by the animal in our mystery photo simply having its back more arched and its tail deeper in the water. Dolphins are not rigid animals!

      DT

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    3. That raises more questions. This would impy to me that the animal is more likely to be not being more forward, so what is the apparent turbulence in front of the object to the right?

      Also, how would this arched position affect the orientation of the dorsal fin?

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    4. I would say, with all due politeness for your fine article, that the turbulence to the right and the submerged tail to the left, that the a answer is staring us in the face. The animal is in the act of rolling on the surface. The tail is still submerged, and the head has re-entered the water, causing the turbulence above it.

      The close similarities to the photo of the Rossi's dolphin can't be ignored. Just a tiny bit of extra sharpness on the fin of the Rossi's dolphin, and everything else is almost the same photo.

      Again politely I would say case closed on another photo. Sorry.

      DT

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    5. I cannot help but agree with our anonymous friend. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck......

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    6. The thing is we have a press clipping just one week after the picture was published describing a similar thing. I would not discount this so easily.

      It either means someone claimed they saw a dorsal fin in Loch Ness or someone is playing a trick (though not very well as no one declared to photo and report were linked).

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    7. It sounds like the old hoaxer's trick of adding in something seemingly unconnected to bolster the case. Next!

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    8. Not true. If the report was a plant, one would expect the photo to be mentioned to complete the link.

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    9. So there was a huge dorsal fin in the loch for one week then never again???

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    10. Actually, I did uncover other reports, but since I suspect you are a cynic (and I also suspect who you are), I wont waste my time on you.

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  8. Great article, as usual some really thorough research. It is always impressive how you manage to bring new insight to these old photographs by going back to the source material, and highlights how certain details which we take for granted just get passed from author to author without checking.

    However, I don't agree the animal is completely side-on, I think it is to an angle with us with the right hand side closer to the camera, meaning the "fin" object is foreshortened. It's very unclear at the boundary which grainy bits are body and which are water, and the line you've drawn looks pretty arbitrary to me, to be honest, there's no obvious reason to assume that's where the water starts.

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    1. Robin, I don't agree with your assesment. The image is sufficiently clear to suggest the object is side on. You can see the difference between the angles here:

      http://www.lochnessinvestigation.com/Dolphin.html

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  9. Glasgow Boy, you write, "I take the view that the neck is non-skeletal and can shorten and retract. However, even allowing for a theoretical retraction and extension of this part of the anatomy, I concluded the way the object extended into the water was not indicative of such a feature."

    I am not sure I understand exactly what element in the picture brings you to discount that interpretation. Unless I am missing something, I'd say that this may well be what we are dealing with here, even if I can't say I am a big supporter of the invertebrate/retractable neck theory. At least not yet! But if YOU think it's not here in this picture, I wish I understood precisely why you think so. Thank you!

    - Guam

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    1. The "neck" widens out too much at the bottom for me to accept it as a proboscis.

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  10. Hi GB, I may be missing something, but I'm afraid that link only affirms my perception - those two pictures look very very similar to me. I admit the "fin" doesn't match the typical shape of a bottlenose dolphin though - I agree with the commenter above it looks more like an orca, which do often have high, upright blunt-ended fins.

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    1. It does look like a dorsal fin, but I have yet to see a firm ID on it. I have looked at hundreds of dorsal fin images, the vast majority do not fit it.

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    2. It's a hard one to call (photo) I'm just musing, trying to form an prospectus. Thoughts, is the salt water of the loch greater at Inverness than further down the loch?

      From the distant past, think it was in a Dinsdale book that loch gates had been damaged at Inverness by something passing through, and not a boat. I could be wrong, long years ago.

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    3. I'd say the fact there are 'hundreds' of dorsal fin images out there tell its own story.

      There are many variances. As you say, it's like the human nose - no 2 are really the same.

      I'm comes down to what it looks *most* like. Does the Adams photo look like a dorsal fin from a dolphin species? I defy anyone to look at the final group of images in this article and say 'no'. Of course it does.

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    4. And an eel looks like a snake ...

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    5. So now when we look at any animal photo we have to assume it might actually be a monster performing some kind of mimickry instead? Hmmm...

