Friday, 7 April 2017

Things That Deceive




I was sent some pictures a few days back of a different type of "Loch Ness Monster", the kind that fool people into thinking they have seen the real thing. Well, I say fooled, but in this (and the vast majority of cases), the deception is but for a short while. George and Josh were at the loch in 2015 and describe the event thusly:

I'm not sure whether you'll find these pictures of any interest but my brother and I visited the Loch in July 2015 and stayed at the Clansman. We decided to go for a walk along the shoreline after our evening meal (so would have been about 7.00pm) and were skimming stones across the water. We got a bit of a shock when we turned a bend and saw what was in these pictures floating down the Loch towards us. It only took a few seconds to see that it was an upturned log, but the current seemed to take it very quickly and it moved pretty rapidly past us.

I had my camera phone so took these photos, which was as close to seeing anything unusual as we got. Still, thought these may be of interest/useful if you decided to do any more articles about mis-identifications or logs in the Loch?






This all happened at the shore by the Clansman Hotel, which, by coincidence, I had been at the day before George's email arrived. We know all about tree debris and they often get trotted out to explain away monster sightings. Sometimes this is justified, sometimes it is just an excuse.

I wrote on these objects as a form of misidentification back in 2011 in this article and they got the name of Log Ness Monsters in a witty comment. You can be sure these "monsters" are never going to go away.


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com



40 comments:

  1. As you say, most misidentified static sightings can be debunked in seconds. It's the moving ones that confuse, or very brief static sightings. I got a little taste at Lough Derg in Ireland, that has a small passenger boat crossing every so often to an island with a monastery. Radiating outwards is a low wake, which looks like a small to medium sized animal turning over in the water. If you turned up after the boat had left however, all you would see is an apparently unconnected event. I was slightly fooled for a few minutes, but i can certainly see how that particular form of misidentification is common.
    And i suppose it's the usual sceptical position that you want to see the LNM, so that branch over there becomes said creature.

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    1. There have been too many sightings with multiple witnesses, and too many which have lasted a few minutes for every LNM sighting report to be down to misidentification of everyday phenomena.

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    2. I agree, I'm just referring to the obvious that we can discard.

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  2. Does anyone else here have to pinch the bridge of their nose in frustration as to images the media release supposed to be Nessie that are obviously not??!

    One example being three seals in a line formation. Another sighting being the white reflection on the Loch surface below the white building taken by the landscaper from Aldourie castle.

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    1. Well, they love a Nessie story, even if it isn't Nessie.

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  3. While i agree, we can't downplay the amount of tree debris in the loch.

    Annual storms rip through the surrounding forests and pretty much all debris from that ends up in the loch, and generally finds it's way northeast with the wind to either Dores or Lochend beaches.

    I am continually surprised at the sheer size of some of the bits of wood that appear on Dores Beach. In short - there's a LOT of wood in the loch and some of it is very large.

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    1. I remember visiting the loch a year ago in April, Dores Bay had a long line of tree debris which was several feet wide and a foot or two high. Never seen that before.

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  4. I've read that Steve Felton has plenty of firewood from the debris that washes up on Dores beach.

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    1. Not sure I'd trust everything Steve Feltham says, he thinks Wels catfish have long necks!!!!

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    2. If you look back and go over the early reports especially, the LNM is referred to in terms of a whale like creature in some reports. The catfish might square with sightings on some occasions. Just like the sturgeon. Loch Ness might be an interesting zoo which we know little about, and maybe that's why the reports over the years have been so disparate. That doesn't mean that I don't believe in an unidentified animalthere, quite the contrary.

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    3. Hello Martin, yes I've seen mention over the years of the possibility of there being more than one type of monster in the Loch to account for the variation in reports. Personally I don't buy that. I think it's likely that variations are down to a mix of natural phenomena being mixed into the body of evidence (which also contains real reports of Nessie).

      I think the way new animals appear is through a form of genetic "Roulette", where occasionally a random mutation produces an advantageous new trait in a species, which then goes on to out-compete the older variant of that species, ultimately leading to a permanent change to the population.

      Of course sometimes the Roulette simply doesn't work out - even after showing early promise - and the creature remains no better off than it was before.

