A few weeks ago, I was watching the latest episode of "In Search of Aliens" broadcast on the History Channel. Given the title of the series, I was somewhat surprised to see the Loch Ness Monster as the latest subject. As a result, I concentrated a bit more closely and took notes for this article.
The series is presented by Giorgio Tsoukalos, who may be familiar to some readers, though his connection with lake cryptids seemed somewhat tenuous as he looked more at home with extraterrestrials and flying saucers (indeed, his speciality is the Ancient Astronaut theory).
The episode started off on some well worn territory with the Surgeon's Photograph. Well respected doctor, famous picture, 1990s investigation, toy submarine, model neck, "deathbed" confession; you get the idea. This story is a staple of Loch Ness Monster documentaries (do they just copy each other or is someone always recommending it?).
After that, it was off to see Steve Feltham, who by then had been at the loch for 21 years. He told Giorgio about his only sighting of the creature early on his hunting years. For those who are not familiar with Steve's encounter, he saw something just below the surface ripping through the water as water sprayed up.
Steve added one detail I was not aware of. He said the object covered the length of a soccer pitch in about ten seconds. Since a football pitch is about 100 metres long, a quick calculation gives a speed of about 22 miles per hour. I suppose my question to Steve would be, can a catfish move at this speed?
After this, we moved on to meet Marcus Atkinson, who recorded an unusual sonar contact back in 2012. I discussed that event in this article. Marcus took us through that day again and showed the photograph of the sonar hit. An epic fail then occurred as the producer added a comparison shot of a long plesiosaur, not knowing that the long sonar streak is a time aggregate of multiple echoes.
But getting onto that USO theory. We were asked if the Loch Ness Monster is an Unidentified Submersible Object (USO)? Did he mean an underwater version of a UFO? I think he did. That implies the creature is actually an artificial construct. I did cover Nessie as an extraterrestrial beast in this article, but this is a different matter.
After that, the matter of quartz deposits and the generation of piezoelectricity was raised. What is the connection between this and USOs? I was not sure, to be honest. I was aware of Paul Devereux's work which is not really related to nuts and bolts spacecraft. Was Giorgio saying that this potential electrical charge generated by seismic movements along the Great Glen fault was linked to the idea that Nessie is in fact a spaceship!?
Steve Feltham, not surprisingly, would not be seen given credence to this theory, though he did intimate that a guy "at the other end of the loch" believed the loch contained a portal to a hollow Earth and that there was a spaceship at the bottom of the loch. I would have liked to have heard that chap!
Things moved to the almost obligatory visit to Adrian Shine, presumably as the sceptical representative. Adrian talked about the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau and the 1000 people who were involved over its ten years. To that end, Adrian showed us he was a bit of a tease by pulling out a box containing over 300 sighting reports from that period.
I say a "tease" because Henry Bauer claims that Adrian refused to let him see these reports. However, I know he did allow another researcher to examine them, so I am sure if I asked nicely, I may get to see them too. However, why travel to Loch Ness when we have digital scanners and the Internet? I assume the documents (for backup reasons) have already been scanned onto computer.
It's a simple matter to add them to the Loch Ness Project website. If there are concerns about witness names and addresses being divulged, well, those can be easily be redacted. But then again, if you believe the witnesses are only describing birds, logs and boats, where is the motivation to do such a thing?
Adrian finished off by telling us that anecdotes can be treated as scientific data and described his experiment with a wooden pole in the vicinity of witnesses and their subsequent descriptions. Adrian told Giorgio how some witnesses described something rather more monster like and used this as proof that this can explain most sightings.
The trouble with critiquing that theory is that Adrian's words are also anecdotal. I have yet to see a scientific paper or article detailing this experiment, the controls used, the interview techniques, the dataset, assessment and logic behind any conclusion. Without that, it is like assessing a monster report.
After some words on St Columba, the Water Horse, and the odd beast of Pictish Symbol Stone fame, it was goodbye to Loch Ness and off to Lake Champlain where Giorgio met up with the charming Katy Elizabeth. She is a researcher of Champ, the monster of that lake, but she having none of this USO stuff as she recounted her sighting of that particular beast. However, any talk of a link between Loch Ness and Lake Champlain must be discounted as plate tectonics would not allow such a thing to be preserved.
Towards the end, there was an attempt to link this with Ancient Astronauts as Don Stevens, of the Abenaki tribe, talked about the mystery of cosmic, flying turtles. It was all beginning to sound like Ted Holiday's "The Dragon and the Disc", which was probably no surprise.
Finally, Giorgio chatted with a Steve Kluid and Will Amidon on the matter of granite, quartz and energy again. That led to a Dr. John Brandenburg and his talk about the Casimir Effect and traversible wormholes created by EM fields around quartz crystals seemingly accentuated by the trench topology of such cryptid lakes.
Is your head spinning yet? Well, I would have thought you needed dilithium crystals and not quartz crystals to warp spacetime, but I will leave that to any Trekkies reading. I will stick to the biological Nessie!
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org