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  11. I'm more inclined to believe that if it was taken at Loch Ness, it shows not a flipper or fin, but the neck and back of the animal taken from the left rear quarter with the head turned to the right and obscured by the neck. The frothy “hump”could be water washing over the back.

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    1. You're in the Costello-Oudemans camp then?

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    2. Well yes, but not just because they say so, although it does kinda makes sense. Up until this article, I had always assumed and took it at face value that it was a flipper, never even entertaining the thought that it could be a fin! If it is a Dolphin fin, it just doesn't jibe well with your overlays of known candidate fins. A Nessie fin? Very unlikely, based on the sightings and photo data base. It could still be a flipper. As with all the classic photos, everybody has different interpretations. It's like a Rorschach test. Such are the profound vexations of this mystery.

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    3. Why not just take it as what it obviously is? It's a dorsal fin and it's in the sea.

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    4. You see what you see and I see what I see. Maybe we both fail the test and not quite what the shrink wants to hear. You don't know for certain it's at sea and now, after this investigative report, I'm not so sure it's at Loch Ness. But, if it were, that's my interpretation. So perhaps were both half right.

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  12. One can observe typical thought processes at work here. The skeptics point to known animals and no proven link to the loch. The Nessie lovers attempt to turn dorsal fin into headless neck, and accept the Ness location without evidence.

    What we have here is a microcosm of the whole Ness story, summed up on a single page.

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    1. Hmm, well, I can accept it is a dorsal fin. If it wasn't for the report I found, I would have vaccillated on a Loch Ness location. It is an interesting story worth pursuing, especially the uncropped photo.

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  13. Why were there so many 1930's photographs but non now? In the light of how many people now own camera phones it begs the question: Have Nessies died out or were they hoaxing in the 1930's?

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    1. I refer you to a previous article:

      http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/concerning-mobile-phone-cameras.html

      Leave any comments at that article, not here (they will be deleted). As an aside, there were not many 1930s photos.

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  14. Dolphin or whale dorsal fin.not taken at Loch Ness. Why all the fuss?

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    1. You don't know it wasn't taken at Loch Ness ...

      we need the uncropped picture

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    2. Where was it taken then ?

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  15. Roland, with all these missing photos and films, don't you ever get the feeling that the jigsaw is never going to fall into place? It doesn't seem likely to me that every time there's some earth shattering piece of evidence it gets blighted by bad luck and further mystery.

    Just my 2 cents.

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    1. One can only hope that some person will eventually be in the right place, at the right time with the right equipment at the right distance for the right duration looking at the right sighting.

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    2. Isn't the fact that this has never happened a huge, screaming clue about the legend of Loch Ness?

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    3. I find myself gradually turning from firm believer to reluctant skeptic on the entire Loch Ness Monster story. When marine dolphin/whale photos receive this level of analysis it serves as a wake up call. Depressing, frankly.

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    4. Nope, because you boys can't tell me how many photographs there should have been. Asked many a time, never answered.

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    5. Muirhead, actually most of the article is devoted to the backstory behind this picture. People, places, reactions.

      The dolphin bit comes at the end. The photogrpah has never figured high in the Loch Ness stakes, so I don't know what's to get depressed about. It concerns Loch Ness and its Monster, so its fair game for the blog.

      As for dolphins and whales, I think the fin appertains to some other species.

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    6. Glasgow Boy, that is a very silly question to ask. Just as silly as the weak attempts of people to justify the failure of all the thousand plus witnesses to ever have captured a beast on film. The elusive beast? I would say anything that elusive would only have been seen a handful of times.

      The sad conclusion we've nearly all reached is that there aint nothing in there except broken dreams.

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    7. Just say you can't answer the question and we'll move on ....

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    8. Between 20 and 30.

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    9. I answered this exact question in detail a few weeks ago and you didn't publish! Infuriating.

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    10. Are you the one who kept sending posts claiming to have the answer but laced them with insults? You would certainly know you would have no chance of getting that published.


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    11. Between 20 and 30? How did you come to that conclusion?

