Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oh Nessie, You Coy Creature, You

It's about 30 degrees. It's cold. It's foggy. It's gloomy. It's March in Colorado. It feels like what I think Scotland would feel like. Granted, I've never been to Scotland...but there is a a Castle MacPherson (my maiden name) in Scotland. Suck on that Paris Hilton. I've got a castle, you've got a chain of mediocre hotels.

But, once again, I'm off point. It's a grey day and I feel like a little post on a big monster is appropriate. Yep. I'm talking about the Loch Ness Monster, aka Nessie. While she's pretty much determined to have been a hoax, there are many out there who are adamant of her existence. And who am I to criticize? I believe in jackalopes.

But, whatever camp you are on; here's a timeline of Nessie sightings, explorations, and documentations.

  • 7th Century- St. Columba wrote of an account with the Pict people along the River Ness. Columba encountered the Picts dragging a body out of the water. They claimed it was killed by water beast. Columba then sent one of his assistants into the water to lure the beast out. Columba claims that the beast made an appearance, but Columba made the sign of the cross and the beast retreated into the water. Many historians attribute thisto folk lore and also point out that this was the River Ness, not Loch Ness.
  • July 1933- George Spicer and his wife were taking a leisurely drive around Loch Ness, when a huge "dragon-like" beast walked in front of their vehicle. They described the creature as being 4 ft tall and 25 feet long with a head shaped like an elephant's trunk.
  • August 1933 - Arthur Grant claimed to have nearly hit the beast while taking a late night motorcycle ride. However, his claim is often dismissed as many think it was his way to cover up a motorcycle accident (read: drunk).
  • 1934- Surgeon's Photo. Yep, this is the famous photo. It was supposedly taken by Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson, but he didn't want to attach his name to it (hmmmmm), so it was dubbed the Surgeon's Photo. Well, turns out it was a hoax. The photo is actually a picture of a toy submarine with a sculpted wooden head attached. This was the idea of Christian Spurling who wanted to embarrass the Daily Mail for publicly ridiculing his father-in-law.
  • 1934 - Sir Edward Mountain financed an exposition in which his team would stake out the lake with binoculars and cameras from 9am to 6pm daily (banker's hours!). They managed to get one photograph, but it was determined to be a Grey Seal.
  • 1938- South African tourist filmed 3 minutes of "monster activity" on 16 mm film. But the film fell into ownership of Maurice Burton and he refused to share any of it with Loch Ness investigators.
  • 1938 - Inverness Shire Chief Constable William Fraser, penned a letter stating that the existence of the monster was beyond doubt and he expressed concern over his inability to protect the creature from the harm that may come to it via hunting parties. Aw, that's kind of sweet:)
  • 1943 - C.B. Farrel of the Royal Observer Corps was distracted from his duties by what he claimed to be a 20-30 ft, large-eyed, finned monster.
  • 1954 - Fishing boat, the Rival III made strange sonar contact with a disturbance that kept pace with the boat at about 480 feet.
  • 1960 - Tim Dinsdale filmed a what looks to be a hump coming out of the water along with a wake about the size of a boat.
  • 1962-1976 - The Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau (LNPIB) is formed. No joke. The team is funded by membership dues and consists of volunteers who would patrol the lake from different vantage points.
  • 1967-1969 - Several sonar surveys are launched. The results are mysterious, yet inconclusive. One sound creates a greater impact than a pilot whale, but researchers could not confirm the identity.
  • 1972 - Robert Rhines launches an expedition to take underwater photos. The result is some monster-shaped photos that could also easily be a seal or a log. Sort of a fail.
  • 1987 - Operation Deep Scan. Once again, another sonar sweep, with inconclusive results. Darrell Lowrance, the sonar expert was quoted as saying "There's something here that we don't understand, and there's something here that's larger than a fish, maybe some species that hasn't been detected before. I don't know." Okey Dokey....
  • 1993 - Discovery Loch Ness. Didn't focus so much on the monster as it did the Loch itself. It found a phenomenon called "seiche" which is an underwater disturbance caused by stored energy, such as from wind. This could explain all the claims of Nessie's wakes in the waves.
  • 2003 - BBC launches YET ANOTHER sonar expedition. This one came up pretty concrete: there is nothing of sizable mass in the Loch. 
  • 2007 - Gordon Holmes has a video of what he calls "this jet black thing, about 45 feet long, moving fairly fast in the water." Video was analyzed and was determined to be a grey seal or an otter....seems like quite a difference from an otter or a seal to a 45 ft sea creature...
So what's the consensus? Most likely these sightings are caused by a Grey Seal that makes it's way into Loch Ness every now and then. But, that's just one story. I certainly don't want to wreck anyone's good time, so if you believe in Nessie then keep at it!
Either way, here's a necklace: http://www.etsy.com/listing/55213299/loch-ness-monster-nessie-resin-deco

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