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  5. Word has it that one well known sceptic who runs boat trips on Loch Ness had a group sighting recently. It turned out to be simply waves but while the passengers thought it was something more interesting, none of them had the presence of mind to take photographs. Could that arch sceptic have single handedly just explained why there are not as many photos as we might initially expect? Intriguing. I've seen an eyewitness called Alastair Boyd report the same thing. He said something about being so shocked that taking a photo just didn't happen.

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    1. I wouldnt take much notice of the boat operators on loch ness Henry.In my time i have travelled with all of them and lets just say, they are very much like taxi drivers LOL .

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    2. Given one sceptical operator's use of a Nessie logo, it's all about the Nessie Pound.

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    3. This is a real shame Gezza and Glasgow Boy. Local operators cashing in on something they're trying (unsuccessfully) to trash at the same time. It's good when they make a slip up in their sceptical efforts though, as in this case.

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  6. Let's be fair - there was zero suggestion in his wording that suggested lack of 'presence of mind'. It simply says no photographs were taken. Anything beyond that is conjecture.

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    1. Really? Try asking a group of people whether they'd take a photo if they saw what they thought was Nessie. Suspect the answer would be a unanimous YES! Don't you agree? Yet no photos were taken. I suggest a lack of presence of mind is exactly what happened.

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  7. Exactly. 'You suggest'.

    You weren't there, neither was I. It's conjecture.

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    1. No, I think it's very logical to assume that almost everyone would want to photograph Nessie if they had the chance. That's not even conjecture, it's like assuming that almost everyone who enters the national lottery would like to win it. Are you really suggesting a group of people who went to Loch Ness would make a conscious and deliberate decision not to photograph what they believed could be Nessie? That defies logic my friend.

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  8. It is pure conjecture.

    You are looking at this as a person who believes in the Loch Ness monster. Most folk don't, including most folk who visit the loch.

    I see folk with cameras around the loch daily. I see water disturbance on the loch daily. I very rarely see folk taking pictures of water disturbance. Why? Well, and here's my conjecture, I suspect most don't believe there's an unknown animal in there, so why take pics of water movement?

    Be interested to take a straw poll of the punters on DRs boat that day and ask how many believed in the LNM. A believer approaches a visit to the loch with different expectations to a non-believer.

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  9. Henry you said passengers thought it was something more interesting, so yes if that is the case im suprised nobody reached for their camera, believer or non believer.

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    1. Thanks Gezza, I think I'm just talking common sense here. Even if people are sceptical they'd still want to be able to look back at a photo or video. The fact that they didn't in this case suggests a delay in processing what they were looking at. A fine example in my view of why so many people see something unusual but so few manage to capture images. Thank you to the sceptical boat skipper, you've solved another piece of the Nessie puzzle!

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  10. Been thinking a bit more about these "hardened sceptics" based at the Loch. They're always bleating on about people expecting to see Nessie on documentaries. According to them, the anticipation leads people to regard common objects such as waves to be Nessie. Well let's look at the other side of that coin now.

    There are two relatively famous sceptics based at the Loch. One runs a research programme, the other makes cash from tourists by cabbying them around on a rickety old boat. Both sceptics are therefore regularly at or on the water. Both claim to have never seen Nessie. Well, if the "naive public" are prone to seeing Nessie when looking at common objects, it has to be argued that these hardened sceptics are pre-programmed to see standing waves, wood debris, ducks etc whenever they see a disturbance of some sort. I think in all likelihood both of them have actually seen these elusive animals, but have been so closed-minded and blinkered that they've dismissed the monster as common objects. It's probably happened several times. It's a terrible shame that they don't approach the Loch in a more open, scientific and even-handed manner. They'd likely have good evidence for these animals in the bag by now. The creatures were in fact hiding in plain sight all along.

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  11. Oh c'mon guys. If these skeptics ever witness some of the more vivid Nessie manifestations (elephant-like humps and/or giraffe-like necks moving through the water) they would likely swing to the pro-Nessie side of the fence. The problem is that these sorts of vivid displays never seem to occur in front of researchers, or those with long-range cameras. 84 years on and ambiguity still reigns supreme in this whole business. And let's remember the 3 skeptical researchers did come to their views honestly: they've put the time and effort in to solve the mystery, and it's the lack of unambiguous evidence that has moved them to their current viewpoints. And each of the 3 allow for the possibility of some sort of large fish being responsible for some of the sightings.