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    12. Perhaps if you would let my posts appear people would be able to see my calculations :(

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    13. If you sent anything, it never go to me.

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  16. Regarding the lack of quality film/photo evidence, none other than Dick Raynor (not exactly a believer) states on his site that long range photography can't solve the mystery. Objects at a distance lose resolution even with powerful cameras/lenses, and at best are rendered ambiguous on film. Dick goes on to say that only close up photography can solve the mystery - but success in that regard would come down to chance. Oh joy.

    But I have an issue with what Dick wrote: on his site he has a clip from the LNI's main 35 mm camera rig circa 1964. IIRC the rig was set up on the battlements of Urquhart castle, and the footage is of Temple Pier and boats anchored across the bay. There is nothing ambiguous about the footage, the pier and the boats are crystal clear. So this begs the question: if the rig could clearly film the pier and boats across the bay then surely the camera should be able to clearly film a big hump/upturned boat shape/elephant-like back cruising through the bay? Especially given how Urquhart Bay is alleged to be a sighting hot spot in the literature.

    Paddy


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    1. Paddy - the film clip was taken from the Strone camera site around 1970 - it is at http://lochnessinvestigation.com/reallyoldwebcam.gif
      The range is only 0.66 miles, not really long range for a 36" lens designed for aerial photography from ten times that distance.

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    2. If it's too far away to film with a telephoto lens, it's also too far away to categorically know it's not something non-monster. Simple really.

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    3. How true. I wonder if that's the reason Dick deploys underwater and shore based cameras, if only to chance a glimpse of a Nessie, or the unusual. Although his stated motivation in staging such cameras, is for educational and camera technology demonstration purposes.

      I'm sure that with today's high quality camera (professional grade) technology and superior telephoto optics there would be no problem resolving a good sized object at medium (1km) to long (2 km} range distances. In the end, it probably will take a chance opportunity. To echo GB's comment above, the right place, the right time, the right equipment, the right distance and looking in the right direction. Remember, Loch Ness is a big lake! If Tim Dinsdale was able to capture something with his “ancient” Bolex at mid loch and well inland, imagine if he had had a good professional modern camera.

      Dick has stated that he would like to be proven wrong concerning the existence of unknown creatures in Loch Ness, maybe he wants to prove himself wrong also. All in all you have to appreciate what he does, and who knows maybe he'll be the one to catch something unusual. Now wouldn't that be unusual and ironic!

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    4. It always seems to be the monster club's desire that arch skeptics like Dick and Mr Shine are secret believers. Never understood why the idea of that appeals so much.

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    5. Maybe he did.....in 1967 !!! :-)

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    6. There are many of us believers who know TD only filmed a boat. That would have been very apparent if he'd had the camera technology available today. The multiple image overlays puts the Dinsdale film to bed, but not the overall mystery.

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    7. Which just goes to show that many of us believers don't accept everything put forward as positive evidence Gospel truth and that were not all lemmings. We can think for ourselves and form our own opinions.

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    8. Just to add to the comment above, didn't TD use binoculars to identify the back of an animate animal, with enough clarity to notice texture, a back ridge and a dapple before he started filming? Kinda hard to believe that a man of Dinsdale's caliber and credentials (aeronautical engineer) couldn't distinguish between a boat and something unusual. Just saying.

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    9. The claim is he had poor binoculars, more like opera glasses. Not sure where that is stated in the literature (if at all).

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    10. John, it is indeed hard to believe TD could see so much detail that wasn't there. And yet, the image stacking shows he definitely did not see what he said. And as you say, he was a man of great character, high caliber if you like.

      So what is this telling you? Really think about this before answering.

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    11. I have heard of this claim as well GB. I've often wondered why Tim would have such poor binoculars about him during his rigorous investigations.

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    12. What's to think about Steve? I'll take TD's word anytime over some manipulated film. Take a look at this clip from YouTube of TD describing his sighting. Starts at +53 sec.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=FH3JsN4bGnM

      His eyes caught detail even with inferior binoculars, if in fact that is what he used, that the camera's less than perfect lens and film could not. The problem is that less than super sharp films and pics will always be open to interpretation from both sides of the debate. No less than JARIC (Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Center) concluded that it was most likely an animate object. I'll put my money on Tim.



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  17. Yes but the hump will still be ambiguous at range, even if it is a clear image. Is it a seal, otter, someone playing a hoax, upturned boat, whatever?

    There's no ambiguity about Temple Pier and the boats anchored there. They are static objects we can recognise and verify.

    I can take a long range shot of Urquhart Castle from Dores Beach and we'll recognise it as Urquhart Castle.

    I think what he means is that close range photography is most likely to remove any ambiguity as to what we're looking at. Even then that's not a given. It depends how well the image presents itself.

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  18. trevorthecat - I think we can rule out upturned boats as candidates for Nessies. As far as I know, angler's boats, such as those built by Finlay MacCuish in Inverness, float keel downwards even when swamped. The description of an object as 'like an upturned boat' more likely refers to the observed shape, rather than an implied identification.

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    1. Ha, yeah I was being tongue in cheek :-)

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  19. Oooh Nessie's being SUCH a tease again!!

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  20. Geordie Sceptic30 June 2015 at 13:21

    GB, am I still banned from posting on here?

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  21. Replies
    1. Geordie Sceptic30 June 2015 at 14:20

      OK, what I really mean is if I post on here again, will I be so selectively censored as to make it impossible to have any meaningful debates?

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    2. Firstly, you said you were off on a sabbatical for a long time.

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    3. Well? Should I be helping you enforce your sabbatical by withholding your comments?

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    4. Geordie Sceptic1 July 2015 at 04:07

      I've finished my sabbatical due to popular demand. No need to withhold anything, GB

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    5. Your own facebook page says:

      "I'm taking a sabbatical, a gap year, or whatever. I don't think I'm likely to return."

      You've only been absent since late May. Why shouldn't I help you hold to your original intentions?



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    6. Geordie Sceptic1 July 2015 at 05:24

      Perhaps because you know I contribute well here? Additionally, I think you're not so much of a control freak as to need to control my return date.

      The above quote clearly isn't set in stone. "Gap year" was a lighthearted university reference, as I am sure you're aware.

      Why not just enable my comments so we can see if we can solve this mystery together, GB?

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  22. Here we go again. Moan moan moan Geordie Sceptic. Why dont you jog on pal? All you do is moan. I dont blame you Glasgow Boy if you ignore his message's. What a depressing chap z z z z z z z

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    1. Pretty sure Tim would agree with this.

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  23. What has any of this self-obsessed attention seeking to do with the article? It's only worth reading comments, as I'm sure the webmaster will agree, if they're on the subject at hand.

    The picture itself, I think has to simply go in the mystery pile - and, arguably, the mystery of its background is what's of real interest here.

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    1. Hear hear Jenny Haniver, always incredibly insightful and intelligent. If anyone's going to solve this puzzle it will be someone very clever like Jenny H or Roland W. The monster is there to be found! !!

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    2. The webmaster has actively engaged and extended this conversation with Geordie. It seems he disagrees with your assessment Mr Haniver.

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    3. Someone very clever like Jenny H or Roland W?

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  24. I agree with you Jenny. Everytime he comes in he wants to turn in into the Geordie Sceptic show. Pity we cant keep to the subject

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    1. You'll note I have allowed some comments thru to show what I have to moderate when GS turns up.

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    2. But that's them being aggressive, not GS. Why should GS be blamed for people behaving that way?

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  25. Geordie Sceptic2 July 2015 at 03:31

    Some of you will be pleased to learn that the censorship has kicked in, and my totally on topic posts on the most recent article are being withheld.

    However, no amount of burying heads in sand, no amount of chastisement, wilful ignorance or petty sniping will ever make your fantasy monster real. Hate to break it to you, kiddies.

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    1. Your comments have not been deleted, but we can see how things ratchet up when you're back!

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    2. Everyone can see a few people throwing toys out of prams when Geordie arrives on the scene. IMHO it says more about them than Geordie. I'm mostly a believer in Nessie so I'm not in agreement with many of Geordies theories. He makes me think though.

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  26. Jog on Geordie. All you do is moan! Z z z z z.

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