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    1. I know of 2 famous sceptics, not 3. And who can honestly say Nessie displays itself only very clearly or not at all? What about the in between types of sightings where an open mind and keen eye are required?

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  12. The 3 skeptics: Shine, Raynor and Harmsworth (sounds like a law firm).

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  13. Harmsworth? didnt he have a sighting?

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    1. Harmsworth isn't a rent-a-sceptic for every documentary made about Loch Ness, hence he's not as well known. I think Raynor should just make a single clip of himself discussing his "realisation" about his own film. Documentary makers could just paste it in, rather than having to get in touch with him. Likewise Shine and that model submarine with the neck on it.

      Perhaps it would be a fresh angle if some other sceptics spoke up. Maybe Harmsworth and someone from one of the sceptical society type groups.

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  14. Not much time for the 3 although Shine is the best of a bad bunch. At least he does not try and belittle believers and slate them in various blogs or forums like the other 2. I put it down to the fact that both have been made to look a bit silly thinking they had seen a monster when in fact all they had seen was water birds.A bit embarrasing for 2 men who claim to have such knowledge and experience of the loch.I dont know how anyone can take them seriously to be quite honest. I Have met Shine on 3 occasions over the years and to be honest he is very approchable.

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    1. Where are the forums where Raynor and Harmsworth belittle believers? If I'm honest I've never understood Raynor's purpose in life. Shine has his research team and has made a good life for himself at the Loch. Harmsworth has done plenty in terms of business in the area over the years. Raynor on the other hand seems to do little more than wear a funny cap* and reminisce about his old black and white film on documentaries. I'm aware he's also a Loch taxi driver. Doesn't seem like much to have done for someone who considers himself so clued up and intellectually superior. You'd have to think, or at least hope, that he's carried on with that life because he secretly still believes in Nessie. Or at least partially believes. I suppose it takes all sorts. I wonder what he feels his defining achievement thus far has been. I also wonder if he reads this blog. I can see he posted here long ago.

      *which makes him look like a character in a Carry On film.

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    2. Dick's purpose? I suggest you ask him yourself!

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  15. No need to get personal about Raynor. He was there at Nessie's peak of fame his knowledge of the subject and his opinion should carry some weight.

    No-one is more more reviled by followers of a cult than the cult follower who has lapsed and dares to question the beliefs eh ?.

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    1. I think you've inadvertently hit the nail in the head. Less prominent sceptics hold Raynor in reverence just because he was at the loch in the 1960s. As Gezza says, why?

      If we're talking about a cult, what about Nessie scepticism? There are people around, like Raynor and his underlings who consider it to be of critical importance in their lives to endlessly needle and provoke cryptozoologists.

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  16. Ho John. Why should his opinion carry some weight?

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  17. Gezza, I gave the reasons in my post.

    He's spent thousands of hours scanning Loch Ness in all weathers. that counts for a lot.

    How long have you spent at Loch Ness, or is your armchair and WIKI on the laptop more appealing ? :)

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    1. John, are you telling us you're no longer going to comment on LN because you don't spend the same amount of time on the loch as Mr Raynor? I don't think you should be so hard on yourself sir.

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    2. John i have spent thousands of hours myself on the loch but that does not make me an expert. And no you have not given your reasons in earlier posts! If Dick is so clued up why was he the only one arguing that the fin photo wasnt taken in loch ness? Spending hours by the loch does not make you an expert im afraid.

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  18. And why question my armchair or laptop John? Not once have i claimed to be an expert , far from it. But i am entitled to my opinion.I lived in Inverness for a long time but does that mean my opinions carry weight? of course not. You could speak to 50 people who have spent thousand of hours on the loch and they would all give you a different answer, so experience tells me spending hours at the loch does not make you a nessie expert. You will be telling me next that Frank Searle had the answers or there are large catfish in the loch because Steve Feltham's 20 years experience of living on the loch tells us. Sorry John i disagree with you.

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